An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Headline of the day: Queen 'thinks Charles has put gratification before duty'

Monday, February 28, 2005


Charles feeding Camilla a snack..oh wait. Sorry. There she is.

Isn't this just one of those headlines that makes you queasy? The imagery is just plain foul.

Thinking of the inbred future king and his pony-faced fiancee getting it on is just nauseating. Perhaps topped only by any thought about Michael Jackson face. (News Telegraph):
The Queen has "distanced" herself from the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles because she believes that her son is putting personal gratification before duty, royal courtiers have disclosed.

The courtiers also say privately that the Queen is "lukewarm" about the marriage and is worried that it could tarnish the monarchy.
Too late.


I think the next shoe bomber can light the fuse with a match just fine, you dumb*sses


Byron Dorgan (D-ND) thinks the limited synapse-firing Richard Reid wouldn't have been able to light up his footwear fuse if he only had access to matches.

From the brains-in-their-keisters dept: The U.S. government has finally decided to close one of the many laughable post-9/11 security holes -- the ability for passengers to carry butane lighters on the plane. One problem though -- you can still carry books of MATCHES. (Reuters):
The U.S. government will ban cigarette lighters on planes beginning in April but passengers can still tote common matches in carry-on bags for now, security officials said on Monday.

The Transportation Security Administration, responding to a congressional order, said passengers cannot carry butane, battery powered or other lighters on themselves or in carry-on bags after April 14. "By creating a policy to add lighters to the prohibited items, we are closing a potential vulnerability in air travel security," said David Stone, administrator of the security agency.

Wooden matches that can be struck on a hard surface are already banned but passengers will still be allowed to pack up to four matchbooks inside carry-on luggage, security officials said. Proponents, including Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, said it was necessary to reduce the chance that someone could ignite a bomb or incendiary device on a commercial flight.

Dorgan says "shoebomber" Richard Reid may have succeeded in blowing up a passenger plane on a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001 had he used a lighter instead of common matches to set off explosives hidden in his shoe. Reid was sentenced to life in prison in 2003.

No, Dorgan, Reid would have succeeded if the mouth-breather had enough brains to just go into the bathroom to light the fuse.


NC Gov Mike Easley courts those 'King of the Hill' rednecks



Well that makes me feel so included as a progressive Tar Heel. Often chatted up as the model for southern electoral success, my governor is hopelessly centrist -- it is what got him elected. Easley thinks it's more important for him to suck up to the NASCAR/mud-running crowd than to speak with any conviction to progressives, who did vote for him -- because the other guy on the ballot was a complete wingnut.

We now have a marriage amendment back up in the General Assembly and Easley, in the last days of the 2004 campaign, said he was in favor of one, losing the endorsement of EqualityNC. (Raleigh N&O):
How many in the audience watch the TV series "King of the Hill?" Gov. Mike Easley asked a conference in Chapel Hill last week. Easley expressed surprise when there was a scattering of hands of people who tuned into the Fox network animation about a good old boy propane salesman. Easley said that he once had his pollster survey viewers of the program.

"I like to know where I stand among "King of the Hill" voters," Easley said. He then quipped, "It reminds me of so many of my friends." [Unlike the (likely former) gay friends, the ones that actually raised and gave him money to ensure his re-election.]

Easley was making a larger point to a couple of hundred people attending a two-day regional conference at the Carolina Inn on "New Strategies for Southern Progress."

As the only Democratic governor in the South to win re-election last year, Easley has said he wants to talk about what it takes for Democrats to win. The conference gave him an opportunity. Easley said candidates should not try to pass too many ideological litmus tests and should instead appeal to voters in the middle.

"If you look at the Democratic and Republican parties right now, I don't think either one of them represents the voters in the middle," Easley said. Political leaders should focus on issues where there is broad consensus -- such as improving education -- while avoiding getting bogged down in divisive cultural issues such as abortion and the death penalty, he said.

Did you notice the man didn't refer to gay marriage, or gay anything, in spite of the amendment in the hopper? This potato is so hot he's buried it to cool off. I cannot see how long he will attempt to tap dance around this one.


Charlotte mayor gives HRC convention the cold shoulder


Mayor Pat McCrory must be afraid he's going to "catch" something from the homos of HRC if he positively acknowledged they were spending gay dollars in his city.

Though Charlotte is a business metropolis in the state, in many ways it is more conservative, than say, the Triangle area. It's not surprising that this sort of nonsense happened.

More than 1,300 HRC members turned out in Charlotte to promote LGBT rights, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory wasn't exactly rolling out the welcome mat. Out of more than 20 HRC events of this type, this was the third largest, so to ignore a convention of this size is a purposeful political slap in the face. (News 14 Carolina):
More than 1,300 members of the Human Rights Campaign came to Charlotte to promote equal rights for gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transsexuals. The event marked the group’s first trip to the area, but members say they did not receive the warm welcome they were looking for.

"You can welcome and embrace someone and you don't have to see eye to eye on all the issues," said HRC member Joni Madison. Charlotte lawyer Phil Wells says he requested a letter of welcome from the mayor's office – a common occurrence for convention attendees. Wells was hoping Mayor McCrory would write a couple welcoming sentiments. He was disappointed by the lack of response.

..."Here were a great number of people coming into this great city and spending money and wanting to see the best side of Charlotte, and all he had to do was say, ‘Welcome to our great city and he missed that opportunity,’” Wells said.

Others attending the weekend festivities felt the same way. “I just think that it was a kind of a courtesy, a protocol, and the fact that he didn't extend a hand, it was a missed opportunity for him," Madison said.

I think he's pandering to what he thinks his constituents believe and it's shameful," Mitchell Gold said. Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon says the mayor's office gets approximately 200 requests for welcoming letters every year. McCrory did not comment on the issue.

Regular House Blend readers may recall that McCrory is embroiled in a tussle between gay rights advocates and the bible beaters of anti-choice, anti-gay Operation Save America, which I covered here. That organization wants to restrict the use of public parks, specifically targeting Charlotte Gay Pride. The fundamentalist group called for the police working the Pride event who wore rainbow pins to be reprimanded for this simple act of freedom of speech.

Pat McCrory (R)
mayor@ci.charlotte.nc.us


Upcoming hate-mongering, courtesy of Fred Phelps: attacks on John Edwards, gay official in Kansas

Sunday, February 27, 2005


This will be a busy week for the Phelps machine, as they picket a John Edwards appearance in Kansas, and Phelps's granddaughter tries to unseat the only gay official in Kansas.

This gay-baiting, rotting Cryptkeeper™ and his tribe of hate will not stop their sh*t. For those of you not familiar with Phelps, he made a big name for himself and his church by picketing Matthew Shepard's funeral, gracing the event with placards such as "AIDS kills fags dead" and "Matthew Shepard rots in hell." (More on Phelps at the DKosopedia).

The latest in outreach by the Westboro Baptist Church "ministry" is that he and his hate mongers are going to picket former VP candidate and Senator John Edwards on March 4 at the Ramada Inn in Downtown Topeka, KS. Take a look at this flier (click to enlarge):



What patriots over there at Westboro. Here's the hate money quote: "God Almighty warned John Edwards by killing his son, but he hardened his heart & stiffened his neck, embracing the filthy fag agenda for political expediency."

Hmmm. Where do you go with something like this? You may think Phelps is on the fringe, but as a Kansas Repug said to Time mag: "A lot of people don't outwardly agree with what Phelps is doing, but behind the scenes they do," says Republican state representative Lana Gordon.

***

But wait, there's more...


Topeka councilperson Tiffany Muller is the only out official in the entire state of Kansas.

The other bit of Phelps political pollution is actually being generated by his equally hateful granddaughter, Jael. She's running for city council specifically because the incumbent, Tiffany Muller, is openly gay. The election will be held March 1. (Washburn University Review):
While Topeka residents are getting ready for the March 1 election, the District 9 race has garnered national and local attention. Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to limit down the candidates running for council seats in area districts. The incumbent, Tiffany Muller, the first openly-gay member of the Topeka city council, was appointed to the council and is now vying to be elected for the first time. She is being opposed by both Bob Percival and Richard Harmon. However, out of the three people running against her, Jael Phelps, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church and Washburn student, claims to be the most qualified candidate.

"I am running for city council because the incumbent is a one-issue, appointed candidate concerned for and representing only a small fraction of our district. I have been doing campaigning for various city, county and state campaigns for many years now," said Phelps.

Phelps, granddaughter of outspoken anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps, is known for her strong stance against rights for homosexuals. The primary clash between the two candidates is regarding the city ordinance on discrimination, which will also be voted on March 1. Muller was one of the council members who brought up the idea of making sexual orientation a protected status for Topeka. Phelps assisted in getting the repeal of the law on the ballot.

"I oppose the ordinance passed by the city council, which equivocated voluntary behavior with immutable characteristics, such as being female, African-American or disabled. There is a moral standard and this not only breaks that, but violates the Constitution," said Phelps.

You have to get a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think about the fact that he's passing on this level of bigotry to the young people in his family. They got it honestly. How do you stop this sickness?

***

One more bonus Phelps missive - a "welcome to the DNC leadership" letter to Howard Dean!



Other past fun from your homo-pocalyptic Phelps crowd:



Phelps didn't donate to tsunami relief, and he got his rocks off on the Swedes dying -- it was only a matter of time before the thought of Americans being washed away got him hard.



The American Taliban is sicker than I thought


Bud & Betty Miller of Christians Unlimited Ministries give you a peek into their marital bond.

You want to get really queasy about the rollback of women's rights and the state of mind of the Religious Right? Read this essay on how to properly "submit" to your husband, What Does The Bible Say About The Duties of a Christian Wife? by a contributor, Betty Miller, to The Conservative Voice (a wingnut news/opinion site run by Nathan Tabor, covered in detail on the Blend here and here). You are not going to believe what you are reading, but this is dead serious. Some excerpts:
...Many times women who claim to be submissive are only outwardly going through the motions of submission while inwardly they are still resenting their position in life. A prayer of submission would be in order: "Father, help me to be content in the role you created me for and give me a submissive spirit, not only toward my mate, but also toward each member in the body of Christ. Let me serve and not expect to be served. Create within me a lamb-like spirit even as Christ our Lord had. Amen." ... Some results that can occur when women are not in a right relationship with men are divorce, rebellious children, emotional problems and sexual frigidity. (To read more on the proper submission to a husband click here: http://www.bible.com/answers/asubmit.html )

One of the main causes for these problems is an evil spiritual force of female domination. In I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-25, and Ephesians 6:1-3, the divine order for families is stated. The husband is the head, then the wife is second in command, with the children in obedience to them. When the woman seeks to usurp this authority and rule the home, havoc results and the home is left wide open for Satanic attack. "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths" (Isaiah 3:12).

...Another area where Satan tries to push women to extremes is in keeping household duties and spiritual pursuits in balance. Women who are unequally yoked are especially vulnerable in this area. Perhaps you know women who serve their husbands "tapes for breakfast," "Charismatic book reviews for lunch," and "Praise-the-Lord's for dinner." If this is not done under the Holy Spirit's unction and with His wisdom, it can turn husbands away from, not toward the Lord. A change of diet might speak more loudly than incessant talking about Jesus. A neat house, nice meals, and a genuine interest in the husband and his interests many times speaks louder than all the tapes. To fulfill her household duties, a woman may have to give up some of her "spiritual" activities. Three meetings a week really do not make us spiritual anyway.

The woman has her primary responsibility in the home since the Scripture says she is to be the keeper of the home. "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:5). Preparing meals for the family is one of her prime duties. The world has set the standard when it comes to eating, rather than the Word of God.

What on earth do you say behind this crap? It is truly mind-boggling. I need to disinfect my keyboard.


More stupidity "machining on" from religious wingnuts


Joseph Grant Swank, Jr. (joseh_swank@yahoo.com), pastor of New Hope Church, can't even spell a line out of one of his hymnals as he spews his filth about gay marriage.

(The Conservative Voice):
Already seventeen states have stamped a constitutional homosexual-‘marriage’ NO in place. Eleven of these states have ratified the constitutional bans in elections last autumn.

That’s the impact of "Onward Christian soldiers, machining as to war."

Interestingly enough, some of the so-called mainline Protestant churches have taken that long-standing, revered hymn out of their hymn books. Why? They say it’s too militaristic. Oh yeah. All the while, these same denominations wage war on biblical morality by endorsing homosexual ‘marriages’ and abortions. So go the devil’s disciples in playing hypocrisy maximum as a part of the End Time insanity enveloping the global church.

However, those believers still holding to biblical convictions work their morality in the marketplace from state to state. Fearing that immoral court judges will cancel out legislation against homosexual twosomes, these states have put in place their own constitutional amendments wiping out any possibility of homosexuals tying the knot within their borders.
He also wants you to know that he is a "Graduate of accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School." Check out where this guy's work has been published: MichNews.com, BushCountry.org, TheConservativeVoice.com, RaptureAlert.com, Republican and Proud, FaithFreedom.org, Conservative Posts, Common Conservative, Out2.com, MensNewsDaily.com, Magic City Morning Star, Right Wing Conservative, Mullenax News, Religious News Online, among others.


Ann Coulter, voice of the Reich - Helen Thomas is an "old Arab"


Our favorite racist, homo-bigot and man-vessel of the right wing elite.

(via AmericaBlog and Crooks and Liars). Well, well, well. On her own web site, bony ass, bed-worn b*tch of the Reich, Ann Coulter, has an interesting line in her story defending rent boy Jeff Gannon that was edited out by her syndicator.
"Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."
--Ann Coulter, February 23, 2005


Veteran White House reporter and columnist Helen Thomas is Lebanese American.

I'm wondering if Ms. Aryan Nation's earlier draft looked like this...
"Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old camel jockey sand nigger Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president."


Washington State woman with toddler called up for duty


Andrea DeGeus of Granite Falls holds her 14-month-old daughter, Abby, to comfort her Thursday. DeGeus, 21, enlisted in the Army Reserve while in high school, but had obtained a discharge. She has now been called up for duty because, to her surprise, she was placed into the Army's Individual Ready Reserve. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

It's still happening, though it's not in the major media coverage much any more. (Herald.net):
"I thought I was discharged and done," said Andrea DeGeus. Andrea DeGeus of Granite Falls holds her 14-month-old daughter, Abby, to comfort her Thursday. DeGeus, 21, enlisted in the Army Reserve while in high school, but had obtained a discharge. She has now been called up for duty because, to her surprise, she was placed into the Army's Individual Ready Reserve. It wasn't so simple.

DeGeus' name was transferred into the Individual Ready Reserve, an administrative roster the Army plucks soldiers from during times of war. DeGeus, 21, is now struggling to get her Army orders changed. Her biggest worry is 14 months old.

"My daughter. That's everything," DeGeus said, referring to Abby, her toddler. "Not to mention we could lose our house. What are things going to be like after I leave my job?" DeGeus asked.

...The Army has issued 3,802 mobilization orders for soldiers in the IRR.

...Last week, DeGeus talked with Army officials about an exemption and is now gathering the paperwork the military needs to consider her request. She's hoping the three weeks she has before she has to report for duty will be enough time to get it all together.

"I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. That's all I can do."


Why can't this lesbian teen have this picture of her posted in her yearbook?


Kelli Davis, who is openly gay, was dressed in tuxedo top and bow-tie outfit for her HS photo and that made the principal go apesh*t.

This young woman is a senior at a Florida high school. She has a 4.0 grade point average at Fleming Island High, is known as a conscientious teen with a part-time job and no discipline issues at school. Her crime? Wanting to have the above picture posted in her high school yearbook. It was rejected, as you will see below, because her principal has issues. Unacceptable issues. (Lakeland Ledger):
The picture of a lesbian student dressed in a tuxedo will not be permitted in her school's yearbook, the Clay County school officials decided.

Principal Sam Ward of Fleming Island High School made the initial decision to pull Kelli Davis's picture from the yearbook, saying he did so because Davis, who is openly gay, was dressed in boy's clothes. The county school board and its superintendent backed the decision, which was debated at a School Board meeting attended by about 200 people.

Fifteen of the 24 people who spoke at the meeting were in favor of Davis and nine supported the principal's decision. Kelli's mother, Cindi Davis, asked the board to reverse Ward's decision. "This is not to be treated as a gay right's issue," her mother said. "Rather it's a human rights issue."

Some applauded Ward's decision, including Karen Gordon, who said, "When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds." School officials have maintained that sexual preference is not the issue, it is gender. They said since Davis did not follow the rules on dress, she will not be in the yearbook.

Bruce Bickner, an attorney representing the School Board, said there is no written dress code for senior pictures, but also said the district gives principals the authority to set standards. The board took no action to reverse Ward's decision and Superintendent David Owens said the decision will stand.
Here is the Dress Code established by the County Board:
4.03 STUDENT DRESS All students shall be properly groomed and attired when on school property or participating in school activities. Students shall be dressed so they will not present a clear danger to health and safety; nor shall they be dressed in indecent or obscene attire; nor shall they be dressed in a manner, which causes an interference with work or creates classroom or school disorder. (Ref. F.S. 1001.41) (Adopted: 01/08/81)
Here is the dress code policy of the Fleming Island High School.
Our dress code is set by the county school board. Please, no hats, bandannas or any other headgear is permitted. Also, you cannot wear halter-tops, midriff tops, tube tops, mesh shirts, or muscle shirts. Clothing should be in good taste and not distract others from learning in class. Safety issues mandate that student not wear spiked jewelry or heavy chains. It is strongly recommended that students not wear backless shoes or "flip-flops" in an effort to curtail accidents on the stairwells.

There is an An excellent, in-depth piece on the controversy is available at altweeklies. I think the following snippet tells us a lot about this principal. He is an uptight f*cktard -- look at the clear issues he personally has with gender, identity and dress. In my opinion, he has no business running a school if he cannot present a rational justification for his ruling. The article also makes no bones about the fact that the last school that employed Ward was not sorry to see him leave.
Asked about the Kelli Davis controversy, Ward vacillates. Initially he explains that females in tuxedos are not in keeping with Fleming Island High School senior tradition. Reminded there is no such tradition since there has never before been a senior class, Ward is silent for a moment. Then he explains that senior class members voted to wear tuxedos and drapes, and their wishes should be respected. Pressed, he acknowledges that the entire class did not vote, only a few "representatives." He also admits the outfits were not identified as gender-specific.

"But female students wear drapes, and male students wear tuxedoes," he pronounces firmly.

Asked what he finds so objectionable about Kelli Davis’ photo, Ward insists he’s never seen it — a statement that contradicts the claims of Cindi Davis, Scott Boggs and several students and teachers. Even having not seen it, however, Ward says he is certain "it is not uniform."

Asked if he considers piercing, tattoos or orange hair uniform, he declines to answer. Asked what he would do if a student had religious objections to wearing a drape, Ward says the drape "could be adjusted" for religious purposes. Advised that there didn’t appear to be any school regulation that would allow him to declare Kelli’s photo unsuitable for the yearbook, Ward agrees. But he adds flatly that he makes the rules at Fleming Island High School. Then, although he’s spent most of the 40 minutes listening to the sound of his own voice and the squawk of the weather radio, Ward announces he has tired of questions. The interview is over.

If you want to let Sam Ward know this is completely unacceptable and sends a hateful message to LGBT youth, here's the info you need:

Fleming Island High School
233 Village Square Parkway
Orange Park, FL 32003
Telephone 904-541-2100 * Fax 904-541-2110
Principal: sward@mail.clay.k12.fl.us

Thanks to House Blend reader Pat for the pointer. Also see the DKos diary on the issue.


Positive same-sex marriage gathering in Chapel Hill

It's always good to counter the southern homo-bigotry I post on the Blend with some positive pieces on things happening locally. Yesterday there was a gathering of about 100 people who discussed the issue of same-sex marriage at the United Church of Chapel Hill. (Herald-Sun):
Allowing same-sex couples to marry is simply recognizing the humanity of gay and lesbian individuals, a speaker told a crowd during a Saturday morning retreat on the topic. And denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage is akin to oppressing their human rights, added Marvin Ellison, speaking to some 100 people gathered at the United Church of Chapel Hill.

"Ours is a marriage culture," said Ellison, a Presbyterian minister and the author of "Same Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis." "Doesn't it make sense that many same-sex couples who grow up in this culture would want to marry?"

Ellison was the featured speaker during the "Same-Sex Marriage?" retreat sponsored by the United Church, various gay and lesbian advocacy groups and several other churches from around the Triangle.

"This has been a conversation here for quite some time," said Rick Edens, the pastor of United Church. "But it's a much broader conversation than one congregation. I can't think of a congregation that's not a member of this conversation."

The United Church has been "open and affirming" for nearly 15 years, meaning it accepts and welcomes gay, lesbian and transgender members. Other groups and congregations haven't been so accepting, criticizing and banning unions between people of the same sex.

...Chapel Hill resident Kathy Feld traveled to Vermont this summer to witness her daughter's union to her female partner. She attended Saturday's retreat as a show of support for her daughter. Feld said Ellison's message that controversies have always existed around marriage struck home. "That gives me hope," Feld said. "We got through those controversies, and we'll get through this. I really want equal access for my daughter."

..."Ending the marriage exclusion is therefore another example of ending the social oppression," said Ellison, a professor of Christian ethics. "Much more about this debate is not just a question of who can marry, it's suddenly about the model of marriage. It's about equality."

Vicki Gardner, an organizer of the retreat, said same-sex marriage was both a church and civil issue -- both for the community at large and for herself.

"I am a lesbian and have a family," said Gardner, who is from Durham. "I would like access to the same rights married people have."


Great bumper stickers to show your bible-beating friends about the Homo Agenda

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Great DKos diary up today, The Homosexual "Agenda", by BobcatJH. Good comments too. I saw some kick-ass images up there, available in bumper sticker at Designed for You. Here are two fun ones:



Also did you need to get a copy of the Homosexual Agenda, so you can carry it in your pocket so you are ready at any moment to participate in the insurgency? Here you go.
I know that many of you have heard Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others speak of the "Homosexual Agenda," but no one has ever seen a copy of it. I have finally obtained a copy directly from the Head Homosexual. So we're all up to speed, it follows below:

The Homosexual Agenda:

6:00 am Gym

8:00 am Breakfast

9:00 am Hair appointment

10:00 am Shopping

12:00 PM Brunch

2:00 PM (Here's the really important part)

1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State and local Governments as well as all other national governments
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels
5) Establish planetary chain of "homo breeding gulags" where over -medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership
6) Bulldoze all houses of worship
7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

2:30 PM Get Forty Winks of Beauty Rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest

4:00 PM Cocktails

6:00 PM Light Dinner

8:00 PM Theater

11:00 PM Bed


Mitt Romney is an ass -- gay marriage will destroy the international rep of the US


Homophobe.

F*cktard Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is sounding more like the Am Taliban every day. He thinks gay marriage will cause some sort of damage to our reputation in the international community. Well, that should come as a surprise to Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, which have gay marriage, and a host of other countries in Europe that have civil unions. (Boston.com):
Speaking before an adoring audience of Utah Republicans last night, Governor Mitt Romney drew a link between America's prestige around the world and the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

''America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home," Romney said, calling the Supreme Judicial Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts ''a blow to the family."

Hours after gay marriage supporters in Boston criticized him for his recent, strident criticism of same-sex marriage, Romney delivered a half-hour speech laced with references to religion, family values, and praise for Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. In the latest in his recent series of out-of-state political appearances, he smiled as Utah Republicans made fun of Massachusetts' liberal reputation in their introductory remarks.

Hasn't the world destruction excuse started to lose steam yet?


Open thread and back to the self-proclaimed Rednecks



Sunny Saturday here high in 50s.

I posted a couple of days ago about an unfortunate commentary by a wingnut, Judson Cox on the "values" of a redneck. If you want to catch the House Blend entry, go here. I also posted it at DKos, and there were some really great responses, so trek over to the diary to check it out.

There's also an interesting article on changes in Southern culture, Battle over the past rages on in an evolving South, in the CSM.


Talon "News" RIP - see ya, don't wanna be ya

Friday, February 25, 2005


Talon goes down in a flaming pile of dung, like the manure pile in Nebraska.

Not just shut down for a "top-to-bottom review," it's lights out, according to its founder and Bush crony Bobby Eberle. Journalism will never be the same. Sniff...(Reuters):
A Texas-based Web site whose conservative connections touched off a White House media controversy has shut down "to reevaluate operations," according to a message posted on the site.

A spokeswoman for Talon News said the site closed because its founder, Bobby Eberle of Pearland, Texas, "can only take so much beating" over the page's political slant, the Houston Chronicle reported on Friday.

Talon, which could not immediately be reached for comment, came under fire after its White House reporter, who identified himself as Jeff Gannon, asked a politically loaded question at a White House press conference and was accused by critics of being used by the Bush administration to spread conservative propaganda.


Bank of America loses a million customer records



Why is this happening? One would hope some heads would roll over this sort of thing, but it won't happen under Chimpy's tenure. Since Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) is one of the victims, maybe there will be at least some noise about the slack-ass security risks that these outfits take with our personal data. (CNET)
A "small" number of backup tapes with records detailing the financial information of government employees were lost in shipment to a backup center, Bank of America said on Friday.

The tapes contained information on the customers and accounts of the U.S. government's SmartPay charge card program, which has more than 2.1 million members and annual transactions totaling more than $21 billion, according to the General Services Administration. Reports have pegged the number of cards affected at 1.2 million.

"Federal law enforcement officials were immediately engaged when the tapes were discovered missing, and subsequently conducted a thorough investigation into the matter, working closely with Bank of America," the bank said in a statement. "The investigation to date has found no evidence to suggest the tapes or their content have been accessed or misused, and the tapes are now presumed lost."

The acknowledgment comes as several other cases of businesses losing consumer information have come to light. Last week, data collection company ChoicePoint announced that it had given information on approximately 150,000 subscribers to about 50 fake business fronts created by fraudsters.


Bush Admin considering NOT reaffirming historic women's human rights agreement


(via Daily Mendacity)

Well isn't that a bit of irony, with all the talk of Condi's power boots today. Republican feminism in action. All surface, no substance.

As the clock continues to roll back here on women's rights (see Kansas), the Bush admin wants to take things on a wider scale -- world wide. This is all about the anti-choice, or "sanctity of life" movement as our Dear Leader intones over and over. (US Newswire):
Leaders from human rights and women's development organizations are sounding the alarm about the possible U.S. withdrawal from a historic women's human rights agreement currently under review at the United Nations. Governments are gathering in New York City over the next two weeks to revisit women's progress since the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women met in Beijing in 1995. The U.S. was a leading architect of the Beijing Platform for Action, where 189 countries committed to advancing universal education for girls, ending violence against women, and ensuring access to lifesaving reproductive health care, among other critical issues.

Late yesterday, in quiet negotiations out of the public eye, the Bush administration signaled to other nations that it would not unequivocally reaffirm the commitments made by the United States to the world's women a decade ago

With concern for the U.S. position, more than 30 U.S. organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice late last week to urge the Bush administration not to withdraw from the U.S. pledge made at the Beijing Women's Conference. Leaders noted that the Beijing review was Secretary Rice's first official opportunity to speak about women's rights. They asked Secretary Rice for help in shoring up the U.S. commitment to global women's rights..

Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien is all over this:
And the dumbasses who voted for Bush will continue to support him while women globally get their clitorises forcibly removed, are sold into sexual slavery, are forced into marriages at age 12, are raped by militant invaders of their tribes, are denied access to condoms when their AIDS-infested sleep-around husbands come home for a little domestic piece...


Man-on-Dog Santorum gets heat from the Right


How does it feel, Rick?

Rick Santorum is getting beat up because he backed Arlen Specter. The Right is chewing on his leg like, hmmm... a mad dog. (Wingnut Agape Press):
...Pennsylvania pro-family Senator Rick Santorum is continuing to defend his decision last year to back pro-choice and pro-homosexual GOP Senator Arlen Specter for re-election. Santorum was challenged on that choice during a recent gathering of conservatives in Washington, DC. But Santorum did not back down as he answered the challenge. "I have one response to that: fifty-five -- that's my response," he said. "We had a plan in place to get as many Republican senators elected as possible, because the more Republican senators we have, the better chance we can pass legislation." The plan, the senator continued, was a simple one: "Minimize the problems we have in 'blue states' with open seats and tough races, and maximize the opportunities we have in 'red states' in November." The explanation did not seem to satisfy many of the conservative activists who are not happy with Senator Santorum.


Condi, 'ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington


Condi Rice is channeling Barb Wire rather than Neo to display power, based on the WaPo article.

[UPDATE: I've added Freeper comments at the end.]

I'll get to how this relates to "Jeff Gannon" in a minute...

Washington Post Staff Writer Robin Givhan has written a mind-blowing fashion piece on "Condoleezza Rice's Commanding Clothes". It's sexist on one level because, aside from Dick Cheney's infamous parka faux pas you don't see political leaders get this extensive a workover. (By the way, Givhan also covered that event as well). The more curious aspect of the article to me, since this is the "Fashion and Beauty" section, after all, is what this says about how powerbrokers in DC perceive and tie sex to power.

According to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN this AM (where I first heard about this), Givhan is a woman, btw. Read this incredible description of Condi:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf. The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a Marine's dress uniform or the "save humanity" ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix."

As Rice walked out to greet the troops, the coat blew open in a rather swashbuckling way to reveal the top of a pair of knee-high boots. The boots had a high, slender heel that is not particularly practical. But it is a popular silhouette because it tends to elongate and flatter the leg. In short, the boots are sexy.

...Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power -- such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual.

Rice challenges expectations and assumptions. There is undeniable authority in her long black jacket with its severe details and menacing silhouette. The darkness lends an air of mystery and foreboding. Black is the color of intellectualism, of abstinence, of penitence. If there is any symbolism to be gleaned from Rice's stark garments, it is that she is tough and focused enough for whatever task is at hand.

Countless essays and books have been written about the erotic nature of high heels. There is no need to reiterate in detail the reasons why so many women swear by uncomfortable three-inch heels and why so many men are happy that they do. Heels change the way a woman walks, forcing her hips to sway. They alter her posture in myriad enticing ways, all of which are politically incorrect to discuss.

Rice's appearance at Wiesbaden -- a military base with all of its attendant images of machismo, strength and power -- was striking because she walked out draped in a banner of authority, power and toughness. She was not hiding behind matronliness, androgyny or the stereotype of the steel magnolia. Rice brought her full self to the world stage -- and that included her sexuality. It was not overt or inappropriate. If it was distracting, it is only because it is so rare.

What kind of bullsh*t is this? I'm laughing out loud. No one is saying Condi can't wear boots and flash her kneecaps beneath a coat, but this kind of bogus analysis of her power being channeled through some sort of sex appeal begs the question -- do we need Chimpy gyrating around in a G-string to be effective on the world stage (bleh, the imagery)? Is she saying that the display of comfort in your sexuality in a passive way is what women need to get into the halls of power and to rise to the top? Who knows. Perhaps an anthropologist out there can pick over this story and share.

Maybe this says more about the juvenile nature of some of the men in power that they, according to Givhan, can be whipped into submission by a political "dominatrix", of sorts, because they are used to feeling dirty about their own sexual cravings and fantasies. Seeing black boots and bare knees must wake up the "other brain" and distract the primary brain from functioning. A sort of below the belt bait and switch, three-card-monty.

One hopes that our leaders aren't that hormone-driven, but I fear it's not far from the truth.



Now what does Condi's black boots have to do with Gannon, our cub reporter/rent-boy? Repugs think sex is dirty, forbidden and utterly enticing. It's the reason why the semi-closeted or completely closeted world of the gay GOP power structure wants this JG hooker sex-angle to fritter away as soon as possible. To talk about it means having to admit they are doing it (having sex). To be exposed in this mess will cause untold apocalyptic damage to the carefully crafted netherworld of shared secrets about carnal activities, a secret society right out of the days of J. Edgar Hoover, where blackmail existed for this sort of exposure.

In this day and age, it's less about actual $$$ blackmail, but political blackmail based on the political constituencies the GOP has cultivated in its rise to power - the religious wingnuts, bigots and homophobes. Look at how Chimpy has tapped danced around them publicly when the Dobsons and Falwells started grumbling about withdrawing support over FMA. Look at his thinly veiled contempt (and fear) of them in the tapes made before his run for the Presidency that have surfaced. Maintaining that delicate balance, knowing that the American Taliban, the Freepers and the intellectually (and sexually) dishonest DC power-brokers are ready to pull the plug on money and organizing only deepens the need for the closet door to stay sealed tight. Without the secrecy, the nastiness and intense sexuality of the forbidden will be lost, anyway -- that protects that aspect of their self-loathing behavior as well. Even if they wanted to be out of the closet, they've signed deals with the devil of the religious right-wing.

Will we ever know the extent of JG's sexual activities and relationships with the White House and in the DC power elite? Who knows. What I do know is that Guckert's high profile of late is a wise move if he doesn't want to be, let's say, taken out of the picture. Better to take the fall and be discredited and humiliated, I suppose, than to rat out folks that won't wish you well.

So it doesn't matter whether it's black boots or dog tags, the games in DC revolve around sex and power will never be discussed as much as it was in that WaPo article. It was a real peek at what is behind the curtain that manipulates the Oz we call Washington.


You knew I had to do it...


Actual Freeper Quotes™:"Slick! Perhaps in saucier moments she should flip a black cowboy hat on as well. The left would go mad ;) he he he"

"Republican politicians's clothes and conservative reporters's sex lives, all the MSM seem to think about these days. I thought they were so interested in "substance"."

"Hmmmmmmm.... I bet her feet & calves could use a good massaging after a hard day's work saving the world from the "axis of Evil"! Volunteer here Condi.... freepmail me."

"FINALLY!!! I SO want Condi to get more fashionable. She could look so stylish and hot, as we see here. Stay away from those bland boxy suits like the one she wore at her swearing in. Stay away from Chanel. Get slick and look toward Versace, Prada accesories, and Ralph Lauren type 40's style pencil skirts, heels, and vest, jacket layering."

"Rice brought her full self to the world stage -- and that included her sexuality It also may be the result of a little shopping she might have done when she recently visited Paris.....We girls must shop!"


"Wow, the word sexy was NEVER used in describing this SOS"

"Condi is better than Hillery "I have no ankles(Kankles)so I can only wear pant suits"Clinton"

"As a person in their thirties, Condi gives me hope. I hope I look that good in my fifties. She could give Beyonce and J-Lo a run for their money!"

"Condi just reeks of power."

"I wish I could cut and paste a bullwhip into her hand!"

"Let's make it "President Rice"."

"the freeper gals are gonna love this thread. We freeper dudes will be checking it out too."

"I never thought I'd think of the SoS as hot. :) But then Madleaine Albright came along.... :P Those were probably "hot flashes"!"

"incredible traveling outfits."

"A song comes to mind..."These boots were made for walking and that's just what they'll do. One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you." Sounds just about right for Condi, eh?"

"Condi does need a new hair do,,I don't like hers at all. Just quibbling here."

"Cult of Clintonism raising its ugly head, these people are slaves to the religion of sex."

"the Wash Post was damning her with faint praise, trying to make her a cariacature. I hate them."

"Right,painting her as a oversexed black woman, racist article if you ask me."



"SHe's changed her style several times in the last few years.....My favorite is this one. I like her with a little length....Of course it may not be as easy to take care of with her busy schedule."

"There goes Hillary's worst nightmare."

"The MSM is digging. But Condi only comes off looking more favorable than she already was. People will just liker her even more! Bush has got it made with the First Lady and Sec. Rice. He has two elegant, smooth, smart, liked women at his sides.... No way to look bad with that."

I've also got a DKos diary up on this.


Lynn Swann for Gov in PA?


Chimpy and Lynn yuk it up.

More celebrity politicians. I don't know jack about the man's football career, but is he a viable GOP candidate for governor? I'm sure the Freepers love this guy, btw.


Remember these pigs -- Lay and Skilling?


Former Enron founder Ken Lay faces the media as he leaves the federal courthouse in Houston Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005 . The fraud and conspiracy trial of Lay, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling and chief accounting officer Richard Causey will begin Jan. 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Kenny-Boy Lay, Bush's buddy, should provide some nice negative publicity -- greed, corruption, the destruction of the retirement funds of employees, outright fraud -- yum. (AP):
Skilling and Causey each face more than 30 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and other charges, accused of being in on or knowing about various schemes to manufacture profits and hide debt in the years leading to Enron's crash. The case against Lay is narrower, alleging in seven counts of fraud and conspiracy that he took control of the ruse when Skilling abruptly resigned less than four months before Enron crumbled.


Ken-babe reaches out to the black folks


Getting on the GOP gravy train with Ken: Harry Alford, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and John Harmon, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce.

This is embarrassing -- such an shameless attempt to shave off black votes. I have no faith that the GOP is sincere about any of this; I am certain, however, that the Democrats are going to see those votes shave off -- part of Mehlman's argument has merit. Unfortunately his party is still full of too much bigotry to stand a bum rush of Negroes to the table. [See the redneck post and comments from yesterday.]

I'm waiting for Ken to show up to speak to a gay audience. That would be priceless. (The Trentonian):
Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman said his party must do a better job of reaching the black community in a speech to African-American business leaders in Trenton last night.

"I say humbly as a white man that I believe the African-American community is not well-served if one party takes you for granted and the other doesn’t go far enough in reaching out," he said. In an exclusive interview with The Trentonian before his speech, Mehlman said the Republican party has learned from lackluster minority turnout in the past several elections that it needs more dialogue with the largely Democratic black population.

"I think a lot of folks in the African-American community recognize sometimes the Democratic party doesn’t always represent their values and doesn’t stand up for their interests," Mehlman said. "This is part of a sustained, systematic, long-term effort to reach out. It’s for votes, but it’s also for building the (Republican) party."

Mehlman said President Bush and Republican leadership are trying to reduce government-imposed costs associated with opening new businesses and improve education through the No Child Left Behind Act, both of which he said would lead to a larger black presence in business and political spectrums. African-Americans, he said, are currently 50 percent more likely to start their own small business.

"During the Civil Rights era, it was the right to sit at the counter," Mehlman said. "Now it’s the right to own the restaurant."

[Oh, never mind the GOP didn't want them sitting there either. And read on for the faith-based carrot dangling...]

The black community, especially in urban areas like Trenton, would be better served if churches could receive funding for social programs as state, city, and municipal governments do. Many of those so-called "faith-based" initiatives are opposed by Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Mehlman was praised by Harry Alford, the president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, and John Harmon, the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce, for contacting both organizations first.


Sully finally weighs in, and it's w-e-a-k.

Sully types a few words in on Gannongate, and it's lame-o, and ill-informed, if I want to be charitable.
I haven't written about it because I agree completely with Glenn. The substantive case against Gannon is trivial; the irrelevant case against him (the one that's fueled this story) is that he's gay, has allegedly been (or still may be) a prostitute, and may not agree with everything the gay left believes (although I agree with David Corn that the evidence that Gannon has written anything even remotely 'anti-gay' is laughable). The real scandal is the blatant use of homophobic rhetoric by the self-appointed Savonarolas of homo-left-wingery. It's an Animal Farm moment: the difference between a fanatic on the gay left and a fanatic on the religious right is harder and harder to discern. Just ask yourself: if a Catholic conservative blogger had found out that a liberal-leaning pseudo-pundit/reporter was a gay sex worker, had outed the guy as gay and a 'hooker,' published pictures of the guy naked, and demanded a response from a Democratic administration, do you think gay rights groups would be silent? They'd rightly be outraged. But the left can get away with anything, can't they? Especially homophobia.

For one thing, Gannon left a boatload of reporting on gay issues at Talon News behind, still accessible even though the site is now down.

And if there is anyone that is demonizing homosexuality it is the Right wing -- they coasted their candidate to the White House on the homo-baiting. Does Andrew not remember his despair over FMA? Gannon is a hypocrite that worked for a sham organization that didn't mind gay-baiting in its support of the Bush Administration and was sitting four rows from the President. That's a security issue that no one is answering. Sully doesn't even address that.

No one gives a rip if JG/JG is a "sex worker", the Left is pointing out the hypocrisy of the Right. The activity is illegal! If the Right wants to stay on its moral high horse, why isn't Gannon's side life a problem? They worried about whether Bill inhaled; but now it's Chimpy on tape admitting to weed-smoking and intimating he has some blow-snorting to cover up too. That's illegal activity, but the Freepers are defending that behavior too. No, the Right cannot have it both ways on this one.

If they are truly tolerant of gays (as Chimpy admits on tape, he wouldn't fire anyone he knew to be gay), then why don't they support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so gay folks not working for the White House don't get fired for being gay? I don't hear that coming from any of these suddenly converted privacy rights activists in the wingnut circle that have been, before Gannon, ready to burn homos at the stake.





Halliburton fleeces us in Kuwait and Afghanistan, gets bonuses



Do you hear the giant sucking sound of your wallet being emptied? Tell me, how the f*ck did the company really earn this? What objective standards do they really have to determine "performance"? (Reuters):
U.S. defense contractor Halliburton, under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq (news - web sites), has been given bonuses for some of its work supporting the U.S. military in Kuwait and Afghanistan, the Army said on Thursday.

But the Army said performance-based bonuses had not been paid yet to Halliburton's Kellogg Brown and Root unit for dining services for U.S. troops in those countries. Military auditors have criticized those services as too costly and have asked the Texas-based company to justify its charges.

"Dining Facilities costs questioned by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) have not been included in Award Fee Boards but are scheduled to be addressed later," the statement said. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Illinois, said award fee boards held over recent months rated KBR's performance as "excellent" to "very good" for more than a dozen "task orders" in Kuwait and Afghanistan supporting troops.

Much of Halliburton's work for the U.S. military is on a cost-plus basis, which means the company can earn up to 2 percent extra depending on their performance. An Army spokesman said KBR had been awarded $9.4 million in bonus payments from its work in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Overall, KBR has earned $7.2 billion under a massive 2001 logistics contract with the U.S. military and has obligations to earn more than $10 billion under that deal. It has separate deals with the government for reconstruction work in Iraq.


Anglican Church Asks U.S., Canada to Leave

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank T. Griswold hope debate on issues around gay unions will continue. The ordination of openly gay and partnered Bishop Gene Robinson set off a firestorm in the church.

Wow. They really did it. The schism is official. (AP):
The U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada withdrew Thursday from a key body of the global Anglican Communion under pressure from conservative church leaders distressed by the election of a gay bishop in the United States and the blessing of same-sex unions in the two countries.

Though the suspension of the two churches was said to be temporary, it marked the first formal split in the communion over the explosive issues of sexuality and biblical authority.

...The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank T. Griswold, said the debate would continue and that his fellow church leaders had made room "for a wide variety of perspectives."

The U.S. church precipitated the most serious rift in the communion's history when it affirmed the election of V. Gene Robinson, who openly lives with a male partner, as bishop of New Hampshire. Both churches have been criticized by conservatives for sanctioning blessings of gay unions.

The statement said the two churches were withdrawing from the Anglican Consultative Council, a key body for contact among the national churches, at least until 2008.

"In the meantime, we ask our fellow primates to use their best influence to persuade their brothers and sisters to exercise a moratorium on public rites of blessing for same-sex unions and on the consecration of any bishop living in a sexual relationship outside Christian marriage," the statement said.

...To some in the church, a break in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion is not unthinkable. "There do come times when the authority of the Bible is at stake — and this is one of those times — where to stay together becomes a great difficulty," Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney said in a British Broadcast Corp. radio interview on Thursday.


Is this for real? "Jeff Gannon" relaunches web site


[UPDATE (7:30 PM): It's really his site, according to John. Unbelievable]

Right now there is major discussion over at AMERICABlog about the re-emergence of "Jeff Gannon" on the web. No, not the HotMilitaryStud rent boy presence, but the "reporter" fighting back against the Left.

One has to question whether Guckert set up this site. I cannot imagine the level of egomania that would be required for this White House hooker to actually want to keep such a high profile. Could this be a freeper hack or more Rovian disinfo?

Here's some of the hilarious copy; it's truly unhinged...
I'm baaaaaaack! If you thought I was going to slink away - then you don't know much about me. Someone still has to battle the Left and now that I've emerged from the crucible, I'm stronger than before.

Despite all the pleas from the Left to go over to the 'dark side' and expose the 'corrupt Bush administration' simply isn't going to happen. My faith and my ideology are rock solid.

Still, the last few weeks have been difficult for my family and my associates. To them I offer my apology and gratitude for their support.

In regard to the allegations about my personal life, I have been advised by my attorneys not to comment on any of the details pending the outcome of any possible legal action I might pursue. Therefore, I won't be discussing any of that stuff here.

Oh and there's a link for "donations" on the site as well.


And one of Gannon/Bulldog's man-date sites, MeetLocalMen.com, is still live (above).


Kansas AG Seeks late-term abortion records, including sex life history


American Taliban ghoul, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, wants to know intimate details of a woman's sexual history for 'evidence of crimes' related to late-term abortion.

WTF? Unbelievable, so out of control. The clock on rights is rolling back fast, women in the heartland. (AP)
Attorney General Phill Kline is seeking the complete medical records of nearly 90 women who received late-term abortions to search for evidence of crimes, according to court documents.

The secret investigation began in October, according to written legal arguments filed Tuesday by two medical clinics that are opposing Kline's effort. They are asking the Kansas Supreme Court to intercede, saying if it doesn't, "a woman who exercised her constitutional right to privacy" could find government agents knocking at her door.

Kline, an abortion opponent, scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon, and his office said he would discuss "questions raised relating to child rape and abortion in Kansas." The clinics' brief said Kline had demanded their complete, unedited medical records for women who sought abortions at least 22 weeks into their pregnancies. Court papers did not identify the clinics.

The records would include the patient's name, medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile. The clinics, who say nearly 90 women would be affected, are offering to provide records with some key information, including names, edited out.

"These women's rights will be sacrificed if this fishing expedition is not halted or narrowed," the clinics' brief said.

Office of Attorney General Phill Kline
120 SW 10th Ave., 2nd Floor
Topeka, KS 66612-1597
(785) 296-2215 Telephone
(785) 296-6296 Fax
http://www.accesskansas.org/ksag/

Communications Office:
Whitney E. Watson
(785) 296-2219 Telephone
watsonw@ksag.org


Pope sick/deathwatch continues


NBC News' Chief Science Correspondent gets to sit on live TV and talk about the Pope's mucous.

I'm sitting here typing and feeling like crap -- I cannot sleep. The news is on in the background and it happens to be on MSNBC. I'm listening to the ass-clown coverage of the Pope going back into the hospital for a tracheotomy.

The details of the mucous in the Pope's throat
are being tossed around by Robert Bazell (the "medical expert") and the little MSNBC newsreader chick that I've not seen before. Unfortunately 24/7 live news capability leads to this sort of speculative crap that goes on and on without any real news being conveyed. They can't confirm anything, other than he's having the operation. Now they are showing the exterior of a hospital window that has the shades drawn. Like this tells us anything newsworthy?


A wingnut Tar Heel's definition of a redneck and southern politics

I was getting my feet muddied over in Freeperville and came across a link to an interesting column by a Judson Cox on a site called TruthNews. According to his bio he is a "political columnist from the mountains of North Carolina. He is quickly gaining recognition as one of the most popular and influential voices of his generation. As a college student, and a young entrepreneur, he has a unique perspective on matters of politics, economics and culture."

Well alrighty then.

Anyway, his commentary is entitled "Bill Clinton Is No Redneck." The essay isn't particularly riveting in terms of BC (his argument is that no, Bill's not a redneck he's white trash -- whatever). Since Judson Cox proudly declares himself a redneck, I was more taken by his particular definition of this cultural "state of mind"; House Blend readers might find this worthy of chewing on.

I caution you to remember that he's describing the southern varient of redneck. I am sure you all can weigh in with your descriptions of regional forms of the species...Judson says:
A redneck is a rural, low land southerner - in other parts of the country, we are called hillbillies, cowboys, bumpkins, hicks or just country. Rednecks are traditional Americans, who work hard to support their families, and go to church on Sunday. Rednecks volunteer as Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, firemen and anything else their community needs. Rednecks usually drive pickup trucks, and they spend a lot more time than they would like using those trucks to haul things for neighbors, but they never complain, decline or accept payment. Rednecks pay their own way and spend their hard earned money on clothes, insurance, food and education for their kids - rednecks won’t take charity or welfare.

Rednecks mow their own lawns and work on their own vehicles and they have every manner of tool imaginable (which they keep in a shed that they built themselves). Rednecks don’t spend their leisure time protesting, or at fancy cocktail parties, criticizing President Bush’s grammar -- they hunt, fish and enjoy sports with their friends and families. Rednecks usually wear work boots or cowboy boots, but at some point in their lives most rednecks owned a pair of combat boots, when they risked their lives to give the "pampered" the privilege of criticizing our "cowboy" president. Rednecks show respect for veterans, say the Pledge of Allegiance with the words, "Under God", and stand when the national anthem is played. Rednecks may not have the best education, but they know what matters: faith, family, patriotism, self sacrifice, and a strong work ethic. A redneck may not have much money, but he knows what is truly valuable. If you threaten a redneck, his family, his friends or his country, he will not back down, surrender or appease.

I am a native Tar Heel as well, and somehow I think Judson Cox left out a few items about rednecks in his profile. Here are a few additions based on my encounters outside of the progressive bubble of the Triangle area.

These are not made up:


* on many pickups you will see a "Piss on ___" sticker (fill in the blank with Ford, Dodge or Chevy)

* the truck he mentions they work on is usually in the front yard, and there are multiple non-operational vehicles in the yard in many cases

* if it's a redneck car not a truck, it likely has the sign of the fish and a bumper sticker about gun ownership on it

* stars and bars stickers accompany W04 ones

* at stop lights, you may see a truck door open and the driver spitting out tobacco juice.

* if you're in the mountains of NC, you can find souvenir shops where they sell T-shirts with burning crosses on them. (The one I went into, in Maggie Valley, NC, said "You have your X (as in Malcolm X) and we have ours (burning cross). Needless to say, I got out of there fast.

Kate's experiences in Alabama...

* she said there was a legendary sign at the entrance to a town in Cullman, AL that said (entirely too recently), "Welcome to Cullman", and as a subhead it said: "Nigger, don't let the sun set behind your back." That was clearly redneck handiwork.

* in the same town, she and her friends formed a circle around a black man that was about to get the crap beat out of him by drunken rednecks.

* In Birmingham she's seen rednecks driving cars down the street with air horns that blare "Dixie" -- they don't think it offends anyone.

All that said, there are many, many native southerners who don't fit the above descriptions, and the main reason that they don't is they have been exposed to people of different backgrounds, grown up in an environment of tolerance and learned not to fear the differences in people. The upheaval of the civil rights movement has produced many more open-minded southerners, and the influx of Yankees since then (for the weather and high-tech jobs), further expanded the New South culture. Bagels and barbecue co-exist in harmony in the Blue parts of the state. Outside those bubbles, as I said above, you can easily enter the not too distant past of double takes and long stares if you're where "you're not supposed to be" and are the wrong color, or visibly queer. Those places resent the Yankee influence and are resistant to change.

An interesting post on the blog Facing South talks about the two schools of thought about how the Dems should approach the South. One is basically "F*ck the South," ceding it to the bigots and religious wingnuts, and the other is "stay in the South, but move to the right" -- the Centrist/DNC approach. It's what got Easley and Edwards elected, and that's good and bad -- it's compromise that has endangered progress on gay rights, for instance (Easley backs a marriage amendment). Many elected Dems in the State House are conservative, some signing on to the marriage amendment. For progressives, they are Repug-lite. [A look at NC legislators to look out for is in the Independent Weekly article, 10 to watch.]

The fact that openly gay Julia Boseman was elected to the state senate is a minor miracle -- that's partially due to her opponent's idiotic homophobic wingnuttery undoing him. He didn't conduct himself in a civil manner -- and that is relevant in southern politics.

My question is why do the Dems feel the need to cater to the closed-mind band of rednecks? They are here, but it's not clear to me that they anyone needs to win them over, or that they are the majority. What I can tell you is that there is zero chance anything will ever change about national electoral politics if the Dems abandon the South altogether. It leaves only the grass roots to fight the good fight in the progressive sphere, and that's not healthy.




Burning Manure Pile in Nebraska Goes Out


It was 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide. Heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile is believed to have eventually ignited the manure. (AP).

Perhaps that is what happened to all of Jeff Gannon's work from Talon News.


A Tar Heel Letter to the Editor of the WaPo on Gannongate

Ah it's nice to know there's good sense down there in Swansboro, NC. Here's a great letter.

How did Mr. 'Gannon' Slip Through?

Jeff Gannon -- or whatever his name is -- is taking the time- honored route of scoundrels who get caught. He apparently used his few days of silence to consult some media-savvy people who filled him in on the way to successfully manage a crisis: Repent, regret, reform.

So Mr. Gannon told Howard Kurtz [Style, Feb. 19] that he repented his past sins, regretted the pain he may have caused others, has reformed his ways and, of course, expects to be forgiven. He is now the victim, martyred because of his politics and sexuality.

Fine. Let's forgive Mr. Gannon and consign him to history's dustbin, where he belongs. Then we can turn our attention to the real questions:

• How does a guy with no journalistic background who works for Republican front groups and whose pictures have appeared on a gay-escort Web site get credentials to cover the White House, journalism's plum assignment?

• How, for two years, does the FBI, the Secret Service or whatever crack outfit the White House employs to screen people who work there miss what a handful of bloggers found in a few days on the Internet?

Maybe, if the lap dogs that are the members of the White House press corps did their jobs, the bloggers wouldn't have to.

FRANK TURSI
Swansboro, N.C.

Thanks to House Blend reader Holly for the pointer.


Rummy -- stop discharging gays, save $200 million


Rumsfeld has run our military into the ground. Representative Martin T. Meehan of Massachusetts (D-MA), is submitting legislation next week that to force "a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

While the British Navy is actively recruiting gays and lesbians, we have our dumbass Pentagon spending $200 million to sign up and train folks to replace the homos that are shoved out by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Remember, Arabic translators were given the boot recently under the policy, so we lost resources that cannot just be replaced overnight. If our government is serious about Homeland Security, then this policy needs to go. Now. (NYT):
The review by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, was requested by more than 20 lawmakers who were concerned about the costs of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy instituted in the Clinton administration, particularly for service members with "critical occupations" and "important foreign language skills."

The accountability office plans to release its review on Friday. The New York Times obtained it from a member of Congress who had requested the study.

In the last 10 years, more than 10,000 service members have been discharged because they did not keep their sexual orientation to themselves as required, according to the Service Members Legal Defense Network, a gay rights group that monitors the armed forces.

...The department [of Defense] does not track the specific costs of investigating or discharging gay service members, counseling and providing pastoral care for them or for handling legal challenges and reviews of dismissals, the report says. But the accounting office estimated that it cost the Pentagon nearly $100 million, $10,500 a person, to recruit replacements for enlisted service members who were discharged from 1994 to 2003 for being gay.

Investigators said that the cost to the Navy to train the replacements was $49 million, $18,000 a service member. The report said the Air Force estimated its training costs at $16.6 million, or $7,400 a service member, and the Army said its costs were $29.7 million, or $6,400 a service member. The investigators said the Marines declined to provide estimates

...The investigators also said they could not quantify the cost of losing personnel discharged after having been trained in certain areas of expertise like intelligence or languages like Arabic, Chinese, Farsi or Korean. "The principal limitation of our analysis is that for privacy reasons we did not review separated service members' personnel records, including training histories, which has implications for estimating training costs," the investigators wrote.

A lawmaker who sought the study, Representative Martin T. Meehan of Massachusetts, ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Conventional Threats and Capabilities, has drafted legislation that would repeal the policy on gays in an effort to enhance military readiness.

The measure, which Mr. Meehan said he would introduce next week, calls for the armed forces to enact "a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," the first time Congress will consider such a proposal since "don't ask, don't tell" was approved on Nov. 30, 1993.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said the Bush administration will not revisit the policy, but numerous pending suits are trying to overturn it.

Mr. Meehan called the policy "senseless and counterproductive," saying it undermined the strength of the military by "discharging competent service members at a time when our troops are already stretched thin."

See item below on the first memoir by a gay soldier that was in the military during the implementation of DADT


What it's like to serve your country under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'



To underscore this stupidity of DADT discussed in my "Rummy wasting $200 million" post -- there is a book out, Major Conflict : One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military, that is the first memoir by a soldier faced with the implementation of the regulation. This puts a human face on the toll this ridiculous policy, and it shows how our government, in desperate need of every warm body it can get, spits in the face of someone willing to sacrifice so much for their country. Granting soldiers the ability to be who they are will not destroy unit cohesion. Someone needs to send Rummy a copy of this book pronto. Its release date is March 8. (Rocky Mountain News):
What [Major Conflict] reveals is the devastating impact on Jeffrey McGowan's ability to fulfill his dream of serving his country in the U.S. military and to live his life with integrity as an openly gay man.

After college in the late 1980s, McGowan was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army. McGowan made the transition with relative ease, largely because he had always looked forward to a military career: "I've always wanted to be a soldier. In fact, I can't remember a time when I could imagine being anything else. It was, I think, my destiny; my path was pre-ordained."

...What is most striking and poignant during McGowan's first few years in the military is how well he fits in: He's a perfect soldier, fully committed to the sacrifices he must make. Such loyalty is facilitated in part by his almost complete denial of his homosexuality. As he tentatively begins to admit to himself that he is attracted to other men, his faith in the military begins to waver, yet his commitment to his duty remains firm.

Stationed in Germany at this point, McGowan prepares for his deployment to Iraq and the first Gulf War. As he watches the married couples say their goodbyes, he yearns for someone to comfort him, but realizes that "the love I wanted was against the rules. I was, in fact, a criminal."

Writes the author: "I could meet the standard, I was popular, I was accepted by my peers; my blood would shed as red as easily as the straight soldier fighting next to me. Why was I forbidden to be the person I am?"

McGowan postpones such soul- searching. As he finds himself in the midst of war, like most soldiers, he worries more about protecting the lives of the men under his command than foregrounding his own differences from them.

As he returns stateside, he continues to struggle with the ever more powerful sense that he lacks meaning in his life. During this period, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" also becomes law, and McGowan offers an insider's perspective into what it was like to experience this shift inside the military. McGowan writes that contrary to its vision as a kindler, gentler treatment of gays in the military, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" resulted in an increase of gay discharges and an entrenchment of anti-gay sentiment.

This increasingly hostile environment ultimately forces McGowan to re-evaluate his military career. After a number of disturbing experiences that threaten his own well-being, he returns to civilian life.


Go read what Shakespeare's Sister said...

I'm too brain-dead today to go into the weak, very weak recent Kevin Drum piece on why there is a dearth of female political bloggers. Actually, most of my response is the comments section of Shakespeare's Sister's take on it, "Bloggrrls". Go read and put in your two cents. A clip:
DRUM: There aren't any institutional barriers in the traditional sense of the word, which means either (a) there are fewer female political bloggers and thus fewer in the top 30, or (b) there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers.

My guess is that it's a bit of both, and the proximate reason is that men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it. Since I don't wish to suffer the fate of Larry Summers I'll refrain from speculating on deep causes — it might be social, cultural, genetic, or Martian mind rays for all I know — but I imagine that the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women.


So let me get this straight. In the same breath that he says he won’t speculate on “deep causes,” he surmises that the reason we don’t find as many women in the top 30 blogs is because women are turned off by viciousness and self-aggrandizement. I’m not sure exactly what it would take for something to qualify as a “deep cause” by Drum’s definition, if not a presumed aversion to something, anything, on the basis of one’s gender. If women are somehow innately indisposed toward those traits, that sounds like a pretty “deep”—or insurmountable—issue to me. (And let’s take note, shall we, that Drum was trying to refrain from such speculation to avoid suffering the fate of Larry Summers, by which I assume he meant being called out as a sexist, as opposed to the fate of actually being a sexist, with which Drum seems rather comfortable.)


Gay marriage/civil union news clips

Some headlines to click through to for an update on what's going on around the country...

Civil unions vs. gay marriage in Connecticut. A key legislative committee planned to vote Wednesday on whether to support either same-sex marriage or civil unions in Connecticut. Leaders of the legislature's judiciary committee said there is more support in their committee and the full general assembly for a civil unions bill.

Gay partnership bill advances in New Mexico. Separate bills ruling out gay marriage and authorizing domestic partnerships in New Mexico have gotten the go-ahead from a state senate committee.

Mass Gov. Romney stance wavers on gay marriage. Gov. Mitt Romney is trying to portray himself as a moderate on gay marriage in Massachusetts, while at the same time appearing more conservative to Republicans outside the state, critics say.

Arizona bill would give rights to same-sex couples. In the midst of an all-out battle to confirm Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage through a proposed state constitutional amendment, one legislator is sponsoring a measure to give gay couples more legal rights.

Same-sex marriage ban clears hurdle in Senate. The Senate advanced a resolution Monday to amend Indiana's constitution to ban gay marriage. The Senate voted 42-8 to advance the resolution - one that advocates say is crucial for protecting traditional marriage and that critics denounce as unnecessary and discriminatory.

and to the north:

Calgary MP to vote for same-sex marriage bill. Conservative MP Jim Prentice says he will break with his party's stance on gay marriage and vote to legalize the unions.


AMERICABlog keeps slamming on the Propagannon story

I can't keep up with the whirlwind of stories at this point, so I rely on John Aravosis and Co. to pull together some great stuff on rent boy/cub reporter James Guckert/Jeff Gannon. Just a few tidbits, if you have been by lately.

Jeff/Jim does the Today Show. Apparently the hooker that wanted his privacy cannot stay off the airwaves or out of print.

Talon News Goes Dark. Hahahahahahahaha. Check out the line, "Top-to-bottom review of staff" -- that should have had a link to one of "Jeff's" moonlighting HotMilitaryStud operations.



Love this set:
FOX News defends hookers
Ann Coulter likes hookers too
WorldNetDaily savages GannonGuckert

Other stuff:
Detroit Free Press editorial
New Yorker on Guckert


SCOTUS Refuses Roe v. Wade Review Petition, Dismays Pro-Lifers


Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, says she regretted her role in the case, and is now affiliated with the anti-choice movement. Operation Save America Director Rev. Philip L. (Flip) Benham baptizing McCorvey. The goal of OSA, besides returning homos to the closet, is to get God back in the classroom and the state back into a woman's womb.

Victories over the American Taliban forces are hard to come by these days, so it's important to get the word out when they occur. Here is the Right wing's reaction to the high court's decision not to take up Roe v. Wade again from Agape Press:
The pro-life community is reacting to yesterday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, refusing to reconsider the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Norma McCorvey, the woman who was known as "Jane Roe" in the Roe v. Wade case, filed a petition asking the high court to rethink the fateful judgment of 32 years ago.

It was McCorvey's protest of Texas' abortion ban that led to the Supreme Court's determination three decades ago that abortion is a woman's constitutional right. Years later, however, the plaintiff became a Roman Catholic and came to regret her role in the case, which prompted her to pursue the legal challenge. In her appeal, she argued that the matter should be heard again in light of mounting evidence that abortion harms women.

In rejecting the petition, the Supreme Court basically stated without further comment that it would not hear the appeal. According to an Associated Press report, McCorvey told media at a Dallas news conference yesterday that she has now done everything she knows how to do to overturn Roe v. Wade and now "the weight of the world is no longer on my shoulders."

...Whether the Supreme Court's refusal was anticipated or not, its refusal to review the case has dismayed pro-lifers across the nation who were praying for a reversal. Tracey Reynolds of the group Operation Outcry got the bad news Tuesday afternoon. Operation Outcry assisted in the preparation of McCorvey's petition. Lamenting the high court's rejection of the appeal, Reynolds says, "It's sad because there were over 1,000 women that had sworn testimonies in the case, and there were 10,000 that filed a brief that were in post-abortion healing ministries."


Oy. Feeling crappy today.


Woke up sick from some meds I'm on. Really queasy and lightheaded, but hopefully this will pass. Bleh.


Rove couldn't get the Germans to sign a loyalty oath for the town hall meeting

Wednesday, February 23, 2005



This is rich. If you can't script it, just cancel it. And guess what? There are no U.S. stories on this up yet. I guess the transmitter hookup used at the debates doesn't work overseas. With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans (Der Speigel).
The much-touted American-style "town hall" meeting the White House has been planning with "normal Germans" of everyday walks of life will be missing during his visit to the Rhine River hamlet of Mainz this afternoon. A few weeks ago, the Bush administration had declared that the chat -- which could have brought together tradesmen, butchers, bank employees, students and all other types to discuss trans-Atlantic relations -- would be the cornerstone of President George W. Bush's brief trip to Germany.

...But on Wednesday, that town hall meeting will be nowhere on the agenda -- it's been cancelled. Neither the White House nor the German Foreign Ministry has offered any official explanation, but Foreign Ministry sources say the town hall meeting has been nixed for scheduling reasons -- a typical development for a visit like this with many ideas but very little time. That, at least, is the diplomats' line. Behind the scenes, there appears to be another explanation: the White House got cold feet. Bush's strategists felt an uncontrolled encounter with the German public would be too unpredictable.

...The Germans, though, insisted that a free forum should be exactly that. Wolfgang Ischinger, Germany's Ambassador to the United States, explained to the New York Times last week: "We told them, don't get upset with us if they ask angry questions."

Cool: There's a DKos diary up on this.


The sleazy rent boy aspect of Gannongate is relevant

I was surfing over at AMERICAblog catching up on all the "Propagannon that's fit to print," and got caught up in a thread where a commenter posted that it was good to see the media coverage "moving away from the hooker thing" and on to the money trail, GOPUSA and the fact that "Gannon" was sitting in the press briefing room and churning out homophobic, right wing hit pieces pre-digested by the White House spin machine and its friends.

I disagree.

I don't think it's an either/or situation. Both are relevant, but the Left and the mainstream media won't admit that they are weenies on this. The lying, phony, planted journalist sitting four rows from the President is a major story, since press control has always been a Bush/Rove hallmark. There are questions to be answered about why the situation in the press room existed and who approved it.

The hooker angle is also relevant because that story (and the "little black book" that surely exists) is the part of "Gannongate" that has the media and politicians running for cover. They cannot legitimately claim it's a privacy issue (well, they can try), but the fact is that if this were happening in the Clinton admin, the GOP would be all over the Dems and not letting go.

This is about the fear of exposing Middle America to what really goes on in the corridors of power (see a really good DKos diary that I've recommended before on the Blend): Gay facts and fantasies in Propagannon research

It's also about a heck of a lot more than the fact that the guy is a serial prevaricator. The foundation of the 2004 campaign was to paint Dems as immoral, homo-loving, unpatriotic atheists unworthy of office and untrustworthy with your kids. The GOP did a brilliant job because the Dems didn't want to get their hands dirty.

The American Taliban campaign suggested that the GOP politicians were operating on a higher "moral values" level, protectors of the family, as it were. Or at least it was willing to project that this was the case.

And, after all this hard work of John, Kossacks and other bloggers, no one is denying at this point that Guckert was a rent boy. With that in mind, the sleazy sex story shouldn't fritter away under the guise of "privacy" -- the Admin know it's a third rail because of who they have gotten in bed with, literally and figuratively.



The fact that this JG/JG hypocritical sexcapade dropped in our collective laps is a gift that we cannot ignore. The Dem establishment simply needs to learn how to use (and actually deploy) the good cop/bad cop tactics of the Right.

The Right knows how to play the game, and they laugh at the Left's hand-wringing about taking this to the gutter. What's the problem? The GOP is already rolling around in the filth and have both houses of Congress, the Presidency and access to Supreme Court appointments to show for it.

Here are a few choice links:

Mainstream Media's Blind Eye Towards the Gannongate Sex Scandal (Buzzflash)

Gannongate: It's worse than you think (Salon)

A White House plant? (Chicago Trib)

Guckert's military escort domain names up for sale, for thousands of dollars (AMERICABlog)





MA courts to review law barring non-resident gay marriages

The current law (passed in 1913) is thought to have been enacted to prevent interracial marriages of couples from other states where it was illegal. Now the Massachusetts Supreme Court is going to rule is going to rule on whether this is discriminatory. If struck down, this will be a huge can of worms opened regarding the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution and gay civil marriage.


Chimpy's "Uncle Bucky" profiting off of Iraq War - to the tune of $450K


Mo' money, mo' problems - NOT. "Uncle Bucky" and Neil are just two of the Bushes that made a killing on Chimpy's (and the taxpayer's) back.

It's all a family affair after all. I mean wimpy Neil rolls in the dough with his Ignite! business venture after "No Child Left Behind" gets the thumbs up, so why should it surpise anyone that more Bush relatives are slobbering at the trough like big ol' hungry hogs, cashing in on the family name. (LA Times):
The Iraq war helped bring record earnings to St. Louis-based defense contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc, and new financial data show that the firm's war-related profits have trickled down to a familiar family name — Bush.

William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, uncle of the president and youngest brother of former President George H.W. Bush, cashed in ESSI stock options last month with a net value of nearly half a million dollars. "Uncle Bucky," as he is known to the president, is on the board of the company, which supplies armor and other materials to U.S. troops. The company's stock prices have soared to record heights since before the invasion, benefiting in part from contracts to rapidly refit fleets of military vehicles with extra armor.

William Bush exercised options on 8,438 shares of company stock Jan. 18, according to reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He acknowledged in an interview that the transaction was worth about $450,000. In an earnings report issued Tuesday, the firm disclosed that net earnings for the first quarter ending Jan. 31 reached a record $20.6 million, while quarterly revenue hit $233.5 million, up 20% from a year ago. As a result, the company boosted its projected annual revenue to between $990 million and $1 billion.

William Bush, 66, a onetime St. Louis bank executive and head of an investment firm, joined the board in 2000, eight months before his nephew won the White House. The president's uncle said in an interview that he never used his family connections to help the company win contracts. "I don't make any calls to the 202 area code," he said, referring to the long-distance dialing code for Washington.


Alabama again! Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Ban on Sex Toy Sale

[UPDATE: Welcome Buzzflash readers..I added some more fun Alabama wingnuttery at the end of the post.]

Guess if you're in Alabama and need a vibe, you better do it mail order or over the internets. :) I'm still trying to figure out how the exemptions are defined. Is a strap-on ever used for law enforcement purposes? No, I don't want to know. Paging Roy Moore... (AP):
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday a constitutional challenge to an Alabama law that makes it a crime to sell sex toys. The high court refused to hear an appeal by a group of individuals who regularly use sexual devices and by two vendors who argued the case raised important issues about the scope of the constitutional right to sexual privacy.

The law prohibited the distribution of 'any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.' First-time violators can face a fine of up to $10,000 and as much as one year in jail.

The law, adopted in 1998, allowed the sale of ordinary vibrators and body massagers that are not designed or marketed primarily as sexual aids. It exempted sales of sexual devices 'for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose.'

Georgia and Texas are the only other states that restrict the distribution of sexual devices, according to the court record in the case.

While I'm at it, I decided to take a look back at some of my earlier posts on my wife's home state. The state has such a reputation for wingnuttery and gay-baiting, that it's an endless source of embarrassment for her. As one commenter said -- you could do a blog just on Alabama's political knuckle-dragging. Just a sampling:


Out Mag: "Is Alabama really the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America?"


There's nothing like your average, homo-hating, racist Alabama sheriff

Alabama at it again: Marriage bill moves to House, anti-gay fliers put out by GOP

Alabama Senate Passes Gay Marriage Amendment


Alabama holds recount on segregation language repeal

Alabama again: Boy Scouts padding the rolls with "John Does" for $$


I am not kidding -- the head of the Alabama GOP is named Twinkle.


Will someone in the White House please stop him from saying Nu-cu-lar?


U.S. President George W. Bush reacts at a lunch in the western German city of Mainz. On the second leg of a three-nation European tour designed to drum up support from nations he gave the bird to when he went on his war venture. (AP Photo/Alex Grimm, Pool)

NU-CU-LAR -- it's like nails on a chalkboard. Dammit, can anyone tell the man how to pronounce nuclear?

I am so damn tired of seeing Chimpy make an ass out of himself mispronouncing the word over and over. I'm listening to him over in Germany with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder this AM mangling this word again, and it begs the question -- is there a problem with his staff? Are they afraid to correct him?

As wifey Kate says, "does he need a speech pathologist?"


Pope on gay marriage: "a new ideology of evil"...

...Shakespeare's Sister on the Pope: "bite me".

What a damn fabulous rant on the Pontiff's (or more likely, his current caretakers) obsession over gay marriage, something he says "is insidiously threatening society." Here's a real riff from my fellow bloggrrrl:

The heathens among us might suggest that it is legitimate and necessary to ask ourselves if those are not perhaps part of an old ideology of evil that has twisted the words of a man who intended good for humankind, so as to enslave the masses to the voracious whims and insatiable appetites of a religious elite that indoctrinates its patrons through intimidation and mandatory self-denial.

Bite me, old man.

And when you’re done chomping on my juicy bum, you can get in your popemobile and drive into the twenty-first century, where people who give a shit about other people refuse to be beholden to your culture of fabricated good and evil, delineated by distinctions that are predicated not on whether what one does has an ill effect on others, but whether it undermines the fearmongering upon which you depend to keep your ignorant adherents putting their tithes in your precious baskets every week.
Ouch. I couldn't say it better myself. Go read the rest!


"Black" wingnut at Project 21 belches up more foul hot air

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


The "curiously pale" David Almasi, head of Project 21

These losers are unbelievable. Project 21, an organization of "black conservatives," is blasting Howard Dean. (Agape Press):
The head of an African-American moderate and conservative group says a recent statement by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean demonstrates that political leaders on the left are taking African Americans for granted.

David Almasi is staff director of Project 21, an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research to promote the views of African-American moderates and conservatives whose ideas and values have not traditionally been echoed by the nation's civil rights establishment. He believes the presidential election last November showed that many blacks are disenchanted with the Democratic Party.

The black conservative leader [WHAT!?] believes that many African-American citizens are particularly displeased with the way many liberals seem to count on their votes while discounting their voice. For evidence, he points to places like Prince George's County, Maryland, a suburban county noted as one of the wealthiest African-American majority areas in the United States.

Almasi feels it is significant that the voter turnout in Prince George's County was down by 12 percent in the November 2004 presidential election. "These people didn't go out to vote for Bush," he says, "but they didn't go out to vote for Kerry either. I think it shows taking the black vote for granted is not going to work anymore. And what Howard Dean did the other day, I don't think is going to help his cause anymore."

As the article casually notes, Project 21 is not a free-standing organization; it is an "initiative" of the conservative think tank, The National Center for Public Policy Research (BTW, I had to trek over to NCPPR to get that Almasi photo, since there's not one to find at P21). The sole purpose of Project 21 is to provide token talking head media whores to represent the right wing when they need a splash of color. They will always be able find someone to Tom for the Right.


...Orrin Hatch in a loving embrace with P21 member Mychal Massie.

As I've said before -- can these GOP-sellout blacks even run their own f*ckwad organization? Do they enjoy being a tool of the Right?



Open thread

Working hard at my day job today...folks have anything to say out there? :)

From the German streets...



(via Shakespeare's Sister, cribbed from Francesca’s Liberal Wingnut Corner)


What is our military's problem? British Royal Navy starts campaign to recruit gays

More good news from across the pond, but as you will see below, the Freepers are not happy. (NYT):
Five years after Britain lifted its ban on gays in the military, the Royal Navy has begun actively encouraging them to enlist and has pledged to make life easier when they do.

The navy announced Monday that it had asked Stonewall, a group that lobbies for gay rights, to help it develop better strategies for recruiting and retaining gay men and lesbians. It said, too, that one strategy may be to advertise for recruits in gay magazines and newspapers.

Commodore Paul Docherty, director of naval life management, said the service wanted to change the atmosphere so that gays would feel comfortable working there.

...The new effort continues a pattern of changing official attitudes in the navy - once derided as running on rum, sodomy and the lash, in a phrase usually attributed to Winston Churchill. And while most European militaries have lifted bans on gays, none have been as active as the Royal Navy in encouraging their service.

Until a European court ruled in 1999 that Britain's ban on gays in the military violated European human-rights laws, the navy, along with the rest of the country's military, followed a no-exceptions policy of dismissing service men and women who were found to be gay, often after long and intrusive investigations. The military had agonized for years over the issue, in the way the United States has, and always concluded that allowing gays and lesbians to serve would prove prohibitively disruptive and would ruin discipline and cohesion.

But after the court ruling, it had no choice but to reverse its policy. Beginning in 2000, the military said gays would no longer be prohibited from serving. It also stopped monitoring its recruits' sex lives, saying that sexuality, as long as it did not intrude into the workplace, should not be an issue one way or another.

People were quite hot under the collar about it; the admirals, generals and air marshals were really concerned," he added. "I'm quite sure that these folks look now and think, 'What was all that fuss about?' "

Oh, no, there's a fuss in Freeperville.

Actual Freeper Quotes™:"Well, Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty did describe the 'Traditions of the Royal Navy' as "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash"."

"Join the Gay-vy!"



"Woo Hoo Mr. Burns..I am going to Great Britain.."

"They could also retrofit the ships with bathhouses."

"Is this supposed to make their enemies fear or respect them???"

"I'm curious about what are their policies on HIV/AIDS and emergency blood transfusions."

"Let's all sing a rousing chorus of the Village People's "In the Navy!" (geez)"

"You can't go anywhere these days to escape these perverts."

"Buggery in the schools, in the streets, and on the high seas."

"Why can't they just shut up about it?"

"Thus the great Royal Navy morphs into the pink fleet. Osama and the gang must be laughing and tossing turbans in the air now. But hey - let's give three cheers for the great defender of "freedom" Tony Blair, the ruler of Cool Britannia! MTV special coming up!"

"I guess Britain's days of having perhaps the second or third best military in the world are numbered. And I don't mean that the presence of homosexual per say will do it, but rather this whole mindset that deems it necessary to actively recruit them and make them feel comfortable. You'd think the military would have other things on their mind."

"From reading the posts here, and elsewhere, the air seems to be slowly going out of "they will cause a lack of cohesion" balloon. It is gratifying that objective evidence seems to be absorbed even in the most impermeable quarters." [this must be a troll in their midst!]

"Well, it is the Queen's Navy."

"Actively recruiting perversion, they're toast."

"The real damage will be seen in the recruiting effort when mentally healthy men will forego enlisting so they won't have to put up with the pooftas. We are witnessing the ned of England's Navy. They'll never meet a recruitment goal again."


Can the hysteria by the Right in Canada get any more out of control?

Monday, February 21, 2005


Brian Rushfeldt, co-founder and Executive Director of Canada Family Action Coalition, says gay marriage in the Great White North will mean the unimaginable destruction of society. Sound familiar?

Wingnut religious "news" site, AgapePress, says the end of world civilization is near if Canada approves same-sex marriage. Look at the breathless, homopocalyptic predictions. I swear, these folks must have gotten training by our wild-eyed fundamentalists.
A Canadian pro-family activist says if the homosexual movement succeeds in redefining marriage in his country, the destruction to society there will be unimaginable to most people

...Brian Rushfeldt is co-founder and president of the Canada Family Action Coalition. He says that thus far, the pro-homosexual marriage forces have not tried to fast track the legislation. And he says he does not buy the argument that the bill will go no farther than to redefine marriage as a union between any two persons.

"There can be no restriction, in our opinion, because once you've [removed] the basic of a man and a woman -- which is really the only form of relationship that is marriage -- then it can become anything," he contends.

According to Rushfeldt, polygamists are waiting in the wings, should the bill become law. "We also have a group of polygamists now here in Canada who are using the very same argument as the homosexuals did to get this 'any two persons' [into the legislation]," he says. "We believe the polygamists will be in court probably within a month after the change of the law, if it happens."

And the pro-family leader says what is going on in Canada reminds him of another regime from the not-so-distant past. "We are certainly not short of being run by a government that is every bit as bad as what old Russia used to be," Rushfeldt says. "Following that definitely is an attack on religious freedom [which] we're starting to see already.

"It's an attack on education where kids will be forced to learn about these other forms of marriage, which are sodomy-type relationships -- and the destruction that's going to come up on our society in Canada is probably unimaginable to most people."
While we are visiting our neighbor to the north this evening, I have to mention the latest cartoon to give a hard-on to the wingnuts there -- Shrek 2. It looks like this time it's "gender identity" and cross-dressing that is setting them off. (CTV.ca):


On its website the Traditional Values Coalition is warning parents about the cross-dressing and transgender themes contained in the hit DreamWorks feature, now on DVD. "Parents who are thinking about taking their children to see Shrek 2 may wish to consider the following.''

The article then proceeds to describe one of the characters, an "evil'' bartender (voiced by Larry King) who is a male-to-female transgender in transition and who expresses a sexual desire for Prince Charming.

In another identified scene, Shrek and Donkey need rescuing from a dungeon by Pinocchio and his nose, which is made to extend as an escape bridge by getting the wooden boy to lie about not wearing women's underwear.

The TVC report, A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream', raps DreamWorks for helping to promote crossdressing and transgenderism.


Looks like a contest is under way for the "Real GOP Agenda"

It didn't take long. A lot of folks are ripping off the ad by the loser, f*cktards at USA Next that was created to bash the AARP on Social Security. Here are just a few of the images, some from DKos and AmericaBlog just in the last hour or two. AB is running a contest for most original and irreverent, which shouldn't be hard to get from the blogosphere crowd. First, the original:



And some entries (not mine, I only wish I was that Photoshop-handy):








Relaunch of a terrific bloggrrrl's site - Julien's List

If you haven't been, it's worth your while to surf to Julien's List, which has moved to its new home. Smart, funny and political, Julien and her contributors Holly and Marty are always a good read. Update your links!


OMFG. This is the anti-AARP campaign by the Swift Boat hit team?



Good night. I cannot believe this is the best the can toss out? How on earth is gay marriage relevant to Social Security savings accounts? According to Kos, this ad is running on the American Spectator site.

I just wish I were a fly on the wall of the USA Next conference room when they came up with this sh*t.


"Uhhh...we need to swing folks to our side; this Bush crap isn't selling. Uh, huh huh - whatta we do?"

"Hey, uh, heh-heh - I know -- everyone hates homos -- look at all those, uh, gay homo amendments. Let's tie the old farts to homos in the ad campaign!"

"Yeah...yeah...uh huh huh"
This campaign is so pathetic that I'm speechless. And anyone who knows me, knows I don't get rendered speechless often.

When was the last time you saw any ad for the AARP with gay folks lining up at the chapel? OMFG.

If any of you Log Cabin folks, Bushie closet cases, or White House rent boys are listening -- You are expendable. At this point, homos are the easy whipping boy for just about any issue whatsoever when it comes to spin machines.

Oh, just before I almost hit the Publish button, I caught this great rip from AmericaBlog. Must bookend the post with this gem:



Montana House Dumps Bill to Protect Gays

While the Brits are ready to dole out Civil Partnerships to gays, back across the pond, we've got a U.S. state that won't even extend hate crimes laws to its gay citizens. And we have some novel, Am Taliban reasoning for the rejection too. (AP):
The Montana House on Monday killed a bill that would have extended the state's hate crimes law to protect gays. The bill would have made it a crime to target people based such factors as age, economic condition, disability, gender or sexual orientation. It was rejected 54-46.

State law already outlaws intimidating or harassing someone because of race, religion, color, creed or national origin. Offenses carry a minimum two-year prison term. Debate focused mainly on whether the law should cover crimes against gays and lesbians.

Republicans, who accounted for all but five of the opponents, warned the bill would stifle free speech and could prevent clergy from speaking out against homosexuality in their sermons. Supporters said the bill aimed to protect people who could be targeted because they belonged to a certain group.


Britain to Allow Same-Sex Civil Unions

Woohoo! More good news overseas, even as the American Taliban digs in its heels here. (AP):
Same-sex partners in Britain will be able to enter into civil unions from December, joining gays in parts of Europe and the United States in obtaining many of the rights enjoyed by married people, the government said Monday.

The Civil Partnerships Bill passed by Parliament last year gives same-sex couples the right to form legally binding partnerships and entitles them to some of the same tax and pension rights married couples have.

Starting Dec. 5, couples will be able to notify the register office at their local council that they intend to form civil partnerships. After a 15-day waiting period, they will sign an official partnership document in front of witnesses.

"This legislation is going to make a real difference to these couples and it demonstrates the government's commitment to equality and social justice," said Deputy Minister for Women and Equality Jacqui Smith.

"It opens the way to respect, recognition and justice for those who have been denied it for too long."

The government said some register offices have already started receiving inquiries from same-sex couples. Separately Monday, the armed services said they will allow same-sex couples with registered partnerships to share family quarters.

"We will be complying with the law. We are obliged to give equal treatment to gay and lesbian partnerships" under the new act, said Royal Navy spokesman Anton Hanney, adding that same-sex couples in the armed services already enjoy equal pension rights.

The new act does not use the term "marriage," but among other benefits it grants same-sex couples rights to their partners' pensions; gives them next-of-kin status; and exempts them from paying inheritance tax on a partner's home. It also will require partners to provide maintenance for each other and any children in the case of a break-up.

"This is the moment we fought so hard for," said Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall. "At last, lesbian and gay couples can begin to plan their future lives together."

Nine European Union members allow same-sex partnerships, beginning with Denmark, which legislated for the unions in 1989.


Checking out visits to the House Blend...


Click to enlarge

I haven't posted any stats since firing up this blog last July. I created the House Blend in order to vent about the political state of things from my quirky perspective. It wasn't always clear who, if anyone, was actually finding my site and reading stuff. Not that I cared, I was mostly just shooting off my mouth into what I figured was a big, empty cavern. Comments were rare, emails, even more so.

Somehow, more folks started stopping by to share thoughts and pass along suggestions. I did small tinkering -- redesigned the blog, added Haloscan comments, etc. Folks kept coming. While I use SiteMeter to see the general traffic to the Blend, I occasionally retrieve more accurate stats from my ISP, which uses Webalizer.

I guess there are more of you out there than I thought!


Click to enlarge

No need for me to get a swelled head -- just for perspective, here are Daily Kos main page stats from SiteMeter.

Total 98,975,258
Average Per Day 464,138
Last Hour 31,759
Today 220,993
This Week 3,248,969

Perhaps a little less stratospheric than DKos, but equally impressive are AmericaBlog's stats (John posted them this afternoon):

Click to enlarge

No fear, I'm not burning up the blogosphere here with traffic, ROTFLOL. The House Blend is no competition for the big bloggers, but then again, I'd have to expand the coffee house if it were. :)

Anyway, I thought folks might be curious about which posts here have garnered the most attention. Here they are, in descending order of popularity.
1 68743 Charlotte may restrict use of public parks because of wingnut protest over Gay Pride event
2 13986 Pam's House Blend (the main page, so folks probably have the site blogrolled or bookmarked)
3 4316 Freepers in a tizzy over pseudo-journalist, White House prop "Jeff Gannon"
4 4059 Looks like Maya Keyes kicked her closet door open -- and her dad has no mercy
5 4035 House Blend RSS Feed
6 3310 I hope black wingnuts at Project 21 read this
7 2121 Focus on the Family goes after music artists contributing to HRC "Love Rocks" CD
8 1692 I don't even know where to begin with this - PFOX's "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Club
9 1439 The Feb 2005 archive page (all posts from this month)
10 1206 GOP hijacking more black pastors into its bible-based Taliban takeover

The popularity of these entries has less to do with my engaging writing skills (ha ha) and more to do with a pick up by other blogs of my post, and they kindly post a link back here.

It's also weird how people find my blog via search -- look at what people were searching for and came up with Pam's House Blend:

Top 20 of 638 Total Search Strings
# Hits Search String

1 john and linda dollar (the FL couple that tortured their adopted kids)
2 maya keyes
3 John and Linda Dollar
4 Maya Marcel-Keyes
5 lesbians
6 pam's house blend
7 Maya Keyes
8 James D. Guckert
9 john linda dollar
10 linda dollar
11 spooning (? - I don't know what that's about)
12 hotmilitarystud
13 maya marcel-keyes
14 vioxx
15 mehlman
16 scott mccoy utah (? - huh?)
17 jeff gannon
18 John Linda Dollar
19 wooden (? - eh?)
20 JOHN AND LINDA DOLLAR

Anyway, thank you all for visiting -- stop by again soon, lurkers and commenters alike -- you are appreciated.


WorldNetDaily and Freepers rail on faux "outing" of Repugs

(via AmericaBlog). Right wing rag WorldNetDaily has an article out, Homosexual press hot to 'out' Bush figures. It's a pretty straightforward recount of the basic Propagannon facts to date, with the spin, of course, that it's all about these poor closeted GOoPers being outed somehow.
"Outing" of reputedly closeted homosexuals, particularly those associated with the Republican Party or conservative politics, has become a favorite pastime of homosexual activists in recent years. Similarly, the "outing" of famous historical figures, from Abe Lincoln to Alexander the Great – whether or not the allegation of homosexuality is actually true – is a key activist tactic.

The unsubstantiated report in Raw Story has been picked up by numerous homosexual publications – online and off. McClellan has not commented on the reports now swirling around the Internet and in offline homosexual papers.
Boo-hoo-hoo, I'm playing the world's tiniest fiddle for them. "Jeff Gannon", we all remember, has pictures of himself buck naked up on the internet, selling his time as a rent boy. That hardly qualifies as "private" activity, let alone legal activity.

As regular readers of the Blend know, part of my job here is to bring you commentary from the peanut gallery of insanity known as Freeperland, home of the knuckle-dragging right wing. [They are so far over the edge that even wingnut Sean Hannity has abandoned them.] Here are some choice responses to the WND article.


Actual Freeper Quotes™:

"Gannon was a setup. I hope it backfires."

"Like most Christians, I think homosexuality is wrong. However, I do not advocate trying to meet out any punitive measures. That's up to God IMO. In His time, He will address it. I do have misgivings about certain roles, teaching, adoption, positions of authority over children... perhaps a few others. I don't see Republicans outing homosexuals. I don't see them descriminating against them.
It is the left that exploits them at every opportunity, then pulls this type of tactic, outing them for sport. Sick."

"The Dems "outed" many prominent Republicans before the election. The "outing" didn't take. They were appointed or elected anyway. What two adults do in private is not of interest to me. What I resent is that a small minority of a tiny minority, maybe 3-4% of the population is trying to force their agenda on the country, to destabilize marriage and family values. I am opposed to the political homosexual gay agenda for America, not to individual people who happen to be gay. "

"you're precisely right. Quit trying to 'sell' the concept to everyone else, and we'll get along fine. Cripe, HBO has practicly sold their sole to the homosexual lobby. They've played this Angels in America program over and over and over... goodness, give it a rest."

I am opposed to the political homosexual gay agenda for America, not to individual people who happen to be gay. You and I also see eye-to-eye on that. My personal, empirical estimate, based on 55 years of living, gay relatives, friends, neighbors, and employees, is about 3% of the population. My wife & I have lived next door to a couple of "women who prefer each other to men" for eighteen years, and we get along fine- they are no more like the weird and vainglorious creatures the TV promotes as "gay" than I am. I've always believed in Live and let Live- I just wish the "love that dare not speak its name" would pipe down a little, and leave the rest of us alone.

What I do oppose is the relentless promotion of "gay is good, and no questions are allowed" by the media types. That, and the preaching to, and recruitment of, children. That is simply too far over the line of my tolerance. Oh, and gay marriage, too. Each one of these items is just one step over the line for me. They pushed the envelope too far for my liking, and have stepped into areas I can no longer voice "tolerance" for, or support."

"And as you described it so aptly-- We are seeing played out in our godless(secular) society precisely the wickedness that led to the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah-and to a bloody civil war in Israel that nearly destroyed the Tribe of Benjamin when that tribe refused justice to the Levite Priest and protected the Sons of Belial at Gibbeah. The Republicans in thi smodern replay are as the Benjamites knowing the judgement of God but protecting and promoting the wickedness within thie own faction."

"Have somewhere in my stacks of stuff an old Time Magazine from about 1992 that talked of very similar problems with the Republicans -and homosexuals-- wonder how much of it is the bad air of FoggyBottom--the corruption of that wicked city-where reprobate prostitutes were allowed to parade their shrivelled breasts around a Sacred Assembly in vain attempt to discredit/disrupt as the Park Police told rightious fathers and husbands "They have to do a lot more than that to get arrested here." I once told the FBI guys from Denver it would take destroying upwards of 2/3 of everyone who works that city to correct its problems."

"Personally, I wonder why this guy wasn't vetted. The Bush folks need to adopt the Reagan policy. As governor, Reagan purged when found. Don't hire them to begin with and there will be no problem?"

"The guy was vetted. He got a daypass which does a basic security check, not an in-depth background check. But you possibly give yourself away with saying he was "hired". He was not hired by the WH; he attended press briefings. He is no more an employee of the WH than Terry Moran of ABC. And are you saying by "them" gays? That Reagan didn't hire "them" and actually fired "when found"? Well, aren't you precious, scattering disinfo in practically every word of your post."

"I just don't understand the "point" in doing this. It's SICK. There is no TOLERANCE involved no respect for PRIVACY of which the Left claims to be the paramount, even sole defender. It's clearly an act of callous political evil."

"That's up to God IMO. In His time, He will address it. That's a position I can respect. To be frank, however, that's true about all things we do, say, think, contemplate, act upon or fail to act regarding. Everything about your life, my life, anyone's life. It's *all* on the table."

"I get highly annoyed when "homosexuality" is somehow held up by certain very loud and very visible elements of Christian Fundamentalists or socially facist "Republicans" as somehow in need of their own righteous anger, oppression, vitriol, hatred, persecution, banning or worse. It's sickening. Persecution is not an American value. Persecution is not a Christian value."

"I don't see Republicans outing homosexuals. I don't see them descriminating against them. Funny you mention that. On those secret tapes made by Wead he says to GWB that it's being said GWB won't hire gays and GWB responds (paraphrasing): No, I won't fire gays. I won't discriminate against anybody. You just know the libs are chagrined that his private talk reflects his public presentation."

"I'm not sure about outing homosexuals, but Republicans will forward stories about other republicans about the possibility of out of marriage sex, ergo the McCain story in the South Carolina primaries about having a asian child out of wedlock. About the same as outing homosexuals to destroy them. The other tie to this is the view of many evangelicals that Republicans and President Bush in particular will stop the advance of any gay agenda and abortion. Matter of fact, in their mind President Bush's relection was key in doing that. That's why you're seeing this attempt to smear if false or out if true those close to the President. If the link between resolution of the culture war issues and Republicans in general and the President in particular can be tarnished, then evangelicals will either splinter to third parties or no longer vote."

"I don't agree with you. Not saying anything about it is promoting acceptance of it."

"Persecution is not a Christian value. Certainly it is. financial value. Christian talk radio couldn't survive without it. In many faiths, homosexuals and abortion are the ties that bind. Again it does have Christian value,........money in someones pockets."

"This is an interesting feature of the leftist mindset. They would meet your points with sanctimony as they "explain" that it is the hypocrisy of the right in holding positions "against" homosexuals, while at the same time having homosexual people wihtin their midst. This "explanation" of course, is mindless and is of the smarty pants set in the worst way. [I refused to use the noble term "elite" for them]. It is precisely that these letist "outers" wish to embarrrass the right wing people who are homosexual or associated with homosexuals in a witting or unwitting manner, that exposes their fundamental bad faith. They do not even grant to homosexuals the right to have their own mind and take non-leftist positions. They seek to punish the horrible transgression of not being a leftist by causing these individuals harm which they won't inflict on left wing closeted homosexuals. I have often felt that the left often appears to have the moral compass of your sterotypical labor union thug. The dirty tricks of the left and the democrat party always have that character. Look at how they argue on TV. That blatant attempt to talk over the right wing represenative and never concede a fact or answer a direct question. If you have ever met this spirit in your daily life, you will not forget it. It is foolish to deal with them with ordinary means."

I hope all the die hard gay Bushies get the drift here -- the base is teetering and fumbling between support of those gay administration officials because they hold the correct political opinions, and utter contempt for homosexuality. Keeping that balance with these cretins they call their "base" is going to mean casting the homos overboard if it gets in the way of the "values" agenda.


Swift Boat Liar lobbyists to slam AARP and promote Bush SocSec dismantling campaign

Guess these folks at USA Next are the go-to organization for Rovian disinformation campaigns. I hope they are well-armed if they plan to take on the senior demographic. Those AARP folks vote, and they've got money. (NYT):
Taking its cues from the success of last year's Swift boat veterans' campaign in the presidential race, a conservative lobbying organization has hired some of the same consultants to orchestrate attacks on one of President Bush's toughest opponents in the battle to overhaul Social Security.

The lobbying group, USA Next, which has poured millions of dollars into Republican policy battles, now says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing the private investment accounts at the center of Mr. Bush's plan.

'They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts,' said Charlie Jarvis, president of USA Next and former deputy under secretary of the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. 'We will be the dynamite that removes them.'"


R.I.P., H.S.T.



AP: Writer Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself


Why is Sully quiet on Propagannon?



Just a curiosity -- Andrew Sullivan has had nothing to say about "Gannon/Guckert," even though the story has broken into the mainstream. Note that he gave extensive coverage to the takedown of Dan Rather by the right-wing blogs.

Sully has backed off on his regular blogging, but he's still posting; I'd think he would have an opinion as to what is going on. It's odd that there has been "radio silence" by him on one of the big blogosphere breaks of the year.

I'll leave you all to speculate on this.


2/21/2005 LGBT News Roundup is here

[NOTE: This is an early release on the House Blend of a weekly Daily Kos roundup diary that I post.]

It's almost Propagannon-free; but I just couldn't resist putting this right back up top...

Gannon and his close friends...
Click to enlarge (pun intended)



In this edition...
* Good news
* General corporate, legislative, legal and community activism by your jolly neighborhood homophobes
* Rabid religious wingnuts, Freepers and homo-bigot preachers on the loose

It's also up as a DKos diary, with additional news headline links.

Let's start off with the good news...



The Rock is all about coming out of the closet. That should go over well in Freeperville. Then again, pro wrestling is one big homoerotic fest.

How will the WWE crowd take this news?. Wrestler-turned-movie star DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON is urging his gay celebrity pals to come clean about their sexuality because he's convinced it will be a career boost for them. THE SCORPION KING star plays a gay bodyguard in new JOHN TRAVOLTA comedy BE COOL and he claims the role has made him realise that homosexuality is no longer something that needs to be hidden in Hollywood. He tells gay magazine OUT, "I know a lot of gay actors in Hollywood who don't want to come out, and whatever the reasons are I respect that. "But I think if people love you now, and if you came out, they would love you more, and if they didn't, then they weren't real people to begin with."

And the queer resident of Springfield is...


Marge's sister Patty. What a dumb*ss disclaimer at the beginning -- "Tonight's episode contains discussion of same-sex marriage. Parental discretion is advised." The episode wasn't that great, especially since Patty doesn't even end up getting married - her prospective bride turned out to be a man.


Florida State Senator Nan Rich wants to protect children in established relationships with gay foster parents.

Amendment to Fla. gay adoption ban filed. Does this have a chance? It looks like an attempt to peel back the layers of hatred of the gay adoption ban back and take the core out of it.
A Florida lawmaker filed legislation Thursday to amend the state's 1977 law that bans gays and lesbians from adopting. State Sen. Nan Rich has proposed that judges could allow adoptions if they conclude a permanent placement with a gay or lesbian foster parent is more important to a child's development than maintaining a temporary placement. Sen. Rich told the Associated Press the plan is in the best interests of children who have long-standing relationships with their gay foster parents.

But, she adds, her legislation is not a complete repeal of the ban, either. It applies only to "long-standing relationships and tries to protect those children so that they can remain in a permanent placement where they have shared a loving, stable home."

.. Florida is the only state in the union that prevents gays and lesbians from adopting under any circumstances. Convicted felons and drug abusers, however, can adopt as long as they are heterosexual.



Bush drone Charles G. Curie as head of SAMHSA got the leash snapped on his ass by mental health professionals. Oh, the government queer-queasy people got the message, hahaha.

HHS Backs Down On Gay Funding Threats. The Bush administration has backed down on a call for an LGBT suicide conference to remove the words 'gay,' 'lesbian,' 'bisexual' and 'transgender' from its material. Charles Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, now says that it is permissible for groups that receive money from the agency to use the terms 'Gay', 'Lesbian', 'Bisexual' and 'Transgender' in the titles of SAMHSA-sponsored public events. On Wednesday 365Gay.com reported that SAMHSA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, had issued a veiled threat to organizers of the conference to be held in Portland, Oregon on February 28, that the use of LGBT terms could result in its funding being pulled.



It was a pretty good first season for The L Word, so I hope that the consistency of writing stays high the second go-round. (It's already been re-upped for a third season). I have to say the bi chick Jenny got on all my friends' collective last nerves in the first season. She and her trials and tribulations with her boyfriend and her "relationship" with Marina just got way too much air time. Jenny is one f*cked up chick -- oh and her poetry sucks. Please, no more manatees with her "writing" superimposed on the screen. What pretentious bullsh*t. On the bright side was just about every other storyline. I found a good teaser article on the show at Gay City News. Check it out.

You must play the Shady Bunch Match Game


Via The Swift Report

General corporate, legislative, legal and community activism by your jolly neighborhood homophobes...


Doug Wead, an author and former aide to President Bush's father, has Bush on tape saying some interesting things. (WaTimes)

In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future Chimpy. "But Mr. Bush also repeatedly worried that prominent evangelical Christians would not like his refusal "to kick gays." At the same time, he was wary of unnerving secular voters by meeting publicly with evangelical leaders. When he thought his aides had agreed to such a meeting, Mr. Bush complained to Karl Rove, his political strategist, "What the hell is this about?" [Well, we know he got over that reluctance, due to Rove's prodding.] Later in the article, it's more clearly outlined his differences and common ground with the evangelicals on gays. Bush knew he was going to have to play it close, given his "base" doesn't just object to gay rights, they hate homosexuals to the core.


Bush's oracle on how to handle questions of past pharmaceutical transgressions, televangelist James Robison.

" Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however." "This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays." Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays." [Now you know why the White House is well-stocked with, at the very least, a plethora of gay men.]


Here's the best and brightest in legislative representation in CT: Colapietro: "It’s not a cure for the sickness allowing them to marry"; Hamzy: "There are proven benefits to defining marriage as being between a man and a woman"; Michele: "You’re going to bring in a whole combination of other situations".

Bigoted Bristol, CT lawmakers rival the crackers in Alabama when it comes to marriage. Whoa. You are not going to believe some of the knuckle-draggers up in Bristol, CT. These homophobic comments rival anything the rednecks down in 'Bama have rolled off of their southern-fried tongues. "Supporters of legislation that would allow gay marriage in Connecticut won’t find any help from Bristol’s lawmakers.

"It’s a sickness I think," said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Terryville Democrat whose district includes Bristol. "It’s not a cure for the sickness allowing them to marry."

"I expect a fairly tight vote," said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, the chief opponent of the measures. Brown said his group is adamantly opposed to both proposals.


Brian Brown, the local "family values" monitor of FIC. With civil unions, he said, "In every respect it will be same-sex marriage -- except the name."

"I’ve voted against it every time and I will again this year," said state Rep. Kosta Diamantis, a Democrat whose district spans the southern third of town. "I think the traditional definition of marriage should be the law of the land," said state Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose district includes northwestern Bristol. "There are proven benefits to defining marriage as being between a man and a woman," Hamzy said.


Diamantis says he opposes civil unions as well. Boukus "has compassion, but I can't change who I am."

State Rep. Betty Boukus, a Plainville Democrat whose district includes a tiny portion of Forestville, said she firmly believes that marriage should only be possible between a man and a woman. "I have compassion," she said. "I really do. But I can’t change who I am." State Rep. Roger Michele, a Bristol Democrat who represents the northeastern section of town, said that "once we cross the line, the sharp line that defines marriage, there are many different categories that will want to be considered next." Any other group that has a sexual preference other than a man and a woman would feel they should get the same benefit," Michele said, including "bisexuals, homosexuals and the other. There are extremes," Michele said, that would lobby for the right to marry as well once the line is crossed.

"You’re going to bring in a whole combination of other situations" if gay men and women are allowed to marry, he said. [WTF?]

"I just can’t condone" same-sex marriage, Colapietro said. "My heart and my stomach won’t let me. I just think it should be a man and a woman." Colapietro said he’s always opposed gay marriage "yet I really sympathize with those who are gay." He said he has gay friends "and I’m there when they need me." [Except when it really counts, you dumb bastard.]

Michele, Hamzy, Diamantis and Colapietro said they don’t see a meaningful distinction between civil unions and gay marriage. They said they’re opposed to civil unions as well. "We are protecting an institution and not merely a word," Brown said.

Two of the Bristol legislators - Michele and Hamzy - serve on the Judiciary panel.

Three of Bristol’s delegates are married: Hamzy, Diamantis and Boukus. For Diamantis, it is his second marriage. Colapietro and Michele are both divorced."
Hamzi: William.Hamzy@housegop.state.ct.us
Boukus: Betty.Boukus@cga.ct.gov
Diamantis: (860) 585-9500 (no listed email)
Colapietro: Colapietro@senatedems.ct.gov
Michele: Roger.Michele@cga.ct.gov

Rabid religious wingnuts, Freepers and homo-bigot preachers on the loose.



Freepers on Alan and Maya Keyes. The Freepers have been remarkably silent on this issue, but eventually you knew we would smell the stench from Freeperland. I hope Maya can see what her father's supporters think of her. These losers are all up Alan Keyes's behind, since he's such a moralist wingnut. It's sad that her dad is on these cretins' wavelength. At least there are a couple of Freepers that feel badly for Maya.



Actual Freeper Quotes™:
"An adult lives with one's parents at the grace and mercy of the parents. If the adult child is a belligerent radical homosexual activist, the parents are clearly within their rights to kick out the activist, with an aim to save their lost soul, if possible. Hopefully the errant and deviant child will "come to their senses" like the Prodigal Son, repent and straighten out and fly straight."

"What should a father do? Just what he did...throw her out. I'm sure there is more to this than the sanitized WP version. The MSM always leave out the salacious details and reduce homos to a "loving partnership", when usually it is all just about deviant sexual activity."

"Another excuse for the Washington Post to print anything negative about a conservative. I wonder what the ration of Conservative kids to Liberal Kids end up in prison. Bet the liberals win hands down."

"Actually, we heard rumblings about this before. My guess is that the timeline is a bit different. I would guess that she threatened to undermine her father first and that is when he decided that he would not finance her radicalism. Note that she's not just a lesbian, she's "a liberal queer". The politics inform the sexuality, it seems. The WaPo wants to make it seem like her politics are a result of how her nasty father treated her. My suspicion is that it's just the opposite and she's a thoroughly unpleasant person to be around."

"Is there some link between lesbianism and conservative politicians? It seems like a Lot of Repubs have lesbian daughters, sisters, etc. "

"Bizarre. All this advice to Dr. Keyes! I think it's pretty safe to assume he knows what he is doing."

"Some children are just naturally rebellious. The very best parents can rear a child who chooses values 180 degrees opposite theirs."

"Thanks. There are always two sides to every story. Even though I may not agree with Keyes and his political views, like I stated to an earlier poster, very sad."

"Tell them you love them, that you care for them, but that if they want your support, especially money and staying at home, they have to live by your rules. "

"I've always maintained that I've never seen a child of overly strict parents who didn't become an accomplished liar. I've yet to see a single exception, although I'm sure one exists somewhere."

"It's one thing to come out, it's another to come out on stage in the spotlight; fashions change, soon there will be a rash of "old-time-revivals" and the wheel will turn and turn..."

"I was thinking the same thing. I could see pulling the purse strings, but not talking to the child just seems incredibly wrong to me."

"I doubt this is first time she has openly proclaimed her homosexual lifestyle in spite of being aware of her father's belief that it is morally wrong.."

"The gay issue aside, why would he finance someone adverse to his political views and goals, i.e. finance the enemy? Well, it may seem strange, but it does happen. Some parents put family ahead of politics. Some people put a whole lot of things ahead of politics. ;-)"

"This is the adult daughter's view of the situation. Why might it not just as fairly be said she quit talking to them? As for the parents' refusing to pay for her education when she has made it clear to them she intends to use that education to become a liberal activist to undercut her parents' values and beliefs, I would say the parents are making a rational and fully justifiable decision."

"I have no issue with paying her way. It's the removal the familial support that troubles me."

"Sad story. I find it hard to believe her mother won't talk to her either."

"As the saying goes, Christian nurture and education is to enable the children to see with their own eyes, not give them our own."

Alan Chambers, ultra-butch executive director of "ex-gay" sham group Exodus International says he is straight now. Yes. Keep repeating that, Alan.

The wingnuts at the religious news service (and arm of the American Family Association) Agape Press, lost their cookies over the opposition to the discredited sham "Love Won Out" recruitment revival held in Texas over the weekend. (I covered this discredited and dangerous movement in an earlier Blend post). The fun in this article is Exodus's representative's convincing plug for the program:
Sixteen billboards advertising an upcoming Love Won Out conference have been replaced around the Houston area. The billboards feature pictures of former homosexuals offering a message of hope and change -- individuals who profess that it is possible to leave the "gay" lifestyle. Exodus International sponsored the ads in preparation for the public seminar, an event co-sponsored by Focus on the Family and designed to examine the roots and causes of homosexuality.

The one-day Love Won Out conference, which has been held in 30 cities worldwide, is scheduled to make its first stop in Houston this Saturday. The event focuses on the hope and help available for those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality, largely through the personal testimonies of former homosexuals. Exodus International participates in the conference, offering support to people who want to leave homosexuality and providing them with long-term guidance and resources through member chapters in the region.

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International and a featured speaker of the conference, says the ministry sponsored the billboards "in the hopes that many in Houston will, possibly for the first time, question the permanence of homosexuality." He himself left the homosexual lifestyle in 1991 and has gone on to become an accomplished writer and much sought-after speaker on the subject.

"Thousands of people, like myself, felt trapped by homosexuality and found an escape through Jesus Christ," Chambers says. "Our life stories challenge many misconceptions about homosexuality and we want the public to hear another aspect of this difficult issue."

However, the outcry from pro-homosexual activists has been swift and vehement in protest against the conference and its organizers. Those involved with the event, along with the billboards promoting it, have been labeled hateful by some homosexual groups and their supporters. Chambers says that is because many people involved in or supportive of the homosexual lifestyle "don't want the truth to be told."
The Exodus International spokesman says homosexual activists do not want others to know that change is possible because that fact invalidates their experience and infringes on their ability to promote their agenda in society. "If one person can change," he asserts, "then their story and their lifestyle comes into question."

After the February 19 event in Houston, the Love Won Out conference will be held on April 16 in Louisville, Kentucky; May 14 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; June 25 in Seattle, Washington; and September 17 in Birmingham, Alabama.




Enemy of the (Tar Heel) State: the North Carolina Family Policy Council<
It's nice to know who your enemies are. I came across this "independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization" while visiting in Freeperville (see, it's helpful to surf there!). The North Carolina Family Policy Council is a chip off of the AFA or Focus on the Family block -- "Advocating Traditional Family Values." NCFPC is of course, eager for NC to pass a marriage amendment. The web site is chock full of "homosexual issues" that they want to make sure legislators are aware of. Some policy papers for your entertainment (PDFs):
The organization makes no bones about what its intent is -- NCFPC will be lobbying, or as they refer to it, "educating" members of the North Carolina General Assembly by providing bogus science and research materials. NCFPC also has a radio show, a 15-minute program that airs on quite a few stations, none in major market areas.

Here is its board of directors.

Phone Numbers
Main Office Number: (919) 807-0800
Main Office Fax: (919) 807-0900

Email and Website
admin@ncfamily.org
www.ncfamily.org


Family Research Council's Tony Perkins want to get Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman in the same room. Hoo-hah.

I would love to be a fly on the wall at this meeting of the minds. Please Howard, you have to go.

A scrumptious stew - Howard Dean, Ken Mehlman and the Family Research Council. (from wingnut AgapePress): The Family Research Council has invited newly elected Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, along with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, to address the the pro-family organization's Washington Briefing in March. FRC president Tony Perkins notes that Dean appears to be living up to the commitments he made during his chairmanship campaign to meet with all constituencies in an effort to build a more inclusive Democratic Party.

Perkins notes that Dean's schedule last Friday had him appearing before the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, the Seniors Coordination Council, the Women's Caucus, and groups of Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Pacific Islanders, all in a day. The head of the FRC observes that Dean told the GLBT Democrats they were 'among the most persecuted people in the history of mankind,' but could not confirm whether the ultra-liberal leader said the same to the Native American or African American audiences that might have a clearer claim to the 'most persecuted' title.


Pastor of yet another "ex-gay" ministry (this one in the Tar Heel State), Beyond Imagination, Ron Elmore and his wife.

An "ex-gay" ministry in my own back yard. In an earlier diary of mine, "Ex-Gay" and in absolute denial, one person noted that there was a Raleigh-based ministry that frequently sends out mailings for donations to fund its brainwashing of gay people in need of real counseling.

I had no idea about this local crap ministry, Beyond Imagination. It's Exodus-affiliated as well. The leader is right out of the mold of the Exodus cult:
From his personal story...:
During summer break, I walked blindly into a gay club at the beach. With the blaring disco songs of a popular vocalist, I began a very long journey in the homosexual lifestyle. I believed I had finally found male acceptance through homosexual contact.

Shortly afterwards, I joined the Air Force at the urging of my mother. Becoming more and more ambivalent to God, I found my place in the gay nightclubs near the city where I lived. For two years, everything was great with an over abundance of everything I thought I wanted. Then I endured two abusive long term relationships. Each relationship brought me deeper into the homosexual subculture. During those years of involvement I developed a deep suspicion of others mixed with anger and lust. I spiraled deeper and deeper into drugs, alcohol, and pornography. In my anxiety, I frequented the bars, homosexual establishments and adult bookstores. Even as the cavern in my soul grew bigger my Spirit testified to me that I was in rebellion.

In 1987, a co-worker who knew I was an active homosexual and could tell I had been using drugs, confronted me. "Ron," he said, "you need to go back to where your joy is." I remembered how Jesus had come to me as a little boy and met my needs. I heard clearly from the Holy Spirit, "Ron, if you stay where you are, you will die. But if you come back, I will give you life and I will give you life abundantly. You will be loved and cared for. Your greatest desire will be met."

...Within a year of my first Exodus Conference I applied and was accepted to Love in Action. The Lord showed me that I needed a safe place to walk through my relational issues. It was in the LIA program that I became very aware of my sinful nature.

...My life was in fact out of control. With thanksgiving I now realize, how my leaders at LIA committed to walk with me and with their hearts they helped me to learn to "sit in it" without running. God had a plan and Love In Action helped me to prepare for it.

The transformation in my life since 1990 has been unmistakable. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and homosexuality are no longer a part of my life.

At one time my thoughts were consumed with darkness. Now I wake up in the morning singing and now know because of the blood of Jesus I can take authority over my sin nature which used to so easily beset me.

Elmore lumps being gay with additions to drugs, alcohol and pornography. Someone with this background is so ill-equipped to help gay people struggling with self-loathing.

Beyond Imagination (full-fledged member of the Exodus International cult)
P.O. Box 28294
Raleigh, North Carolina 27611-8294
(919) 501-7601
life@beyondimagination.org


D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is also head of the scarily-named Evangelism Explosion International. Wingnut, pastor, politician, activist, and musician Gary Cass is, according to his bio, a "tireless Christian warrior for God and an entrenched pro-life activist."

Members of the American Taliban meet in FL to strategize. Motivated by recent Republican successes at the polls and the threat of same-sex marriages, hundreds of conservative Christians from across the nation are gathering at Coral Ridge Ministries today for a two-day conference to sharpen their political skills and promote their social and cultural agenda.

Called "Reclaiming America for Christ 2005," the conference features topics such as Defending Religious Liberties, The Role of Christians in Civil Government, Christian Persecution and The Influence of the Bible in America.

"The moral landscape of America is in disarray," writes D. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and noted televangelist in a welcoming letter. He believes the social and cultural mood of the country has shifted to the point that "there has never before been such a time as this, when the potential for God-honoring change in our land was so great."

While banning abortion remains a core issue for Christian conservatives, efforts to prohibit same-sex marriages have taken center stage this year. "The marriage issue and the assault upon it has probably done more to energize the social conservative base than any other issue," said Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America.

...Cass said elected officials who were helped by "values voters" will be in trouble in the next election if they do not vote correctly on social and cultural issues. "We want to remind our friends that once they are elected, we expect them to do their part," Cass said. "We try to be respectful and kind, but our values are more important than a person's political career."


Some Related diaries this week...

tolerance/bullying: GLBT youth in school posted by juls

The Word for the Week posted by pastordan

HHS Backs Down On GLBT Conference Threats posted by JamesB3

"Ex-Gay" and in denial: exploitation of those in pain posted by pamindurham

Confronting the Gay Menace: A modest proposal posted by Renee in Ohio

This Week in Fascism" 02-17-05 [I need your help!] posted by Tomtech

Anti-gay bills defeated in NM/AR posted by JamesB3

More on Buster and PBS funding, etc. posted by pastordan

Lynne Cheney: It's only lesbianism if Buster does it posted by Carla

VA: Gay adoption ban KILLED, Cameron savaged. posted by JamesB3

Maya Keyes and GOP abandonment posted by dday

Just Heard Beth Stroud Speak posted by pastordan

LGBT Suicide is a Problem that Dare Not Speak Its Name posted by ortcutt

Maya Keyes was kicked out of her parents' house posted by DuPageCountyLibera

Mayor calls for gay marriage support posted by ElectGore2008

MA Gov: Reilly switches(?) on Marriage Equality posted by MAJeff

South Carolina Legislation - Our Testimony posted by stevenmark

Bush: Right uses gays as the enemy posted by up2date

Scandal with the Boyscouts...and implications it brings... posted by doctormatt06

Liberal Morality posted by nanoboy

McGreevey: A Heterosexual Affair? posted by Delaware Dem

MA Special Elections & Marriage Equality posted by Frederick Clarkson

NRO: ok, being gay is natural, but you still don't get any rights. posted by obietom

Virginia Assembly To Enshrine Discrimination posted by VAprogressive

Lincoln, homosexuality, and the American Soul. posted by BoringDem

Gay facts and fantasies in Propagannon research, posted by padraig pearse. Highly recommended - Pam. What Propagannon is really about - and the gay angle that cannot remain untouchable. Basically, the author -- "a seasoned gay man of a certain age" -- brings it all home about Propagannon and the gay angle. AmericaBlog has touched on it in its reporting on Gannon, but most pointedly in the rise of Ken Mehlman in the GOP. Mike Rogers of BlogActive has been blowing open hypocritical GOP closet doors for some time now.

What padrai pearse does in this essay is break it down to its most basic core -- we can follow the money trail of GOPUSA and Bob Eberle, but what this all may come down to for the Right is the fear of exposing its Republican Gay Underworld. It's a shadowy world of self-hating and horny homos, a gay cabal psychologically in the 1950s closet, where being gay is dirty, nasty, utterly enticing -- and blackmailable. [It's also relevant that these tapes of Bush pre-Presidency have surfaced now -- it clearly shows the schism between the reality of the acceptance of gays. Maintaining and obtaining power is dependent on remaining in the shadows.]

These folks hate gays that are out and proud because, in the end, they hate themselves and will do anything to protect their public closet. We're talking about the public political closet here -- the one these homos have to stay in to mollify the GOP's bound-at-the-hip relationship to the evangelical Right. Most of these folks are out to the politicos they work with and sleep with -- they just don't want the fundie audience to know. That "base" has been carefully cultivated and molded by the Rove Machine and without them, the GOP now cannot win an election.

And it's important to note that this is not just about the Repugs, it's any politician, or DC news media figure that's worried about being forced out of the closet by this sleazy Gannon affair. They are going to circle the wagons and try to shut this investigation down. This would explain why, someone like Repug (but popular in the GOP and conservative-voting) Dave Dreier, could be outed, yet mainstream media silence was deafening. The fall of Ed Schrock occurred because he must have been considered small potatoes and expendable. It didn't help that his over-the-top closet (cruising for men on a phone dating line, complete with recordings) and spotless Christian Coalition homophobic voting record could sink just about any GOP politician. Go read the diary.


The second season of The L Word launches tonight

Sunday, February 20, 2005



It was a pretty good first season for Showtime's The L Word, so I hope that the consistency of writing stays high the second go-round. (It's already been re-upped for a third season).

I have to say the bi chick Jenny got on all my friends' collective last nerves in the first season. She and her trials and tribulations with her boyfriend and her "relationship" with Marina just got way too much air time. Jenny is one f*cked up chick -- oh and her poetry sucks. Please, no more manatees with her poetry superimposed on the screen. What pretentious bullsh*t.

On the bright side was just about every other storyline. I found a good teaser article on the show at Gay CIty News. Check it out.


I am not kidding -- the head of the Alabama GOP is named Twinkle.


Say hello to new Alabama GOP Chairman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.

Special Election May Be Called Over Gay Marriage (365gay.com):
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley may call a special election on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. It is one of three possibilities Riley is weighing. He could decide to put it on the June primary or wait and place it on the November election.

The key is what will give Republicans the biggest advantage. But, the GOP and Democrats are divided.

Many Republicans want it on the day of the November 2006 general election to help with conservative turnout, while some Democrats want it on the June primary date, when Republicans will face each other. Some Republicans have said the June date could help former Chief Justice Roy Moore increase his turnout of conservative Christian voters in a primary race against Riley, if they run for governor. Neither has announced his plans.

A special election would cost about $3 million.

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, the new chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, said she sees no reason why the same-sex marriage ban shouldn't be voted on in a special election. "If we held a special election for the lottery, surely we could have it to protect marriage," Cavanaugh said. "Hopefully we will be allowed to vote on them as soon as possible."


The queer resident of Springfield is...



Marge's sister Patty.

What a dumb*ss disclaimer at the beginning -- "Tonight's episode contains discussion of same-sex marriage. Parental discretion is advised." The episode wasn't that great, especially since Patty doesn't even end up getting married - her prospective bride turned out to be a man.


NC Dems elect progressive "grassroots" leadership, rejecting Kerry campaign director


Meek is an attorney in Fayetteville and has been active in Dem politics since he was 13. Turlington was the pick of Gov. Mike Easley and the Dem establishment.

From the DKos diaries, this by Gheen. A clear rejection of politics as usual, thank god. The challenge now is to hold the moderate votes while steering the party into activist mode.
Jerry Meek was elected as North Carolina Democratic State Party Chairman Saturday by a vote of 271 - 242. The contest between Meek and Ed Turlington, Sen. John Kerry's campaign director, was billed as Meek representing progressive "grass roots" Democrats and Turlington representing "establishment" Democrats.

Gov. Easley recommended Turlington as Party Chairman.  Almost every elected state wide elected Democrat supported Turlington. Most significantly, former Gov. Jim Hunt, a sixteen year Governor and political icon, nominated Turlington.

The initial media response is to frame Meek's election as a slap at Gov. Easley: "North Carolina Democrats delivered a blow to Gov. Mike Easley on Saturday, choosing a favorite of local party activists over Easley's choice as state party chairman. - Independent Tribune

Jerry Meek rode an insurgency to the state Democratic Party chairmanship Saturday, handing a startling rebuff to Gov. Mike Easley and the party establishment." - News & Observer

Meek's election represents his strong credentials of service within the Party and years of mounting frustration by rank and file Democrats that the Party has been neglected and relegated to a position of obscurity.

For example, the NCDP State Convention in 2004 was adjourned without adopting a Party Platform when progressive Democrats attempted to insert a plank favoring commercial hemp. Democrats went into the 2004 General Election without a Platform, perhaps for the first time in the history of the Party.

Progressives are now clearly in control of the NCDP. Two of the top three positions in the Party are held by progressives; Delmas Parker being elected 2nd Vice Chairman. They will be responsible for the conduct of Party over the next two years. The ability of the progressives to advance the rebuilding of the Democratic Party will be the gauge of their success or failure. For more on the story, read this: -- Chairman Meek
Jerry Meek: jerry@jerrymeek.org


The discovery process alone will undo "Jeff Gannon"

(via AmericaBlog).
Jeff Gannon is considering suing liberal interest groups, bloggers and others for a "political assassination" that drove him from his job as a reporter for a conservative news outfit called Talon News, he told NEWSWEEK. Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, singled out Media Matters -- a "well-funded" liberal group headed by longtime "attack dog" David Brock. ("Everything we wrote about him came from the public record," Brock replied.)
Bahahahahahahaha! That should be some testimony, rent-boy.


What Propagannon is really about - and the gay angle that cannot remain untouchable

You must go read this DKos diary - Gay facts and fantasies in Propagannon research, by padraig pearse. It's a really long entry, and it's worth the click to read all the responses to it.

Basically, the author -- "a seasoned gay man of a certain age" -- brings it all home about Propagannon and the gay angle. AmericaBlog has touched on it in its reporting on Gannon, but most pointedly in the rise of Ken Mehlman in the GOP. Mike Rogers of BlogActive has been blowing open hypocritical GOP closet doors for some time now.

What padrai pearse does in this essay is break it down to its most basic core -- we can follow the money trail of GOPUSA and Bob Eberle, but what this all may come down to for the Right is the fear of exposing its Republican Gay Underworld. It's a shadowy world of self-hating and horny homos, a gay cabal psychologically in the 1950s closet, where being gay is dirty, nasty, utterly enticing -- and blackmailable. [It's also relevant that these tapes of Bush pre-Presidency have surfaced now -- it clearly shows the schism between the reality of the acceptance of gays. Maintaining and obtaining power is dependent on remaining in the shadows.

These folks hate gays that are out and proud because, in the end, they hate themselves and will do anything to protect their public closet. We're talking about the public political closet here -- the one these homos have to stay in to mollify the GOP's bound-at-the-hip relationship to the evangelical Right. Most of these folks are out to the politicos they work with and sleep with -- they just don't want the fundie audience to know. That "base" has been carefully cultivated and molded by the Rove Machine and without them, the GOP now cannot win an election.

And it's important to note that this is not just about the Repugs, it's any politician, or DC news media figure that's worried about being forced out of the closet by this sleazy Gannon affair. They are going to circle the wagons and try to shut this investigation down. This would explain why, someone like Repug (but popular in the GOP and conservative-voting) Dave Dreier, could be outed, yet mainstream media silence was deafening. The fall of Ed Schrock occurred because he must have been considered small potatoes and expendable. It didn't help that his over-the-top closet (cruising for men on a phone dating line, complete with recordings) and spotless Christian Coalition homophobic voting record could sink just about any GOP politician.

Here's a tease of this must-read diary, emphasis in it is mine:
As a seasoned gay man of a certain age I'd like to examine some of the facts that have been unearthed and to infer these facts' larger meaning from the perspective of a gay "insider". And I can tell you, from the amount of hand-wringing over the horror of leftie bloggers making a big deal over poor Jeff's former, and, overlapping career, that they are terrified that the extent of Bush's intimate Gay network will be exposed.

Given their monstruous treatment of our nation's Gays, they deserve it. Having ridden to electoral victory by unleashing the worst homophobic bigotry we've seen in decades, it is fit and just that this maelstrom of hate turns against them. (I'm sure they know the Bible quote?: "He who sows the wind, reaps the whirlwind"?. In an earthier version I've heard the same principal expressed as "He who stirs the shit, gets to eat it"

But the Gay network may also provide substantial clues as to the Dirty Tricks department of Team Bush. I think it likely there is huge overlap.

REPUBLICANS AND THEIR GAY UNDERWORLD

That many Gay Republicans should prefer the closety games of the 1950s over the open Gay culture that arose out of the post Stonewall era should come as no surprise. They are reactionaries after all. In fact, I know Gay men of a certain age and income who routinely excoriate "the fags" while nonetheless indulging appetites and behaviours that would leave Margaret Spelling's head spinning. But since the lights are out in their orgy rooms, good Republicans are happy to just overlook and pretend not to see. It is the public avowal of affection that makes them crazy over the gay marriage issue. To compare Gay marriage to a perversion, as right next to bestiality is on the face of it insane. Gay people seeking to have stable monogamous relationships accepted into their families and their communities are, in key respects, far more conservative and traditional than the many gays in the republican party who scuttle around in the shadows, procuring illicit sex and using sites like MilitaryEscortM4M.com.

I have been with my partner 25 years this summer and I personally am sick and tired of being told that my only option is to have a lavender marriage with an understanding lesbian or a loveless marriage with an unsuspecting woman while trolling public toilets and internet chat rooms on the side. You tell me which of these is the more honorable?



GANNON, GAY PROSTITUTION AND THE WHITE HOUSE

While it might seem thrilling to imagine that Gannon found a sponsor through his website the chances of that are actually next to nil. Far more likely is that he met his sponsor in a more refined setting. In New York there is a piano bar on the East Side that fancies itself a bit of a British gentlemen's club. The place is filled with older men of means and younger men on the make. Prostitution is never mentioned. For a young gay to quote an hourly rate would be a fatal error. In this refined atmosphere we're not talking about by the hour rent-boys but long-term investments: what I've always called mortgage boys.

The young men on the make are not teenagers. They are reasonably well educated and well groomed; in their late 20s, 30s, even 40s and are all hoping to find an older gentlemen who might "mentor" them.

The reason why $$$ is never discussed is because the true value of the John's fantasy is that this isn't just tawdry or naughty but that there is some sort of relationship developing. Somewhere along the line there'll be college "fees", medical bills, a car, a cruise, a fortnight in Aspen or the Hamptons. Or, of course, a job. You get the picture.

Anyway, if this was the ruse under which Gannon scored his Sugar Daddy, the Daddy may never have known about the websites and the hooking. Gannon might (as the phantasy required) have similarly fed him a long story. Didn't Gannon once say he had been living off "savings" - That sounds like a perfectly good way to disguise an illicit cash flow and may well have been the perfect line to feed his sugar daddy. It helped create the impression that Gannon really is one of the boys, one of the club. Well bred, wants to write, has savings or a trust fund. Sound political views. Bingo.

If Gannon really was working the circuit I'm sure he sought to hide his side-line in the Flesh trade and that, in that scenario, his "mentor" may not have known. My short hand reading says - possibly Eberle told Rove or McClellan that Gannon was cool and -wosh - he's in. Everyone knows that these types of events have a front stage and a backstage - we should see if a Jeff Gannon or a JD Gurket is signed in anywhere else in the White House or the Eisenhower Building (Isn't that what the Old Executive Offices are now called? I haven't been to DC in decades)

Once it all seems doable and Gannon seems to be fitting in, OR because the Press Room needs this added layer of subterfuge, Talon News is born.

...Again, it's NOT GANNON'S PERSONAL LIFE - IT'S THEIR OWN.

Blackmail is a subtle art and is often used by those nearest to us. I'm not talking about "emotional" blackmail in the pop psychology sense but something more nuanced. In a secretive culture, like the gay underworld - that I wish could finally disappear altogether - blackmail isn't as crass as open exhortion, the threats are often unspoken. In fact, pressure can be applied in even apparently friendly ways as lovers, ex-lovers, or friends yield simply to accommodate and protect everyone.

Three days ago I spoke with a contemporary of mine, who'd been a regular at CBGB's and places like the 9th Circle who had become a staunch Republican. Although he lives in DC we met in one of the old 70s landmarks we'd each known 30 years ago as he was visiting New York for a few days. (He was keen to tell me about the Constitution Ball he attended this year.) When I asked him just what all this was about, all these secret gays - the whole pack of them - he gave me one of those looks that says "Girl, this says it all" and said, in a whispered tone, "Karl Rove."

He refused to elaborate. As he was off-the-record I'll keep his name off the main dairy for the moment until I speak with him again. I don't think he's near as well connected as he'd like to be but I take it - on face value - as a fair estimate of the gossip current in DC's gay watering holes.

Given the astonishing number of alleged CLOSETED gays in key White House/RNC positions and in their MEDIA outlets it really baffles me how they get away with the amount of malicious and damaging gay baiting they do.


In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future Chimpy


Doug Wead, an author and former aide to President Bush's father, has Bush on tape saying some interesting things. (WaTimes)

Well this is an interesting development. Among other things, it looks like Chimpy partook of some weed, doesn't make a convincing case he didn't do blow, and that he doesn't think very much of the American Taliban yahoos. This won't go over well with his base, though the Freepers are probably going to blame the messenger on this one, since it is the Gray Lady. It's a lengthy article and worth the read. (NYT):
As George W. Bush was first moving onto the national political stage, he often turned for advice to an old friend who secretly taped some of their private conversations, creating a rare record of the future president as a politician and a personality. In the last several weeks, that friend, Doug Wead, an author and former aide to Mr. Bush's father, disclosed the tapes' existence to a reporter and played about a dozen of them.

Variously earnest, confident or prickly in those conversations, Mr. Bush weighs the political risks and benefits of his religious faith, discusses campaign strategy and comments on rivals. John McCain "will wear thin," he predicted. John Ashcroft, he confided, would be a "very good Supreme Court pick" or a "fabulous" vice president. [God, no -- the man who can't look at the naughty bits on statues doesn't need to be on the high court OR a heartbeat away from the presidency.] And in exchanges about his handling of questions from the news media about his past, Mr. Bush appears to have acknowledged trying marijuana.

The conversations Mr. Wead played offer insights into Mr. Bush's thinking from the time he was weighing a run for president in 1998 to shortly before he accepted the Republican nomination in 2000. Mr. Wead had been a liaison to evangelical Protestants for the president's father, and the intersection of religion and politics is a recurring theme in the talks.

Preparing to meet Christian leaders in September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead: "As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways." He added, "I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement."

But Mr. Bush also repeatedly worried that prominent evangelical Christians would not like his refusal "to kick gays." At the same time, he was wary of unnerving secular voters by meeting publicly with evangelical leaders. When he thought his aides had agreed to such a meeting, Mr. Bush complained to Karl Rove, his political strategist, "What the hell is this about?" [Well, we know he got over that reluctance, due to Rove's prodding.]

Mr. Bush, who has acknowledged a drinking problem years ago, told Mr. Wead on the tapes that he could withstand scrutiny of his past. He said it involved nothing more than "just, you know, wild behavior." He worried, though, that allegations of cocaine use would surface in the campaign, and he blamed his opponents for stirring rumors. "If nobody shows up, there's no story," he told Mr. Wead, "and if somebody shows up, it is going to be made up." But when Mr. Wead said that Mr. Bush had in the past publicly denied using cocaine, Mr. Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything." [Geez, what's he's saying is the evidence has disappeared and witnesses have been silenced.]

...He mocked Vice President Al Gore for acknowledging marijuana use. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them," he said.

...Mr. Wead first acknowledged the tapes to a reporter in December to defend the accuracy of a passage about Mr. Bush in his new book, "The Raising of a President." He did not mention the tapes in the book or footnotes, saying he drew on them for only one page of the book. He said he never sought to sell or profit from them. He said he made the tapes in states where it was legal to do so with only one party's knowledge.

Mr. Wead eventually agreed to play a dozen tapes on the condition that the names of any private citizens be withheld. The New York Times hired Tom Owen, an expert on audio authentication, to examine samples from the tapes. He concluded the voice was that of the president.

Later in the article, it's more clearly outlined his differences and common ground with the evangelicals on gays. Bush knew he was going to have to play it close, given his "base" doesn't just object to gay rights, they hate homosexuals to the core.

Bush's oracle on how to handle questions of past pharmaceutical transgressions, televangelist James Robison.

Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays." Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays." [Now you know why the White House is well-stocked with, at the very least, a plethora of gay men.]

As early as 1998, however, Mr. Bush had already identified one gay-rights issue where he found common ground with conservative Christians: same-sex marriage. "Gay marriage, I am against that. Special rights, I am against that," Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, five years before a Massachusetts court brought the issue to national attention.

And finally, we see the well-worn pattern of explaining away Repug past sins, neatly being trotted out most recently by "Jeff Gannon", learned by Bush during his run up to the White House bid:
When Mr. Wead warned that he had heard reporters talking about Mr. Bush's "immature" past, Mr. Bush said, "That's part of my schtick, which is, look, we have all made mistakes." He said he learned "a couple of really good lines" from Mr. Robison, the Texas pastor: "What you need to say time and time again is not talk about the details of your transgressions but talk about what I have learned. I've sinned and I've learned."

...Later, however, Mr. Bush worried that his refusal to answer questions about whether he had used illegal drugs in the past could prove costly, but he held out nonetheless. "I am just not going to answer those questions. And it might cost me the election," he told Mr. Wead.

Thanks to House Blend reader Holly for the pointer.


An "ex-gay" ministry in my own back yard...

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I cross-posted my earlier House Blend entry, "Ex-Gay" and in absolute denial, in a DKos diary today, and received quite a few responses (it made the Recommended List). One person noted that there was a Raleigh-based ministry that frequently sends out mailings for donations to fund its brainwashing of gay people in need of real counseling.

I had no idea about this local crap ministry, Beyond Imagination. It's Exodus-affiliated as well. The leader is right out of the mold of the Exodus cult:

Pastor of yet another "ex-gay" ministry (this one in the Tar Heel State), Beyond Imagination, Ron Elmore and his wife.

From his personal story...note the similarity to the dysfunction of the authors in my earlier post:
During summer break, I walked blindly into a gay club at the beach. With the blaring disco songs of a popular vocalist, I began a very long journey in the homosexual lifestyle. I believed I had finally found male acceptance through homosexual contact.

Shortly afterwards, I joined the Air Force at the urging of my mother. Becoming more and more ambivalent to God, I found my place in the gay nightclubs near the city where I lived. For two years, everything was great with an over abundance of everything I thought I wanted. Then I endured two abusive long term relationships. Each relationship brought me deeper into the homosexual subculture. During those years of involvement I developed a deep suspicion of others mixed with anger and lust. I spiraled deeper and deeper into drugs, alcohol, and pornography. In my anxiety, I frequented the bars, homosexual establishments and adult bookstores. Even as the cavern in my soul grew bigger my Spirit testified to me that I was in rebellion.

In 1987, a co-worker who knew I was an active homosexual and could tell I had been using drugs, confronted me. "Ron," he said, "you need to go back to where your joy is." I remembered how Jesus had come to me as a little boy and met my needs. I heard clearly from the Holy Spirit, "Ron, if you stay where you are, you will die. But if you come back, I will give you life and I will give you life abundantly. You will be loved and cared for. Your greatest desire will be met."

...Within a year of my first Exodus Conference I applied and was accepted to Love in Action. The Lord showed me that I needed a safe place to walk through my relational issues. It was in the LIA program that I became very aware of my sinful nature.

For me, LIA redeemed group living, opened my eyes to see emotional entanglement as sin and helped me define healthy boundaries. God used my season at LIA to redeem my trust of others, especially care givers or authority figures. I became aware of how my actions had hurt others.

A struggle that I walked through at LIA centered around Romans 7:18, "I know that I am rotten through and through as far as my old sinful nature is concerned..." I believed I deserved better than what God was saying. Out of pity and pride I lashed out at others exclaiming that life had been unfair that I was not rotten. Jesus, out of His love, showed me grace and mercy as I struggled with the holiness if God.

My life was in fact out of control. With thanksgiving I now realize, how my leaders at LIA committed to walk with me and with their hearts they helped me to learn to "sit in it" without running. God had a plan and Love In Action helped me to prepare for it.

The transformation in my life since 1990 has been unmistakable. Drugs, alcohol, pornography and homosexuality are no longer a part of my life.

At one time my thoughts were consumed with darkness. Now I wake up in the morning singing and now know because of the blood of Jesus I can take authority over my sin nature which used to so easily beset me.

As this shows you (if you followed the link to read the rest, he's as tortured as the authors of the articles in my earlier post, Elmore lumps being gay with additions to drugs, alcohol and pornography. Someone with this background is so ill-equipped to help gay people struggling with self-loathing.

Beyond Imagination (full-fledged member of the Exodus International cult)
P.O. Box 28294
Raleigh, North Carolina 27611-8294
(919) 501-7601
life@beyondimagination.org


Gannon and his close friends...

Click to enlarge (pun intended)



Thanks to House Blend reader Paul for passing along this gem.


Psy-Ops on AmericaBlog - isn't this just the perfect example of the Rove Machine?


Pasty, evil, Rove and Co. want this Gannon story dead.

It's a clear sign of the power of the blogosphere when the Rove Smear MachineTM starts going after bloggers. John Aravosis's AmericaBlog is the target of a dirty tricks campaign by the Right, ostensibly because Gannongate is getting way too hot.
Well, isn't this interesting. Defenders of Gannon are now phoning people who post comments on AMERICAblog, they pretend to be me, and ask the person to stop posting on the forum. This happened to a good friend of mine who posts here (guys, get a clue, don't call a friend of mine and pretend to be me), and now it's happened to someone else.

First off, when you use a phone, there's an electronic paper trail. Second of all, when you pretend to be someone else, you're very likely bordering on a crime. If this story is so hot that Gannon's, and/or the White House's defenders, are feeling the need to try to sabotage this blog, well all I can say is thanks, and I'm posting this publicly so perhaps we can get another media story out of this.

In the meantime, folks, maybe you shouldn't post your full name to your comments, and be assured I'd never phone any of you.

One more point, this is pure Karl Rove. His MO is to contact people during a campaign and pretend he's representing the other candidate, then do something obnoxious. Good to know we're getting to them, and if any reporter wants the story, give me a holler.
Hey, it's a good thing in a lot of ways. They wouldn't be doing this unless there was more than a hint of smoke to this story. John, we've got your back.


Oliver Willis puts the cards on the table about the Right Wing AgendaTM

OW summarizes beautifully why there is no compromising with the Reich. I'm just posting a hunk of his rant because it needs to be passed along without dilution. It's in the context of the Conservative Political Action Conference, which I posted about earlier today on the Blend. House Blend readers, he's preaching to the choir here, but the folks that really need to listen are the pansy-*ss elected Dems that just don't know how to play Hardball.


"It’s time for a new McCarthyism"

That was the rallying cry by [the bony ass, bed-worn b*tch of the Reich] Ann Coulter, one of the keynote speakers at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference. Ann's hate invective was surrounded by conferences on why the UN is evil, how liberals dominate the media (someone tell Fox News and Rush) and that famous left wing indoctrination zone commonly referred to as public education.

This was not some obscure political meet up, where the lunatic fringe trades conspiracy theories and pudding recipes. This was the premiere gathering of the right, presided over by no less than the vice-president of the United States. It was a meeting of the almost uniformly Caucasian elite conservative movement to discuss, quite literally, their plans to destroy what's good about this country.

I've been told many times that the left needs to be more accommodating to the right, that it just has to sit down and chat with them in order to come to some consensus about how best to go about the business of America. The problem is that this Pollyanna view of things has no basis in reality. The conservative movement controls all three branches of government, it dominates the media, and daily increases its grip on our nation's cultural values. Yet, these people consistently see themselves under siege by a vast network of largely ineffectual liberals. This siege mentality has led them to one conclusion: liberalism must be destroyed. That has created an atmosphere in which the press is no longer simply held in scorn for being "liberal", but is now hounded if it isn't suitably deferential towards the President and his party. They no longer agitate for a place at the table, they want to control the entire table.

You cannot deal with that sort of ideology in any sort of accomodationist manner. Liberals need to understand this, from Democratic senators in Washington who still – still – refuse to vote their conscience out of some sense of loyalty to a long-dead notion of civility in Washington, to progressive pundits who actually believe that their right-wing counterparts in the nation's media are actually there for a give-and-take rather than a chance to paint everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman as a terrorist sympathizer.

Wake up, folks. We're in an ideological war with these folks and the sooner you realize that the better. The goal of the modern conservative movement, as embodied by George W. Bush, is not just a simple majority of conservative thought – rather, it is the elimination of everything but conservative thought. In their dream world, a debate over war in Iran would be between differing ideas on whether a standard issue invasion or a tactical nuclear strike would best suffice. Any other sort of rational solution would be relegated to derision in the right-wing media echo chamber.


The American Taliban has officially taken over in Arkansas


Democratic state Rep. Buddy Blair was sick of bible-beating in the legislature; knuckle-dragging Repug Rep. Michael Lamoureux hasn't read his Constitution lately and doesn't give a damn -- Christian beliefs rule (email: lamoureuxm@arkleg.state.ar.us).

It's not speculation or a joke -- they took a vote -- the separation between church and state has been deemed irrelevant in Arkansas. The legislature has taken leave of its collective civic senses and figuratively lit the Constitution on fire. Is this our country? (AP):
The state House on Friday voted against affirming the separation of church and state in a resolution brought by a legislator who said he was fed up with a religious undertone at the Capitol.

The House voted 44-39 against the proposal. Only two Republicans voted for it, and one of them, Rep. Jim Medley, said he had intended to vote no but didn't get to his machine in time to change his vote. Democratic Rep. Buddy Blair said he offered the measure because he was tired of conservative colleagues "making every issue into a religious issue."

"It's unbelievable to me. They have just voted against the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Arkansas," Blair said.

Legislators have offered bills this session to keep gay people from adopting or serving as foster parents; define marriage in school textbooks as a one-man, one-woman union; require minors to get a parent's permission before an abortion; and offer "In God We Trust" license plates. Republican Rep. Michael Lamoureux said Blair's resolution wasn't needed.

"It's clear that our founding fathers, that they wanted Christian beliefs," Lamoureux said. "The separation of church and state is not in our Constitution."
I would point Mr. Lamoureux to this site, where he can educate himself on church-state separation issues.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution were concerned that European history might repeat itself in the new world. They wanted to avoid the continual wars motivated by religious hatred that had decimated many countries within Europe. They decided that a church/state separation was their best assurance that the U.S. would remain relatively free of inter-religious strife. Many commentators feel that over two centuries of relative religious peace in the U.S. have shown that they were right.

In 1789, the first of ten amendments were written to the Federal Constitution; they have since been known as the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

This was ratified by the States in 1791.

The establishment clause of the First Amendment:

The first phrase in the First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." is called the establishment clause.

Three tests have been derived from various court decisions to decide the constitutionality of laws that have a religious component:
* The Lemon test: This was defined in a Supreme Court ruling in 1971. To be constitutional, a law must:
- have a secular purpose, and
- be neutral towards religion - neither hindering nor advancing it, and
- not result in excessive entanglements between the government and religion.

* The Endorsement Test: Justice O'Connor created this criteria: a law is unconstitutional if it favors one religion over another in a way that makes some people feel like outsiders and others feel like insiders.

* The Coercion Test: Justice Kennedy proposed this criteria: a law is constitutional even if it recognizes or accommodates a religion, as long as its demonstration of support does not appear to coerce individuals to support or participate in a religion.

A simple set of criteria is that the government (and by extension public schools) may not:
* promote one religion or faith group over any other
* promote a religiously based life over a secularly based life
* promote a secularly based life over a religiously based life.


Amendment to Fla. gay adoption ban filed


Florida State Senator Nan Rich wants to protect children in established relationships with gay foster parents.

Does this have a chance? It looks like an attempt to peel back the layers of hatred of the gay adoption ban back and take the core out of it. (PNO):
A Florida lawmaker filed legislation Thursday to amend the state's 1977 law that bans gays and lesbians from adopting. State Sen. Nan Rich has proposed that judges could allow adoptions if they conclude a permanent placement with a gay or lesbian foster parent is more important to a child's development than maintaining a temporary placement. Sen. Rich told the Associated Press the plan is in the best interests of children who have long-standing relationships with their gay foster parents.

But, she adds, her legislation is not a complete repeal of the ban, either. It applies only to "long-standing relationships and tries to protect those children so that they can remain in a permanent placement where they have shared a loving, stable home."

.. Florida is the only state in the union that prevents gays and lesbians from adopting under any circumstances. Convicted felons and drug abusers, however, can adopt as long as they are heterosexual.


Wingnuttery at the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC

Over the last couple of days there has been a gathering of prime grade wingnuts in DC to pat each other on the back for the last election and to plan out the agenda for the next cycle. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) calls itself "the oldest and largest annual gathering of grassroots conservatives."

What's hysterical is that Kos has a mole in the conference and here is what they reported on yesterday's activities...
Today, while teaching an Internet Activist Seminar, Mike Krempasky told his conservative youngens, "Daily Kos is a site built by the hard-left. There is no doubt, they are effective - they are freighteningly effective...It's probably bigger than the Washington Times right now."

He was less sparing about Atrios:

"Atrios is a raging left-wing blogger. He actually hates America. He hates apple pie, he even hates his own mother."
What a magnificent, f*cking badge of honor!

Check out who's there:




I pulled out some choice sessions from the agenda for your reading pleasure.

Novak vs. Donaldson: Did the Media Out Do Itself in 2004?
Bob Novak, Syndicated Columnist/CNN
Sam Donaldson, ABC News
Moderator: Brent Bozell III, Media Research Center - New



Speech
Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Introduction: Morton Blackwell, The Leadership Institute

In Defense of Innovation : The War Against the Drug Companies
Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18)
Sam Kazman, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Deroy Murdock, Columnist & Senior Fellow, Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Dr. Paul Antony, PhRMA - New
Moderator: Dr. Merrill Mathews, Institute for Policy Innovation



Marriage as a Winning Issue in 2004 and Beyond
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell
Dick Wadhams, Chief-of-Staff to Sen. George Allen (VA) - New
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
Moderator:Connie Mackey, Family Research Council

Battling the Left in Its Privileged Sanctuaries
Amanda Carpenter, Ball State University
Jason Mattera -Roger Williams University
Dominic Rupprecht, Bucknell University - New
Moderator: Paul Gourley, College Republican National Committee

Can Conservatives Get an Even Break on Campus? What's Going On in our Colleges?
Dr. Stephen Klugewicz, Collegiate Network
Sara Dogan, Students for Academic Freedom - New
Patrick Coyle, Young America's Foundation
Christina Sommers, American Enterprise Institute
Moderator: Dr. Mike Adams, University of North Carolina



Conservative Principle and Unresolved Issues: Differences Within the Family
On a Federal Marriage Amendment

Kevin Blier, Center for American Cultural Renewal v.
Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin Republicans

The conference also has a "Blogger's Corner", and here's the credentialed who's who (I'm surprised they didn't land DINO Joe Lieberman):

Ana Marie Cox, www.wonkette.com
Kevin Aylward, www.wizbangblog.com
Erick Erickson, www.redstate.org
Kevin McCullough, kmc.crosswalk.com
Sean Hackbarth, www.theamericanmind.com
Robert Cox, www.thenationaldebate.com
James Joyner, www.outsidethebeltway.com
Matt Margolis, www.gopbloggers.com
Chris Nolan, www.chrisnolan.com
Steve McCutcheon, www.ace.mu.nu
Bryan Preston, http://www.junkyardblog.net/
Pat Hynes, www.anklebitingpundits.com
Robin Burk, www.windsofchange.net
Karol Sheinin, www.alarmingnews.com
LaShawn Barber, www.lashawnbarber.com
Hugh Hewitt, www.hughhewitt.com
Athena, www.terrorismunveiled.com
Radley Balko, www.theagitator.com
Ryan Sager, http://www.rhsager.com/
Ryan Zempel, www.townhall.com There's an aggregator for these blogs as well: http://www.cpacbloggers.com/


WaPo covers Gannon and AmericaBlog's John Aravosis delivers a slam dunk


John, forgive me for putting you next to the White House rent boy/cub reporter. :)

Haven't posted on "Jeff Gannon" today, but for all things Propagannon, head over to AmericaBlog. John Aravosis managed to land some serious blows in a WaPo article. "Gannon" is also interviewed and it's a great read -- the lies just keep coming. John nails the hypocrisy, and the rent boy throws out the "Christian forgiveness, it's in the past" line. Guess he couldn't deny all the nudie pics and live prosty sites out there. (WaPo)
John Aravosis, a gay activist who posted the pictures of Gannon on his Americablog.org, said the issue is not Gannon's right to be a journalist but his "White House access. . . . The White House wouldn't let him in the door right now, knowing of his background."

Aravosis said Gannon is guilty of "what I call family-values hypocrisy. Basically, he's asking the gay community to protect him when he attacks us."

Gannon resigned earlier this month as a reporter for two conservative Web sites, Talon News and GOPUSA, both owned by a Texas Republican activist. Gannon became a target after asking President Bush a question that slammed Senate Democrats and contained false information about Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

In the interview, Gannon did not dispute evidence that he has advertised himself as a $200-an-hour gay escort but would not specifically address such questions.

... Aravosis wrote yesterday on his blog that an unnamed television producer says Gannon told him the Iraq war was going to begin four hours before Bush announced it.

Gannon chuckled at that, saying many reporters sensed an attack was imminent because the White House kept delaying the routine announcement that no more news would be made that day. "You could feel it in the air," he said.

Despite the battering he has taken, Gannon hasn't abandoned plans to work in journalism and hopes to generate sympathy by speaking out.

"People criticize me for being a Christian and having some of these questionable things in my past," he said. "I believe in a God of forgiveness."


"Ex-Gay" and in absolute denial

This is a long read, but hopefully interesting for folks...

House Blend reader and ace DKos contributor Pastordan forwarded me two articles from Christianity Today that were deeply disturbing. Both involve people that have felt such self-loathing about their sexual orientation that they have created tortured arguments about what is to blame, and what is the solution. These folks have experienced dysfunction in their families or were in the grips of addictions that overwhelmed them, but they point the finger at their orientation as the root cause or an outgrowth of their negative emotional experiences.

If I'm not gay, it will all get better.

These are people that the religious Right and the discredited "ex-gay" ministries exploit and endanger. They seek to take in gay people that have been so beaten down (by those that purportedly love them) about how wrong it is to be gay. People in that level of emotional pain and confusion are convinced that giving themselves over to someone that can teach them how to be "normal" or "ex-gay" is their salvation.

Read these excerpts and you will see why gay people are two to three times as likely to attempt suicide than the general population. It's clear the problem isn't who they are, but the world of intolerance and religious damnation around them. They cannot see that -- they are full of pain.

Article #1.

My Path to Lesbianism: It was hatred of women that drove me there, and Christ in community that led me out.

Both my mother and father favored my brother. He excelled in athletics and was an above-average student. It is said that children are the best recorders, but the worst interpreters, of information. I interpreted this favoritism to mean that my brother-and not me-was the one who was supposed to succeed. As I watched my parents pour their hopes and dreams into him, I felt like I was on the sidelines. I could either cheer him on or sit back and watch. I chose to cheer.

Cheering for him meant that I gave up on myself. I developed patterns of not following through with commitments and giving up on anything that was difficult. I was never taught how to persevere, how to handle pressure, or how to set and achieve a goal. I didn't learn how to compete, how to win, or even how to lose. I lived in a vacuum I created with self-destructive behavior that included drugs, alcohol, and self-mutilation, and I have battled the effects of depression for many years. Over time, misogyny eats away at the core of women's souls and leaves them feeling unprotected, ashamed, vulnerable, and frightened. That's how it left me.

...Mary Beth Patton, a psychologist, counselor, and researcher of same-sex attraction who is on the board of Portland Fellowship, an Exodus International-affiliated ministry, so described what happens to women like me: "Women who deal with same-sex attraction often possess a history of dis-identification with their mothers, and therefore with their femininity. This leads to a longing for connection with the feminine that becomes sexualized in adolescence."

...I've had to surrender those past hurts to God. I've had to confess my weakness, self-hatred, and my hatred of women. I've had to choose to keep myself present to the larger body of Christ and be willing to enter into transparent relationships with people. Healing comes in community and by being in fellowship with other believers. Isolation is one of the greatest enemies of the soul. We kid ourselves into believing that we can meet our own needs, but the truth is, we don't have that much power. My healing continues, but the healing that's already occurred has come through inner-healing prayer, professional Christian counseling, and participation in a program called Living Waters, by Desert Stream Ministries, and run by Regeneration of Northern Virginia, an Exodus International-affiliated ministry. I have put off the labels of victim and lesbian and betrayed. I have had to be willing to let God define me as a woman and to show me how to be comfortable with my true femininity. Whereas once I dreaded women's fellowship groups for fear that everyone could see the little girl I felt I was in a grownup body, I am now learning to participate confidently, as a woman. I've had to ask God to break the power of those vows I made to protect myself. I've had to grieve a lot of what happened in my past. I've had to let God into some deep places of pain.

This is a sad story. What does it have to do with being gay? As far as I can tell, not much -- but it is clearly a cry for help. If you read the entire article, you come to the conclusion that yes, she had a f*cked up childhood and parents that were screwed up, but how many families might that describe? Not all of these kids turn out to be gay. Someone that has experienced such dysfunction needs to be in therapy -- and I don't mean the kind Exodus International is offering. Can faith and religion help this woman put her life in perspective? I have no doubt that it can for some people, but in reaching out to outfits like Exodus or Regeneration will only make her more dependent on their cult-like isolation from the real world.


"Ex-Gay" mill Regeneration is endorsed by James Dobson and Chuck Colson.

In the next case, the author blames the "Affirming Church" for allowing him to embrace homosexuality before he "saw the light". It's clear that his despair was caused by an addiction to porn -- something that he had no idea how to address except to blame it on his orientation and to frame it in fundamentalist religious terms.

Article #2:

Cheated by the Affirming Church: Contrary to what some churches teach, it is homosexuality-and not its suppression-that enslaves people like me.

Like many other Christians, I have struggled for years with same-sex attraction. By God's grace I know freedom from a way of life that still holds too many others captive. Yet many within the so-called affirming church would deny us that freedom. They say homosexuality is God's plan for our lives, even though the Bible clearly says that homosexual behavior is a sin. It is not my intention to prove it; many conservative theologians have already done so. Instead, let me highlight, on a practical level, the negative effects of affirming this sin.

...Twenty-five years ago, God blessed me with the gift of being attracted to the wonderful woman who is now my wife. Because of fear and lack of faith, I hid my struggle from her for 23 of those years. I am told by many of my ex-gay friends that I am "lucky." While I had two boyfriends in my teen years, God, in his grace-not to mention my fear of discovery-kept me from engaging in explicit homosexual activity. My experience was limited to simple physical affection and the indulgence in homosexual pornography.

But I don't feel lucky. I wanted to believe the message of the affirming church-that I was born this way, that I couldn't be happy without accepting my homosexuality, and that I couldn't change. I had the occasional fall to gay porn bought at an "adult" shop on business trips. Then I discovered online pornography. Suddenly, I could indulge myself whenever I wanted. Unlike many of the "straight" porn sites that charge fees, many gay sites operate at no charge. I was quickly hooked.

I spent several years in bondage to lust. Over and over, I would quit, shamed beyond measure. But the message that I should embrace my identity as a "gay Christian" continued to entice me, and I would return to my self-made prison. My sin separated me from God, and I lost the joy of my salvation. My conscience didn't side with the affirming church.

After so many years of stimulation, my senses became dulled. I no longer could get the rush I needed so badly. Encouraged by the message of the affirming church, I was "embracing" my homosexuality. But as I fell deeper into sin, my marriage grew increasingly boring, and my wife's love seemed more and more distant.

An article by a fellow struggler, "No Easy Victory" (CT, March 2002), gave me the courage to come clean to my wife. By confessing my sin to God, my wife, and a few others within my local church, I began the journey to true freedom. In the end, I was set free thanks to a combination of accountability and an internet course called Door of Hope at www.settingcaptivesfree.com.

I unlearned the lies that the affirming church propagates. I admit my responsibility for believing them, and for my actions based on them. But the damage continues to reverberate.

Do these people seem free from the pain in their lives? It doesn't sound like it, and it begs the question - what are these "ex-gay" ministries doing for these people? The "ex-gay" movement has no way to prove that they've "cured" anyone of homosexuality. In fact, the leading British pastoral counseling movement to steer self-loathing gays to psychotherapy or religion, Courage, no longer attempts to "cure" people of homosexuality.


The cover of Besen's book; the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley on gays: "We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem."

Wayne Besen's excellent Anything But Straight exposed the hypocrisy, scandal and lies perpetuated by these ministries, including details on a professed "cured" leader of the movement photographed by the author cruising in a gay bar. The irony is that two of the founders of Exodus, Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, actually fell in love, divorced their wives, and eventually held a commitment ceremony.

And it's not just Exodus and the evangelical Christian movement in the game...the Mormon church endorses a variation of ministry called "reparative therapy." Though the church says it is not directly affiliated with organizations responsible for the mental and emotional torture of vulnerable gays and lesbians, they are threatened with rejection by both their church and their families if they do not submit to "treatment." Here is an account of the type of "treatment" self-loathing homosexual Mormons put themselves through to avoid being rejected by both their church and their families.
"I dreamed that I was in a fairly erotic situation with another man, and then midway through, I would just be electrocuted." Jayce Cox says he doesn't have the dream on a weekly basis any more, and he's relieved. Now it's just every couple of months that he bolts up, startled and shaking, in the middle of the night. He attributes this recurring dream to the aversion therapy administered at Brigham Young University.

Jayce tells his story:

It's 1995. He is sitting in an office on the campus of BYU, where his counselor has attached electrodes to his hands, arms, torso and genitals. His Mormon Bishop gave him a referral to the counselor. Jayce is shown pornographic images of men having sexual encounters. Then, ZAP! His body tingles, then aches from the electrical shock administered by his trusted counselor. He is scheduled for twice-weekly sessions for four months. "Toward the end of the program I could press a button and it would stop the shock and then a picture of a woman would come on."

But Jayce is 19 years old and he willingly goes back for more. He gives them his college savings -- $9,000 -- for the treatments which are promised to cure his homosexuality.

"They promised me it would work, and who doesn't want to live a life that's normal and acceptable in your society and have your family embrace you?" he asks rhetorically.

Therapist Ron Lawrence of Community Counseling Center in Las Vegas says this "reparative therapy" is "equivalent to what I would call the kind of torture that people experienced in Nazi concentration camps."

This is why the Christianity Today articles seem so tragic to me. It makes you wonder if these people will ever truly feel "saved" emotionally and spiritually.


HHS Backs Down On Gay Funding Threats

Friday, February 18, 2005


Bush drone Charles G. Curie as head of SAMHSA got the leash snapped on his ass by mental health professionals.

Oh, the government queer-queasy people got the message, hahaha. See my earlier Blend post on this, "Bush admin wants to scrub LGBT from suicide prevention talk, add faith-based crap". (365Gay.com):
The Bush administration has backed down on a call for an LGBT suicide conference to remove the words 'gay,' 'lesbian,' 'bisexual' and 'transgender' from its material.

Charles Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, now says that it is permissible for groups that receive money from the agency to use the terms 'Gay', 'Lesbian', 'Bisexual' and 'Transgender' in the titles of SAMHSA-sponsored public events.

On Wednesday 365Gay.com reported that SAMHSA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, had issued a veiled threat to organizers of the conference to be held in Portland, Oregon on February 28, that the use of LGBT terms could result in its funding being pulled.


Members of the American Taliban meet in FL to strategize


D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is also head of the scarily-named Evangelism Explosion International. Wingnut, pastor, politician, activist, and musician Gary Cass is, according to his bio, a "tireless Christian warrior for God and an entrenched pro-life activist."

(Palm Beach Post):
Motivated by recent Republican successes at the polls and the threat of same-sex marriages, hundreds of conservative Christians from across the nation are gathering at Coral Ridge Ministries today for a two-day conference to sharpen their political skills and promote their social and cultural agenda.

Called "Reclaiming America for Christ 2005," the conference features topics such as Defending Religious Liberties, The Role of Christians in Civil Government, Christian Persecution and The Influence of the Bible in America.

"The moral landscape of America is in disarray," writes D. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and noted televangelist in a welcoming letter. He believes the social and cultural mood of the country has shifted to the point that "there has never before been such a time as this, when the potential for God-honoring change in our land was so great."

While banning abortion remains a core issue for Christian conservatives, efforts to prohibit same-sex marriages have taken center stage this year.

"The marriage issue and the assault upon it has probably done more to energize the social conservative base than any other issue," said Gary Cass, executive director of Reclaiming America.

...Cass said elected officials who were helped by "values voters" will be in trouble in the next election if they do not vote correctly on social and cultural issues. "We want to remind our friends that once they are elected, we expect them to do their part," Cass said. "We try to be respectful and kind, but our values are more important than a person's political career."

Among the speakers scheduled at the conference are David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a group that opposes abortion; Stephen Bennett, a popular Christian musician who talks about being a former homosexual; Daniel Dreisbach, an American University professor and author of Real Threat and Mere Shadow: Religious Liberty and the First Amendment ; Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee; Richard Land, a member of President Bush's Commission on International Religious Freedom; David Limbaugh, author of Persecution; Rick Scarborough, author of Enough is Enough!, a book about his fight to stop sex education in school; and Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association.


Va. Antiabortion Measures Fizzle Before Senate Panel


Virginia Delagate Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) waves a prop fetus doll in his sideshow to the Senate's Education and Health Committee. He referred to the committee as the "killing ground for all pro-family legislation" when the EHC dumped the measure. (Bob Brown -- Richmond Times-dispatch)

Several anti-choice measures were thankfully defeated in the Virginia legislature yesterday. There were a couple that were simply too far beyond the pale, including the "fetal pain" measure, which argued "compassion for the fetus." The intent, its proponents freely admit, is to get it to pass somewhere, and chip away at Roe v Wade that way. It's a brilliant approach that will win votes without any medical evidence to support the claim of fetal pain. I have no doubt a law like this will find a home in one of the Red states eventually.

Here are the measures killed by the Senate's Education and Health Committee yesterday:

House Bill 1524, sponsored by Del. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun): Would require physicians to inform women past 20 weeks of pregnancy that the fetus could feel pain during an abortion and to administer anesthesia to such a fetus before aborting it, unless the woman directs that no anesthesia be used or the doctor feels it could put the mother at risk. Failing to do so would be a misdemeanor offense.

HB 1810, sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William): Would prohibit the sale of fetal tissue after abortions and would make engaging in such acts a misdemeanor.

HB 2784, sponsored by Del. John S. "Jack" Reid (R-Henrico): Would require that abortion clinics in which 25 or more first-trimester abortions are performed in a year be licensed and observe regulations now in place for ambulatory surgery centers. Clinics could apply to the Board of Health annually for exemptions from the regulations, and the commissioner of health could deny, suspend or revoke the license of abortion clinics if violations of regulations were found.

(WaPo):
Senators on the panel say they are blocking bills they consider irresponsible and unconstitutional.

"This committee has essentially been, for the last decade, the safety check on legislation that would virtually destroy a woman's access to an abortion in Virginia," said Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax).

The key defeat for abortion opponents came in the morning, when the committee rejected a bill that would have required doctors to inform women seeking abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that the fetus could feel pain during the procedure and to offer anesthesia to counter it. Black, who authored House Bill 1524, argued that compassion for the fetus should prompt the bill's passage.

Critics said that fetal pain has not been medically proven and that the anesthesiology demanded under the bill could increase risks to women. Black said afterward that his intention has been to educate about the realities of abortion, and he said he is convinced that passage of a fetal pain bill would spell the end of legal abortion.

Granted, if medical proof does arise that fetal pain is real, it puts pro-choice activists in a tough position, in the same way that late-term abortion does. Each side of the legal tug of war on choice is going to have difficulties on this front as science gets closer to confirming one side's position or the other. There are no easy answers, and in the end, no winners on this topic because I don't see a healthy compromise.

Thanks to House Blend reader Holly for the pointer.


Ann Coulter pollutes the airwaves of CSPAN



8:15 AM: The bony ass, bed-worn b*tch of the Reich, Ann Coulter, is on CSPAN with Brian Lamb right now (how could you, Brian?!), arguing that the last Congress wasn't conservative enough, too many RINOS, she said. Good god.


Third N.C.-Based Soldier Dies After Exhibiting Flu-Like Symptoms

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Sgt. Clay Garton's family says the Army veteran exhibited flu-like symptoms after returning from overseas deployments.

Something's wrong here, and based on past coverups, no one's likely to get a straight answer out of the Pentagon. Especially if our elected officials aren't asking any questions. (WRAL):
Sgt. Clay Garton was a flight medic at Fort Bragg. He spent 16 months in Iraq and returned home in July. Then, he got sick. His family said he had symptoms like the flu. He fought it for three weeks, but his fever soared to 106 degrees. The day after Christmas, he died.

"They came out in five minutes and said, 'He's gone,'" said Duane Garton, Clay's father.

According to a preliminary autopsy report, Garton's liver and spleen were swollen. His wife said doctors told her he died from infection. It is the third recent example of soldiers dying after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Capt. Gilbert Munoz was a special forces soldier at Fort Bragg who was deployed to the Middle East. After he got back, he died from a bacterial infection.

Sgt. Christopher Rogers was a reservist from Raleigh. He went to Afghanistan. After he came home, his temperature hit 109 degrees. His widow, Windy Rogers, wonders whether he had what Munoz had.


Windy Rogers widow of Sgt. Christopher Rogers.

"Chris was admitted with flu-like symptoms. Whatever it was, it shut all of his organs down -- shut them all down -- and I want to know what happened," she said.

Garton's family has questions, too. His wife said while Garton was in Iraq, he treated someone exposed to depleted uranium. Garton's father wonders if that had something to do with his death. "He went through 16 months of hell and he came back and they didn't do nothing for him," he said.

WRAL called Fort Bragg, the Department of the Army and some congressional offices. At this point, it does not appear that anyone is investigating the deaths or trying to determine if there is a common cause.


Tom's terror alert policies, big shock, were politicized, strategized with GOP consultants


"I'm telling a whopper THIS BIG." The f*cker was lying. Consulting with Repug pollster/strategist (and owner of one of the worst hairpieces in the U.S.) Frank Luntz about Ridge's trips to battleground states during the campaign is hardly a non-political use of the Homeland Security director's time.

As just about anyone with a brain figured out (that leaves out Freepers), Tom Ridge jerked that color-coded joker up and down based on how hot the water was on the administration. They played people like fiddles with this crap alert system. Who loses? Everyone, because those security alerts cost local municipalities tons of money. I was in NYC just before the GOP convention, and the traffic and delays caused by the unnecessary ratcheted up security was just devastating to business. (AP):
Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met privately with Republican pollsters twice in a 10-day span last spring as he embarked on more than a dozen trips to presidential battleground states.

Ridge's get-togethers with Republican strategists Frank Luntz and Bill McInturff during a period the secretary was saying his agency was playing no role in Bush's re-election campaign were revealed in daily appointment calendars obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," Ridge told reporters during the election season. His aides resisted releasing the calendars for over a year, finally providing them to the AP three days after Ridge left office this month. Homeland Security officials said the meeting with Luntz at department headquarters was aimed at improving public communication of the department's message, particularly on TV. Ridge declined an interview with the AP about the calendars, referring questions to former aides.

"We did not discuss homeland security in a presidential campaign context," said Susan Neely, a former assistant homeland security secretary who attended the May 17 session with Luntz and Ridge. "We asked him his impression of how well we were explaining whatever the issues were of the day. There was no follow-up meeting."


How will the WWE crowd take this news?



The Rock is all about coming out of the closet. That should go over well in Freeperville. Then again, pro wrestling is one big homoerotic fest. (ContactMusic.com):
Wrestler-turned-movie star DWAYNE 'THE ROCK' JOHNSON is urging his gay celebrity pals to come clean about their sexuality because he's convinced it will be a career boost for them.

THE SCORPION KING star plays a gay bodyguard in new JOHN TRAVOLTA comedy BE COOL and he claims the role has made him realise that homosexuality is no longer something that needs to be hidden in Hollywood.

He tells gay magazine OUT, "I know a lot of gay actors in Hollywood who don't want to come out, and whatever the reasons are I respect that.

"But I think if people love you now, and if you came out, they would love you more, and if they didn't, then they weren't real people to begin with."


They train 'em well, those Young Repugs



[UPDATE: I received an email from Nathan Taylor on May 19, requesting the removal of this blog entry because of information published by the AP in March. I'm not taking down an entry that simply references a publicly available story on the LVR-J web site based on the facts at the time and told him so.]

The update story, which details that the complaint has been dropped, appears in the Las Vegas Sun:
A criminal complaint has been dropped against a state Young Republicans member accused of embezzling registration fees for an upcoming GOP convention.

Joe Brezny, Nevada's national committeeman for Young Republicans, said he asked Reno police to drop the complaint against Nathan Taylor after determining the charges were groundless.

"We're trying to set the record straight," Brezny said. "We're going to do whatever it takes to clear his name as best we can."

Taylor, 29, a senior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, accepted the apology.

"I am disappointed it got to the press, but I've forgiven those groups for what they did," Taylor told the Reno Gazette-Journal.


The original post:

How about this for family values and bright young minds of the next generation of Repugs? GOP operative accused of theft. (Las Vegas Review-Journal):
The young Nevada man designated to chair the upcoming 2005 Young Republican National Convention in Las Vegas has been accused of embezzling registration fees from around the country to pay off bar tabs, personal loans and credit card debts.

Nevada's national committeeman for Young Republicans filed a criminal complaint Monday with the Reno Police Department alleging Nathan Taylor received more than $25,000 in registration fees and donations through his corporation, YRNC 2005, and spent almost all of it in the past year for personal use.

Taylor interned in Gov. Kenny Guinn's office during the 2003 Legislature and has worked for former Republican state Sen. Mark James and in Las Vegas City Hall, where he worked on projects for then-Councilman Michael McDonald.

...The complaint contains an affidavit from Kriston Whiteside, president of the UNR College Republicans, alleging Taylor asked her to write a check from YRNC 2005 to pay for his birthday party at a bar, among other expenses.



In a letter to Reno police, Arjun Dhingra, state chairman of the Young Republicans, states roughly $25,000 received from 200 individuals around the country for the July 6-10 convention at Mandalay Bay is gone.

The complaint also includes a bank statement showing withdrawals from the YRNC 2005 account at Bully's bar in Carson City, at a PF Chang's restaurant, at Shell Oil, at Mandalay Bay and twice for $200 in cash during a 30-day period.

"Nathan Taylor is no longer authorized to plan or engage in any fund-raising activities related to the 2005 Young Republican National Convention," said Michael Mack, chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Young Republican National Federation. "The Nevada Young Republicans now hold the contract and the sole rights to that event. The decision was made for internal reasons that I'm not at liberty to discuss at this point."


File under "just so you know" -- guidelines for White House press credentials

The wingnut Washington Times has a blurb on yesterday's meeting between the White House Correspondents' Association and Scotty McClellan. No one decided to change anything about how press room reporters are credentialed, BTW. Anyway, the bit of news in was what the guidelines actually are for credentials. Neither side asked for any changes in their little discussion. Big surprise, huh? Well, take a look. Budding reporter and rent boy "Jeff Gannon" didn't make the cut on the criteria.
Under nonmandatory guidelines from the Clinton administration, which are sometimes bent by the White House and by news organizations, reporters seeking a permanent White House "hard pass" must:

  1. Work for a news organization with a Washington bureau.

  2. Be certified by the organization's executives as a regular correspondent.

  3. Demonstrate a need to be at the White House on a daily basis.

  4. Live in the Washington area.

  5. Be a member of the congressional press gallery.

Mr. McClellan said he reiterated the administration stance in yesterday's meeting that the White House should not be deciding which reporters get in. "I certainly don't think it's the press secretary's role to get into picking and choosing," he said in a telephone interview.



Jeff fills out the form...
  1. Work for a news organization with a Washington bureau.
  2. [uh...check.]
  3. Be certified by the organization's executives as a regular correspondent.
  4. [uh...check.]
  5. Demonstrate a need to be at the White House on a daily basis.
  6. [uh...check. I have plenty of "appointments"]
  7. Live in the Washington area.
  8. [uh...check.]
  9. Be a member of the congressional press gallery. [uh...check.]


Ding ding ding...here's your pass, Jeff, love Scotty.


PBS chief "stepping down" -- can you see the footprints on her back?


Pat Mitchell drew criticism for an episode of the children's program Postcards From Buster, which featured a lesbian couple. By Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

[Incidentally, Buster aired in the Triangle area -- on the day of Bush's State of the Union address, no less, ha ha.]

Do you really think this didn't play any role, in today's American Taliban government? Please. She won't be out the door until June 2006, but she won't be doing anything remotely labeled "progressive" now that her leash has been jerked tight by Education Sec Margaret Spellings. (FL Herald-Tribune):
...Public television is suffering from an identity crisis, executives inside the Public Broadcasting Service and outsiders say, and it goes far deeper than the announcement by Pat Mitchell that she would step down next year as the beleaguered network's president.

...Corporate underwriters have been less willing to finance PBS programs, which has left the network increasingly dependent on Washington, where Republicans criticize its programming as elitist and liberal. Conservatives have complained about Bill Moyers's news program (he has since retired from it) and about a recent children's program featuring a rabbit named Buster who visited a pair of lesbian parents.

After Education Secretary Margaret Spellings threatened to retract financing for that program - a controversy that some called Bustergate - Ms. Mitchell decided not to distribute it. In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Mitchell, 62, said she had felt no pressure, either from inside her board or outside of PBS, to step aside.

[But in the next breath...]

She also said she had not been personally pressured to change programming by Republicans at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides federal money to the system. But she said her programmers had worked with their counterparts at the corporation, which is led by White House appointees, in developing several new shows, including a talk show for the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson. "They certainly want to make sure we are providing a balanced schedule," she said. "We believe we are. We check that with the people we report to - our member stations and the American public."

One high-level executive at PBS headquarters in Washington, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation for PBS, said new managers at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had been concerned about a perceived liberal bias at PBS as well as difficulties in fund-raising.

"The thing to remember with public broadcasting is that everything is steered by the money," the executive said. "What used to be a unique thing is now in this competitive environment and has to do whatever it can to survive, which means bending in a way it used to never bend."

...PBS is also being criticized by others, like Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and a longtime advocate of more money for public television.

"I'm concerned that PBS is so desperate for funding and support from the Republican-dominated Congress that they're willing to sell their legacy," Mr. Chester said. "They could forgo their historic mandate to do cutting-edge programming and replace it with Bush-administration-friendly educational content."


You must play the Shady Bunch Match Game



Via The Swift Report


Gannon worked the White House briefing room before there was a Talon News

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Man, I go out to dinner and come back and this sh*t blows up...



The rent boy was sitting there asking questions in the press room on Feb 28 2003, not employed by any news organization. This screen shot is from CSPAN ("Jeff" chimes in at 31:45).

How, do you ask, did this hooker get credentials to be there? Patron of Lone Star gay bars and White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said at the Feb 10 press gaggle: 'He, like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly, and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes, just like many others are.'

Oops. Must have been a memory slip, Scotty. 'Talon News' did not exist until Mar 29 2003. He was in the briefing above on Feb 28 2003. Who gave him clearance and why?

See:
Daily Kos -- Guess what? 'Gannon' was in the White House BEFORE April 2003

Intelligence Squad: Was This the Debut of "Jeff Gannon?

...and the transcript of the briefing, from the White House web site.

This is smelling funkier than a overflowing hog lagoon.




Freepers bash Sean Hannity for calling them "fringe element"


Evil, even to the Freepers now.

I LOVE IT. Oy, don't get the Freepers mad. Apparently wingnut Sean Hannity better not show his face in that forum again. He said on his show that Free Republic had been taken over by a "fringe element." He would not go unpunished. Oh, and their new beacon of democracy is the cretinous Michael Savage. Good night.


Actual Freeper Quotes™:

"what a jackass"

"Sean Sean Sean... you don't have to turn on us just because we're sick of hearing you plug your book all the time."

"Only if Hannity regards educated 'high falutin' people as fringe."

""Free Republic is childish. Come to MY board instead". I really liked him a lot until now."

"The whine of his voice is like finger nails on chalk board."

"He's just peeved because he's recognized as an egotistical bore primarily interested in selling books."

"there's an element of truth in that."

"I just heard it too, He wants to have His own FR on Hannity.com of course."

"He also said he left as did a lot of his friends. Also, he has established his own forum, if I heard correctly. That is it for me, Sean."

"When did I become a fringe person? I thought I was a run-of-the-mill NeoCon."

"says he hasn't signed on in two years....yeah right."

"He also said we eat our own, and all the people he knew left long time ago."

"I'm not a Hannity fan though I respect how much of himself he devoted to the reelection of President Bush. But the comments he just made were cheap and not supported by my own experience here. Secondly, he says he doesn't read this site...I don't believe him."

"The "Great One" posts here, though."

"I can't BELIEVE what he just said about us!!!!! "tendency to eat thier own"??????? "engage in petty squabbling"??????? %^*^#!@% to YOU HANNITY!"


"Free republic HAS NOT been taken over by the lunatic fringe. I simply do not buy that."

"Yeah, fringe people who blasted Rathergate open... You're welcome from FR, Sean."

"Personally, I cannot listen to the guy anymore. His show is boring, and his ego is just too much. I've switched to The Savage Nation instead. Mike is more in line with my thinking."

"The sad fact of the matter is that a message posting board is always remembered by its most extreme members. Thats just how it goes. There ARE quite a few here whom I would consider "out there", but by far, the majority here are pretty reasonable type, it just so happens that alot of those with the more extreme POV tend to post alot..."

"Fringe? I am not fringe! When do we start the attack? Right Now! "Hey Hannity!""

"Then we're even. He's a repetitive book-hustler and not the least bit entertaining as Rush is almost every day. Listen to Michael Medved instead, at the same time - your brain will actually grow if you do that."

"I thought this forum morphed into his show. Nothing critical about the President was allowed unless the kid gloves were on."

"I may wear fringe. My sanity may be on the fringe. But otherwise, I ain't fringe (poor white trash mebby, but not fringe)."

"Free Republic is childish. Come to MY board instead".
Well, to be fair, sometimes there is a whiff of childishness, true (and even more than a whiff on occasion). But it is not the same as being taken over by the fringe types, not even close. So what is his complaint?"

"hannity is a sellout. I new him for a fraud the day I began listening to the Savge Nation."


OMG. He has no brain, part #459458



Our president: "Benefit cuts is an interesting word."

(Via Oliver Willis, from Reuters).


A scrumptious stew - Howard Dean, Ken Mehlman and the Family Research Council


Family Research Council's Tony Perkins want to get Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman in the same room. Hoo-hah.

I would love to be a fly on the wall at this meeting of the minds. Please Howard, you have to go. (Ultra Wingnut Agape Press):
The Family Research Council has invited newly elected Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, along with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, to address the the pro-family organization's Washington Briefing in March. FRC president Tony Perkins notes that Dean appears to be living up to the commitments he made during his chairmanship campaign to meet with all constituencies in an effort to build a more inclusive Democratic Party.

Perkins notes that Dean's schedule last Friday had him appearing before the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, the Seniors Coordination Council, the Women's Caucus, and groups of Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Pacific Islanders, all in a day. The head of the FRC observes that Dean told the GLBT Democrats they were 'among the most persecuted people in the history of mankind,' but could not confirm whether the ultra-liberal leader said the same to the Native American or African American audiences that might have a clearer claim to the 'most persecuted' title.

Perkins says Dean was invited to address the FRC in the name of inclusiveness, as well as to give the values voters who attend the group's DC briefing a chance to hear from both major political parties on the important issues. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party Chairman will accept the pro-family group's invitation.


Well, isn't that a newsflash - Bush needs to raise taxes for his Social Security "plan"


This photo makes me ill. Go ahead, use them for photo ops before you screw over their future. President Bush with local children in NH as he pimps his proposed dismantling. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Guess he didn't want to share this little necessary detail of his plan before the election. (AP):
President Bush is not ruling out raising taxes on people who earn more than $90,000 as a way to help fix Social Security's finances.

...He gave only passing mention to options for fixing the program's long-term financial woes, but told reporters for regional newspapers on Tuesday that he isn't ruling out making more wages subject to Social Security taxes. Asked directly, Bush said he would not bar raising the $90,000 cap, although he does not want to see the payroll tax rate go up.

"The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all the other issues go on the table," Bush said in the interview, according to an account in Wednesday's New Haven (Conn.) Register.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said raising the cap on Social Security taxes is just one option among many being advocated. "Just because he said it was an option doesn't mean he embraced it," Duffy added.


Did these idiots really believe those ads?

What morons. Now, this lawsuit needs to be tossed out -- they are upset that their "male enhancement supplements" didn't work as advertised. (Reuters):
In the latest case, filed on Jan. 21 in New Jersey state court, plaintiff Michael Coluzzi claimed he paid $59.95 for a 30-day supply of Alzare pills but "experienced no increase in penis size," and then was unable to collect a promised refund from manufacturer Alzare LLC of Boca Raton, Florida.

...Coluzzi's attorney, Stephen DeNittis, said many men had been taken in by dubious claims that the product would add up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) to their penises by "very, very convincing" advertising, such as infomercials featuring doctors and porn stars.



Come on, people. Have you ever seen those Enzyte ads (another of these supplements)? You'd have to be up and watching some random cable channel around 2AM to catch them. Kate and I found them really creepy,. The guy in the commercial (above) has this weird smile plastered on his face throughout. Wonder what kind of acting jobs this guy gets now?


Joke headline of the day: Internet Explorer 7.0 to Focus on Security

What security? The app will be full of holes, just like all releases. Get Firefox, it's faster and a better browser. But it's a real story.


Bigoted Bristol, CT lawmakers rival the crackers in Alabama when it comes to marriage


Here's the best and brightest in legislative representation in CT: Colapietro: "It’s not a cure for the sickness allowing them to marry"; Hamzy: "There are proven benefits to defining marriage as being between a man and a woman"; Michele: "You’re going to bring in a whole combination of other situations".

Whoa. You are not going to believe some of the knuckle-draggers up in Bristol, CT. These homophobic comments rival anything the rednecks down in 'Bama have rolled off of their southern-fried tongues. (Bristol Press):
Supporters of legislation that would allow gay marriage in Connecticut won’t find any help from Bristol’s lawmakers.

"It’s a sickness I think," said state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Terryville Democrat whose district includes Bristol. "It’s not a cure for the sickness allowing them to marry."

But opening the door to gay marriage -- or at least civil unions -- may have enough support among the General Assembly to make it possible the proposal will win passage this term. "We really have a good chance this session to pass a civil union bill," said state Sen. Jonathan Harris, a West Hartford Democrat whose district includes Burlington.

He said there is a consensus among lawmakers to approve civil unions in Connecticut that may not extend to gay marriage. "We’ll have to see how that pans out," Harris said. "What’s important is that people have the same bundle of civil and economic rights" whether a committed couple is gay or straight, he said.

The first test of the issue will come sometime in the next month or so in the Judiciary Committee, where bills that would legalize gay marriage or create civil unions are under consideration.

"I expect a fairly tight vote," said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, the chief opponent of the measures. Brown said his group is adamantly opposed to both proposals.


Brian Brown, the local "family values" monitor of FIC.

With civil unions, he said, "In every respect it will be same-sex marriage -- except the name."

"I’ve voted against it every time and I will again this year," said state Rep. Kosta Diamantis, a Democrat whose district spans the southern third of town.

"I think the traditional definition of marriage should be the law of the land," said state Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose district includes northwestern Bristol. "There are proven benefits to defining marriage as being between a man and a woman," Hamzy said.


Diamantis says he opposes civil unions as well. Boukus "has compassion, but I can't change who I am."

State Rep. Betty Boukus, a Plainville Democrat whose district includes a tiny portion of Forestville, said she firmly believes that marriage should only be possible between a man and a woman. "I have compassion," she said. "I really do. But I can’t change who I am."

State Rep. Roger Michele, a Bristol Democrat who represents the northeastern section of town, said that "once we cross the line, the sharp line that defines marriage, there are many different categories that will want to be considered next." Any other group that has a sexual preference other than a man and a woman would feel they should get the same benefit," Michele said, including "bisexuals, homosexuals and the other. There are extremes," Michele said, that would lobby for the right to marry as well once the line is crossed.

"You’re going to bring in a whole combination of other situations" if gay men and women are allowed to marry, he said. [WTF?]

"I just can’t condone" same-sex marriage, Colapietro said. "My heart and my stomach won’t let me. I just think it should be a man and a woman." Colapietro said he’s always opposed gay marriage "yet I really sympathize with those who are gay."

He said he has gay friends "and I’m there when they need me." [Except when it really counts, you dumb bastard.]

Michele, Hamzy, Diamantis and Colapietro said they don’t see a meaningful distinction between civil unions and gay marriage. They said they’re opposed to civil unions as well. "We are protecting an institution and not merely a word," Brown said.

Two of the Bristol legislators - Michele and Hamzy - serve on the Judiciary panel.

Three of Bristol’s delegates are married: Hamzy, Diamantis and Boukus. For Diamantis, it is his second marriage. Colapietro and Michele are both divorced.

Michele said there is no reason to broaden the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to wed. "They already have the same opportunity to get married," Michele said, "just probably not to the person they want to be with."

"Everybody can’t have everything," he said.

Hamzi: William.Hamzy@housegop.state.ct.us
Boukus: Betty.Boukus@cga.ct.gov
Diamantis: (860) 585-9500 (no listed email)
Colapietro: Colapietro@senatedems.ct.gov
Michele: Roger.Michele@cga.ct.gov


Propagannon, in its full flower, gets more coverage



You had to wonder when significant aspects of this story would get coverage outside of Keith Olbermann. John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog mentioned two stories that are finally cracking open their notebooks and talking about the sleaze, corruption and security risk that the "Jeff Gannon" debacle represents. So far, as John said, it's been "Pay no attention to the naked gay conservative male prostitute sitting in the middle of the family values White House living room."

Howard Kurtz: Online Nude Photos Are Latest Chapter In Jeff Gannon Saga

Joe Conason: ‘Liberal’ Media Silent About Guckert Saga

As John said in an earlier post on this silence (and lack of action by Dem politicians on this):
...just imagine if this were 1998 and the president were named Bill Clinton. Just imagine that it was discovered that a prostitute was given regular access to the White House, circumventing normal security procedures, given access to the president and access to classified information about weapons of mass destruction.

Would the Republicans do?

A. Run in fear.
B. Jump for joy and beat the crap out of us with it.

Answer: There would be a TV commercial with the president and the prostitute.

I'm telling you, folks. Keep an eye on these supposed allies we have on the Hill. They were wimps last year, along with the liberal non-profits and the liberal establishment, and it's not like they suddenly grew a set of balls in the past six weeks. We hand them this issue on a plate and they run in fear, just like the mainstream media.

And in this case, I take back what I said in the post below about being nice. With politicians, it's a whole other matter. With journalists, logic will get you far. With politicians, even of your own party, sometimes you need to give them a swift kick in the balls.

I agree. I don't know what it takes for the media to see and report on what this administration is up to. It's also dropping by Digby, who puts it all in perspective as well.
A Republican's political instincts would tell them instantly that this Manchurian Beefcake story presents an amazingly fertile opportunity to take the Bush White House off message in a way that they clearly despise, sow dissension within the GOP coalition, mitigate a growing moral hazard and most of all, make Republicans around the country examine once again whether their attitudes about gays are really what they think they are.
This is a legitimate issue that has dropped in the Dems' lap and they are doing everything they can to find a way to not get caught mud-slinging. Folks, being on the high horse about this when the GOP shows no reluctance in getting down and dirty is stupid when their tricks have proven to work every single time.

Someone find that rent boy's client list. It may explain why the White House isn't answering questions about how a wholly unqualified "journalist"/prosty could sit four rows from the President, and be a figure in the Valerie Plame incident.


Bush admin wants to scrub LGBT from suicide prevention talk, add faith-based crap


Bush appointed queasy-with-the-queer-words Charles G. Curie as head of SAMHSA in 2001. Mental health experts have filled his email inbox with complaints the agency is marginalizing a population greatly impacted by suicide.

But they have no problem with a rent boy sitting in the press room.There is no other reason except bigotry to remove references to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the Department of Health and Human Services' suicide prevention program talk. But that's what the government agency -- yes, our tax-payer run agency -- wants to do.

The goal is especially clear if the talk, to be held in Portland, OR on Feb 28, was originally called "Suicide Prevention Among Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Individuals." LGBT people are at a much higher suicide risk, 2-3 times according to the below article. With that kind of disparity from the general population, one would think the pressures that drive a particular demographic toward suicide would merit mention. (WaPo):
A federal agency's efforts to remove the words "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual" and "transgender" from the program of a federally funded conference on suicide prevention have inspired scores of experts in mental health to flood the agency with angry e-mails.

"It is incredible, the venom from these people," said Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that is funding the conference and told presenters they should remove the words from the title of a talk. "My boss is being called a Nazi," Weber said, referring to SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, whom President Bush appointed in 2001 to run the $3.2 billion agency.

At issue is a conference on suicide prevention to be held Feb. 28 in Portland, Ore., and organized by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center of Newton, Mass., a SAMHSA contractor. On the program is a talk that, until recently, was titled "Suicide Prevention Among Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Individuals."

...So it came as a surprise to Ron Bloodworth -- a former coordinator of youth suicide prevention for Oregon and one of three specialists leading the session -- when word came down from SAMHSA project manager Brenda Bruun that they should omit the four words that described, precisely, what the session was about. Bloodworth was told it would be acceptable to use the term "sexual orientation." But that did not make sense to him. "Everyone has a sexual orientation," he said in an interview yesterday. "But this was about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders." Moreover, he noted, transgender people differ from others in terms of sexual identity, not sexual orientation "Unless you use an accurate term, the people you are trying to reach don't recognize themselves and don't attend," he said, adding that the agency told him he should not use "gender identity."

...The title rewrite was one of several requested changes. Another was to add a session on faith-based suicide prevention, said Weber, who said he believes the brouhaha is all a misunderstanding.

SAMHSA prefers the term "sexual orientation" simply because it is more "inclusive," he said. And besides, he added, it was only a suggestion. Asked how strong a suggestion, Weber replied: "Well, they do need to consider their funding source."

Upon due consideration, Bloodworth renamed the session "Suicide Prevention in Vulnerable Populations." But he is not happy. "We find this behavior on the part of our government intolerable," he wrote in an e-mail to colleagues, in which he called upon the government to "end this shameful marginalization of an already marginalized at-risk population."

An HHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to upstage SAMHSA, said there is not a department-wide policy against using terms relating to sexual identity or orientation at federally funded venues. The official suggested it would be overreaching to link this incident with one in the fall of 2003 when hundreds of grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health bearing words relating to sexual identity or orientation fell under federal scrutiny.

What we have hear is another example of the GOP/American Taliban administration wanting to publicly re-closet queer people by marginalizing the group. If we don't "exist" as words, we do not have to be heard, we can be ignored. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are the new swear words of the Religious Right. The message is "don't come out of the closet or we'll have to actually deal with you in numbers so great or our message of intolerance will fall of its own weight."

The worst and most dangerous part of it all, is that by recommending the faith-based suicide prevention program, Bush is encouraging the participation of discredited "ex-gay" movements to step in as a salve to suicidal, self-loathing gay people. More intolerance wrapped up in a pretty wrapper and a bow.

"SAMHSA's vision is a life in the community for everyone."

The agency actually has a web page explaining its information policies ("Guidelines for Ensuring the Quality of Information Disseminated to the Public") and provides a contact email for complaints: infoquality@samhsa.gov

Charles Curie, Administrator
SAMHSA
charles.curie@samhsa.hhs.gov
240-276-2000

Mark Weber, Director, Office of Communications
mark.weber@samhsa.hhs.gov
SAMHSA
Phone 240-276-2128




Enemy of the (Tar Heel) State: the North Carolina Family Policy Council



It's nice to know who your enemies are, if you're a woman or queer and living in NC. I came across this "independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization" while visiting in Freeperville (see, it's helpful to surf there!). The North Carolina Family Policy Council is a chip off of the AFA or Focus on the Family block -- "Advocating Traditional Family Values." It was celebrating North Carolina's D grade on pro-choice options. NCFPC is yet another organization that wants to control a woman's womb.
North Carolina earned a "D" on the latest report card from one of the nation's leading abortion advocacy groups, NARAL Pro-Choice America. Released January 15, the annual report from NARAL entitled, Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States, examined the abortion laws and legislative make-up of each state, as well as the possible impact of a future Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

NARAL's report on the Tar Heel state found that 78 percent of North Carolina counties do not have an abortion provider, and the the General Assembly is "mixed" on the issue of abortion. The report also referred to Wake County's battles over sex education, noting that, "recent pro-choice improvements to sex education in Wake County, North Carolina have been whittled away by opponents of choice." The following laws also helped North Carolina earn a "D" in the report: 1) a requirement that only physicians perform abortions; 2) a refusal clause that "allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive health services, information or referrals;" 3) restrictions on low-income women's access to abortion (i.e., since 1995, the State Abortion Fund only pays for abortion in the case of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk); 4) a parental-consent requirement for minors seeking abortions; and 5) what NARAL calls "burdensome restrictions on abortion providers," (i.e., North Carolina law mandates minimum health standards for abortion providers/clinics, and requires abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy be performed in a licensed hospital).

Moving right along, NCFPC is of course, eager for NC to pass a marriage amendment. The web site is chock full of "homosexual issues" that they want to make sure legislators are aware of. Some policy papers for your entertainment (PDFs):
  • Special Rights for Homosexuals: Why sexual orientation should not be a protected class
  • Should Homosexuals Adopt?: Why adoption is not a homosexual "rights" issue
  • The Essence of Marriage: Why It Is Only the Union of a Man and a Woman
  • Defining Marriage: What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples Marry
  • Domestic Partner Benefits: Chipping Away at Marriage and the Traditional Family
  • Homosexual Indoctrination: How Safety Is Used to Promote Homosexuality in Schools
  • The organization makes no bones about what its intent is -- NCFPC will be lobbying, or as they refer to it, "educating" members of the North Carolina General Assembly by providing bogus science and research materials. NCFPC also has a radio show, a 15-minute program that airs on quite a few stations, none in major market areas.

    Here is its board of directors.

    Phone Numbers
    Main Office Number: (919) 807-0800
    Main Office Fax: (919) 807-0900

    Email and Website
    admin@ncfamily.org
    www.ncfamily.org


    Bush's dome-rubbing fetish

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    This is kinda kinky. Revolting actually, but it's because it's Chimpy, we're talking about. Maybe this is why Guckert got his press pass. As one Kossack put it, "Bush has a fetish for bald men. Pass it on."

    Exhibit #1: rubbing the knob of an amazingly Gannon-like guy... See also: Daily Kos diary, Is this Bush rubbing Gannon's Bald Head?



    Exhibit #2: Rubbin' fer good luck, Texas-bigot style...



    Exhibit #3: A military knob fest for Chimpy...



    Exhibit #4: An uncontrollable fetish during lunch meetings...



    Exhibit #5: A two-handed, mile-high head grab, for his erotic pleasure.



    Via Rigorous Intuition.




    "Ex-Gay" sham ministry Exodus International whines over billboards


    Alan Chambers, ultra-butch executive director of "ex-gay" sham group Exodus International says he is straight now. Yes. Keep repeating that, Alan.

    The wingnuts at the religious news service (and arm of the American Family Association) Agape Press, are losing their cookies over the fact that there is opposition to the discredited sham "Love Won Out" recruitment revival scheduled to be held in Texas. (I covered this discredited and dangerous movement in an earlier Blend post). The fun in this article is Exodus's representative's convincing plug for the program:
    Sixteen billboards advertising an upcoming Love Won Out conference have been replaced around the Houston area. The billboards feature pictures of former homosexuals offering a message of hope and change -- individuals who profess that it is possible to leave the "gay" lifestyle. Exodus International sponsored the ads in preparation for the public seminar, an event co-sponsored by Focus on the Family and designed to examine the roots and causes of homosexuality.

    The one-day Love Won Out conference, which has been held in 30 cities worldwide, is scheduled to make its first stop in Houston this Saturday. The event focuses on the hope and help available for those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality, largely through the personal testimonies of former homosexuals. Exodus International participates in the conference, offering support to people who want to leave homosexuality and providing them with long-term guidance and resources through member chapters in the region.

    Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International and a featured speaker of the conference, says the ministry sponsored the billboards "in the hopes that many in Houston will, possibly for the first time, question the permanence of homosexuality." He himself left the homosexual lifestyle in 1991 and has gone on to become an accomplished writer and much sought-after speaker on the subject.

    "Thousands of people, like myself, felt trapped by homosexuality and found an escape through Jesus Christ," Chambers says. "Our life stories challenge many misconceptions about homosexuality and we want the public to hear another aspect of this difficult issue."

    However, the outcry from pro-homosexual activists has been swift and vehement in protest against the conference and its organizers. Those involved with the event, along with the billboards promoting it, have been labeled hateful by some homosexual groups and their supporters. Chambers says that is because many people involved in or supportive of the homosexual lifestyle "don't want the truth to be told."
    The Exodus International spokesman says homosexual activists do not want others to know that change is possible because that fact invalidates their experience and infringes on their ability to promote their agenda in society. "If one person can change," he asserts, "then their story and their lifestyle comes into question."

    After the February 19 event in Houston, the Love Won Out conference will be held on April 16 in Louisville, Kentucky; May 14 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; June 25 in Seattle, Washington; and September 17 in Birmingham, Alabama.


    2008 GOP Candidates: who the Freepers want to see on the ticket


    God, no. Not this liar.

    I'm warning you ahead of time. This is going to make you laugh so hard that you might cry. Get a load of the matchups these freaks are tossing out there for 2008.

    The question: Thinking ahead to the 2008 Presidential election, who do you think will be the next Republican nominee for President? 1. George Allen. 2. Haley Barbour. 3. Bill Frist. 4 Newt Gingrich. 5. Rudy Giuliani. 6. Chuck Hagel. 7. Mike Huckabee. 8. John McCain. 9. Bill Owens. 10. George Pataki. 11. Tim Pawlenty. 12. Condi Rice. 13. Mitt Romney. 14. Mark Sanford. 15. Rick Santorum. 16. Other.


    Actual Freeper Quotes™:
    "Condi Rice and/or Tommy Franks. George Allen is the only other that I wouldn't need to hold my nose for."

    "Condi & Mike Huckabee. Shouldn't the poll have been "who do you prefer?" rather than "who do you think it will be?" ?"



    "Condi Rice and Karl Rove?"

    "Condi Rice and Tommy Franks. Conservative a$$ kickers!"

    "I still say Rumsfeld!"

    "If Guiliani would adopt a truly "pro-choice" position, like the overturning of Roe to let the people and the legislatures have a "choice" about abortion, I could go for him."

    "Condi/Rummy? Or really scare the libs...Condi/Colin. Let them try and attack two Blacks, one a woman.....and see what that does to two groups who's votes they seem to take for granted."

    "Flame me if you must, but my #1 ticket would be Powell/Rice, with Rice leading the ticket in 2016."

    "I just have a strange feeling that we are seeing Bush create an heir-aparent in Rice. And to be honest, I hope he is. She has the intelligence and the look to be an appealing candidate. In today's climate of playing the media by the candidates, having pleasant looks and a cool demeanor are critical. She can slay a crowd with those qualities. And to top it all - she has the right stances on Conservative issues. And if that wasn't enough - the libs HATE her. Of everybody out there - she has my vote. Let us remember, it's real hard for any member of Congress to step into the Presidency. Traditionally, I believe these candidates have had real trouble with voting records. That's why we have a history of military men, governors, etc. I think that record will continue in 2008. Look at the Dems - their last success was a governor from Arkansas."



    "I don't know. That might be too much blackness for Americans too handle for first go around. I think you might need a white dude in there somewhere. JMO"

    "I want to float an idea..Bush and Cheney have redefined the role of the President and the VP, as to sharing power in the administration...and it''s been for the good of the country. Rudi will have a problem with the conservative base of the GOP..we all know that..but could you see a situation where you have a ticket like , for instance...Rice/Guiliani...where Rudy does a Cheney..says that he will NOT run for president..he has executive experience..which Condi lacks..and he's a proven beaureaucratic infighter..I know they say that people don't vote for VP..but this could be the exception..."

    "Rice all the way." What's Rice's stand on the Second Amendment???"

    "Leaving my own personal preferences aside, I thnk that Condi or John McCain probably has the best chance of getting the nomination. If Chuck Hagel ever gets nominated Republicans would be be able to claim they out-Deaned Dean by nominating the most unelectable jackass of all time."

    "Newt Gingrich is damaged goods. Unless he wants to explain why he was openly running around DC with a woman not his wife during the Clinton mess. Rudy Guiliani is a RINO & will never get votes in the primaries from states not on the east or west coasts. I think people in Iowa might be a little, well, surprised to learn he lived with two gay men during his divorce battle."

    "Bill Frist has the charisma of a wet sock. Charisma does matter."

    "Jeb!!!"



    "Just to p!ss off the liberals, I'd go with RUMSFLED/ASHCROFT '08! But I'd happily support a Condi Tancredo ticket."

    "As a Nebraskan, I would have serious reservations about Charles Hagel; if he is the Republican candidate, of course I would vote for him, but with reluctance. It has nothing to do with his politics, which are conservative despite the "mainstream media" reporting as not being conservative; in fact, he is rather conservative. It is just that when Charles Hagel went to New York, he became more "New Yorker" than native New Yorkers, forgetting the land, the people, and the values into which he had been born. Nothing wrong with moving around--as God knows, I have done it plenty of times myself--but there is something badly wrong when someone forgets his "roots," his essential basic elementary identity."

    "Powell would never see the light of day in any Republican primary, his views on afirmative action would be enough to sink him like the Lib he is."


    Sanford and a pig; Allen with his friend, Man-on-Dog Santorum (who looks like he wants to hump the VA guv).

    "Mark Sanford or George Allen would both be excellent choices. Sanford is in that Slick Willie telegenic-Southern-governor mode, except that he's a solid conservative. Condi would be absolutely dominant, but I'd like to know more about her stands on domestic fiscal and social issues...at least we know she'd have foreign policy down pat. "

    "Idealogy is not an option for a Presidential Election. Condie and Colin are great people..but their appeal would be stopped at the line.. color line..there are still too many pseudosupporters who are not realistic, Watch for the appeal and charisma in selecting a realistic candidate...I would like to see Sen. Allen on the ticket.. maybe VP...at top....drum roll-drum roll-drum roll-Jeb Bush. I know- he says not in '08. But there is a lot of political capital to ascertain the next 4 years..Jake"

    "George Allen, junior Senator from Virginia, former Governor of Virginia (and son of the famous football coach). He's quite conservative, he did a great job as governor here. "

    "my #1 ticket would be Powell/Rice, with Rice leading the ticket in 2016. That would be a dream ticket for America. And come to think of it, the GOP, more and more, represents the Nation as a whole, not a collection of fringe groups."



    "Condi Rice and/or Tommy Franks. George Allen is the only other that I wouldn't need to hold my nose for. This seems the most probable. Franks seems like the one that can beat The Hildabeast."

    "I pray that its CONDI! But, I suspect she isn't interested. If that is the case, I'll have to go with George Allen. It doesn't matter who the VP candidate is. A lousy POTUS candidate can have the world's greatest VP on the slate and it would make a difference of 1,000 votes nationwide. Can anyone imagine a VP that would have made Bob Dole a better candidate?"



    White House Turns Tables on Former American POWs


    Friend of "Jeff Gannon," patron of Lone Star homo bars and White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says resources are required for the urgent national security needs of rebuilding Iraq, not compensation of U.S. soldiers tortured in Gulf War I.

    How low can this administration go? Oh, never mind. This story ranks up there, given how many people in the military put their lives on the line. (Los Angeles Times):
    The latest chapter in the legal history of torture is being written by American pilots who were beaten and abused by Iraqis during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. And it has taken a strange twist.

    The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.

    The rationale: Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money. The case abounds with ironies. It pits the U.S. government squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention.

    Many of the pilots were tortured in the same Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, where American soldiers abused Iraqis 15 months ago. Those Iraqi victims, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said, deserve compensation from the United States. But the American victims of Iraqi torturers are not entitled to similar payments from Iraq, the U.S. government says.

    "It seems so strange to have our own country fighting us on this," said retired Air Force Col. David W. Eberly, the senior officer among the former POWs.

    The picture changed, however, when the United States invaded Iraq and toppled Hussein from power nearly two years ago. On July 21, 2003, two weeks after the Gulf War POWs won their court case in U.S. District Court, the Bush administration intervened to argue that their claims should be dismissed.

    "No amount of money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of this very brutal regime and at the hands of Saddam Hussein," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters when asked about the case in November 2003.

    Government lawyers have insisted, literally, on "no amount of money" going to the Gulf War POWs. "These resources are required for the urgent national security needs of rebuilding Iraq," McClellan said.

    The case also tests a key provision of the Geneva Convention, the international law that governs the treatment of prisoners of war. The United States and other signers pledged never to "absolve" a state of "any liability" for the torture of POWs.

    ..."Our government is on the wrong side of this issue," said Jeffrey F. Addicott, a former Army lawyer and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. "A lot of Americans would scratch their heads and ask why is our government taking the side of Iraq against our POWs."


    Ann Coulter and the Boy Scouts


    She pimped her nasty self to the Boy Scouts for $30K, who were happy to oblige her.

    That leather-ette minidress has probably seen a lot of action. It's a wonder the rank thing doesn't spontaneously combust. The bony, right-wing, allegedly pro-family values author of How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) was the keynote speaker at the "Friends of Scouting" dinner of the South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts. Oh, and it's the second time a conservative goon has helped entertained the leadership of the sadly homophobic organization. (Sun-Sentinel):
    ...Last year it was Oliver North, the retired U. S. Marine lieutenant colonel who was the central figure in the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal in the 1980s and a conservative commentator.

    Norman Silber, a Miami lawyer with the Ruden McClosky firm and the past president of the South Florida Council, says he was "personally responsible" for choosing North and Coulter. Silber notes that Coulter was a best-selling author, a newspaper columnist, a frequent guest on Fox News and a lawyer. Most of all, Coulter is entertaining and a good draw, he says.

    "We could get someone middle of the road, i.e., wimpy. Then we aren't going to get anybody to come," Silber says. "We need somebody with sizzle to get people out."

    Coulter had sizzle in her speech this week to 500 Scouting supporters at the Signature Grand in Davie, according to Silber.

    I wasn't there so I can't quote her. Silber says, "She has a tendency to be provocative. She didn't let us down." Coulter also spoke out in defense of the Boy Scouts "against the politically correct groups" who don't like the group's ban on gays, Silber says. Although I got two complaints about Coulter's appearance, it was from folks who would never go to a Boy Scouts fund-raiser anyway. Coulter was obviously a popular choice with those at the dinner.

    Silber says guests lined up for two hours to get books signed by Coulter. Jeff Hunt, the council's chief executive officer, said he expects the Coulter dinner to gross $800,000. That figure would more than offset the loss of $600,000 a year that the United Way withdrew because of the Scouts' prohibition against gay members and leaders.

    It is not known how much the Scouts paid Coulter, if anything. Her booking agent is Premiere Speakers Bureau, which quotes a usual price of $30,000 plus travel and expenses for Coulter to make keynote addresses.


    Headline of the day, late edition: Student runs over driver's ed teacher

    Monday, February 14, 2005

    Somehow I missed this one on Friday. Stone Mountain, GA, mind you, and involves a special jack and the Jaws of Life. (CNN).


    You know you couldn't wait for this...Freepers on Gannon/McLellan

    I ran over to Freeperville to snag these quickly. Three threads on this have already been pulled. Here's your sampling on the House Blend!


    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    Yeah it's amazing how fast they go to this when trying to destroy a Republican... almost as amazing as how fast they go to racist caricature when confronting a black conservative."

    "Well, I've seen three threads on this pulled today. I wonder if yours will last."

    "Gannon a gay prostitute, Scott McClellan visits gay bars -- in their [wet] dreams"

    "White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan visited a gay bar in Austin, Texas.....if anyone is surprised they're blind. I knew this when I first saw him."

    "Is all this "outting" special for Valentine's Day or something? Yuck!"

    "According to the DUmmies, Gannon is also involved in the Valerie Plame (non-)scandal. These people have gone berserk. By the end of the week, Gannon will have been responsible for Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction and declared the Man on the Grassy Knoll. As I mentioned on a different thread, until last week I had never heard of Jeff Gannon. I had never visited Talon News, nor gopusa.com, nor did I know anyone else who had. I never even ran across a blogger link to a story from either of those sites. If the Left considers toppling Gannon to be a huge victory, it reveals how rare victories have been for their side."

    "BUT it is okay for Bawney Fwank, Ellen DeGenerate, that erstwhile governor of NJ, et al., ad nauseum -- SHEESH -- more from the party of diversity and acceptance of all species!"

    "Some think the writer of this hit piece is full of sh!t."

    "So, basically this story is predicated on one anonymous source claiming to have seen a person at a gay bar ten years ago, and somehow remembers the exact date. Now, lest anyone think I'm slighting the credibility of this story, let me nip that in the bud. I saw several references last week, by a Freeper who goes by the initials HL2, that Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Ravens running back Jamaal Lewis have been linked as a couple. I'm not saying its true, and this wouldn't make them bad people, but its what I read on several threads last week..."

    "Lets just follow THEIR logic here. So this 'reporter' gets into the WH press room. So therefore he must have been having sex with Ken Melmann? Isn't this kind of like assuming that if there are two black people in a room that they must be related? That's kind of bigotted thinking isn't it?
    Bush actually has a bunch of gay staffers. He just doesn't have a bunch of staffers who are there because they are gay and his staffers aren't working against the rest of America. The left can't have it both ways. Either they are pro-gay and they are going to be happy to see gay GOPers, or they believe that being gay is a perversion and it is a reason to disqualify somebody from public life. As soon as they ask Barney Frank to resign, I'll start listening again."

    "Well, I've seen three threads on this pulled today. I wonder if yours will last…. Seriously, though, this is pretty much rumor-mongering, don't you think?"

    "I knew there’s a risk it would get pulled. But, once the story (lame as it is) is on the blogs, it will eventually spill onto the networks (my bet is Olberman will be the first to report it) then once its uttered there it’s officially a story (“Keith Olberman of MSNBC today confirmed the rumor…”) and then the NY and LA Times are free to discuss it."

    "That is an out and out lie; in fact, he said just the opposite. I just checked the link .. The Raw Story is nothing by trash. Plus they have been on a witch hunt of gays (I'm not saying Gannon is) The two guys that run that site are far far far left loons."

    "Over on DU, for example, they have accused the following people of being gay: President Bush, Condi Rice, Ken Mehlman, Scott McClellan, Karl Rove, and I'm sure I'm missing a few. These liberal loons are called barking moonbats for good reason. I don't give a flying fig it's true that Scott McClellan was spotted in gay bars either. It doesn't prove he's gay, only that he's obviously not homophobic---but of course this goes right over these nutjobs' heads."

    "This is really disgusting, but I guess there is nothing that will stop it. On Friday the Daily KOS people were accusing Gannon of being the source for the Dan Rather TANG documents, or rather a conduit from Rove to Mapes. It's probably best to keep all the accusations on one thread so we can get the full picture of just how nuts, desparate and despicable the Democrats are. I wish that we could pursuade Gannon to return to his job at Talon and the Whitehouse. It would be fun to watch."

    "Should we be worried? The left is going after this guy hard, I saw Gannon's interview on CNN last week and he said how he and his family was getting threats and being followed. Why are they following him? Do they think he knows something?"

    "There is another story that came out today on AMERICANBLOG but it has some very nasty pictures on it and I won't post it because it will get banned."

    "I agree, and gee, wonder if they said yes to faxing the information (?) in, are they planning to do that a kinkos???. Maybe the anonimous source is the very crdible Burkett?"

    "So the leftist agenda promotes homosexuality. But when it's a Republican, it's wrong? What absolute hypocrites."

    "In a word, yes. But, according to them, everyone in history was gay. Not only are they hypocrites, they are libelous slanderers! Thing is when someone goes to a Judges to sue them, that Judge will say "you shouldn't be insulted by being called gay!" It has already happened."


    Gay nups bill is off GOP agenda

    How long before there is another American Taliban eruption over this? (New York Daily News):
    Republicans have abandoned banning gay marriage this year, the Senate's leader said yesterday.
    A constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman grew less urgent because 13 states banned gay nuptials in November elections, said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

    When asked if the legislation will be introduced, Frist replied, "Maybe not this year, but in all likelihood in this Congress."

    "It may be this year," he added a moment later, sounding unsure during a "Fox News Sunday" interview.


    A man called Jeff, all-American rent boy in the White House

    AMERICAblog has the goods up now. Someone at the White House has some explaining to do.
    One [escort site] mentions the weekend rate of $1200/weekend, the other an hourly rate, $200. The sites also include feedback from satisfied customers.
    Anyone in the White House satisfied? The rallying cry should be "It's the client list, stupid." How could this unqualified "reporter"/hooker gain regular access to the briefing room? Remember, this loser sat only a few rows from Chimpy at times. What is going on and who is pulling the strings?

    UPDATE: Also via AmericaBlog: Michaelangelo Signorile had a two-hour interview with "Gannon". You'd think that if these allegations were false, the guy would have been going apesh*t.
    "Guckert did respond on-the-record to Mike when asked about allegations that he has been a male hustler by saying, “I’m not going to respond to any of these allegations, because it’s just one more thing out there and you can’t respond to everything, so it’s best not to respond.”

    Meanwhile, The Raw Story also picks up on more of today's Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert blow-up, with details on White House spokesman Scott McClellan's ties to the gay bar scene in Texas, and whether there may have been inappropriate influence leveraged by Gannon/Guckert and White House staff because of possible relationships (a la McGreevey).

    Oh boy. I don't know how the White House is going to bury this one.

    See the whole sordid mess:
    http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/02/man-called-jeff.html


    Prejudice and acceptance - what makes someone white anyway?


    Elmaz Abinader, of Lebanese descent, experienced cruel prejudice by the outside world and brought up in a world of self-loathing by her family. But on any U.S. government form, she is considered "Caucasian."

    I just came across an article about a Lebanese-American that experienced some truly disturbing, but not unfamiliar prejudice while growing up. Read, and I'll have more afterwards. (Pittsburgh Live.com)
    There was the teasing at school and a name change from the nuns. There was the time, when she was 7, that she had to bleach her dark hair blond. And at a potluck dinner, someone referred to the dish her mother prepared as "lesbian" food. [WTF is "lesbian food? Tabouli?]

    That was Elmaz Abinader's Fayette County, her youth, her America. A place where her Lebanese roots often were misunderstood, where a sense of community was best found in the family.

    Reflections of that time have been captured in Abinader's writing and acted out on stages worldwide. Within months, her family's tale of immigration, prejudice and acceptance will be on display at the Arab-American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich., the first museum committed solely to showcasing Arab-American history.

    "I was a little shy about it at first," said Abinader, who spent her youngest years in Masontown but now lives in Oakland, Calif., where she is the head of Mills College's English department. "I think of all the Arab-American families and all the Arab-American celebrities. We're just another story."

    Museum officials didn't see it that way. That story, the basis of Abinader's three-act play "Country of Origin," chronicled not only the experience of assimilating into American culture, but also the struggles of doing so as a woman.

    ...[Her parents] named her Elmaz after Jean's mother. Abinader realized the significance of her name. When registering at All Saints School in Masontown meant changing it by one letter, she was crushed. She became Elma. The head nun wanted it that way. "I hated it," Abinader said. "As soon as I went to register for college, I changed it back."

    Other kids called her things like "darkie" and "ape."

    Abinader said she dealt constantly with the pressures of two worlds that did not connect. "I think people, at the time, were uncomfortable with us," she said. "There was a lot of friction some of us felt socially." Even for a cousin's wedding, Abinader had to rinse her hair with hydrogen peroxide before she walked down the aisle as the flower girl. She was 7 then. Her family requested the lightening. The concern, she recalls, was her appearance.

    "The desire to assimilate, or at least not draw negative attention to ourselves, was strong," Abinader said. "So seeing how 'Arab' I looked with my dark hair and dark arms alarmed my family a little."

    I have discussed race on other House Blend posts on this before, but for newer readers, I'm restating a portion of one that dovetails with the above article.

    I have a problem with this country's attempt to pigeon-hole everyone into a neat racial box. Katie, my wife, is half-Lebanese, but she is technically "white" as far as government forms are concerned. All Middle Eastern people are considered Caucasian for statistics sake, yet for instance, Hispanics (another artificial construct) have a distinct category. I don't see how someone from Lebanon has any ethnic, cultural or melanin-based resemblance to someone from a Scandinavian nation?

    I doubt Freepers or the Klan would consider Arabs to be white. In fact, Katie's father was on the receiving end of discrimination in the South as a young man because, in fact, he is darker than I am, and well, the dumbass rednecks don't really give a sh*t whether you check white in a box if they can see you're not "white" to them. This is about politics and numbers and attempts to divide and conquer by creating this implied racial hierarchy, which of course, the masses buy into. The fact that the exploding population of biracial and multiracial people is putting pressure on this inflexible construct of race is a good thing to squirm about -- both for all of us as individuals and for our nation as a whole.

    It just burns me up when I read this kind of article -- what kind of message was this family sending this child? I say it is the same message young black girls are given that they have "bad" hair that requires chemical straightening. Oh, god, before I get riled up and repeat myself all over again, you can read what I said before about the kinky hair thing here.


    Freepers on Alan and Maya Keyes



    I wrote earlier about Alan Keyes kicking out his now-out lesbian daugther (oh, and her parents aren't talking to her either). Here is an Advocate interview with Maya.

    Alan Keyes, gave a prepared statement to the WaPo: "My daughter is an adult, and she is responsible for her own actions. What she chooses to do has nothing to do with my work or political activities." Remember, this also is the man that said (in relation to Mary Cheney, as if it were a hypothetical -- Maya was out by that time): "if my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, 'That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism.' I would also tell my daughter that it's a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin."

    The Freepers have been remarkably silent on this issue, but eventually you knew we would smell the stench from Freeperland. I hope Maya can see what her father's supporters think of her. These losers are all up Alan Keyes's behind, since he's such a moralist wingnut. It's sad that her dad is on these cretins' wavelength. At least there are a couple of Freepers that feel badly for Maya.



    Actual Freeper Quotes™:
    "An adult lives with one's parents at the grace and mercy of the parents. If the adult child is a belligerent radical homosexual activist, the parents are clearly within their rights to kick out the activist, with an aim to save their lost soul, if possible. Hopefully the errant and deviant child will "come to their senses" like the Prodigal Son, repent and straighten out and fly straight."

    "What should a father do? Just what he did...throw her out. I'm sure there is more to this than the sanitized WP version. The MSM always leave out the salacious details and reduce homos to a "loving partnership", when usually it is all just about deviant sexual activity."

    "Another excuse for the Washington Post to print anything negative about a conservative. I wonder what the ration of Conservative kids to Liberal Kids end up in prison. Bet the liberals win hands down."

    "Actually, we heard rumblings about this before. My guess is that the timeline is a bit different. I would guess that she threatened to undermine her father first and that is when he decided that he would not finance her radicalism. Note that she's not just a lesbian, she's "a liberal queer". The politics inform the sexuality, it seems. The WaPo wants to make it seem like her politics are a result of how her nasty father treated her. My suspicion is that it's just the opposite and she's a thoroughly unpleasant person to be around."

    "Is there some link between lesbianism and conservative politicians? It seems like a Lot of Repubs have lesbian daughters, sisters, etc. "

    "Bizarre. All this advice to Dr. Keyes! I think it's pretty safe to assume he knows what he is doing."

    "Some children are just naturally rebellious. The very best parents can rear a child who chooses values 180 degrees opposite theirs."

    "Thanks. There are always two sides to every story. Even though I may not agree with Keyes and his political views, like I stated to an earlier poster, very sad."

    "Tell them you love them, that you care for them, but that if they want your support, especially money and staying at home, they have to live by your rules. "

    "I've always maintained that I've never seen a child of overly strict parents who didn't become an accomplished liar. I've yet to see a single exception, although I'm sure one exists somewhere."

    "It's one thing to come out, it's another to come out on stage in the spotlight; fashions change, soon there will be a rash of "old-time-revivals" and the wheel will turn and turn..."

    "I was thinking the same thing. I could see pulling the purse strings, but not talking to the child just seems incredibly wrong to me."

    "I doubt this is first time she has openly proclaimed her homosexual lifestyle in spite of being aware of her father's belief that it is morally wrong.."

    "The gay issue aside, why would he finance someone adverse to his political views and goals, i.e. finance the enemy? Well, it may seem strange, but it does happen. Some parents put family ahead of politics. Some people put a whole lot of things ahead of politics. ;-)"

    "This is the adult daughter's view of the situation. Why might it not just as fairly be said she quit talking to them? As for the parents' refusing to pay for her education when she has made it clear to them she intends to use that education to become a liberal activist to undercut her parents' values and beliefs, I would say the parents are making a rational and fully justifiable decision."

    "I have no issue with paying her way. It's the removal the familial support that troubles me."

    "Sad story. I find it hard to believe her mother won't talk to her either."

    "As the saying goes, Christian nurture and education is to enable the children to see with their own eyes, not give them our own."


    2004 Koufax Award Finalists

    Sigh. The House Blend didn't make it, lol. But some of my favorites did. Go vote! The finalists lists can be accessed from the index column on the left.

    [Pam's House Blend was a Koufax semi-finalist for Best New Blog and Most Deserving of Wider Recognition.]


    I hope black wingnuts at Project 21 read this



    Freepers are on the fringe, but they expose what kind of thinking goes on in the groups the Rovian Right cultivates. Freeps are just stupid enough to put their ignorant thoughts out there for public consumption.

    Early this AM I saw this article, "White supremacists trying to get message to mainstream audience", and decided to see what the Freepers thought about it.

    First, a snippet from the SF Gate story.
    White-supremacist groups around the country are moving aggressively to recruit new members by promoting their violent, racist ideologies on billboards, in radio commercials and in leaflets tossed on suburban driveways. Watching with mounting alarm, civil rights monitors say these tactics stake out a much bolder, more public role for many hate groups, which are trying to shed their image as shadowy extremists and claim more mainstream support.

    Watchdog groups fear increased violence from these organizations as they grow. But perhaps an even greater fear is that the new public relations strategy will let neo-Nazis recast themselves as just another voice on the political spectrum -- even when that voice might be advocating genocide.

    "The concern is that this will bring them new members and money, and that they will get some real traction in mainstream politics," said Mark Potok, who tracks hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center. "We are completely in favor of the First Amendment. (But) they poison the public discourse with ideas like 'Jews are behind it all and need killing.' "

    The National Alliance, which calls for ridding the land of minorities, has led the drive to raise the profile of white supremacists.

    The local chapter spent $1,500 on MetroLink ads in St. Louis last month, plastering nearly every commuter train car in the city with a blue-and-white placard declaring "The Future belongs to us!" and listing the group's Web site and phone number. The same chapter bought airtime on local talk radio last fall, urging whites to unite and fight for the survival of "white America."

    "We want to use mainstream advertising to say to the public: We're not a shadowy group. This is what we believe in, and we're proud of it," said chapter leader Aaron Collins. "We're trying to give people courage."

    Other chapters of the National Alliance have posted billboards in Utah, Nevada and Florida. The group also has coordinated leaflet drops, distributing 100,000 racist flyers in a single night in states regionally as diverse as New Jersey, Alabama and Nebraska.

    OK. No subtlety there on the mission of this National Alliance.

    I've talked about Project 21 before on the Blend ("Black wingnuts at Project 21: pimping for The Man"), and if you've been here at all over the last month, there's been plenty o' rants on the black pastors being bought off with faith-based funds to support Bush's domestic Taliban agenda as well.

    Let's see what the Freepers have to say, keeping in mind the new friends Bush is making with in the black, religious, conservative "movement":


    Actual Freeper Quotes™:
    "Watching with mounting alarm, civil rights monitors say these tactics stake out a much bolder, more public role for many hate groups, which are trying to shed their image as shadowy extremists and claim more mainstream support. Racist groups like the NAACP, Rainbow Coalition, United Negro College Fund, and the DNC have a corner on the market and want to keep their edge on the competition."

    "I read the first line, and just KNEW 'Southern Poverty Law Center' was going to appear in the text of the story sooner or later. I wasn't disappointed. Yes, the SPLC and Morris Dees who consider anything to the right of the ACLU a hate group."

    "Why is this sort of behavior only wrong if white folks do it ? I don't think it is just wrong when white folks do it. Which doesn't excuse it if white folks do it. I haven't seen the CAIR ads yet, but when I do I'm sure they'll be criticized, as CAIR frequently is."

    "Watch out any thing posted by these lefties isn't good for conservatives or people with family values. The liberals are looking for any excuse to shut down right leaning thinkers.

    "Of course! There's a difference, (in my opinion) in being proud of your race and culture, and using it to define your existence. La Raza, the KKK, and the Black Panthers are all the same to me."

    "thanks...those are good examples. It would seem organizations like NAACP & NAAWP also fall into this definition. One has the distinction of legitimacy the other doesn't. I guess the Congressional Black Caucus could also probably come under this definition. In Googleing some of these white groups, none of them appear to be defined any other way than racist."

    "The liberals are looking for any excuse to shut down right leaning thinkers. You're right. the logical next step in this is to associate neo-nazis with Republicans. Its an old Clintonista tactic. Get the minorities scared."

    "Meanwhile, assorted other racial groups are free to spew their message of racial separateness, hatred, and superiority through music, tv, cinema, corporate "diversity training", and academia."

    "Any group that espouses "racial pride" will not go far in life. Ever notice how those people who take part in ethnic/racial pride political movements tend to be the least successful members of our society. SUCCESSFUL people don't care about such crap."

    "Bingo. Anyone who is proud of the color of his or her skin invariably has nothing else to be proud of."

    "If you want to really see some hate speech get a copy of the koran and sit down and read it. Now there's hate."




    AMERICAblog is about to break something big on "Gannon"

    Not sure what goods John has on "Gannon"/Guckert, but he's planning to unleash it today.
    "I'm wrapping it up now. It's big. Very big. I've just contacted him for comment. If he now decides to go public to pre-empt my story, well, you heard it here first. Stay tuned.

    PS Just so the bad guys out there know, several of my friends already have copies of my files. I'm just saying... "

    Then, he posts a couple of images as clues to what's coming (click the images to go to the heavily-trafficked threads on this):



    Guess we'll all have to wait and see...


    No DKos/House Blend LGBT News Roundup today

    I'm just wiped, so compiling the epic report is taking a back seat to my sanity this go-round. Great sources, if you're looking for some headlines to peruse, are Raw StoryQ and 365gay.com.


    Indiana marriage amendment moves to Senate


    Indiana State Senator Anita Bowser sees no reason for this amendment, but it's going to be an uphill battle.

    This is via Hoosier blogrrrl Shakespeare's Sister. The state's gay marriage ban amendment will include language that bans civil unions and would prohibit granting a whole group of legal privileges similar to those of marriage (South Bend Trib).
    Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan City, questioned the need for the amendment since courts have already upheld a state law banning gay marriages. She said there was no need for such a change to the state's constitution.

    "We are demeaning it. We are defiling it. We are abusing it," Bowser said.

    After more than two hours of debate in the Senate's civil matters committee, lawmakers voted 7-4 to send the resolution to the full Senate for consideration.
    Shakespeare's Sister wrote a kick-ass letter to her state senators over this, a snippet here:
    It is enough of an injustice that we do not even allow civil unions as an option to gay and lesbian Hoosiers, but to act punitively to take away family benefits from employees of major employers such as Indiana University is beyond the pale.

    For your consideration, I am not a gay person, nor do I have any gay family members or friends who are employed by an Indiana business that would be affected by this decision. I am simply a voter who believes in the principle of equality for all citizens, as the US Constitution is intended to ensure.

    Go read her letter. This is the kind of assertive support that we need from straight allies on this matter. We cannot do it alone, and I don't believe it is impossible to make inroads with reasonable people if the impact of this amendment is framed in the correct terms to get it on folks' radar.


    Valentine's Day marriage equality civil protest in Richmond tomorrow

    Sunday, February 13, 2005


    Rev. Robin Gorsline (left) and his partner Dr. Jonathan Lebolt took part in last year's marriage rally. The pastor will do it again on Valentine's Day, holding a group holy union at the marriage bureau. Right: The history and impact of Virginia's repressive laws are in a great article on the Fredricksburg.com web site. With a video camera and laptop, local artist Suzanne Moe made a film about a Virginia couple that feels forced to leave the state because of its discriminatory legislation.

    Virginia is a state seemingly powerless to stop the advance of the religious Right influence on its laws. To pour salt in the wounds of the gay community, Virginia is likely to pass, on Feb. 26, legislation allowing custom license plates with interlocking gold wedding bands superimposed over a red heart over the legend "Traditional Marriage." Virginia's Affirmation of Marriage Act was amended in the 2004 session to prohibit a civil union, partnership contract or "other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage." It's on the fast track to amend its constitution as well.

    To make a statement on what Virginia's plans to deny its gay citizens, tomorrow, Valentine's Day, a peaceful demonstration organized by the local Metropolitan Church of Richmond will be held at the city's Marriage Bureau. One was held last year; an article on that event is here.
    Answering the call from Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry, Founder and Moderator of UFMCC, members of the Social Justice Committee of the Metropolitan Church of Richmond (MCCRVA) are organizing Marriage Equality events on Valentine's Day, Monday, February 14, 2005. They will be joined by allies from other groups, and justice-minded individuals. Ministry members hope many from the church and LGBT community will participate. At 12:00 noon, ten or more same-sex couples will apply for marriage licenses at the Richmond Marriage Bureau, for which they expect to be refused. After this, the couples will take turns speaking to assembled supporters, both LGBTQ and heterosexual, about rights which the couples have been denied because of marriage inequality.Then Pastor Robin and other clergy will perform a group holy union. All persons are welcome to participate, not just couples. The entire effort needs a large number of supporters. Then, 6:00 pm, participants and supporters will celebrate the event with a dinner at MCC Richmond.


    Left: Virginia legislative delegate and homophobe L. Scott Lingamfelter, is winning the fight to get "traditional marriage" on license plates to enhance his sense of sexual orientation. Del. Robert G. Marshall, is one of the ass-clowns pushing the hate amendment. Right: Delegate Mitchell Van Yahres wants to repeal the law in place that prevents recognition of same-sex couples, but doesn't see enough support for the measure.

    Thanks to House Blend reader Chris, who received advance word of this event.


    Maya Keyes and her dad


    Alan Keyes and his wife subscribe to the belief that family is not about loving your children as living breathing individuals. It's about punishment for being openly gay.

    Via AmericaBlog. Send Alan Keyes to P-FLAG. This moralist needs to sit down with some parents that actually love their gay children. How low can you go -- a man of his alleged reputation as a Christian (a lunatic, but that's my perception, not his) putting his daughter out for her orientation and political beliefs. How all-American. He is the lowest of the low when it comes to "family values." (WaPo):
    ...Maya Keyes -- liberal, lesbian and a little lost -- finds herself out on her own. She says her parents -- conservative commentator and perennial candidate Alan Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn -- threw her out of their house, refused to pay her college tuition and stopped speaking to her.

    Maya, 19, says her parents cut her off because of who she is -- "a liberal queer." Tomorrow, she will take her private dispute with her dad into the open. She is scheduled to make her debut as a political animal, speaking at a rally in Annapolis sponsored by Equality Maryland, the state's gay rights lobby.

    She plans to talk about "what it was like for me growing up as a liberal queer in a very conservative household. I've known so many other people in a position like mine, where their families really don't want much to do with them. Maybe I can help by talking about it."

    During his failed campaign last fall against Barack Obama (D) for the Illinois Senate seat, Alan Keyes lashed out at Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Cheney. Keyes told a radio interviewer that Mary Cheney was a "selfish hedonist." Then, without having been asked anything about his own family, he volunteered that "if my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, 'That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism.' I would also tell my daughter that it's a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin."

    Maya heard the comments and recoiled. "It was kind of strange that he said it like a hypothetical," she says. "It was really kind of unpleasant."

    ...Her parents have known that Maya is a lesbian since they found a copy of the Washington Blade, the gay weekly, in her room and confronted her at the end of high school (she went to Oakcrest School for Girls, a Catholic school in McLean run by the church's highly devout Opus Dei movement.) Ever since, Maya says, her parents have told her that her sexuality is wrong and sinful.

    "As long as I was quiet about being gay or my politics, we got along," she says. "Then I went to the Counterinaugural," last month's protests in Washington against President Bush. "My father didn't like that." Maya returned from the demonstration to find that she had been let go from her job at her father's political organization. She says she was told to leave her father's apartment and not to expect any money toward attending Brown University, where she was admitted but deferred matriculation to spend a year teaching in southern India. "In my father's view, financing my college would be financing my politics, in a sense," Maya says, "because I plan to be an activist after college."

    She wrote to her parents to tell them about tomorrow's speech, but says she got no response.

    After I contacted Alan Keyes's office, press secretary Connie Hair called back with a prepared statement from him: "My daughter is an adult, and she is responsible for her own actions. What she chooses to do has nothing to do with my work or political activities." End of statement.

    ...Maya Keyes is looking for answers to all those conservatives who e-mail her about how she's going to burn in hell and to all those liberals who e-mail her about how she's a traitor because she won't disavow her father. And then there are the people who think she's a whiny brat, "that I'm immature for thinking that I want my parents to talk to me."

    It's not politically expedient for him to actually love and accept Maya if she's out of the closet. It's the whole damn Right wing perspective in a nutshell. What they fear most is that gay people are coming out, and they are the people you know and love.

    For homophobic, publicly pious Repugs with gay kids, they cannot reconcile the fact that:
    1) They actually procreated and raised gay children in spite of their strident religious child-rearing;
    2) They might have to respond to homophobic friends (and minions) that they love their children;
    3) They may be wrong about the nature/nurture thing with homosexuality;
    4) They will have to show the error of their homophobic political stances and hypocrisy

    Coming out of the closet for these people is their worst nightmare. They aren't thinking about the gay child, only themselves. The Cheney's tap-dancing around Mary is just as bad, symptomatic of the same list of problems mentioned above, sans the religious aspect. For the more secular Repugs, you get a reaction like the Cheney family, an attempt to publicly re-closet the gay offspring to quiet political constituencies that you gay-bait to, while accepting the gay child within the immediate social circle.

    What kind of message is that sending to the child? Mary Cheney, as an adult and having worked as a professional homosexual for Coors, was perfectly happy to lie down and be walked on by the Right, including Keyes, in order to further her dad's path to the White House. I have no doubt that Maya would have done the same thing. These parents are vile because they created an environment that encourages self-loathing behavior in their kids.

    The only reason that Mary Cheney and Maya Keyes were able to come out is because they saw that they could do so and survive, even thrive -- that is the gift of the gay rights struggle -- every person that comes out makes it easier for the next,


    Aggressive form of HIV discovered in NYC


    Michael Justiniano said he watched his father die of AIDS. (Cary Conover for NYT)

    It was only a matter of time before this happened. Not unlike bacteria mutating to resist current antibiotics because of over-use, the virus that causes AIDS had great potential to mutate to become treatment-resistant to the current cocktail of medicines. The aggressive nature of this strain is extremely dangerous, as it destroys the immune system within months.

    The real culprit here is that safer sex practices are not being followed in at-risk populations, and the behavior is paired with an increase in recreational drug use, it's a recipe for disaster. It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since the beginning of the AIDS era as we know it; it means enough time has passed that young, sexually active people have no memory of that time. The highly visible death and danger is an abstraction to them, as the anti-retroviral drugs have presented a false sense of health security. We cannot let this happen all over again. (NYT):
    City health officials announced on Friday that they had detected the rare strain of H.I.V. in one man whose case they described as particularly worrisome because it merged two unusual features: resistance to nearly all anti-retroviral drugs used to treat the infection, and stunningly swift progression from infection to full-fledged AIDS.

    That combination, the officials said, could signal a new, more menacing kind of infection, and its discovery set in motion an anxious search by city workers to find the man's sexual partners and have them tested.

    The infected man, gay and in his 40's, tested negative for H.I.V. in May 2003, then tested positive last December, health officials said. Investigators believe he may have contracted the virus in October when he engaged in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners while using crystal methamphetamine. By last month, it was clear that three of the four classes of anti-retroviral drugs used against H.I.V. were not working in this case, and the man showed signs of AIDS, including rapid weight loss, a high level of the virus in his bloodstream, and a depleted supply of crucial immune system cells.

    Even though the anti-retroviral "cocktail" has extended many lives, some infected people still deteriorate and end up with AIDS, but that process usually takes many years. Doctors say that for a patient to reach that stage in a matter of months is extremely troubling.

    AIDS experts and public health officials have long maintained that since the development of anti-retroviral drugs in the 1990's, people have developed a false sense that AIDS no longer poses a significant threat, leading to a rise in unprotected sex. Clear evidence of the trend has been seen in the growing number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, chlamydia, and lymphogranuloma.


    Bulia Ramsey has AIDS. She is one of the estimated 25,000 people in North Carolina quietly battling HIV. Photo by Corey Lowenstein/N&O

    This of course, is after we received the harsh truth last week that AIDS is creeping back in NC. African-Americans, while only 22 percent of the population, are 71 percent of the state's cases and black women are 14 times as likely to contract HIV as white women. Most of the women that have contracted it are poor, black and had sex with a man they thought was monogamous.

    Too large a segment of the black church, a space that has the potential to reach so many at risk, has not taken a lead to address the spread of HIV, even as these numbers grow. In fact, there's been a more vocal stridently homophobic voice coming from some church leaders, such as first-class local homophobe and pious pastor Patrick Wooden, Sr. of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God. His views are well known.

    "I cannot stand by and say nothing while this wicked phenomenon takes place."

    "We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals," he said. "They are not gay. We've got to use terms like 'deviant' and 'abomination.' "

    "If we're labeled as being fanatical Christians, we embrace it."

    "[Homosexuality is] 'one of the greatest enemies of Christianity.'

    The news today will only spur more homophobia in the very communities that need to open their eyes to the reality that AIDS is devastating them. It's high-risk sexual practices, and most importantly, lies and denial, not orientation, that is going to allow this virus to spread.


    Conservative Values - hogwash

    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    I guess I could have used stronger language, but hey, I'm feeling charitable today. I hope some of you have checked out my Conservative Values Monitor, a list of some of our favorite GOP pillars of the community -- and their ethically and morally challenged behavior, along with links to source material.

    I recently received and email from House Blend reader T. Rex about his own chronicle of Repug deviency, Republican Family Values. Very good read. Someone needs to create an online database where folks can easily update and add to this information!


    Hot progressive blog launched: Facing South

    I'm a tad late in promoting this, but the Institute for Southern Studies, a worthy endeavor with national reach, has launched its own blog, Facing South, earlier this week. Based in Durham, ISS is another voice out there dispelling the myth held by the media (and many Democrats) that all of the South is wingnut country.

    I posted about ISS a couple of weeks ago highlighting its stats on the South and Social Security. If you didn't see that post, please check it out. I sent a link to ThereIsNoCrisis.com, which picked up the post, hopefully driving some traffic to ISS and its publication, the award-winning Southern Exposure. Here's the blog's inaugural post:
    Greetings, and welcome to Facing South -- a blog of the progressive South.

    We are launching this blog with the hope that we inform, entertain, learn, and -- most importantly -- provide a space for Southerners and South-watchers to better understand the South, and kick-start the debate about prospects for progressive change in this fascinating region we call home.

    These are subjects we've thought a lot about. The force behind this blog is the Institute for Southern Studies, a progressive "think tank/act tank" that's been working in the region since being launched by civil rights veterans in 1970. You might also know our magazine, Southern Exposure -- which Julian Bond kindly called "the single best resource about the changing South" -- or our biweekly-ish email news update, also called Facing South.

    In recent months, a passel of progressive pundits have been saying it's time to write off the South -- that, contrary to Sam Cooke's soulful vision, "change ain't gonna come."

    To make their point, the naysayers typically point to recent Electoral College votes for President, the makeup of Southerners in Congress, or the pieces of amusing or shocking news that readily emanate from the southland (unlike other places).

    As important (or nauseating) as these indicators might be, we disagree with the conclusion. And we also think it's the wrong question.

    Put aside, for the moment, that the South has six of the country's 15 fastest-growing states; holds 31% of the presidential electoral votes; has become a center of global commerce and immigration; and that, for at least the past decade, has set the tone for national politics -- making the South just as impossible to ignore now as when W.E.B. DuBois observed, "As goes the South, so goes the nation."

    Also set aside the South's unbroken history of people and movements that have changed the country for the better, or that the region is home to half of all African Americans, who remain the country's most steadfast progressive constituency, to the right's chagrin.

    The fact is, whatever schemes for progressive renewal are cooked up in New York, D.C. or the Left Coast, Southerners committed to a better day will continue to fight, refine their message, hone their strategy, build their strength, and win victories -- at the ballot box, on the job, in statehouses, and beyond.

    Progressives face much deeper questions than whether to court "the Southern vote" (by which the chattering classes usually mean the Southern white vote) by moving to the right, embracing NASCAR, finding religion, or learning a few country ditties (although that can't hurt).

    Our "Southern Strategy," a progressive strategy, will involve nothing less than a Third Reconstruction: developing an integrated set of common sense ideas, institutions, movements and strategies that build a critical mass for fundamental change that's too strong to hold back.

    Of course, it's happened before. As Leslie Dunbar, one of the unsung white allies in the Second Reconstruction of the black freedom movement, recently wrote: "Serious work was done in the South those days. The Southern civil rights movement reversed the tides of the South's history. Southern liberals, black and white, carried their share of the fight that ended the war in Vietnam. These years were the South's historically finest hour."

    It's time to get serious again -- and have a good time while we're at it -- about reversing the tides of history and realizing our vision for a progressive South and country.

    It won't be easy. But if we succeed, our best years may still be ahead.

    Be sure to stop by Facing South. It has an RSS feed, so jump on board and participate, especially those of you that are Southerners looking for progressive change and motivation to stay energized. We're not giving up this part of the country to the wingnuts.

    Email them at: facingsouth@southernstudies.org.
    URL: http://www.southernstudies.org/facingsouth/


    A must-have item on eBay, for the enterprising reporter



    The Jeff Gannon James JD Guckert White House Credential
    actual laminated all access pass - historical!

    It's on eBay, run, don't walk! :)


    'Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Discharge'

    You knew that these numbers would change as the available warm body count dropped. My question is, what actually results in a discharge under wartime circumstances? (US Newswire):
    653 service members were discharged in Fiscal Year 2004 under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," not counting the Coast Guard, according to Department of Defense figures released today. This represents the fourth straight year "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharges have fallen, a fifteen percent drop since FY 2003 and a forty-seven percent drop since the start of the Global War on Terror.

    "The continued drop in 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' discharges at a time of war clearly shows that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a law we don't need," said Kathi Westcott, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Senior Counsel for Law and Policy. "These numbers clearly show that military commanders value good service members during a time of war, whether the service members are gay or straight."

    According to the Department of Defense, three hundred twenty- five Army soldiers, ninety-two Airmen, fifty-nine Marines and one hundred seventy-seven sailors were discharged in FY 2004. Numbers for the Coast Guard were not released by the Department of Defense. These numbers represent the lowest annual "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharges since 1994 and the second lowest number of discharges in the last twenty years.

    Despite this year's historic low, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" continues to weaken U.S. military readiness by forcing out service members with critical skills. Recently released Department of Defense information found that at least 20 Arabic linguists have been discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the past five years. Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA), a leading opponent of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the House of Representatives stated "Even one discharge of an able-bodied service member under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during a time of war is one too many. At a time when reservists' tours of duty have been extended and thousands of former service members have been involuntarily recalled, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is stretching our troops to the breaking point. The Department of Defense should be focused on winning the war on terror, not advancing an agenda of discrimination."


    Dean is in...


    Yes. Let the housecleaning begin.

    Contribute to the rebuilding of the party with a new vision (from grassroots bloggers, not the establishment), by Acting Blue. www.blogpac.org is mounting the drive.

    Contribution amount:
    $


    I'm at the Triangle Blogger Conference - Open Thread

    Sorry for no blogging this AM. I'm sitting here among about 150 people, mostly bloggers, but some newbies, non-bloggers and some local and non-local media. There was a report on NPR about it as I drove into Chapel Hill.

    It's great being here, but it's unruly at times and unfocused...like blogs actually, but lots of great ideas because local folks are coming together to discuss how to develop community, what tools to use, gaining readership, etc.

    Will sign on later, but folks drop by, have a cup and post some suggestions for topics -- I've not been surfing today...


    Agape Press: 'Morning after' pill=out of control fornication

    Friday, February 11, 2005


    Wendy Wright of the retrograde Concerned Women for America wants womb control. Founder and Chairman of CWA, the amazingly lifelike Beverly LaHaye.

    Damn. Twice in one day I find a gem from wingnut propaganda news organ, Agape Press. This time it's a ridiculous brief illustrating the mental gymnastics by the anti-choice crowd. Everything leads to lots of promiscuous, hornified sexual behavior. The want so badly to control who's fornicating and when, and to get in control of a woman's womb that they don't mind coming across as unhinged. (AgapePress):
    ...A pro-family advocate says the idea of selling another contraceptive pill over the counter without a prescription is a recipe for disaster -- in more ways than one. Another so-called "morning-after" pill is poised to flood the market of young people interested in a pill to allow recreational sex without consequences. The Bush administration is considering whether to make it legal for a pill known as "Plan B" to be sold without a prescription, making it readily available to young girls. Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America says it is crucial to understand that this drug is more than a contraceptive. She says it is also an abortifacient -- and that its availability has been shown to encourage risky sexual behavior. "In areas where the 'morning-after' pill has been available without a prescription, they see an increase in sexually transmitted diseases," she explains. "There's no decrease in the number of pregnancies, and no decrease in the number of abortions -- in fact, in Sweden they found there was an increase in the number of teen abortions." Wright contends the drug would also lull teens into a false sense of security. "[They] will have it on-hand, and then -- in the heat of the moment -- decide to engage in sex because they figure the only negative consequence may be pregnancy, and they'll just pop a pill in the morning. Well, that's not the only thing that can happen," Wright warns. "They can get a sexually transmitted disease." The pro-life activist also notes the drug has not been proven to be effective as a contraceptive, which could lead to even more abortions. Wright says the Bush administration should step up and live up to its pro-family promises, and outlaw over-the-counter sales of this drug. And clearly, she says, the answer is to discourage sexual activity among young people.


    Wingnut rag Human Events' liberal hit list

    The wingnuts are gunning for the following libs. Why Stephen Bing is on this list, I have no clue. (Human Events):
    Ten Liberals to Watch in 2005

    * * * Evan Bayh Democrat senator from Indiana # Born: Dec. 26, 1955, Shirkieville, Ind. # Resides: Indianapolis # Significance: Son of former liberal Sen. Birch Bayh, he is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the "moderate" organization that helped launch Bill Clinton. Served as governor of Indiana. Likely 2008 presidential candidate, who has tried to position himself to the middle (voted for the partial-birth abortion ban), but ultimately delivers for liberals (voted for judicial filibusters). One of 13 senators to vote against confirming Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Also opposed Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales. # Quotable: "There's a whole cluster of cultural issues or values issues on which we need to make sure that people in Middle America--Iowa, Indiana, the South, the Plains--understand that we are not cultural elitists." (Des Moines Register, Jan. 17, 2003)

    * * * Stephen L. Bing Screenwriter and producer # Born: March 31, 1965, Los Angeles # Resides: Los Angeles # Significance: A top donor to Democrats (more than $9.5 million since 2000) and liberal 527 committees (nearly $14 million in 2004). Reported to have dated actresses Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Sharon Stone and, most notably, Elizabeth Hurley, who went to court to successfully establish his paternity of their son. Credits include television series "Married With Children" and movie Get Carter. Heir to his grandfather's $500-million real-estate fortune. # Quotable: Won't talk to the media.

    * * * Tina Fey Head writer, "Saturday Night Live" # Born: May 18, 1970, Upper Darby, Pa. # Resides: New York # Significance: Politicized SNL's "Weekend Update" segment to portray President Bush as an incompetent idiot. Often ridicules conservatives for their moral values. Named first female head writer for SNL in 1999, two years after joining the show. Wrote and acted in teenage flick Mean Girls. Working on a sitcom for NBC. # Quotable: "At his annual physical last week, the President found out he has gained six pounds over the last year, and he has pledged to loose the weight as soon as possible. So finding Osama bin Laden will get pushed even farther down on the President's to-do list." (SNL's "Weekend Update," Dec. 18, 2004)

    * * * Harold Ickes Founder of America Coming Together, the Media Fund # Born: Sept. 4, 1939, Baltimore # Resides: New York # Significance: Son of FDR Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes. Rose to political prominence as a key player in the Clinton White House. Masterminded Hillary Clinton's New York Senate run in 2000. Is likely to be a major force in Hillary's expected 2008 presidential race--whether inside or outside the campaign. Founded America Coming Together and the Media Fund, liberal 527s that reportedly raised more than $100 million during the 2004 campaign. # Quotable: "In any ring, I'd put my money on Hillary." (New York Times, June 14, 1999)

    * * * Peter B. Lewis Chairman, Progressive Corp. # Born: Nov. 11, 1933, Cleveland # Resides: Beachwood, Ohio # Significance: Teamed with George Soros to fund liberal 527 groups. Reportedly gave nearly $23 million to America Coming Together, the Media Fund, MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups. Retired as chief executive from Progressive in 2000 after leading the car insurance company for 35 years. # Quotable: "I think the drug laws are absurd in every sense, all of them. Based on the experience I've had with Scotch whiskey, which is plenty, and the experience I've had with marijuana, which is plenty, I think it should be regulated the same way alcohol is." (Daily Princetonian, Sept. 16, 2003)

    * * * Barack Obama Democrat senator from Illinois # Born: Aug. 4, 1961, Hawaii # Resides: Hyde Park, Ill. # Significance: Spent six years of his childhood in Indonesia with his mother, a Kansas-born anthropologist. His late father, who left the family when Barack was a boy, was a Kenyan government economist. Was first black president of Harvard Law Review. Ever since, he has been on Democratic fast track, serving in Illinois Senate, giving highly praised keynote at last year's Democratic National Convention, and easily winning election in November as only the fifth black U.S. senator. # Quotable: "National legislation will prevent other states' flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents.'' (Advocating a federal law to ban citizens from carrying weapons, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 20, 2004)

    * * * Eli Pariser Executive director, MoveOn.org # Born: Approx. 1981, Lincolnville, Maine # Resides: Manhattan, N.Y. # Significance: Mastermind behind MoveOn's anti-Bush e-mails and advertising campaigns. Graduated from Simon's Rock College (Mass.) at 19, and began protesting World Bank and IMF meetings. After Sept. 11, 2001, organized 9-11peace.org as an alternative to war. Joined with MoveOn's founders to revolutionize Internet fund-raising and organize anti-war protests, which morphed into a multimillion-dollar campaign against Bush. # Quotable: "Anyone in the public could submit an ad. We didn't want to censor. If it didn't have big legal problems, we were going to let it through and let our members vote on it." (Explaining why MoveOn's ad contest included commercials comparing Bush to Hitler, Washington Post, Jan. 6, 2004)

    * * * John Roberts CBS White House correspondent # Born: Nov. 15, 1956, Toronto # Resides: Washington, D.C. # Significance: A leading candidate to replace Dan Rather as anchor of CBS's "Evening News." If passed over, could jump to another network. Serves as "CBS Evening News Sunday" anchor and Rather's primary backup. Absolved of any wrongdoing for CBS's botched report on the President's National Guard service. # Quotable: "Mr. Bush's message has often been at odds with the mission: the Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in-your-face attitude that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard." ("Evening News," Jan. 26, 2001)

    * * * Eliot Spitzer New York state attorney general # Born: June 12, 1959, Bronx, N.Y. # Resides: Manhattan, N.Y. # Significance: High-profile corporate crime buster is leading Democrat candidate for governor of New York. Since taking office in 1999, Spitzer has aggressively probed white-collar crime on Wall Street. Prosecuted Midwest power companies for alleged pollution (appeasing environmentalists) and businesses for supposedly violating workers' rights (appeasing labor unions). # Quotable: "I bring people together whether they like it or not and we tackle complex problems--not with Band-Aid solutions, but with major reform and real change. We did it in the financial industry and other sectors and we can do it in government." (Announcing his gubernatorial candidacy, Dec. 7, 2004)

    * * * Jon Stewart Anchor, "The Daily Show" # Born: Nov. 28, 1962, New York # Resides: Manhattan, N.Y. # Significance: The self-deprecating host of "The Daily Show" made his name attacking President Bush and Republicans. During the 2004 campaign, he brought Sen. John Kerry on the show only to ask softball questions, and made headlines for attacking CNN's "Crossfire." Worked as a stand-up comic and film actor before starting at Comedy Central in 1999. # Quotable: "To equate the idea that the people who populate the world of news tend to vote Democratic with having an activist stance that is actively working towards electing Democratic officials I think is . . . the final piece of the puzzle to a really very brilliant 30-year strategy of getting and consolidating conservative power." ("Charlie Rose Show," Sept. 29, 2004)



    Consumers, you are screwed -- Senate approves measure to curb big class actions


    Consumers are f*cked. Now companies like Merck, our Big Pharma friends that gave us the heart-stopping Vioxx, are probably doing the happy dance. I'll have a little history lesson about corporate responsibility (the Ford Pinto debacle) after this snippet from the NYT on the grim news. (NYT):
    Handing President Bush a significant victory, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure on Thursday that would sharply limit the ability of people to file class-action lawsuits against companies.

    The measure, adopted 72 to 26, now heads to the House of Representatives, where Republican leaders say it will be approved next week and sent to the White House for Mr. Bush's signature.

    The measure would prohibit state courts from hearing many kinds of cases they now consider, transferring them to federal courts. Experts say many cases will wind up not being brought because federal judges have been constrained by a series of legal precedents from considering large class actions that involve varying laws of different states.

    Mr. Bush issued a statement praising the vote, his first legislative victory of his second term.

    "Our country depends on a fair legal system that protects people who have been harmed without encouraging junk lawsuits that undermine confidence in our courts while hurting our economy, costing jobs and threatening small businesses," the president said. "The class-action bill is a strong step forward in our efforts to reform the litigation system and keep America the best place in the world to do business."

    The legislation has long been promoted by large and small businesses, particularly manufacturers and insurance companies, and failed by a single vote in the Senate in 2003. It could have an especially significant effect on cases involving accusations of defective products, like drugs and cars; plaintiffs in such cases have had success in bringing large class actions in state courts. Automakers and drug makers have worked for years with manufacturers and insurers to press Congress to adopt the bill.


    Repug Grassley is in the pocket of big business; Dem Reid can't stop this train.

    ..."This is a modest bill which will help reform a class-action regime that many times serves no one but the lawyers who bring these class-action lawsuits," said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who was the chief sponsor of the measure and who introduced a version of it eight years ago. "Out-of-control frivolous filings are a real drag on the economy. Many a good business is being hurt by these frivolous claims."

    But the measure has been attacked by civil rights organizations, labor groups, consumer organizations, many state prosecutors and environmental groups, who say it would sharply curtail important cases and provide new protections for unscrupulous companies. Many federal and state judges and state lawmakers have also criticized the bill, saying it would strip states of an important role in judging such contests and could add a considerable number of cases to already burdened federal dockets.

    "This bill is one of the most unfair, anticonsumer proposals to come before the Senate in years," said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority leader. "It slams the courthouse doors on a wide range of injured plaintiffs. It turns federalism upside down by preventing state courts from hearing state law claims. And it limits corporate accountability at a time of rampant corporate scandals."

    ***


    We'll be back to the good old days of assumed risk, as in the days of the exploding Ford Pinto. See moving video of the crash test here.

    Back in the day, before some of you House Blenders were born, there was a little car called the Ford Pinto. We actually had a 1973 Pinto station wagon. But the wagons are not the real story, it's the little hatchback version. They had a little problem with exploding gas tanks, courtesy of Ford's penny pinching. Everything is about risk assessment, and for greedy companies, it's all about what it will cost to either implement safety or pay out in settlements. What they don't want is something to go before a jury.

    If you don't believe that corporations are going to run rampant with behavior like what you will read below, you're smoking something. For those that remember the Pinto debacle, it's "deja vu all over again." Just wait and see. (fordpinto.com):
    Safety was not a major concern to Ford at the time of the development of the Pinto. Lee Iacocca, who was in charge of the development of the Pinto, had specifications for the design of the car that were uncompromisable. These specifications were that "the Pinto was not to weigh an ounce over 2,000 pounds and not cost a cent over $2,000." Any modifications even if they did provide extra safety for the customer that brought the car closer to the Iacocca’s limits was rejected.

    The rush of the Pinto from conception to production was a recipe for disaster. Many studies have been concluded by Mother Jones on Pinto accident reports which have revealed conclusively that if a Pinto being followed at over 30 miles per hour was hit by that following vehicle, the rear end of the car would buckle like an accordion, right up to the back seat. The tube leading to the gas-tank cap would be ripped away from the tank itself, and gas would immediately begin sloshing onto the road around the car. The buckled gas tank would be jammed up against the differential housing (the large bulge in the middle of the rear axle), which contains four sharp, protruding bolts likely to gash holes in the tank and spill still more gas. Now all that is needed is a spark from a cigarette, ignition, or scraping metal, and both cars would be engulfed in flames. If a Pinto was struck from behind at higher speed say, at 40 mph chances are very good that its doors would jam shut and its trapped passengers inside would burn to death.

    The financial analysis that Ford conducted on the Pinto concluded that it was not cost-efficient to add an $11 per car cost in order to correct a flaw. Benefits derived from spending this amount of money were estimated to be $49.5 million. This estimate assumed that each death, which could be avoided, would be worth $200,000, that each major burn injury that could be avoided would be worth $67,000 and that an average repair cost of $700 per car involved in a rear end accident would be avoided. It further assumed that there would be 2,100 burned vehicles, 180 serious burn injuries, and 180 burn deaths in making this calculation. When the unit cost was spread out over the number of cars and light trucks which would be affected by the design change, at a cost of $11 per vehicle, the cost was calculated to be $137 million, much greater then the $49.5 million benefit. These figures, which describe the fatalities and injuries, are false. All independent experts estimate that for each person who dies by an auto fire, many more are left with charred hands, faces and limbs. This means that Ford’s 1:1 death to injury ratio is inaccurate and the costs for Ford’s settlements would have been much closer to the cost of implementing a solution to the problem. However, Ford’s "cost-benefit analysis," which places a dollar value on human life, said it wasn't profitable to make any changes to the car.

    Remember, the Bush admin also wants to limit damages in malpractice awards as well, limiting pain and suffering and punitive malpractice awards to $250,000. He plans to get you coming and going on this front, people.


    AmericaBlog's John A. riffs on Gannongate on CNN



    Nice to see some bloggers get credit for doing work that our sleeping, lazy media wouldn't cover until it blew up in their faces. Below is my favorite, meaty section of John Aravosis's (AmericaBlog) appearance on Aaron Brown last night about the "Jeff Gannon"/Propagannon affair. I have several posts on it, one is here. You can catch the video at Crooks and Liars:
    BROWN: Well, here's what, I mean what a job at the White House says is they don't really ask about your political affiliation on these daily passes. The correspondent corps doesn't pass judgment here. If you show an ID and you pass a Secret Service check then you get to sit there and if your number is drawn, you get to ask a question.

    ARAVOSIS: That is the biggest bunch of hogwash I've ever heard.

    BROWN: Oh, OK.

    ARAVOSIS: George Bush's White House controls everything that happens every second of the day and anybody that thinks that that White House doesn't know everyone walking in the door, they threw out Sara, I forget her name, I want to say McClanahan (ph).

    BROWN: Sara McClendon.

    ARAVOSIS: Sara McClendon. She got thrown out for three months in 2001 because they didn't like the questions she was asking and she was told for security reasons this 90-year-old reporter couldn't come into the White House.

    They absolutely decide who does and doesn't come in that door. If you ask the wrong questions, they punish you. And for them to now suggest that some guy who had a shady business background, we're not talking about his personal life, we're talking about his business life, he told Wolf Blitzer earlier today that he was hired to construct some Web sites that basically the web addresses dealt with escort services.

    BROWN: Yes.

    ARAVOSIS: We'll leave it at that. I think that that raises enough of a red flag that at least you wonder if this man should be meeting with the president of the United States and getting CIA documents. That's all we're saying.

    I can't keep up with this huge, juicy story, I'll have to leave this one to the big blogs, like AB and DKos to post away. I'll just collect interesting tidbits that come up.


    More bile and bullsh*t from wingnut Agape Press

    The American Family Association's AmTaliban news organ, Agape Press, is noting action on a few subjects that you should be aware of.


    Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council. More on him from one of my earlier posts.

    1. Packing the FCC with wingnuts. Michael Powell, as most of you know, is stepping down, and it appears there will be another vacancy to fill. The wingers, including Family Research Council head, Tony Perkins, wants to pack the FCC with like-minded individuals. If they succeed, it's going to be more than "Nipplegate" and we won't be laughing.
    .Two of the five commissioners at the FCC are stepping down -- one of them the chairman -- and one pro-family group sees that as an opportunity for family advocates to make an impact on American culture. FCC chairman Michael Powell announced last month his intent to step down from his position in March. And Family Research Council is reporting that another commissioner, Kathleen Abernathy, is leaving as well. FRC president Tony Perkins contends the FCC, with Powell at the helm, was unwilling to enforce indecency laws consistently -- so he is encouraging people to let President Bush know they want appointments to the federal agency who will bring about change in that area of the FCC's jurisdiction. Even since the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at last year's Super Bowl, the FCC's enforcement record has been "spotty at best," says Perkins. But with two of the five members of the Commission now open, Perkins sees a "historic opportunity" for much-needed change in the enforcement of broadcast indecency laws.


    Bishop Harry Jackson, unveils the The Black Contract With America.

    2. More courting of the religious black community by the GOP. I've been railing on the hijacking of the black religious community by the Right for a while. By filling pastor's coffers with faith-based tax dollars, the Bush admin plans to make inroads on the "values" issue and gain support in the process for his Social Security dismantling. I note that Jackson includes support for what looks like civil unions in the quote below, something none of these pastors has even broached before. There must be heat on them. AgapePress is reporting the "progress" on that front:
    ...Black ministers and churches are promoting a moral agenda this Black History Month that combines personal righteousness with social justice. Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High-Impact Leadership Coalition, which has released a six-point "Black Contract with America on Moral Values." It calls for family reconstruction, wealth creation, educational reform, African relief, prison reform, and affordable health care. He says most black churches oppose homosexual marriage because of "the clear teaching of Scripture," but support property and other civil rights for couples that do not live as the Bible teaches. Jackson adds that he believes most blacks will support Social Security privatization if it means they can "keep the money" and leave it to their families.


    Robert Knight, of the Culture and Family Institute, is mad at Wallyworld. More on his wingnuttery in this post.

    3. Wal-Mart better watch out for kneecap-busting from the Right. Again, as I predicted, it wouldn't be long before the retailer got slammed on the news that it would recognize same-sex relationships.
    ...The nation's largest lobbying group for homosexuals is praising Wal-Mart for its efforts to accommodate same-sex couples. The retailer has joined 228 other Fortune 500 companies that offer benefits to same-sex "partners" of employees. The move brought praise from the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for homosexual-friendly legislation. But Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute says most families are not aware that Wal-Mart is so "gay-friendly." He says Wal-Mart has spent a lot of time cultivating a pro-family image. "Some of what they've done is positive," he says. "[But] now that they've caved to gay activists, they've joined the side of those who don't think that marriage and family are worth supporting anymore -- and that political correctness is more important." The CFI spokesman notes that another retailer, Target, was recently criticized for not allowing Salvation Army bell-ringers to solicit donations on store property. Consequently, many families turned to Wal-Mart. Knight has a problem with that. "Wal-Mart can't give on one hand and take away with the other," he says. "Millions of families shop at Wal-Mart, and I think they're counting on them not knowing that Wal-Mart is openly promoting homosexuality. When it gets out that they're [doing that] by actually subsidizing homosexual relationships ... this will tarnish their image."


    Friday pet blogging

    [UPDATE (Feb 12)]: My worthy adversary, as he also refers to me, North Dallas Thirty, has posted a wonderful entry on Red on his blog. He also includes background on the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

    Kate picked up Red's ashes last night and brought them home, as well as Red's collar and leash. Chloe and Bailey sniffed them excitedly. I put the collar on Bailey so she couls smell him -- this seemed to make her happy -- she was a bit more playful, but eventually started moping again later in the evening. She still won't get up on the sofa while we are in the living room, which she normally did when Red got up there to snooze before her.

    I thought I'd share some pet pixs of Red, Bailey and Chloe from happier times today. The snow pictures are from 2003.





    Red passes away (my original post).


    Triangle-area residents blog together at conference in Chapel Hill tomorrow

    Health willing, I'll be trekking over to Chapel Hill tomorrow to attend the Triangle Bloggers Conference. Looks like there will be over 120 bloggers there. You'll be able to liveblog, so I'll take my laptop, but it kind of defeats the purpose of interacting with people if you've got your head buried in your computer, so I don't know if I'll fire the sucker up.

    I was interviewed on Monday by the Durham Herald-Sun's Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell, for an article on the conference. It came out this AM. Nothing earth-shattering (certainly not like John A. over at AmericaBlog's kick-ass appearance on CNN last night re: "Propagannon"), but hey I'm still in shock she even found my blog. I'm reposting most of the story here. (Herald-Sun):
    On Saturday, the Triangle will host its first bloggercon, a gathering for people interested in blogging, or the highly adaptable form of Web publishing.

    More than 120 people have registered, said Anton Zuiker, who co-organized the Chapel Hill event with fellow blogger and UNC lecturer Paul Jones. The conference is sponsored by Jones' ibiblio.org, and the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Zuiker, who blogs at mistersugar.com, said the level of interest shows that a local "blogosphere" is developing. Blogs, short for "weblogs," are frequently updated Web pages that draw readers with strong viewpoints and the opportunity to comment.

    "The fact that we're going to get 100 people to come and talk about weblogging is an indication that people are actively blogging and want to talk about the potential uses," Zuiker said. "A lot of people are intrigued; a lot of people have heard about it" in Chapel Hill and beyond.

    Select bloggers have gained national prominence, even receiving passes for the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions. Sometimes derided as "pajama jockies," they've have broken major news stories such as the falsification of "60 Minutes"-reported documents about President Bush's National Guard service.

    Saturday's conference will include sessions on blogging nuts-and-bolts and how to harness the technology for community building. Related programming includes a Feb. 14 talk by grassroots-journalism advocate Dan Gillmor at UNC's Carroll Hall.

    "Blogging can be very 'what I ate this morning' or 'why I don't like Politician B,' " Zuiker said. "But for a long time now, weblogs are being used as a tool for communities. Certainly, weblogs have shown they can be used to get people to donate" for tsunami relief and political campaigns.

    Longtime Chapel Hillian and activist Ruby Sinreich values blogs' pure opinion. "Blogs are written in first person. It's the most authentic. The more opinions, the better," said Sinreich. The 30-year-old electronic organizer for a reproductive-rights organization created OrangePolitics.org in September 2003. She moderates the blog, but other people submit messages about Orange County issues from school merger to the UNC freshman summer reading selection.

    "In this community, there's a lot of willingness to engage in protests on the national and even international level. ... We have a powerful activist community, but most of us aren't engaged on the local level," she said. OrangePolitics.org is "a watercooler for politicos" of a certain stripe, said Sinreich. "OrangePolitics is expressly progressive, and I really wanted it to be explicitly opinionated. One of the great things is having multiple opinions."

    While OrangePolitics is progressive, there are bloggers of every variety and political persuasion. Chapel Hill Councilwoman Sally Greene has a blog (greenespace.blogspot.com). Other area bloggers nitpick about the best North Carolina barbecue or scrutinize why the Tar Heel basketball team lost to Duke on Wednesday.

    Bomani Jones of Durham could be called a hip-hop blogger; his weekly posts have deconstructed Beyoncé lyrics and questioned the practice of ghostwriting in rap. The UNC economics graduate student uses his site, bomanijones.com, mainly as a "shameless self-promotion" to drive readers to freelance columns he's written for other sites.

    In Pam's House Blend, Durham IT manager Pam Spaulding frequently criticizes states' efforts to introduce anti-gay marriage legislation or amendments.

    "During the election, I just felt like I needed to put my voice, my opinion, my frustrations out there for the unheard voices. And sometimes, I felt like I was a solitary voice of color, for lesbians and for women. ... I was just sharing my thoughts. It was several months before I even got a comment." Now she might get 1,200 unique visits "on a good day."

    But Spaulding knows she's one of many voices and said it's hard to know when someone's "doing quality reporting or just mouthing off."


    Born in the late 1990s, blogging is young enough that pundits and activists are still debating its social roles. Is it media watchdog, community builder, a sign of the "post-journalism" world or a more inclusive communications model?

    Gillmor, author of "We the Media," said that blogging has hit on something that the circulation-challenged newspaper industry hasn't. "The first thing news organizations need to do is listen to the readers and to get out of the old lecture mode and move to something more conversational," he said.

    But Gillmor stressed that most bloggers "don't aspire to be journalists. Community theater is not professional theater. People do these things for expression."




    Unfortunately, this is what students on campus are thinking about

    Thursday, February 10, 2005


    Duke students celebrate their one-point win over UNC on Wednesday night by burning benches on West Campus. Round two is March 6 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. A Duke student celebrates the Blue Devils' 71-70 win over UNC Wednesday night at a bonfire rally on West Campus. (The Herald-Sun/Walt Unks)

    All things revolve around basketball here. I have zero interest in this, so I don't really get the whole "let's burn sh*t up and break things" behavior that goes on with the Duke-UNC rivalry. But I thought I'd show you what goes on.


    Bush tries to pull the wool over Tar Heels' eyes on Social Security


    President George W. Bush speaks to the crowd at Meymandi Concert Hall in downtown Raleigh today. Protestors outside the hall. (WRAL)

    The bastard graced Raleigh with his presence (and lies) today. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go there for the protest. He had his merry band of supporters there. He can't sell his plan without organized, often paid, cheerleaders for his plans. (Raleigh N&O):
    President Bush told a Raleigh audience this morning that the fate of Social Security must be secured at once.

    "A president's job is to confront problems and not pass them on to future generations," he said. "We've got to anticipate problems, particularly on this issue. The longer we wait, the more difficult the problems become."

    ..."For those worried about the politics of Social Security, I ran on it twice," Bush said. "I believe candidates are rewarded, not punished, for taking on tough issues." Bush appeared before the audience, which was drawn mainly from Republican Party supporters, along with four panelists from North Carolina. They discussed their personal situations and asked the president questions about his plans.

    They included Dawn Baldwin, a teacher at Lenoir Community College; Noel Council, a Raleigh retiree; Cyndi Godfrey, an employee of Godfrey Lumber Company in Statesville; and Matthew "Skip" Long of Raleigh, who is president and chief executive of the National Jobs Partnership. The audience rewarded the president with 38 rounds of applause before he left the room about 12:30 p.m.

    Burwell and Brooke Stark attended the event with their 6-year-old daughter, Lindy. The couple said that they were energized by the president's remarks and confident that he has the right idea for changing Social Security. "We're more afraid of nothing happening than something happening," said Burwell Stark, 31. "We know it won't be the same when we get to that age if nothing is done."

    ...Segregated by a metal barricade across the street from BTI Center and accompanied by several police officers, a group of protesters slowly swelled from fewer than a dozen to about 100 people at 10 a.m. Some protesters held neon yellow signs that said "Hands off my Social Security" and began chanting, "Town meeting with no dissent, what a cowardly president." "That sums up the sentiment on this side of the street," said Sasha Akhavi, 32, of Raleigh. "We want to look out for our guaranteed benefit of Social Security and not have it replaced by the speculation of the stock market."

    As more protesters arrived, the chants grew louder and benign exchanges with event-goers across the street occurred. At one point, for example, people lined up for the Bush event yelled that the protesters should go home. The protesters responded that they weren't going anywhere.

    To counter the Bush crap and charges that there are no Democratic proposals to address the Social Security "problem", here are some solutions from ThereIsNoCrisis.com:
    "How do we 'solve' the problem?"

    1) This is a trick question for three reasons. - It's not clear if there is a problem - we don't know what productivity growth will be over the next forty years. In the early 1990s, Social Security looked like it would be insolvent fairly quickly, but because of the rapid productivity growth of the 1990s, the date was moved back to 2042. Analysts have consistently been too pessimistic about our economy (consider what this implies about Bush's attitude about how fast we can grow). - To the extent that there might be a problem, Bush's plan makes it worse and only tangentially touches the main issue. It's like if you say 'my knee itches', right-wingers would punch you in the arm. - The real issue is retirement savings, and to the extent that we need to increase income for the elderly, Social Security as it exists is actually part of the solution to this, not a problem.

    "How do we solve the retirement problem?"

    Let's imagine what we want for retirement. A safe, secure, guaranteed retirement system for all those who work and play by the rules that we can carry with us from job to job. It should have survivor's benefits for widows and children as well as safeguards if you become disabled. Let's implement it and call it... Social Security.

    "Come on. There's clearly a funding issue. How do we 'solve' that problem?"

    Well, let's assume you're right. Which you're not. But let's assume that anyway. 68% of Americans think that we should address the problem by limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. 67% of Americans think that we should require higher income workers to pay Social Security taxes on ALL of their wages. Problem solved.


    Scott McClellan on Propagannon



    You MUST read the White House transcript of today's press gaggle. It's a transcript of the utter bullsh*t coming out of Scott McClellan's mouth, as they were flying to the fraudulent Social Security road show in Raleigh today.
    Q Jeff Gannon. How did he get a White House pass, or what kind of credentials did he have?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Just like anyone else who comes to the White House.

    Q Hard pass?

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, he had never applied for a hard pass. He had a daily pass. I think he's been coming for --

    Q Was he coming for --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. I think he's been coming for more than two years now.

    ...Q Under what name?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you have to get cleared. You have to -- just like anybody else that comes to the White House, you have to have your full name, your Social Security number and your birth date. So you have to be cleared just like anybody else.

    Q So he was being cleared under James Guckert, or whatever his name is?

    MR. McCLELLAN: My understanding, yes.

    ...Q Were you aware that he had another name?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Was I aware? I had heard that. I had heard that, yes, recently.

    Q But did you know during all this time that he really wasn't Jeff Gannon?

    MR. McCLELLAN: I heard at some point, yes -- previously.

    Q Was the White House aware at all -- was the White House aware -- was the White House aware at all about the online websites that he was linked to?

    MR. McCLELLAN: No. This has only come to my attention through the news reports, just a few reporters calling in.

    Q But just to make it clear, the only criteria, from the White House perspective is, someone can pass the Secret Service background check

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, that's not -- first of all, I don't involve myself in that process, it's handled at a staff level. Like I said, if the White House Correspondents Association ever wants to talk about issues, I welcome that. But it becomes an issue -- it becomes an issue of where do you draw the line? Do you draw the line at advocacy journalism because there are a number of people that crossed that line, as I said? But there's hard -- there's hard passes and there's daily passes, as you are well aware. For a hard pass, you have to have a House and Senate credential, you have to regularly cover the White House, you have to apply for it, you have to go through a detailed FBI background check.

    My understanding was, when he started coming to the White House about two years ago, the staff asked to see that it -- that he represented a news organization that published regularly. And they showed that, so he was cleared and has been cleared ever since based on that time.

    And this is just now something that's come to my attention more recently because it's been an issue raised in some media reports.


    North Korea admits it has the bomb (again); Chimpy blinks (again)



    Condi: North Korea is an "outpost of tyranny." Bush: "I don't think you give timelines to dictators."

    Now what will our dear leader do? (VOA):
    In a statement read by North Korea's official news agency, the government said its nuclear arms were for "self-defense" purposes against what it called the Bush administration's "undisguised policy to isolate and stifle" Pyongyang.

    The statement cited a recent remark by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calling North Korea an "outpost of tyranny," as its justification for refusing to rejoin any future talks.

    Speaking in Luxembourg, where she wrapped up a nine-nation European trip, Secretary Rice said North Korea is only deepening its isolation from the rest of the international community. She also dismissed accusations that Washington is taking an aggressive stance toward Pyongyang.

    "The North Koreans have been told by the President of the United States himself that the United States has no intention to attack or invade North Korea, the North Koreans have been told that they can have security assurances on a multilateral basis,” said Secretary Rice. “Those security assurances will of course, include the United States if they are prepared to take a definitive decision to dismantle their nuclear weapons programs, and to do so in a way that is verifiable."


    Al Franken running for MN Senate seat?



    [UPDATE, 3:30PM: he's not running, according to this DKos diary.]

    Man, will he have time to do his radio show? We need him on the air! (KTSP)
    Just one day after U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton decided not to run for a second term, comedian Al Franken may be throwing his hat into the ring.

    Last year, Franken said he wanted to run for the Senate in 2008. But last night he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he is now considering his candidacy for next year.

    Franken, a Minnesota native, plans to make an announcement live on his national radio show in Washington D.C. this morning. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS will be in the studio with Franken for that announcement.

    Meanwhile, former U.S. Sen Rod Grams, who lost his seat to Dayton in 2000, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he is running for the open seat. He said Social Security, the deficit, the budget, Medicare and Medicaid are what prompted him to enter the race.

    Other Republicans who may consider a run include U.S. Reps. Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht, and Minn. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer.

    On the DFL side, activist Buck Humphrey said he's not ruling out a bid for the U.S. Senate.


    NYT: Bush admin coverup of 9/11 warnings



    Not just a couple of warnings. At least 52 warnings about Al Qaeda hijack threats, suicide ops and other terrorist activities by the group. The NYT obtained a copy of a report to the 9/11 Commission that the administration had deemed "classified". The 120-page declassified version the Times has is heavily redacted, but it's more than a smoking gun -- the White House knew of the danger and didn't do anything (or was too incompetent) to stop it.
    The report discloses that the Federal Aviation Administration, despite being focused on risks of hijackings overseas, warned airports in the spring of 2001 that if "the intent of the hijacker is not to exchange hostages for prisoners, but to commit suicide in a spectacular explosion, a domestic hijacking would probably be preferable."

    The report takes the F.A.A. to task for failing to pursue domestic security measures that could conceivably have altered the events of Sept. 11, 2001, like toughening airport screening procedures for weapons or expanding the use of on-flight air marshals. The report, completed last August, said officials appeared more concerned with reducing airline congestion, lessening delays, and easing airlines' financial woes than deterring a terrorist attack.

    The Bush administration has blocked the public release of the full, classified version of the report for more than five months, officials said, much to the frustration of former commission members who say it provides a critical understanding of the failures of the civil aviation system. The administration provided both the classified report and a declassified, 120-page version to the National Archives two weeks ago and, even with heavy redactions in some areas, the declassified version provides the firmest evidence to date about the warnings that aviation officials received concerning the threat of an attack on airliners and the failure to take steps to deter it.

    Among other things, the report says that leaders of the F.A.A. received 52 intelligence reports from their security branch that mentioned Mr. bin Laden or Al Qaeda from April to Sept. 10, 2001. That represented half of all the intelligence summaries in that time.

    Five of the intelligence reports specifically mentioned Al Qaeda's training or capability to conduct hijackings, the report said. Two mentioned suicide operations, although not connected to aviation, the report said.


    Propagannon scandal breaks into mainstream media



    * [new] Editor and Publisher has an excellent piece on this, with up-to-date information, including the coverage by Keith Olbermann.

    * The NY Daily News has picked up on the "Jeff Gannon" story and they don't hold back -- "Bush press pal quits over gay prostie link". Oh this is just great -- the best part is that bloggers are mentioned and given credit for breaking this, including DKos and John Aravosis at AmericaBlog. The White House hasn't issued a comment yet (paging Scotty McClellan?), and the Right wing press has not weighed in either -- they should certainly have something to say about someone they've held up as the standard bearer for "New Media" (meaning conservative whacko "journalism"). Especially a guy running the domains Militaryescortsm4m.com, and Hotmilitarystud.com. The Freepers erupted yesterday, and I chronicled that insanity yesterday. (NY Daily News):
    A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White House and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution.

    "The voice goes silent," Jeff Gannon wrote on his Web site. "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family, I have decided to return to private life." Gannon began covering the White House two years ago for an obscure Republican Web site (Talon-News.com). He was known for his friendly questions, including asking Bush at last month's news conference how he could work with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."

    Gannon was also given a classified CIA memo that named agent Valerie Plame, leading to his grilling by the grand jury investigating her outing. He came under lefty scrutiny after revelations that the administration was paying conservative pundits to talk up Bush's proposals. By examining Internet records, online sleuths at DailyKos.com figured out that his real name was Jim Guckert and he owned various Web sites, including HotMilitaryStud.com, MilitaryEscorts.com and MilitaryEscortsM4M.com.

    "The issue here is whether someone with connections to male prostitution was given unfettered access to the White House and copies of internal CIA documents. For a family values administration, that's pretty creepy," said John Aravosis, one of the bloggers chasing the story.

    The White House didn't return a call asking how someone using an alias was given daily clearance to enter the White House.

    On his TalonNews Web site, Gannon had written that liberals were out to get him because he's a white conservative man who owns a gun, drives a sport-utility vehicle and is a born-again Christian.

    Yesterday, however, he abruptly quit, and all of the stories he wrote were erased from the Web site. A great many were on gay issues, including one detailing John Kerry's "pro-homosexual platform" that was headlined mockingly, "Kerry Could Become First Gay President."

    * Talon Officially Accepts "Gannon's Resignation. This is a real non-statement:
    Talon News Washington, DC reporter and White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon submitted his resignation from our organization effective February 8, 2005.

    I understand and support Jeff's decision, and have accepted the resignation.

    We are currently evaluating candidates to fill this critical assignment, and anticipate minimal interruption of Talon's coverage of our nation's capitol and the White House in the meantime.

    -- Robert R. Eberle, Ph.D.
    Editor in Chief, Talon News

    And there's more...
    Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28) writes a letter to Bush asking for an explanation as to how discredited Gannon received credentialed as a member of the legitimate media by the White House. This letter was prompted by an open letter to her from the Niagara Falls Reporter.

    Online Reporter Quits After Liberals' Expose
    Washington Post -- Howard Kurtz.

    White House queried on media policy
    Seattle Post Intelligencer

    Reporter tied to GOP quits over scrutiny
    Boston Globe


    Plus this wingnut response...
    The Leftwing Media Gets Their Scalp: Jeff Gannon Resigns from Talon News (MensNewsDaily): Sher Zieve: "First, when I quote something said or asked by a reporter, during a presidential News Conference, I do not affect a “background check” of the reporter. My real consideration is that those statements and/or questions be accurately quoted. They were. Second, to those of you who seem to believe I should have had an interest in “Jeff Gannon’s” (pseudonym) personal life, before I wrote the article, I didn’t. Much the same as I still do not have an interest in the personal lives of other reporters, including those of Dave Gregory (NBC), Brit Hume (Fox) and Dan Rather (even after his forged document debacle he’s still at CBS News…can we believe it?)". Her bio, just so you know, copied from the site...Sher Zieve is a conservative political commentator who firmly believes that if Leftists ran the country (left to their own devices), it would be the end of the United States as a sovereign nation. Sher’s articles can be found on Google, MSN Newsbot, US-News.Net, Useless Knowledge and other news sites. Ms. Zieve welcomes you comments and can be reached at: earthseed@iwon.com.

    More Freeperland threads emerge (and haven't been yanked). As slimy as these folks are, they need to be monitored.

    Congresswoman Asks for Probe After 'Gannon' Quits WH Reporting Post

    White House Fights Back - and Wins (Rush Limbaugh Issues Defense of Jeff Gannon). This headline is misleading, since the Rush transcript is from 2/4, and addresses only the initial questions into Gannon's softball questions at press briefings. The Freep comments, however, are current.

    The Talons of Intimidation- Jeff Gannon's saga

    Online Reporter Quits After Liberals' Expose

    Conservative Reporter Resigns Amid Controversy (NPR joins all-out war on conservative reporters)

    Representative Louise Slaughter's Dan Rather Moment

    I took a look over at wingnut Lucianne Goldberg's forum, and one thread there, His ID exposed, reporter quits, has been "closed." There is another, Congresswoman Asks Bush for Probe After 'Gannon' Quits WH Reporting Post, has plenty of choice comments...

    Actual Lucianne Lunatic Quotes™

    These bloggers cut both ways.

    "Web sites such as hotmilitarystud.com, militaryescorts.com, and militaryescortsm4m.com, were registered to the same owner as Gannon's home Web site, jeffgannon.com" yuk

    These bloggers cut both ways. You don't see any Conservative bloggers making death threats against liberals.

    Isn't this the guy that the DIM DUmmies are "outing" as gay? If I'm wrong, I apologize. I'm amazed at the hypocrisy of the Left constantly being the ones outing gay people who don't want to be outed.

    Lynch Mob Liberals strike again.

    It's good to root out the losers on both the right and the left. This guy was going to be nothing but trouble.

    I suspected there was something more to come on this guy when I read the Feb. 7 piece in E&P. There I saw the name David Brock/Media Matters -- a Soros funded entity. If there's any poop to be scooped, Brock has the means & money behind him to find it. Yeah, the New Media does cut both ways. Unfortunately for the Left though, sites like DailyKos defeat themselves and their occasional valid points with vile, beyond disgusting, invective and a following of seriously disturbed readers.

    My guess is, an attempt will be made to use this small scandal to try and divert attention from Eason's Fables. But I think it's a dud.

    I eagerly await the next edition of E&P, which will reveal that hardline opponents of George W. Bush masquering as news organizations (going by the spurious names ''ABC,'' "NBC," "CBS" and "The New York Times'') have been planting people in the press conference to ask pointless but hostile questions such as ''Have you ever made a mistake?'' Further, I have it on very good authority that the ''newsman'' known as ''Dan Rather'' has the real first name of ''Kenneth.''

    Shouldn't the Editor & Publisher change it's name to Liberals & Friends?

    Just FYI, you can easily register a website as another individual.

    I can't help but wonder just when the so called probing questions which are unloaded in a barrage on President Bush from the Liberal hateful leftest reporters will become troubling to the lazy political hacks taking up space in Congress and the Senate. We are perfectly aware that they are placed there by the DNC sycophant editors. The only reason that they are puking and moaning about someone who asked a reasonable question is that it really makes them look bad. Like the Demonrat stooges that they are.

    No conspiracy theorist, me, but I had begun to think that the charges against Walter Williams and Madge? Gallegher were suspicious. Now I'm beginning to believe. The MSM political party is trying to shut down conservative media people. It didn't work with Krauthammer or Bill Kristol but it was a near thing.

    I think GW should say, Well, let's give them what they want.... but REALLY do an investigation of ALL media connections.

    Don't go throwin' GW in no briar bush, y'all demnuts!

    #12: It was ARMSTRONG Williams & MAGGIE Gallagher.



    Gay-Themed High School Play Sparks VA Protests

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005


    Can someone blast this guy, Del. Richard H. Black, and the rest of the Freep crowd to the moon? Oh, I guess that would be polluting.

    How about worrying about something more important, such as kids being able to read and write when they graduate? (WP):
    The Loudoun County students who staged a play over the weekend about a high school football star's homosexuality heard some gasps, along with expressions of support, during their play's two-day, modestly attended run at Ashburn's Stone Bridge High School.

    Now, thanks to a high-decibel dust-up over freedom of expression and values, student writer-director Sabrina Audrey Jess's one-act play, "Offsides," has a dramatically expanded audience.

    Del. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) e-mailed his supporters claiming that, in the play, "two male students engaged in a homosexual kiss onstage" and that public schools were "being used to promote a homosexual lifestyle." His son-in-law, Loudoun County Supervisor Mick Staton Jr. (R-Sugarland Run), followed up with a missive of his own, warning of the play's disturbing "indoctrination." On Sunday, activists blanketed Loudoun churches with fliers decrying the production.

    "I try to promote tolerance in a school where there is not enough among teenagers and am in turn flooded with the intolerance of their parents," Jess said, in comments that prompted a standing ovation among supporters.

    "People who are negatively commenting on my play are proving my point," she said.

    Senior Aaron Henry, who played Ryan, said the play made a simple point. "People are who they are," he said. "Accept them. That's it."

    Black, Richard H. 32nd R
    Preferred Name: Dick [Yeah, that says it all, doesn't it?]
    (804) 698-1032 (703) 406-2951
    Constituent Viewpoint: (800)-889-0229
    Email: Del_Black@house.state.va.us

    Thanks to House Blend reader Holly for the pointer.


    Olbermann kicks *ss and more on the Propagannon affair


    The many faces of "Jeff Gannon", ace "reporter" of the Washington press corps.

    Man, Keith hit one out of the park tonight; I missed the first minute or so, coming in when he was showing faux journalist, and alleged pornographer/rent-boy "Jeff Gannon"/J.D. Guckert tossing marshmallow questions at Scott McClellan and Bush. He interviewed Dana Milbank of the WP and they were tearing this mess apart. I've been out for a little while so I haven't heard whether the other cable news nets or wires are doing anything with this story.

    In other updates, AmericaBlog is digging up everything imaginable on Gannon, including:
    ...and multiple other posts connecting the dots of the mystery man's activities, writings and shadowy relationship with the White House.

    Also, I have a diary up on DKos, Freeper meltdown on Propagannon affair. It is still on the Recommended List as of 8:30 PM, and has over 200 comments. Join in if you want to see what other folks are saying about those unhinged wingnuts.

    And, for a low-rent version of Freeperville surf over to the Conservative Voice (run by our "friend" here on the Blend, Tar Heel wingnut Nathan Tabor). They are commenting on the scandal as well.
    Do you find this on other conservative sites? All I see it on is liberal and gay sites.

    How long before Mr Gannon either runs for Senator of Virginia or is a well respected "guest" on Hannity on radio? A True conservative like the late Barry Goldwater is turning in his grave to see how the Nazis' have taken over the party.

    I think Limbaugh should hire the guy to feed his bottom with opiate suppositories. Hoo-aw! R

    Joke of the Day: Did you hear that Hollywood is making a movie about the Jeff Gannon story? It's called "Pretty Woman Goes to Washington"

    factor in the sausages and you got a movie of the week gannon has got at least a movie of the week here, if he plays his cards right. The public are his friends, and if he thinks going "private" is going to help his "welfare" he is mistaken, for all those neocons wont be happy till he breaks down in tears, condemns his libido as an evil abomination, gets jacked up on pharmaceuticals or falls on a sword, which has already begun. They DO NOT want him to calmly say "yeah, so what, now you know" and then write a book about his struggles goiing from a buttboy to a brown-noser



    Bush on the Couch, courtesy of Perrspectives

    I had a good chuckle at this one, from John Perr's always-entertaining Perrspectives....


    Click for a larger version.


    Freepers in a tizzy over pseudo-journalist, White House prop "Jeff Gannon"

    Welcome, Buzzflash readers...once you're through reading the unhinged comments in Freeperland, there's more on Propagannon here.

    The Freepers are all over the freaking map on this one. DKos diaries abound on this the rise and fall of the alleged "reporter"/alleged pornographer/alleged rent boy, so if you're late coming to the story, there's plenty to consume there. For those that want a roundup, thumbnail sketch, I also recommend a diary by Katherine Brengle on MyDD that has a summary of the major details on why Gannongate is gathering steam in the blogosphere. It remains to be seen on whether the mainstream media picks up on this story. My prior entries are here and here.

    Some Freepers are in denial, some die hards are defending "Gannon", others are careening toward the reality that maybe this guy is a liability for their side. They don't have a grasp of what journalism is, or why, for example, it's not the MSM taking this guy out, but bloggers and just a couple of mainstream outlets.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    "So who is Jeff Gannon?"

    "I'm sorry Mr. Gannon is "leaving". Anyone besides me recall the "anal probe" by MSM into "Buckhead"? How *dare* Buckhead question ANYTHING. And in Mr. Gannon's case? The Good Ole Boys in the MSM don't like anyone presuming to challenge them on "their" turf. The question as I see it, and from all parties involved (MSM, Bush Admin)? "Do "credentials" matter?"

    "I am deeply saddened...really :-("

    "Jeff Gannon is the guy who asked one of the more interesting, non-Bush bashing questions at a recent press conference, i.e. with all of your opponents so divorced from reality, how are you possibly going to work with them? It was great."

    "Jeff Gannon (also a freeper) ran an independent news service. He got White House credentials, and was targeted by the Boston Globe in a hit piece because he isn't a "real," that is to say, "anti-administration" journalist."

    "Apparently harassment continued, and he has decided to call it quits, which is a shame."

    "That statement indicates to me that there was continuing harassment, and perhaps threats to his physical safety or to that of his family."

    "I hate seeing this happen, too, but I don't expect someone to risk his family. We know that some of the left is quite dangerous."

    "Jeff Gannon was so on target with his questions; a simple sentence, posed as a question at White House press briefings, exposed the media for what it is. I can well imagine that they threatened him...they have to protect their franchise."

    "So I'm going to sound paranoid but here it is: The media are represented in bigger numbers on FR than most of us would suspect. They have an agenda to disrupt the site, spread malicious lies and discourage us."

    "when your "source" turns out to be rush limbaugh's radio show where he is proud he completely made up stuff atrributed to Harry Reid and then Mr. Gannon quotes the misquote without providing a source during a whitehouse briefing I'd say you've outed yourself as a fake journalist.."

    "I wish him loads of success in the private sector." Uhh...in porno?

    "Did you understand yesterday's news reports about Karl Rove's additional job duties? Every single news outlet with the exception of FNC reported the story incorrectly and was the victim of a hoax."

    "when republicans get to the whitehouse they lose all conservative tendencies..."

    "I'd say our current pres is a huge disappointment when it comes to controlling debt ( medicare prescription drug benefit - besides being the largest entitlement government program EVER by GW - also just announced today cost about 700 billion more than the last estimate.) Controlling the boarders is also a joke.."

    "What a week for RUSH to be gone....I can't wait till he goes off on this."

    "We do not know what that means. I'll wait and see what shakes out from this story before passing judgement. But Gannon put the target on his own back by failing to check his facts - and once that target is situated, it can be very difficult to remove"

    "Jeff Gannon may have bowed out, but others will be motivated by his actions. For every Gannon the left drops, 50 will take his place."

    "The left set out to destroy Jeff because he made the mistake of showing up with the White House Press Corp, and didn't spew the traditional bile-laden vomit and throw feces on the President and the administration. And for that reason, he was fair game for destruction."

    "He was fair game to be followed; fair game to have business associates bribed; fair game to have anyone and anything around him called, questioned, investigated; fair game to be pick pocketed to discern his identity; fair game to stage a car accident with so as to obtail his real name; fair game for his family to be harrassed."

    "Its all fair game because the left is the party of hate, their ideology is hateful and their activity is motivated by their hate. The have no interest in diversity of opinions, their moving animus is to silence any and all opposion via the politics of personal distruction."

    "I don't think he was helped much by the exposure that in addition to "Jeffgannon.com," he also owns websites like: Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com, Militaryescortsm4m.com. Sad to say, I'm not joking. There's some weird stuff in his past that he's hiding."

    "The WHITE HOUSE domain name was taken over by a porno site. You have absolutely no way of knowing whether those are Jeff Gannon's actual web sites and are passing along rumors which I find despicable."

    "Hmmm. Your detective skills are slipping, old man. 1) "Jeff Gannon" is the alias of "James (JD) Guckert." This has been established. 2) "Bedrock Corp" is registered to J Guckert, the same person who owns "JeffGannon.com" 3) Guckert also owns the gay military sites I posted above. Is is that hard to figure out? The guy was not a credit to the right. He wrote poorly written pieces. We can do much better. I'm glad to see him go, as he would only have been a distraction."

    "Whoever is doing this to Jeff is doing a full frontal assault:
    • http://www.dailykos.com/user/uid:8411

    • http://mediamatters.org/items/200501280006

    • reading some more over there .. there seems to be talk of some powerpoint thing

    • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/8/151631/5417

    • In one of the post this had a link to this story regarding this powerpoint thing

    • http://www.thepoliticaljunkies.net/Archived/Year%202005/Jan/Wk3/Themdems.htm

    • The guy behind it is Ron Stein who apparently was associated with the Clinton administration .. whatever that means

    • Plus he is teaming up with Soros to start a new group called The Democracy Alliance

    • Those of you who read the Daily Kos -- in your opinion has the writing changed recently? Were they always this well orgranized and activist?

    • Perhaps someone has bought off Kos."

    UPDATE: Fresh Freep added below.
    "Do you think all the other people in the WH Press Corp have such an investigation performed on them? What might that turn up? It certainly isn't as if any other reporters have been subject to such scrutiny."

    "Here is an article from last week about Gannon.
    http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1333101/posts"

    "With this one post, you've proved everything everybody on this site has EVER thought about you. And you've proved just how desperate you lying liberals are. You and David Brock are scum."

    "You need to pay very close attention to this story; David Brock and the people at the Daily Kos are out to destroy this guy."

    "Except for being sorry to see Gannon resign, I'm enjoying this thread immensely. Another crystal clear example of how the RATS heads are exploding 24/7."

    "Anyone who knows Jeff's screen name pls freepmail me."

    "Give Jeff a dozen eggs and he might become the next Matt Drudge."

    "MM, Check this hit piece out:"

    ""Jeff Gannon" EXPOSED! Source: http://blogs.salon.com/0002874/2005/02/08.html#a1473"

    "[snip] HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
    The hard-core Lefties are conducting an exhaustive search for me in cyberspace, which has produced an entertaining mosaic of conspiracy theories. I appreciate all the attention, but I can do without the threats on my person, property and family.
    [...]
    For those out there that still have questions about me and don't think I should be able to be a journalist, here's what you need to know:"

    "I'm everything people on the Left seem to despise. [snipped to end]
    "

    "Yep, the left is out to crucify this guy."

    "My dear RTFP, a fake journalist is one who presents fake documents to support a fake story. I direct your attention to Dan Rather."

    "And I'm saying that new media journalists are gonna have to be very careful checking their facts. The MSM may be wounded - but a wounded animal is very dangerous. They still have plentiful resources - and, after we nailed CBS, they are gonna come after ANY mistake we make, while continuing to downplay their own. Is that fair? Of course not. But politics is a contact sport. I will wait to see what lies beneath the few facts we have on this story - because we have no way of verifying some of the claims I have seen about the threats that Jeff Gannon faced."

    "As far as I know, no freepers are bribing business associates of Eason Jordan, nor are they threatening his family. And have you been able to get independent second-party verification that Jeff Gannon has faced such?"

    "maybe some people want an aggressive but ACCURATE press to let us know what our government is doing with all those tax dollars...maybe it's good to scrutinize Clinton and Bush? Any "journalist" that uses Limbaugh or hannity or Al Franken or barbara streisand as a primary source should not have a white house press pass end of story. Frankly, as a taxpayer I'd be more disturbed by my tax dollars going to armstrong williams and others and want to know why the PR budget under this group is double what it used to be?"

    "What gives you the idea that any of this happened because of a mistake? The articles and discussions at un-named leftist sites, sites who are responsible for digging for Jeff's "trash" are not concerned with a "mistake." They are concerned because someone was allowed to ask questions during WH press briefings that didn't jibe with usual accusatory questioning. They were concerned because Jeff doesn't have "journalistic credentials" and clearly describes himself as conservative. I have no idea where you are getting that some "mistake" caused this."

    My last, diseased trip over there for the day...

    They are way over 700 posts in the thread over in Freeperland...About half involve them backstabbing one another over a poster named MurryMom, their resident "lefty troll". Highly uninteresting "dialogue" I had to filter through to get a few more gems for you all.
    To: MurryMom


    "It's the alleged "hypocrisy" built upon allegations. In other words, lib bloggers with aid and help from "others" have built a sand castle of rumor and hyperbole in order to "strengthen" their pals in the MSM. David Brock, using all those great lexus/nexus searches does some digging. He writes about his digging. And a million voices ("unity anti-theme") respond. Democrats think they are learning this from observing Republican operations. What they don't realize, is that Republicans learned it first from the Dems... and for every scalping of a Republican, the Dems go "woo hooo" we aborted another one! It is a delusion, but then, some people enjoy their delusions. It's an interesting tactic: One branch of Dems loves anything sexually perverse; while the other branch is trying to find a "moral" theme. Ergo, hit a reporter who is against gay marriage while simultaneously posturing that he is gay. This tactic has worked for over 30+ years for the Dems. The only difference this time is they are using other forms for search material. I think David Brock is only trying to help the Dems find a place to stand. It's like "vicarious" PEST therapy via journalism and left blogs. Dean did it with a scream, Brock is doing it under the banner of "serious investigative journalism". You see..."

    "JJ -- think about this: The Dems as a party are in shreds. Their only saving "grace" is Hillary. To run a campaign they need a theme. What do Democrats stand for: more taxes, more control freakish laws, killing babies, not defending the US.. but "gay marriage"... OH THE HUMANITY! Is this latter not a theme that might join together, in some semblance the factions within the Democrat coalitions? When you read through all the Jeff Gannon "rumors", it becomes clear the issue is "gay marriage". That's the tag underneath which all the other stuff is lain. I just read that Tony Blankley is now under "isolate and obliterate" mantra from the left. I haven't studied the "castle" of charges yet.. but no doubts, I'll wager its along the same lines (different specific variables) as their going after Jeff Gannon. I'll have to wait and see. YOU'D THINK LIBERALS WOULD HAVE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM "CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR". You can claim you've turned live humans into ghosts.. but ghosts of those unjustly killed have ways of coming back ... to haunt their tormentors."

    "If Gannon attributed the "soup lines" quote to Harry Reid without checking to make sure Reid really said "soup lines," then he was sloppy."

    "What do you think, then, of Bill Moyers's recent fabrication of a quote by James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior ? See quote at PowerLineBlog: Bill Moyers Smears a Better Man Than Himself" Moyers took a story that was absurd on its face, embellished it, and used it to try to smear religious conservatives in general and President Bush in particular."

    "If I recall this isn't the first time the left went after a reporters personal life ...Geez, I can't remember the name, but they did the same thing last fall during the election. Also .. don't forget what the left did to Mary Cheney"

    "Moi?? Suspicious?? Sounds like the paranoid liberals are calling each other "scaredy cats". Honestly thanks for the ping but visiting their cesspool of lies, smoke and mirrors, and angry hatred just doesn't interest me. They will say what they will just as I do. Sites like KOS, DUmmie-ville etc. are outlets for those malcontents, those maladjusted and frustrated losers in our society. AKA liberals. Their rantings are simply that. But maybe MurryMom got ticked that I posted she was so full of it that it leaks out of her eyeballs. Which is an opinion that still stands, BTW."

    [And after 700 posts, we get this dumbass-- Pam]

    "I've read (nearly) every post on this thread and I still don't know:
    1) what Jeff is accused of,
    2) who accused him, or
    3) why he's quitting."

    "What credentials do any of the other White House journalists hold that Jeff Gannon does not? While journalists like to ignore or pretend otherwise, journalism is a trade and anyone who calls them self a journalist, is, in fact, a journalist.


    I will submerge in the Purell now.


    Diverse Groups Urge Washington State Supreme Court To Allow Same-Sex Couples To Marry


    Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal is a lead attorney on the case. King County Superior Court Judge William Downing ruled that civil rights are violated by a state law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

    Let's put some good news out there about state legislation on gay civil marriage. House Blend reader JJ sent me this piece from Lambda Legal about progress in Washington State. Be sure to go to the story to see the huge number of organizations that have added their names in support of civil marriage. If only that amount of support could be garnered in all states under the spectre of a super-DOMA.
    Lambda Legal said today that briefs from dozens of groups urging the Washington State Supreme Court to allow same-sex couples to marry show an "extraordinary level of support" for marriage equality among a wide range of people in the state.

    About 150 leading organizations and individuals signed onto 15 friend-of-the-court briefs that were filed in the Washington State Supreme Court in support of marriage for same-sex couples. On March 8, the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and Northwest Women's Law Center seeking marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

    "We're overwhelmed by this extraordinary level of support from all across the state. Religious groups, labor unions, political leaders, the business sector, civil rights leaders, family and children's groups and many others are lining up to tell the state Supreme Court that allowing same-sex couples to marry reflects the values and principles we all cherish," said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Western Regional Office and one of the lead attorneys in the case at the state Supreme Court. "This is a groundswell of support from all kinds of people all across the state. These groups address a range of different issues in the briefs they've filed, but they all make it clear that Washington is ready and eager for all couples to be treated equally."

    In a historic ruling last August, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing said that the Washington State Constitution guarantees basic rights to lesbian and gay people - and that those rights are violated by a state law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. The ruling said the state Constitution requires same-sex couples to have equal access to marriage, and that the couples represented by Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center must be given marriage licenses. One month later, a court in Thurston County ruled similarly. Both decisions were appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in both cases on March 8.


    Virginia House Passes Gay Marriage Constitutional Ban


    Openly gay Delegate Adam Ebbin is a lonely voice of tolerance in the Virginia legislature. Del. Kathy J. Byron fears the destruction of "marriage as we know it."

    More bigoted legislative misery to the north of my state. What is even more distressing is that an alternative proposal, which would have removed elements prohibiting civil unions or contracts between two people of the same sex that approximate those of marriage was rejected. They want to leave that can of worms open and squirming. (WAVY):
    The House voted 78-18 to complete passage of a resolution similar to one the Senate easily passed on Monday. "Today is one of those moments for which we shall one day be ashamed," said Del. Adam P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, elected in 2003 by voters who knew he was gay. "I cannot stand by as this body continues to use gays and lesbians as scapegoats."

    He likened them to slavery, the forced Trail of Tears migration for Indians, lynchings, anti-miscegenation laws and Massive Resistance, Virginia's official effort to thwart court-ordered public school desegregation. "You may argue that these are different, but I would say that discrimination is discrimination is discrimination," Ebbin said.

    Supporters of the amendment contend it is vital to preserving marriage applying uniquely to one woman and one man and warding off court rulings such as one in Massachusetts which make gay marriage legal. "If we do not act today, marriage as we know it will be redefined by the judicial process," said Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell County.

    The House rejected an amendment by Del. James M. Scott, D-Fairfax County, that would have left the ban against gay marriage intact but eliminate provisions that would also prohibit civil unions or contractual agreements between two people of the same sex that approximate the privileges of marriage.



    Alabama Senate Passes Gay Marriage Amendment


    Talibaman Sen. Roger Bedford is protecting "future generations" with the amendment; Sen Hank Erwin appropriately, read the Bible in chambers about marriage.

    Hopeless. The vote was 35-0. Gay folks in Alabama your state doesn't like you and your tax dollars are going to support the very officials that are going to make you a second-class citizen. Heaven help you because when it goes to a vote before the public, it's going to be a slam dunk for the American Taliban. A firm date has not been set for the election. The amendment is so important that the state may spend $3 million of your tax dollars for a special election. (365gay.com):
    The first bill passed in both the Alabama Senate and the House in the new legislative session is a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in the Bible Belt state.

    The Senate voted 35-0 Tuesday for the constitutional amendment. It now goes to the House, where members voted 85-7 Tuesday for an identical proposal. Either the House or the Senate will have to pass the other chamber's version before the constitutional amendment can go before voters in a statewide referendum. Alabama has had a law since 1998 that bans gay marriages, but legislators — both Democrats and Republicans — said a constitutional prohibition would be stronger.

    "It will be a safeguard for future generations," said Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville. Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, read aloud from the Bible about marriage and told his colleagues, "We have always been a traditional family state that says we support one man and one woman in a marriage."

    In the House, members debated the proposal for about three hours with several black lawmakers complaining that the House needed to be working on more urgent issues. "This bill is not necessary, but here we are with the first bill on the first day using time that could be well spent looking at ways to improve the quality of life for citizens who live here in Alabama," said Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville.

    Howard Bayless, a board member of the gay rights group Equality Alabama, called the constitutional amendment "mean spirited and intolerant." He said Alabama's gay citizens are being treated like blacks were in the 1950s and 1960s.


    Update on Red's page


    Many thanks to all of you that shared your pet stories and have given us words of comfort regarding our dog Red's sudden passing. On his updated tribute page We have a link to some of the many emails and posts that we've received from people around the world. Most are from people that we have never met or corresponded with before. That is the beauty of the blogosphere. The world is truly a small place.


    "Jeff Gannon" hangs up his hat

    From his web site:

    Jeff Gannon
    A Voice of the New Media

    The voice goes silent.

    Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life.

    Thank you to all those who supported me.

    I, along with a lot of others in the blogosphere think there is more here than a sham journalist fronting for a right wing organ getting booted. The man had a pseudonym, a temp press pass and sat right up there in press briefings, and has alleged ties to male prostitution (he owns the domains Militaryescorts.com and Militaryescortsm4m.com). How did this happen? Take a surf over to DKos and see what else is being dug up on this shadowy mess.

    I think it's telling that threads that were up in Freeperland on the blogger takedown of this guy have been pulled. The Right is circling its wagons.


    Can I have my press pass, Scotty? -- The "Jeff Gannon" debacle

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005


    One of the photos of the "reporter" for hack Talon News Service, "Jeff Gannon" aka James D Guckert or J.D. Guckert (above) was posted at Hot or Not by wÒÓ† on Eschaton.

    World O'Crap has the scoop on Mr. Gannon, ace bogus reporter and possible Washington rent boy:
    Remember "Jeff Gannon," the White House reporter who lobs softballs at Scottie McClellan when the other mean reporters won't let up with the real questions?

    The "Jeff Gannon" who accused his colleagues of "working off the talking points provided by the Democrats" and then was found to have copied info directly from GOP documents and used it in his "news report"?

    This would be the same "Jeff Gannon" who was subpoenaed in connection with the Plame investigation because he somehow obtained a copy of a purported State Dept. document which said that Ms. Plame had a hand in arranging the assignment to Niger for her husband (an allegation -- and document -- denied by the CIA).

    Yes, we're talking about "Jeff Gannon, Washington Bureau Chief, Talon News" -- Talon News being the rinkydink wingnut "news service" chaired by the same guy who runs GOP USA (the wingnut site that is less upscale than Renew American, but slightly more professional than BushCountryUSA, and apparently run by various members of the Texas GOP).

    Anyway, ever since it was revealed that "Jeff Gannon" is a pseudonym (even though he apparently gets daily White House passes issued in that name), bloggers have been trying to ascertain his real identity. Susan G. at Daily Kos (with the assistance of her readers) has been very energetic and organized in this endeavor, and has uncovered a great deal of interesting and suggestive info about "Jeff" and his associates.

    The best part is that he owns these highly political/journalistic domains....
    jeffgannon.com
    Hotmilitarystud.com
    Militaryescorts.com
    Militaryescortsm4m.com

    Hmmm. sounds like an enterprising young man, eh? How does he get clearance into the White House anyway? The Freepers were defending the guy last week when his credentials as an objective member of the media was being questioned by the left. Can't wait to see if they have something to say about this one.

    Love this parody site (via AmericaBlog). As John says about this debacle for the Right...
    Now, I'm not one to judge how folks like to get their jollies (assuming no children are involved and it's consensual), but then again, I don't suck up to the family values agenda like Mr. Gannon does. I've been through Gannon's archives, and it's a horrendous accumulation of religious right suck-up pieces on gay issues. Some are concerned that perhaps it's not fair to hit him with the gay card, if he is gay. Well, take a look at some of the stories from Gannon's Talon News Service: here, here, here Talon is promoting "ex-gays," defending Bush on gay marriage, and Gannon himself writing a story defending Santorum on his man-dog-sex commments about gays. There are lots more, you get the picture.
    Actually, there are a lot of them (courtesy of Georgia10 at DKos.






    The American Taliban takes its show on the road - to Canada


    Somehow, I don't think they had holy roller Dobson's intolerance in mind as a U.S. export when NAFTA passed.

    Can someone get rid of this man already? He is taking his hate-filled AmTaliban road show into the Great White North, polluting the place against the Parliament's upcoming vote to pass same-sex marriage; he's also been joined by the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic men's fraternal benefit society.

    Wingnut dollars are financing disinformation and fear as the vote nears. I smell fear here, and we just have to hope Canadian lawmakers see through this sham. (Canada Post):
    Powerful U.S. religious groups are sending money and support to allies in Canada to fight same-sex marriage. Patrick Korten, vice-president of communications for the Knights of Columbus head office in New Haven, Conn., said no limit has been set on the help his organization is prepared to offer.

    "Whatever it takes," he said. "The family is too important."

    Mr. Korten said the U.S. headquarters of the Catholic men's group paid $80,782 to print two million postcards being distributed in Catholic churches across Canada.

    "It has been extremely enthusiastically received in Catholic parishes all over Canada. As a matter of fact we may have to print some more -- there was a great deal of interest in it. It offers a quick, simple but effective way for Catholics ... to make their feelings about the same-sex marriage bill known to their MPs."

    Another opponent of same-sex marriage, Focus on the Family, is also sending support and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to its Canadian affiliate.

    James Dobson, the charismatic founder of Focus on the Family who has been described as one of the most influential Christian figures in the United States, personally waded into the debate two weeks ago in a radio show taped in Colorado Springs, Colo., and transmitted as a paid broadcast to 130 stations in Canada.

    "It is clear here in the United States that the American people do not want same-sex marriage. I would hope that Canadians who also do not want same-sex marriage would be encouraged by what has happened down here."

    Mr. Dobson also attacked Paul Martin for refusing Cabinet ministers a free vote. "Your Prime Minister, Paul Martin, has recently done things to subvert the will of the people," he said.

    Knights of Columbus Headquarters
    1 Columbus Plaza
    New Haven, CT 06510
    (203) 752-4000
    Email: info@kofc.org

    ***

    I just received an email from a Canadian that visited our wedding site. She and her wife were one of the couples who took Canada's federal government to court in order to marry. She wanted folks to know about the web site the litigants maintain -- www.queermarriage.com.


    Little Gary Bauer speaks his mind


    Is he unrealized "family?"

    Former presidential candidate and diminuitive "family values" champion Gary Bauer is putting his two cents in on Chimpy's second term social agenda, up now at (WorldNutDaily). He couldn't help commenting on marriage, of course. In his own twisted way, he makes the case for gay civil marriage as a stabilizing force, then he dismisses our relationships as "disordered and destructive lifestyles." Pea-brain.
    Regardless of which side of the Social Security debate you are on, real "social security" – that which truly makes society secure – has less to do with retirement benefits and financial entitlements than it does with protecting and promoting our most vital social institutions.

    While it was encouraging to hear the president, during last week's State of the Union address, clearly reaffirm his support for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, and promote the sanctity of life, I couldn't help but wonder whether we are truly living up to our "responsibility to our children to honor and pass along the values that sustain a free society."

    ...The president also said: "... marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society ..."

    Empirical studies demonstrate that married people live happier, healthier and longer lives than their single counterparts. Moreover, we know that children fare much better when raised by their married biological parents.

    In spite of the evidence, our nation doesn't seem so committed to marriage. Too many marriages today fail and the very meaning of the institution is under constant attack by homosexual activists who want to redefine it in order to affirm their own disordered and destructive lifestyles. Can a society that treats its most vital institution with so little respect really be considered secure?



    Ken Mehlman has no fear -- he's gay-baiting Harry Reid



    AMERICAblog's hot on queer Ken Mehlman's latest hypocrisy as the new RNC chair. He's gay-baiting Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in the latest piece-of-garbage press release. I'm not sure what this tactic will gain the RNC, given how exposed they are on this front with Mehlman leading the charge. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Here are the highlights of the attempted smear (the orginal release is here).
    Reid Opposes Federal Marriage Amendment:

    Reid Received 100 percent Rating From Human Rights Campaign (HRC) For 107th Congress. (Human Rights Campaign, "Presidential Candidates," Human Rights Campaign Website, http://www.hrc.org, Accessed 12/2/04)

    -- HRC Endorsed Reid During 2004 Election Calling Him "A Leader We Can Count On." (Human Rights Campaign, "Candidate Profile: Harry Reid," Human Rights Campaign Website, www.hrc.org, Accessed 12/2/04)

    -- "The Human Rights Campaign, The Largest National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Advocacy Organization, Envisions An America Where GLBT People Are Ensured Of Their Basic Equal Rights, And Can Be Open, Honest And Safe At Home, At Work And In The Community." (Human Rights Campaign Website, www.hrc.org/, Accessed 1/31/05)

    Reid Said Marriage Should Be Between A Man And Woman. "So marriage should be between a man and a woman, OK? I agree. But why do we need to have to amend the Constitution when we have the Defense of Marriage Act federally? We have the state Constitution, which has it in it." (Dave Berns, "Candidates See Religion's Role In Diverse Light," Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/28/04)

    -- But Reid Voted Against Federal Marriage Amendment. (S.J. Res. 40, CQ Vote No. 155: Motion Rejected 48-50: R 45-6; D 3-43; I 0-1, 7/14/04, Reid Voted Nay)

    As John at AB says, "Feel free to call the RNC and ask tell them that since they feel Senator Reid's relationships with the gay community are relevant, you want to know what Ken Mehlman's relationships are with the gay community as well."

    There have been many calls made already, as the news of the release has been posted over at Eschaton as well. From the comments on AB, folks in the RNC office are hanging up on people and acting quite nervous, given Ken-babe's official/unofficial orientation leaves him wide open for questions.

    Ken's office: 202-863-8700
    Other RNC phone numbers: 202-863-8500, 202-863-8747, 202-863-8743


    Marcia Cross kicks open her Hollywood closet



    She is on Desperate Housewives, a show I don't watch. I'm sure, however, that this news will rock some worlds out there in the heartland (Sky Showbiz via RawStoryQ).


    Preacher guilty of stealing from hundreds of black churches


    Kennard: "It's not a law against riding in a Cadillac if you don't want to ride in a Volkswagen."

    Jim Bakker and this guy Abraham Kennard...you just don't know what to say about this kind of low-life, bilking the faithful. How do they sleep at night? Yes, these are men of faith, aren't they? (CNN.com):
    A preacher was convicted Monday of stealing nearly $9 million from hundreds of small, black churches across the country that were promised hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for small investments.

    Abraham Kennard was found guilty in U.S. District Court in Rome of all 132 counts, ranging from mail fraud to tax evasion. Prosecutors said he ran a pyramid scheme largely meant to take advantage of a tight network of black preachers. Jurors deliberated for only a few hours, after having to start over when one of the jurors fell ill. They had begun deliberating on Friday.

    "I know you can see clearly it was a scheme, all right. And for some 1,600 churches, it was a nightmare," prosecutor David McClernan told jurors during closing arguments last week.

    Kennard, 46, of Wildwood, Georgia, countered he was not guilty of anything. "It's not a law against riding in a Cadillac if you don't want to ride in a Volkswagen," Kennard, who represented himself, said in his opening remarks. Michael Trost, who served as Kennard's standby counsel, said he believed Kennard intended to help the churches.

    Prosecutors said Kennard claimed his company was developing Christian resorts around the country. He told preachers that for a fee of a few thousand dollars, their churches could be "members" of his company. In return, he promised that in time the churches would get a grant or a forgivable loan of up to $500,000.

    The scheme spread as the trusting ministers told their friends, relatives and fellow pastors, prosecutors said.

    "It wasn't about ignorance. It was about trust," said the Rev. James Cane of Victory Worship Center in Birmingham, Alabama, one of several preachers who testified for the government.


    Something is wrong with the President's brain


    Selling the master plan.

    Bush recently gave a speech on Social Security in Florida, on his road trip to sell his dismantling plan. This was, according to the White House, his fifth stop to explain his landmark initiative to the public. The problem is, he doesn't know what the f*ck he's talking about. He needs some index cards or something. Perhaps the radio device isn't working. Please read this and tell me if it makes any sense? Via Atrios. (White House transcript):
    THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

    Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

    Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.

    How on earth are the Repugs in Congress, who have to go up for re-election, supposed to get behind Bush when he cannot get out a coherent sentence about his master plan? Wifey Kate thinks he definitely needs a speech pathologist (she's an audiologist). Looks like he's got even more serious cognitive issues.


    A post-Super Bowl read on the homo-tension of football

    I couldn't give a rat's *ss about football, but this Arizona State U student's editorial, "When another man makes a pass," was spot on. (ASU Web Devil):
    Yesterday, tens of millions of Americans watched muscular men in spandex tights tackle each other. Announcers lauded various players for their abilities to "penetrate the gap," "hit the hole hard" or "plug the slot."

    The players congratulated one another via firm pats on the lycra-clad hindquarters of their teammates. Putting the pink icing on this homoerotic cake, each play begins with the quarterback and the offensive center locked in a stand-and-deliver position reminiscent of jailhouse proctology.

    Somehow, this annual spectacle of man-to-man physical contact consistently flies under the gaydar of self-appointed culture guardians such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell and James Dobson's fine boys over at Focus on the Family. Even Gary Bauer's Family Research Council (an intrepid defender of "family, faith and freedom") managed to overlook this one.

    Maybe they were too busy inflating teen pregnancy statistics to take notice. They sure dropped the ball on this one though.

    Even though the Super Bowl happened on a Sunday -- a day when these guys are normally busy wringing congregants dry -- the safe bet is that each of the aforementioned reverends caught the game. We all saw their reaction to last year's Super Bowl halftime show foibles, proving that religious fanatics hate nipples almost as much as they hate homosexuality.

    ...Football delivers a clear message: Americans will tolerate beefcake men in tights touching and wrestling with other beefcake men in tights if said wrestling occurs within the context of a militaristic game with a clear winner and loser.

    ...Perhaps this, more than anything else, is why Falwell and company leave football alone and instead go after questionable cartoon characters such as Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants. Football allows men to let off homoerotic steam without having to acknowledge that they aren't as straight as they think they are.

    In America, watching the Super Bowl and then voting against same-sex marriage poses no contradiction at all. And that's just how the religious right likes it.

    I love the author's bio at the end. "Solomon Rotstein is a humanities senior. Send hate mail to solomon.rotstein@asu.edu." I'm sure he will receive plenty. I should send him one of support.


    NC wingnut congressman submits bill to remove IRS restrictions on church campaigning


    Walter B. Jones takes a bat to the wall between church and state.

    Here's a real "faith-based" initiative...what is happening in our country -- the American Taliban theocracy is just around the corner. You can thank this bastard, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), for his legislative effort to obliterate the church-state line. He's introduced something called the "Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act of 2005 (H.R. 235)," which would allow religious congregations to support or oppose candidates for public office and conduct partisan campaign activities without losing their tax-exempt status. (OMB Watch):
    The bill is the latest in a series of attempts by Jones, who introduced the first version of the bill in June 2001 (The Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act or HOWPSPA). Congress has consistently rejected the proposal, which has been opposed by nonprofits, clergy and campaign finance reformers. Currently, tax law prohibits all religious, educational, charitable and other organizations exempt under section 501(C)(3) of the tax code from opposing or supporting candidates for office. H.R. 235 would change that for religious organizations.

    H.R. 235 is narrower than earlier versions of the bill in that it limits the type of activities permitted, but it is more expansive in that there is no ceiling on the number of activities that could be permitted. Under H.R. 235, the permitted campaign-related activities would have to occur in the “content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious service or gatherings,” but any amount of these activities could be conducted provided they were part of the presentation at a religious gathering. However, religious organizations would be precluded from making campaign contributions or paying for advertisements in newspapers.

    Since this language would permit any activity that could be deemed part of a sermon or other presentation during a religious service, it allows for the express endorsement or opposition to a candidate for public office during a sermon. Religious leaders could request that contributions be made directly to the candidate’s committee or other political organizations or even individual contributions of services to political campaigns. They could appeal to their congregations to vote for particular candidates.

    ...Current law protects the integrity of charitable nonprofits by preventing individuals from using tax-deductible contributions to avoid tax and legal restrictions that apply to political donations. It also prevents individuals from using charitable nonprofit organizations, which are, by definition, organized for public purposes, to advance their personal partisan political views. Supporters of the bill claim religious leaders are afraid to speak out on public issues. However, all 501(C)(3)s, including religious organizations, are allowed to engage in advocacy activities such as lobbying, public education campaigns, comment on public policy, and litigation.

    This regulation exists to protect the integrity of the election process. The 501(C)(3)s receive a tax-exemption because their work is educational, religious or charitable. It is an acknowledgment that the organization performs an activity that relieves some burden that would otherwise fall to federal, state, or local government. Taxpayers should not be required to fund the political activities of tax-exempt organizations.

    Let him have it:



    Congressman Walter B. Jones
    422 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington DC 20515
    Phone: 202 225-3415
    Fax: 202 225-3286
    Web: http://jones.house.gov/
    Email: Webform


    Equality Utah vice chair appointed to Utah Senate

    Monday, February 07, 2005


    Three cheers for "THE GAY" ! Gov. Jon Huntsman signs the appointment papers of new Utah State Senator Scott McCoy (r) while members of Senate Democratic leadership (Sen. Gene Davis, Sen. Mike Dmitrich and Sen. Ron Allen) look on. Right: Sen. Chris Buttars/(R) West Jordan (tv.ksl): "The next issue that comes up, we might be riding the same horse together, that's how the process works. I'm not going to say anything negative about that. The process is set up, the process worked, Scott McCoy is a member of the senate. (Reporter: Were you surprised?) Yes, i was surprised."

    [UPDATE: Freeper comments added at the end -- enjoy!]

    From JamesB3's diary on DKos, "THE GAY" appointed to Utah senate!" an interesting development in Utah.
    Paula Julander, Democrat in Utah's state senate, had to resign due to poor health. The Dem party had to choose her successor. Her husband was considered the frontrunner, when, to the shock of all the chattering classes, Scott McCoy, Vice Chairman of Equality Utah, won by 3 votes! He was chosen for his skills, not for his sexual orientation, and has pledged not to be "one-issue". The governor appointed him, he was sworn in and he will now fill out the rest of Julander's 2-year term. Utah now has TWO openly gay legislators, as many as Minnesota and more than many other states (MA has the most, followed by AZ and WA).

    The reason I called this "THE GAY" is because when the most anti-gay Republican senator, Chris Buttars, heard this news, he cried out:

    "The gay??"

    Last week Buttars helped kill a simple piece of legislation that would have granted unmarried couples hospital visitation rights and other small rights. McCoy was one of the main voices in favor of the legislation. Sometimes God tolerates the fundies and their selfish, depraved lifestyle.



    Actual Freeper Quotes™
    "Bigger news would have been if they'd chosen a STRAIGHT man!"

    "Leave it to the Democrats to put up a gay guy in overWHELMingly Mormon Utah."

    "Good God in His Heaven.........can those morons be any more out of touch with reality, let alone the voters????.....and they wonder why they continue to get their asses handed to 'em in elections time after time after time after time........."

    "This has to be going over like a lead baloon in conservative, Mormon Utah."

    "Salt Lake City no longer has a Mormon majority. It's something like only 40% LDS. I understand it also has a solid gay community. I use to work with a gay guy in Seattle; he said he loved to go to SLC for the "gay rodeo". I was surprised to hear something like that....I DON'T want to know what a "gay rodeo" involves."

    "What in the world is a gay rodeo? Never mind, I just had a few disturbing thoughts run through my mind and I no longer wish to find out."

    "Another brilliant strategeric move by the rats. They are consolidating their superior popularity with the depraved, and delineating a clear line between where 90% of America is and the other 10% where rats think the middle of the road American stands."

    "I just can't believe that Utah would tolerate a FruitFly Senator."

    "There needs to be a new seal for the Democrat ("gay") Party. Replace the donkey with the gerbil."


    "isn't that special. i wonder how long it will take him to say 'as a gay--american....'. hyphenated backgrounds seem to be the norm now. i'm a heterosexual-american and i'm proud as a peacock.

    "SLC is really turning into a ghetto. The surrounding areas are nice, but SLC is full of denegrates."


    Who the hell is Mark Sanford, and why is he thinking of running in '08?



    I'm too tired to do research on this guy tonight, but South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford apparently dropped big hints about tossing his hat in the ring during his State of the State speech according to The State newspaper. He better start now, since I'm sure Man-on-dog Santorum will be the man on top, as it were.
    “Did you hear that speech? “ asked state Rep. Jim McGee, R-Florence. “Looks like to me he’s running.”

    House Majority Leader Jim Merrill, R-Charleston, who worked for Sanford when he was a congressman, is more certain. “He’s definitely running.” No evidence is offered to refute the predictions, and the governor is saying nothing to discourage the speculation. In his speech, Sanford talked about:

    • The rising cost of the war in Iraq, saying it “spreads a gray cloud” over the economy
    • Ballooning federal deficits and a dollar “that’s on increasingly shaky ground”
    • A federal government out of control
    • Rising consumer debt
    • The specter of double-digit inflation
    • The welfare state and its drag on the economy
    • A global trading system that has become less cohesive and more threatening to American jobs

    The governor didn’t home in on state matters until a quarter of the way through the speech.

    Project Vote Smart has some of his positions on issues here.


    This is not a fake headline: Wife explains how husband's alcoholic enema habit killed him

    As you can see, I am swaying toward the whacked-out stories tonight. The more bizarre the better, it keeps my mind distracted. This piece really screams "headline of the day" but perhaps it is more suited as an entry into the Darwin Awards. Hope your dinner has settled. (abc13.com):
    42-year-old widow is accused of killing her husband. He was given an alcohol enema and it caused his blood alcohol level to rise to .47 percent -- more than five times the state's legal limit.

    Prosecutors say Tammy Jean Warner knew her husband would die if she gave him alcohol. Warner tells Eyewitness News it was her husband who bought the alcohol and put it in his own system. Tammy says she wants the chance to defend herself. "I love him and I miss him," she says of her dead husband. Tammy denies killing her husband, but she admits he died from an enema.



    She showed Eyewitness News photos her husband, Michael Warner, had taken of his own collection of enema bags and equipment. Tammy says her husband used those bags just about every day of his life.

    The use escalated, says Tammy, when her husband would drink. She says Michael was an alcoholic and would fill the bags with sherry or wine. Tammy said, "He'd open the clamp and take in what he wants, how much he wanted, then he'd close the clamp and lay there until he wanted more and then he'd open his clamp back up."


    My boy Red passed away today



    [UPDATE (8:45PM): The vet called; Red will be cremated and we'll pick up his ashes on Thursday. He'll be buried with Jade (our cat, who passed away last June) in our backyard. Bailey the Lab has already picked up on our grief and has been moping about. Chloe, the Bichon, seemd like she hasn't quite figured it out yet. We've received lots of emails and comments. Thank you all for the kind words and understanding. Virtual hugs are meaningful.]

    ***

    Red died today; I just got off the phone with the vet (2PM). It was a simple dental cleaning that he was there for, but his heart stopped while under anesthesia. My sweet Rhodesian Ridgeback was just over 10 years old. I'm still in shock. Here is his web page, and our pet page. Our other two dogs, Bailey and Chloe are not going to know what to do.
    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can runand play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...



    Wingnut press: "The Insanity of Sexual Sin"


    AFA's Donald Wildmon and Steve Gallagher, head of Pure Life Ministries, which purports to "help men overcome sexual sin through holiness and a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ."

    As John over at AmericaBlog likes to refer to it, "American Family Association's propaganda organ, AgapePress", has articles that you really have to wonder about the sanity of its writers. Yes, they are wingnuts, and so far right they are off the charts, but this piece is so unhinged that it made me laugh out loud. Trust me, after having my dog die suddenly today, laughter isn't coming easy. I guess I should thank Donald Wildmon, head of AFA, and Steve Gallagher, from Pure Life Ministries, the author of the article.
    There exist a number of interesting characteristic similarities between a sexual addict and an insane person. The first is that, in the case of both individuals, SELF is enormous. The mentally deranged person is so obsessed with himself that he completely loses sight of other people's welfare, concerns and rights. He becomes so huge in his own thinking that he sees himself as the center of the universe. The ultimate in this type of crazed thinking is when a man claims to be God or Jesus Christ -- something that occurs more frequently than you might realize.

    ...Consider the homosexual who has illicit encounters with dozens of men, knowing the inevitability of acquiring AIDS. What about the man who commits adultery even though he knows he will lose his wife and children? Think about the man who commits sexual crimes, knowing that a few minutes of indulgence could very well put him in prison for years. What else but madness of mind could cause a person to do things that will only devastate his life?

    It is also true in a spiritual sense. The sexual sinner has become so driven by lascivious desires that he purposefully does what his conscience tells him is against his own eternal interests. Charles Finney once wrote: "Sinners act as if they were afraid they should be saved. Often they seem to be trying to make their salvation as difficult as possible .... They rush upon damnation as if it were heaven, and flee salvation as if it were hell. Is this exaggeration? No; this is only the simple truth. Sinners press down the way to hell as if it were the chief good of their existence, and shun the way to heaven as if it were the consummation of evil."

    The sex addict can also become paranoid. "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing," Solomon wrote, "but the righteous are bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1) The guilt over one's behavior can have this effect upon a sinner's thinking. Since his secret actions are so huge in his mind, he imagines that other people know what he has done. His guilt drives him into the most delusional thinking. Of course, it goes without saying that in both cases, paranoia flourishes when SELF is huge. The bigger a person's self-life, the more he imagines that others are thinking about him. What a letdown when he discovers that other people think very little about him!

    For the Christian (???) sex addict, this suspicion carries over into his relationship with God as well. He reads and hears about the love of God, but his irrationality causes him to vacillate between extremes of presumptuous pride ("God's grace covers all my sins!") and unbelief about God's benevolent character ("If He really loved me, He would deliver me!"). The insanity of his sin motivates him to buy into the same falsehood that Satan has been proliferating ever since the Garden: that he -- and not God -- is man's true benefactor.


    No comment necessary?


    Alan Chambers, executive director of "ex-gay" sham group Exodus International.

    Hop over to Wayne Besen's site to read up on this guy. Wayne is the author of Anything But Straight, an expose of the "ex-gay" movement). A snippet:
    Alan Chambers may be as masculine as Clay Aiken's bikini underwear. Nonetheless, he is the executive director of "ex-gay" sham group Exodus International. Amazingly, the group has acting classes to help straight wannabes butch up. With Chambers leading these "he-man" exercises, is it any wonder Exodus has such an astronomical failure rate?

    I'm not saying one more word about that pic...


    AIDS creeps back in NC


    Rosa Munoz comforts Bulia Ramsey while the names of those who died of AIDS in 2004 are read aloud at a World AIDS Day multifaith service at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh. Munoz, 50, was diagnosed with AIDS 11 years ago. (Photos by Corey Lowenstein)

    This is bad news, but not surprising at all. This article opens up plenty of hard discussions about race, religion, sexual activity and poverty -- explosive topics a lot of southerners would prefer not to talk about, even though HIV transmission is rising at an alarming rate, especially in black women. Twenty-five thousand people in NC have contracted HIV. Most of the women that have contracted it are poor, black and had sex with a man they thought was monogamous. (News and Observer):
    "In North Carolina, new cases are nearing historic highs, ticking upward for the past three years after stabilizing in the 1990s. In 2003, 2,100 people were newly diagnosed. African-Americans, while only 22 percent of the population, accounted for 71 percent of the state's caseload. Black women were 14 times as likely to contract HIV as white women."

    ...African-American women are at great risk, particularly those who engage in unprotected sex and drug use. Such women are often outcasts, even in churches. The Rev. Kelvin Redmond, pastor of Body of Christ Church in Raleigh, said HIV has not been a priority in many black churches where people are dealing with the daily grind of earning a living and raising children: "We have a tendency to forget that people's lives are affected by HIV," he said.

    And they are troubled lives to begin with. A study released last week from North Carolina researchers found that a group of black women with recent HIV diagnoses took a far different path than did healthy black women: They were much more likely to have received public assistance, to have had 20 or more sex partners, to have used crack cocaine.

    Dr. Peter A. Leone, an AIDS researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill and lead author of the report, said the HIV patients in the study reported feeling powerless to protect themselves. Poor women who rely on men for support are often afraid to demand condom use, he said, while others are not even aware they're at risk.

    "Almost a quarter of the women learned about their HIV status when they went in for prenatal screening," he said. "A third reported that they had a monogamous relationship. The reason they reported for not using a condom was because they trusted their partner."

    One of Leone's colleagues at UNC is Dr. Adaora Adimora, who has studied how poverty, race and HIV intersect. Adimora said a variety of social factors contribute to the racial imbalance of HIV infections in this country, most of which arise from poverty.

    Fighting poverty, she said, would go a long way toward stemming the HIV epidemic.

    "Poverty affects your choices," Adimora said. "It affects where you live, where your children go to school and who you mix with. It affects the type of education you get, and that affects the type of jobs you qualify for, and that affects how poor you are."

    Adimora is interested in the sexual networks in many African-American communities, particularly concurrent sexual relationships -- when a person juggles two or three different liaisons, say, rather than conduct a series of monogamous affairs.

    Such relationships are common in both black and white communities, but research suggests they may be more prevalent among African-Americans. The reasons are complex: Violence, joblessness and prison reduce the number of black men eligible for marrying, so women often settle for relationships with men they know, or suspect, aren't monogamous.

    ..."There are huge issues of stigma and fear that drive behaviors underground," he said, and that helps the virus spread.

    What would help turn the tide is education - about how HIV is transmitted, about high-risk sexual practices, and a serious attempt at undoing the demonization of homosexuality by the support systems this population relies upon -- the church.


    Wicked post by the Black Commentator on "Bush’s Black Coalition of the Bribed"

    Sunday, February 06, 2005



    I've been railing on about these pastor pigs at the public trough and religious, homo-bigot black pastors for a while now. [See posts here, here, here, here, here and here - clearly no lack of material! ] You must read this great piece at The Black Commentator that weaves even more threads into this quilt of pathetic sleaze.


    Robert L. Woodson, president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, and as Black Commentator describes, "former aide to Newt Gingrich, recipient since 1995 of more than $6 million in rightwing foundation money, and now riding first-class on the federal faith-based gravy train."

    Some of the other players I've written about, (there are more names in the above piece for you to familiarize yourself with):


    Televangelist Frederick K.C. Price of L.A.'s Crenshaw Christian Center backs Bush and is taking part in a 100-minister summit opposing same-sex civil marriage; Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman and the GOP and will unveil the The Black Contract With America.


    Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values." Homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the Bush American Taliban agenda, and Philadelphia's Rev. Herb Lusk, pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church has had his coffers filled with a cool million to run faith-based initiatives by the Administration.


    The bulge is back -- because the NYT spiked the story



    Would voters have tossed Chimpy out on his rear if it could have been proven that he was cheating at the debates by wearing a wire? No one knows, but our friends at the f*cking "all the news that's fit to print" NYT spiked its own story on the investigation of it. (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting via OW):
    In the weeks leading up to the November 2 election, the New York Times was abuzz with excitement. Besides the election itself, the paper’s reporters were hard at work on two hot investigative projects, each of which could have a major impact on the outcome of the tight presidential race.

    One week before Election Day, the Times (10/25/04) ran a hard-hitting and controversial exposé of the Al-Qaqaa ammunition dump—identified by U.N. inspectors before the war as containing 400 tons of special high-density explosives useful for aircraft bombings and as triggers for nuclear devices, but left unguarded and available to insurgents by U.S. forces after the invasion.

    On Thursday, just three days after that first exposé, the paper was set to run a second, perhaps more explosive piece, exposing how George W. Bush had worn an electronic cueing device in his ear and probably cheated during the presidential debates.

    Remember that Salon piece where Dr. Robert M. Nelson, a photo imaging specialist at NASA did his own analysis of the pictures from the debate (my post is here)? He tried to get several newspapers interested, and Bob Woodward of the WP had heard the NYT killed the piece, but now he's not talking.
    In addition to the L. A. Times and the two local papers that showed no interest, Nelson says that the same day he learned that his story had been killed at the Times, October 28, he received a phone call from Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, famous for his investigative reports on Watergate. "Woodward said he’d heard the Times had killed the story and asked me if I could send the photos to him," says Nelson.

    The JPL scientist did so immediately, via email, noting that he had also been in touch with Salon magazine. He says Woodward then sent his photographs over to a photo analyst at the paper to check them for authenticity, which Nelson says was confirmed.

    A day later, realizing time was getting short, Nelson called Woodward back. Recalls Nelson: "He told me, 'Look, I’m going to have to go through a lot of hoops to get this story published. You’re already talking to Salon. Why don’t you work with them?'" (Several emails to Woodward asking him about Nelson's account have gone unanswered.)

    At that point Nelson, despairing of getting the pictures in a major publication, went with the online magazine Salon. This reporter subsequently asked Nelson to do a similar photo analysis of digital images of Bush’s back taken from the tapes of the second and third presidential debates. The resulting photos, which also clearly show the cueing device and magnetic loop harness under his jacket on both occasions, were posted, together with Nelson’s images from the first debate, on the news website of Mother Jones magazine (10/30/04).

    What should affect elections?

    Ben Bagdikian, retired dean of U.C. Berkeley's journalism school, held Woodward's current position at the Washington Post during the time of the Pentagon Papers. Informed of the fate of the bulge story and Nelson's photos at the three newspapers, he said:

    I cannot imagine a paper I worked for turning down a story like this before an election. This was credible photographic evidence not about breaking the rules, but of a total lack of integrity on the part of the president, evidence that he'd cheated in the debate, and also of a lack of confidence in his ability on the part of his campaign. I'm shocked to hear top management decided not to run such a story.

    Could the last-minute decision by the New York Times not to run the Nelson photos story, or the decision by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times not even to pursue it, have affected the outcome of the recent presidential race? There is no question that if such a story had run in any one of those major venues, instead of just in two online publications, Bulgegate would have been a major issue in the waning days of the campaign.

    Given that exit polls show many who voted for Bush around the country listed "moral values" as a big factor in their decision, it seems reasonable to assume that at least some would have changed their minds had evidence been presented in the nation’s biggest and most influential newspapers that Bush had been dishonest.

    "Cheating on a debate should affect an election," says Bagdikian. "The decision not to let people know this story could affect the history of the United States."


    Images of the Dems and Repugs, courtesy of Democracy Corps



    I was surfing at DKos and this story on a post-election analysis of the major parties by Democracy Corps caught my eye. It's worth a read. [I uploaded it, and it's here.] Note that this is the product of centrist, establishment Dems: (John Kerry master campaign destroyer) Bob Shrum, Stanley Greenberg and James Carville. The standout stat:
    Democracy Corps found the following to be the leading negative Dem attributes:

    (1) Support for Gay Marriage - 32%
    (2) No Strong Direction - 30%
    (3) Support for Legalized Abortion - 28%
    (4) Big Spending and Gov't Programs - 25%
    (5) High Taxes - 24%
    (6) Don't Back a Strong Military - 21%
    (7) Too Dependent on Minorities - 20%
    (8) Weak on Terror - 16%

    The Dems cannot go Repug on this one, or put their heads in the sand about civil rights issues, including gay rights. Gay citizens, I might add, have given over and over in both time and money to the party. With few exceptions, most establishment Dems have run screaming from the gay issue.

    All I see in that 32% number is a lack of education targeted at the public about what civil rights for gay citizens really are.

    While folks here and elsewhere in the blogosphere pontificate and speculate about how to "win", LGBT people all over this country, in states are amending constitutions, are the real losers. These are real people, with families, subject to the punishment of permanent second-class status with these state marriage amendments.

    Is the position of the Democratic party "Sorry, we wanted to leave it up to the states so we could get elected?" Continuing the punt of "marriage is between a man and a woman -- so there's no need for a constitutional amendment" -- unless the courts see otherwise just doesn't fly. Folks in that 32% correctly see through that as a lack of a position -- just as gays do.

    The last time that the LGBT community rallied around a Dem in the White House, we got DADT and DOMA. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of support.

    Is it A-OK with the Democratic party for the US to have "gay ghetto" states where gay citizens can achieve partial civil rights? What about those that cannot afford to move? Where does that leave those citizens?



    Ms. Julien on Hillary and a wakeup call for progressives


    Two of a f*cking kind.

    Julien's List has an excellent post on the ascent of Hillary's inner conservative, and taking her complacent fellow Floridians to task. Yeah, just like Bill, Hill's going to toss gays and lesbians, and her pro-choice allies overboard as she sails toward 2008. Ms. Julien:
    Okay, folks, it is time for those truly liberal-minded and truly progressive individuals "out there" to realize that in the road to the political top, our current politicians will do whatever they have to do to get there. A large voting majority pops up (evangelists and their followers), and all traditionally "liberal" ideals go out of the window as the politicians turn into ravenous wolves, salivating over power, as the wolves do over fresh kill.

    Most people know that Hillary Clinton has her sights set on the White House, and most people know that she is not thought of overmuch in the right wing. However, now she is going to face a bigger "flip-flop" title than Kerry as she starts to show her support for anti-gay laws and pro-choice rulings.

    My fellow bloggrrrl is so on it. What's completely disgusting is that our former "friends" like Hillary, and Joe Liebertwat come to mind, don't mind taking queer and pro-choice dollars to get elected. All of us need to keep those wallets shut and give to those candidates that 1) show some backbone and 2) have actual principles that aren't generated out of a focus group or the DLC-ers. No more giving money and accepting a pat on the head and being admonished to sit quietly, not complain and watch the whittling away of our rights so those in power can remain in power and get promoted to higher office. Bullsh*t.


    Sunny Sunday open thread and updates

    It's yet another beautiful day here in NC, time to go sit on the deck with the dogs and blog, eh? I will in a bit, but wanted to pass on an update on the Blend.

    1. I snared www.pamshouseblend.com, so if you want to bookmark something more easy on the brain than my highly unmemorable www.pamspaulding.com/weblog, you can do so. The domain is a forward, so it will still take you to the current URL, but it still makes it easier to remember.

    2. I'm slated to be interviewed by my local paper tomorrow, the Durham Herald-Sun. The reporter, Cynthia Greenlee-Donnell, wants to talk about Triangle-area bloggers for a feature story. Apparently I'm one of the few black/female/lesbian bloggrrrls (the demographic triple threat, lol) around Durham. Don't know whether that is a good or bad thing, considering we need all the local blogosphere power we can get on this amendment fight. That leads to...

    3. The Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 is taking place next week, Saturday, February 12, from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Topics include blogger credibility, experiments in citizen journalism, local blogrolls and other related doodads. I'm planning to go; I don't know a lot of the other Triangle bloggers, but it will be nice to see what those folks are doing, and comparing notes. Orange County (home of Chapel Hill and Carrboro) has a powerhouse group blog, OrangePolitics.org, but outside of that, I'm not aware of other high-visibility projects.


    NY's mayor appeals gay marriage ruling, tossing decision up to high court


    Mayor Mike Bloomberg is gambling NY's high court will rule in favor of gay civil marriage.

    Yep, it's a crap shoot. I understand his motives -- Mike Bloomberd is supportive of gay marriage, but he's betting on the higher state courts to eventually rule in favor of it. It's still an unsettling game of legal chicken. (NYT):
    A day after a judge in Manhattan issued the first New York State court ruling in support of gay marriage, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said New York City would appeal the decision, effectively closing the door on such marriages until the issue is decided by a higher court.

    Speaking on a Chinatown sidewalk yesterday afternoon after attending a community event, Mr. Bloomberg told reporters that the city would try "to expedite the appeal directly to the highest court," the state's Court of Appeals, "so that people will have a right once and for all to know where they stand."

    With New York's highest court now likely to face an issue that has proved its political potency around the country, Mr. Bloomberg said he personally favored gay marriage. It was the first time, according to his aides, that he has so clearly stated his position in public. He went further last night at a dinner held by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, where he told the guests at the Waldorf-Astoria that he would "work with you to change the law" in Albany if the lower court ruling - which he called "something to celebrate" - was struck down.

    In his remarks in Chinatown, the mayor said city lawyers had told him that the ruling "was incorrect, that the current state Constitution does not permit same-sex marriages." Lawyers for the city had made that same argument before Justice Ling-Cohan, who ruled in a suit brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of five gay couples who had been denied marriage licenses.

    ...the import of his remarks reverberated far beyond the mayoral campaign. Lawyers said the ruling on Friday, combined with the mayor's decision to appeal it, virtually guaranteed that the state's highest court, the seven-member Court of Appeals, would make a definitive ruling on gay marriage for the state.

    "The issue will be squarely in the lap of the Court of Appeals," said Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which is involved in another case raising the same questions. "They will have the obligation and the opportunity to decide whether the New York State Constitution provides that our marriage laws give the same rights for same-sex couples as it does for heterosexual couples."

    A decision on gay marriage would likely be among the most controversial by the Court of Appeals in many years and would almost certainly spark calls for further action. For example, if the court was to allow gay marriage, opponents would most likely seek a change in state law or a constitutional amendment barring such unions. It could also spur efforts in state courts around the country by gay-marriage proponents who have been pressing for rulings similar to that of the highest court in Massachusetts allowing gay marriage.

    New York's Court of Appeals once had a reputation as a liberal panel, and last June a 4-to-3 majority effectively declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional.


    2/7/2005 LGBT News Roundup

    Let's start off with the good news...

    Newsday: NY State Supreme Court rules -- gays may marry There still needs to be a ruling at the Court of Appeals (see this graphic of the NY court system), but this is promising. "A Manhattan judge declared Friday that a section of law that forbids same-sex marriage violates the state constitution, a ruling which if upheld on appeal would allow gay couples to wed. State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the words "husband," "wife," "groom" and "bride" in relevant sections of the Domestic Relations Law "shall be construed to mean 'spouse,' and all personal pronouns ... shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women."


    Mayor Mike Bloomberg is gambling NY's high court will rule in favor of gay civil marriage.

    NY's mayor appeals gay marriage ruling, tossing decision up to high court. Yep, it's a crap shoot. I understand his motives -- Mike Bloomberg is supportive of gay marriage, but he's betting on the higher state courts to eventually rule in favor of it. It's still an unsettling game of legal chicken. "A day after a judge in Manhattan issued the first New York State court ruling in support of gay marriage, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said New York City would appeal the decision, effectively closing the door on such marriages until the issue is decided by a higher court. Speaking on a Chinatown sidewalk yesterday afternoon after attending a community event, Mr. Bloomberg told reporters that the city would try "to expedite the appeal directly to the highest court," the state's Court of Appeals, "so that people will have a right once and for all to know where they stand. With New York's highest court now likely to face an issue that has proved its political potency around the country, Mr. Bloomberg said he personally favored gay marriage. It was the first time, according to his aides, that he has so clearly stated his position in public. He went further last night at a dinner held by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, where he told the guests at the Waldorf-Astoria that he would "work with you to change the law" in Albany if the lower court ruling - which he called "something to celebrate" - was struck down.


    Rabid religious wingnuts, Freepers and homo-bigot preachers on the loose.

    I don't even know where to begin with this - PFOX's "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Club. "Start an ex-gay club at your school!" Does this make ANY sense? Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has gone off the deep end. Their response to Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) at schools is to encourage kids to start "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight Clubs". Since when does a majority group (straight folks) need a support group? This is this utterly lame*ss crap. PFOX, of course, was recently in the news because one of its leaders, Richard Cohen, was expelled from the American Counseling Association for unethical behavior. These folks are freaking dangerous to gays and lesbians that are struggling with their identity. In this little initiative, they seem comically pathetic -- it only underscores the need for more GSAs.

    The purpose of an ex-gay & everstraight club is to provide a safe environment for all students to discuss alternatives to homosexuality and find ex-gay resources. Clubs can be started by students who have never been gay (everstraights), ex-gay students, and those struggling with unwanted same sex attraction. These alternative ex-gay clubs are started at schools (high school or college) which already have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or similar gay affirming club. These ex-gay clubs can be called by whatever name the student(s) decide is best for their school.

    The whole idea behind this effort is to counteract what PFOX suggests is an overwhelmingly queer-centric world out to recruit horny teens into the so-called "gay lifestyle." Since when has high school been a haven for homosexual expression? I doubt "faggot" or "dyke" have fallen out of favor as a slur for most insecure young people. When was the last time a straight person was targeted for liking someone of the opposite sex? Good god, my head hurts thinking of this stupidity. Read on and try not to let your head explode...
    With an Ex-Gay Alternatives Club at their school, students have the option of receiving all of the facts on sexual orientation before trying to adopt a gay identity. Students need positive support from teachers and their peers to deal with their unwanted same sex attractions. Straight kids (everstraights) need to understand what their peers are struggling with and why. Schools must present ex-gay options and resources...According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the year 2000, 49% of all AIDS cases were among young men who had sex with other males, ranging in ages 13 to 24. An Ex-Gay Alternatives Club will introduce alternatives to homosexuality so that young people will not find it necessary to participate in risky sexual behavior.
    Look at this ridiculous recruiting meeting poster:



    EX-GAY & EVERSTRAIGHT CLUB

    Alternatives is a club for ex-gay, gay, everstraight and questioning youth to safely discuss sexual orientation:

    For those struggling with same sex attractions - Why do I have same sex feelings? Does it always have to be this way? Do I have to take on a gay identity?

    For questioning youth - If I have gay thoughts or feelings, does that mean I'm a homosexual? Am I gay if other kids call me gay names?

    For straight teens - How can I understand sexual orientation? How can I help stop name calling against gay kids? Can gays at school be my friends?

    For ex-gay teens - How do I explain sexual reorientation to others? How can I find support for my journey out of homosexuality? Are there any ex-gay books I can read?

    Welcome to the Alternatives Club! We will confidentially discuss sexual orientation in a supportive environment and together try to find a way out of the confusion.
    Good grief - who is forcing these kids to engage in homosex? What are they talking about? These freaks at PFOX -- they are truly off their rockers -- pfox_exgays@hotmail.com.


    NY Congressman Major Owens knows the deep sh*t that the Dems are in regarding this issue. Televangelist Frederick K.C. Price of L.A.'s Crenshaw Christian Center backs Bush and is taking part in a 100-minister summit opposing same-sex civil marriage.

    GOP hijacking more black pastors into its bible-based Taliban takeover. As I've been noting here and here, the Democratic Party is allowing the religious Right and the slimy Bush admin to siphon off black pastors (and with them, black votes) by stirring up the pot of "values" and tossing them faith-based initiative cash. This LA Times story gets to the heart of why this needs to be taken seriously. The black religious wingnuts are emerging, organizing and planning to take control of the agenda and the spin with the help (and funding) of the Repugs and the evangelical fringe.

    The GOP even plans to enlist these new "friends" in the PR war against Social Security. WAKE UP PEOPLE. They are not going to let go of the gay bogeyman, as long as it can be used to rile up people, regardless of whether the Dem establishment knows it is a red herring. (LA Times):

    ... The effort will be visible today at the Crenshaw Christian Center, one of Los Angeles' biggest black churches, headed by televangelist Frederick K.C. Price. More than 100 African American ministers are to gather in the first of several regional summits to build support for banning same-sex marriage - a signature issue that drew socially conservative blacks to the Republican column last year.

    Before the meeting, one prominent minister plans to unveil a "Black Contract With America on Moral Values," a call for Bible-based action by government and churches to promote conservative priorities. It is patterned loosely on the "Contract With America" that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used 10 years ago to inaugurate an era of GOP dominance in Congress. A separate group with ties to Gingrich will announce a similar "Mayflower Compact for Black America" later this month in Washington, which includes plans to organize in key states ahead of the 2006 and 2008 elections. And at the end of the month, the Heritage Foundation will cosponsor a gathering of black conservatives in Washington designed to counter dominance of the "America-hating black liberal leadership" and to focus African American voters on moral issues.

    Those events all enjoy support from the Republican Party and its allies in the philanthropic and religious worlds. The meetings have a common goal: to foster a political realignment that, if successful, would challenge the Democrats' decades-long lock on the loyalty of black voters.

    ..."I am frightened by what is happening," said Rep. Major R. Owens, an 11-term Democratic congressman from New York who has been conferring with colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. "Our party is in grave danger. This Republican movement is going to expand exponentially unless we do something."



    Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman and the GOP and will unveil the The Black Contract With America.

    ...The Black Contract With America will be unveiled by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a registered Democrat from suburban Washington who backed Bush in 2004 after voting against him four years earlier. He was drawn, he said, to the GOP's social conservatism that he thought reflected the true values of black churches.

    ... In addition to such conservative GOP priorities as allowing workers to create private Social Security (news - web sites) accounts and banning same-sex marriage, the Jackson contract deals with some potentially dicey issues for Republicans - such as restoring rights to former felons. The contract, Jackson said, combines the Bible-based elements of the traditionally Republican and Democratic platforms.

    ...Jackson's enthusiasm for working with Washington's Republican power structure is shared by the party's leading strategists. Today's Los Angeles meeting is sponsored in part by the Traditional Values Coalition, headed by the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, a white evangelical Christian with close ties to White House political strategist Karl Rove, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and other senior Bush administration officials. Mehlman said Monday that he was in close contact with the organizers of each group and was coordinating with Gingrich and other party leaders.

    In my earlier Blend post on Mel Watt and framing gay rights for this population, the Dems have a roadmap, if they only would get some balls and stop being afraid of mentioning the word G-A-Y.

    Other new Bush colored friends of faith (the House Blend's running list):



    Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values." Homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the Bush American Taliban agenda, and Philadelphia's Rev. Herb Lusk, pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church has had his coffers filled with a cool million to run faith-based initiatives by the Administration.


    General corporate, legislative, legal and community activism by your jolly neighborhood homophobes...


    The Rev. Terry Fox, middle, senior pastor of Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church, gives a thumbs-up to the Kansas House of Representatives after a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed Wednesday at the Statehouse in Topeka. Pat Bullock, left, is with the Heart of Kansas and Phillip "Bo" Graves, right, is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Haysville. Kansans will vote on the measure on April 5.

    Help needed in Kansas as marriage amendment pushes forward. It looks like Kansas is definitely under the gun...First, some background on the current state of things. The Kansas House adopted a proposed amendment to the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The vote was 86-3 -- three more votes than the two-thirds majority needed. The amendment states that only married couples of one man and one woman would be entitled to the "rights or incidents" of marriage. The statewide vote is slated for April 5, with only a simple majority needed. Tiffany Muller, a gay-rights lobbyist and Topeka city councilwoman, denounced the proposal. "This is about actively hurting people in this state," Muller said. She said opponents would fight the measure, but given the success of similar proposals in other states, she wasn't optimistic. "We are going to have to rely on the courts to uphold our civil rights," she said. House Blend reader Paul forwarded me this email from Richard Donner, of the Kansas Unity and Pride Alliance, which is woefully underpowered to lobby against this amendment push. He's looking for help locally (and nationwide), so spreading the word is always a good thing.

    [There is no Equality Kansas, BTW. There is reference to one that disbanded in '97, when I Googled it.]
    From: "Richard Donner"
    Subject: RE: We need your HELP NOW. Kansas Constitutional Amendment

    Hello to our brother and sister state wide organizations-As you know we lost the amendment battle in the Kansas House yesterday and now have less then three months to mount a campaign . We have little or no money, lots of passion, some people and groups who are willing to help and no campaign manger. What I (we) need from you NOW is-

    1. Specific detailed media campaigns that have worked in the Midwest-especially media

    2. Ideas to make a few short dollars go as long a way as possible

    3. The name of anyone who is interested in and has experience in doing a short term issue campaign starting immediately.

    4.Anything else you think that would help us.

    5. Money !!! Seriously we need you all to help us raise money outside of Kansas- contact me for more specific information or check out our web site at www.kansasunityandpridealliance.org.

    Email me directly at rdphd@cox.net. Please help us in Kansas.

    Richard Donner, PhD
    Executive Director
    KUPA
    Topeka, KS 66611
    785-267-4160
    For those of you that think it's enough to feel good about the fact that there are Blue states where progress is being made, I beg you to really hear the sense of purpose in the above email, despite the long odds faced.

    Gay people live everywhere in this great nation. To say that it is sufficient to make "safe spaces" in a few states (MA, VT, possibly NY next) and the hell with the rest of the states is simply not good enough. We can't let states like Kansas (or god forbid, NC) go without a fight.



    My marriage is sowing the seeds of societal destruction in NC.

    North Carolina's constitution is under attack. I was born in this state, moved away for many years, living as a New Yorker, but that time away never took the Tar Heel out of me. I missed it, so I returned. I also love the fact that my hometown, Durham is in a bluest of blue counties; it is not uncommon to see gay and lesbian couples out and proud walking in downtown areas. Major employers in the area include universities, medical centers, hi-tech, non-profits and municipal governments that offer partnership benefits to its gay employees. Neighborhoods are diverse and progressive, all seems well with the world.

    However, once you drive outside of this bubble of tolerance (just a few miles outside, even), you encounter the harsh reality that this is a red state, where tolerance can be hard to find, the bible is beaten hard, and a sizeable amount of wingnuts are appalled by what they see going on in the bubble. This is what has created the legislative backlash that scares me.

    Passing this heinous amendment would deny equal rights to gays and lesbians by squashing any future legislative and legal efforts at the state level toward civil recognition of gay and lesbian families. This would affect health benefits and hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and child custody rights. It would also hurt unmarried heterosexual couples in the above areas as well. This is already posing a serious problem in domestic abuse cases in states like Ohio where amendments have passed.

    It's clear that Tar Heel legislators behind this measure need to re-learn what the difference is between the civil and religious or ceremonial aspects of marriage. Achieving legal equality in the civil aspect of marriage has no bearing on a church's recognition of such a union. It is apparent that these lawmakers don't give a damn about any of this. It's going to be a long, frightening fight ahead for gays and lesbians in NC. One can only hope that the economic impact of enshrining hate into our constitution will carry some weight in this battle, since no appeal to their humanity or concern for their gay and lesbian constituents will reach them.

    How to help with this fight (in this state and others):



    1. Support Equality organizations in your state, if it is at risk for an amendment challenge. Give your time and money, if you can spare. In North Carolina, the organization at the grassroots level is Equality NC.


    2. If you are gay and if it is at all possible for you to safely come out, DO IT. No one ever regrets throwing open that closet door, even if the path is difficult for a while. The more that people realize we are your neighbors, co-workers, teachers, police officers and leaders in the community, the less effective the "fear and loathing" demonization campaign by the Right is. We're usually living average, boringly normal workaday lives like the average American and no threat to life as we know it.


    3. If you are straight and an ally, COME OUT. Support your gay friends and loved ones when you hear intolerant conversation, politely engage ignorance with information.



    4. Make the Democratic establishment get off of their asses on this issue. Too many are DINOs, ready to sacrifice all principles for a vote as a career politician. Courage is in short supply, apparently, so these losers need to be threatened with the electoral boot. Party hacks need to be held accountable. Write them and call them out in emails and in the blogosphere. So far, I've only heard Mel Watt (D-NC) make a persuasive case on how to approach gay civil rights in the public sphere. Where are all the other Dems? Let them have it. Don't give a dime unless they are willing to take a real position, not the punt of "marriage is between a man and a woman" so there's no need for a constitutional amendment, "unless the courts see otherwise."


    5. Read blogs covering the issue. I will keep my House Blenders informed as things progress here.



    Investigators found John and Linda Dollar in Utah by tracking cell phone signals. Being straight doesn't guarantee you're qualified to be a adoptive parent. But it's required in Florida.

    Depraved adoptive (and heterosexual) parents from Florida, John and Linda Dollar, captured. I cannot overlook the irony that this sick heterosexual couple, described as "strict and religious" no less, was able to adopt and torture, starve and electro-shock innocent children. In Florida. Jeb's state has ruled gay people, are ineligible to adopt. What did this state do to ensure this couple was qualified to adopt kids? "A Citrus County couple accused of torturing and starving five of their eight adopted children were arrested Friday evening in southeastern Utah. John and Linda Dollar were arrested at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time after law officers saw their gold Lexus sport utility vehicle on a roadway. Investigators said they learned the Dollars were in Utah by tracking their cell phone signals. The children told investigators that the Dollars starved them, shocked them with electricity, pulled out their toenails with pliers, bound them with chains and strips of plastic and struck their feet with hammers. A 16-year-old boy weighed 59 pounds. Twin boys, age 14, weighed 36 and 38 pounds, the Sheriff's Office said. Seven children, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were living with the Dollars on Jan. 21, when authorities first began to suspect abuse. The children now are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families Friends and neighbors, meantime, described the Dollars as religious and strict, and said the children hardly ever were seen.


    Compassion doesn't begin at home with the Keyes.

    Looks like Maya Keyes kicked her closet door open -- and her dad has no mercy. Maya is the daughter of wingnut supreme (and the doormat Baraka Obama wiped his feet on before heading to the Senate) Alan Keyes. Oliver Willis points out that Maya has officially come out of the closet, and her family kicked her out. So much for compassionate conservatism. She'll land on her feet. If HRC or the NGLTF has any sense, they'll sign her up to speak out on a national level about the hypocrisy of the allegedly religious Right. There's nothing more disgusting than your family rejecting you for simply being yourself. In the Keyes house, the vice is being a "selfish hedonist," like Mary Cheney. She's going to be speaking at an Equality Maryland event. "Maya Marcel Keyes, the self-described queer activist who is also daughter of ultra-conservative Alan Keyes, whose recent campaign for senator from Illinois included his calling Mary Cheney a "hedonist." Maya grew up in Montgomery County and will certainly have some interesting things to say about living with someone who is so outspoken in his opposition to gay rights." Alan Keyes needs to take a good look in the mirror.


    Robert Rigby, a Falls Church High School teacher, said using a classroom setting to say that homosexuality is a choice could hurt gay students. (Frank Johnston -- The Washington Post)

    VA school board reprimands wingnut official for touting "ex-gay" propaganda. At least this time, the wingnut was called out and was forced to apologize. I'm sure in many, many other districts around the country, sending a letter promoting the "ex-gay" movement wouldn't even cause a stir. "The Fairfax County School Board issued a public reprimand last night to a member who sent a letter to high school principals urging them to ensure that students hear the views of people who believe homosexuality is a choice and a "destructive lifestyle." After a unanimous vote and a nearly two-hour closed session that ended about 11, Board Chairman Phillip A. Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence) released a board statement criticizing the actions of Stephen M. Hunt (At Large). "The letter sent by Mr. Hunt was not authorized by and does not reflect the views of the School Board," according to the statement. "The School Board continues to support the family life education curriculum and its treatment of this sensitive subject...Earlier yesterday, as news of the letter spread, so did the debate over a school district's role in teaching about sex and sexual preference. Robert Rigby Jr., a gay Fairfax County schoolteacher, expressed concern that Hunt's letter might be harmful to gay students. "The problem with promoting the ex-gay movement is it is part of a larger movement that is against gay people," Rigby said.


    Should I say anything here? It would probably be unkind.

    Gay Marriage Ban Fails in Idaho; Freepers hot under the collar. Some good news...: "A proposal to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the Idaho Constitution was defeated Wednesday for the second consecutive year. A statutory prohibition remains in force. The constitutional measure had majority support in the state Senate in a 21-14 vote. But that fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to send the constitutional amendment to a vote of the people. Eight Republican senators and six Democrats voted against. The amendment would have invalidated any type of marriage or civil union except those between one man and one woman. You know I had to do it...

    Actual Freeper Quotes™:"Wow. Why would this fail in one of the top 5 most conservative states in the Union? I hope you spud-heads replace the politicians who voted no in the next election!"

    "Sad. WA state is next. God help us all."

    "Wha-a-at?? Idaho?!! That's where I've wanted to move! Unngh! "

    "Liberal strains are deeper than what we had hoped."

    "First Washington (state), then Idaho and Montana. I believe what you're seeing is the "liberal flight" effect - the lefties leaving Kalifornica and infesting other areas. The "Homies" need to stop these parasites in their tracks, lest you find yourself in the same straits as Washington..."

    "The gay lobby has tons of money thats why. It is so sad that the politicians really only represent the interests of a very few. The majority's opinion is irrelevant to them. They figure we are too busy living our lives and working to care about what they are doing."

    "Sad. Sad. Sad. Kansas ahead of Idaho....."

    "Eight Republican senators joined with six Democrats to form a blockade of moderates. Does Utah have a Recall provision in their State Constitution? Looks like there's at least 8 targets right here."

    "I know nothing about this, but off the top of my head I'd guess it's about polygamy. Aren't there a good number of renegade old school Mormon people there in Idaho?"

    "Yeah, the liberals vote for policies that destroy the schools, economy and the culture of their community. Then when it gets too bad to live where they live, they move and start to infest and destroy another place. Like cock roaches or something."

    "Gay marriage is a complete ruse. Most gays/lesbians aren't even interested in it. The real goal is to dilute the meaning of "marriage." The homosexual lobby is intent on destroying the family, nothing more and nothing less. Intolerance for barely-disguised war against the crucial institution of the family is no vice."

    "Spot on buddy... Break the Church...Break the Marriage...Break the Family...Break the Democracy...GLBTSMFC agenda. in a nutshell (Gay Lesbo Bi Tranny Socialist Marxist Facist Communist)"



    Alabama Governor Bob Riley is a family man, and as long as he's in charge, his kind of family - a hetero one - is the only one that gets his endorsement. Democrat Rep. Yusuf Salaam backs the marriage ban as well. Another brother bites the dust. Any Dems out there paying attention?

    Alabama at it again: Marriage bill moves to House, anti-gay fliers put out by GOP. It gets tiring talking about this state's backwards, redneck race to the bottom of civilization, but it must be done. First up, "progress" on the state's marriage amendment bill. "The measure was approved by a 12 - 2 vote Wednesday in committee. The only issue was when the measure would go to voters. Democrats who control the House pushed to have it placed on the 2006 primary ballot. Republicans attempted to have it moved to the 2006 general election. The proposed amendment would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The House will likely vote on the bill early next week as one of the first pieces of business in the new legislative year. Since it has the endorsement of both parties and the support of Gov. Bob Riley there is virtually no chance the measure will be defeated. Although Alabama already has legislation blocking same-sex marriage, both Democrats and Republicans agree that the only way to prevent judges from overturning the law is to enshrine traditional marriage in the state Constitution. "We do have a responsibility as legislators to do what's best for the long-term interest of the state," said bill sponsor Rep. Yusuf Salaam (D-Selma).


    Democrat Gloria Dolbare was on the receiving end of a homo-bigot campaign by the Alabama GOP.

    Then, we have the little matter of the Repugs attempting to smear a Dem candidate because she didn't sign a pledge to support an amendment. The Alabama Republican Legislative Committee sent out a homophobic flier, in true ignorant, down and dirty politics fashion. (NBC 15 ): "The flier, sponsored by the Republican Legislative Committee, stated that Democrat Gloria Dolbare had not signed a Christian Coalition pledge to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in the state. In a special election last month, she lost a bid to fill the seat vacated by the death of her minister husband. The flier said: "Let Gloria Dolbare know God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!" Dolbare, a school teacher from Bigbee, said she never saw the pledge but during the campaign probably set it aside with other mail. "I never dreamed how dirty politics could be," said Dolbare, widow of state Rep. Jeff Dolbare, who died from cancer last year...The first page of the flier shows a classical painting that appears to represent the Garden of Eden and a nearly naked man and a woman with a copy of the Christian Coalition pledge covering her body. A photo on the left side of the flier's second page shows two smiling men on a porch. One is kneeling on one knee before the other and holding the man's left hand in both of his own. "God made Adam and Eve," the flier says, "but Gloria Dolbare wants you to meet ... Adam and Steve!"



    Margaret Spellings, had her panties in a bunch over an innocent cartoon episode featuring two lesbian couples. She doesn't want America's children "exposed to this lifestyle."

    PBS's Buster the bunny meets lesbians - and the world doesn't end. House Blend reader Katherine wanted to share her email about the airing of the infamous PBS cartoon that has been pulled from stations because it depicts lesbian families. It aired on our local PBS station, UNC-TV in Chapel Hill on the SOTU address day. What a hoot.

    New Education Secretary Margaret Spellings raised hell about this recently, which I blogged about on the Blend a few days ago.


    From: Katherine
    Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 09:06:15 EST
    Subject: unctv frees buster baxter!
    To: Pam

    Hi Pam,

    Well, I was very surprised yesterday when my five year old son turned on Postcards From Buster - recently on the new Secretary of Education's hit list for an upcoming show on Vermont, maple sugar, and, oh, yeah, same-sex couples. The Vermont show was on! (I thought it was scheduled for March - must be a Chapel Hill thing to run it the day of the State of the Union address.)

    Well, this new Secretary of Education must have some kind of paranoid delusions because this show was as edgy and in-your-face gay agenda as, say, an episode of "Kate and Allie." Seriously! Buster arrived at the house, met one woman, she took him inside and said hi to another woman. Then, kid stuff - Buster cleverly noted that the two brothers, one African-American and one Caucasian, didn't look alike. They explained they were stepbrothers. Okay. The daughter did show a photo of the two moms and said it was special to her because it was a photo of people who meant a lot to her. Something like that.

    I am waiting for the controversy. Their house is clean, the mom makes chocolate chip cookies, they are JEWISH.(was this the problem?) My son wondered why he couldn't light candles at dinner as they did. They prayed. Buster visited a farm, saw a guy milk cows, saw maple sugaring, ate a lot. The family and another family with two moms who were NOT mentioned in any way - it was all about kids - had a bonfire. They dragged out a Christmas tree to burn and yelled, "Goodbye Winter!" Oh, the dog ate Buster's gifts for his mom, and Buster fainted, but he recovered.

    I was disappointed that it did not even PROVIDE an opportunity to talk about same sex marriage or couples and kids. I asked my son what he noticed about the families, and it was all about candles, how much sap it takes to make maple syrup, and the dog eating the presents. He did not notice the two moms at all, and he is a pretty observant kid. All I can think is that Secretary of Education must also see dead people, communists under her bed, and black helicopters because this show was completely tame.

    Now, the one with the Mormons and their overpopulating the world big family, THAT one bugged me. But that is another story.

    Please feel free to share my post. It was a nice episode, about Vermont and maple syrup. NO marriage mentioned, of any kind. Just happy families, cows, stuff.

    Katherine



    Freepers pissed at an MTV gay segment of Room Raiders. Apparently the totally throwaway MTV program Room Raiders is making the Freepers lose it because gay folks were featured on an episode. I guess soon all they'll have is the Family Channel.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™: Here is the original Freep post:
    "I just was flipping through the channels and came across room raiders on MTV. I watch it sometimes and it can be entertaining. However, tonight I was uterly disgusted to see an actual gay segment of the program. There were three gay guys who had their rooms raided by another guy. Listen, I am not homophobic. I have no problem with gay people if they keep what they to the privacy of their home. I do have a problem with those gays that try to redefine marriage or in this case push their lifestyle in the public sphere. MTV is a willing culprit. Is there anything we can do to stop this?? I doubt an email campaign would work, but maybe it might be worth it. Any suggestions?"

    Choice responses:
    [Someone asked what Room Raiders is...]
    "It's one of those dating shows where three guys are taken out of their homes while a girl comes in and checks out their cribs and makes her choice on that. (or three chicks and a dude.)

    "I stopped watching MTV after I saw the "Know your rights" sex special with Christina Auguilera. You know, the "Let's get Dirty" singer who publicly admits she loves sex. She told two abstinent young adults that they "gotta test drive the car before you buy it."

    "You're watching a voyeuristic show, and then complaining about what you saw. Be an adult and don't watch that crap. Some people are just as disgusted by the male/female version of the show." [Freeper with a brain!]

    'Again, its not me. I know I can easily shut it off, it's the fact that it is out there for young teens to see."

    "I think most of their viewers were teens in the 80's and have failed to grow up, we call them DUmmies. =o)"

    "I believe that MTV is the station that has the commericials for KY jelly "The Personal Lubricant" in which a woman is describing the joys of KY with her backside to a man in the background. The implication is stated subtlely and geometrically. If Room Raiders is being taken over by Rump Rangers, then look for these commercials to start featuring two men.

    "I've always been somewhat amused at the line "as long as they keep what they do in the privacy...." the fact is kids, they don't, they never do...they not only push it in our faces, but try to teach it in our schools..and worse than that, they have unleashed one of the worst epidemics on mankind.. Add that to the simple fact that it's an abomination before God.... even if you're an atheist, you can't deny the harm they've done society.."

    "You have a problem with gay people appearing on MTV? So what channel are they allowed to be on?" [Freeper with a brain!]




    Maybe the Hoover is detonative. Martin Viau vacuums the House of Commons in preparation for the return of the Canadian Parliament. Photo by Jim Young

    Headline of the Day: Canada Unveils Explosive Gay Marriage Legislation. How asinine is that head? What exactly is going to explode? Conservative Stephen Harper's head? Just for comparison's sake, here are some other headlines reporting the same story:



    Some Related diaries this week...

    NY: Same-Sex Couples Must Be Allowed To Marry by Manhattan Dan

    Gays Heckle Bloomberg by Manhattan Dan

    Alan Keyes Casting Out his Daughter by LeftHandedMan

    More Repugs, Dems sign onto NC marriage amendment by pamindurham

    Buster' producer axed from TV conference by tiponeill

    PBS's Buster airs on UNC-TV - society doesn't crumble by pamindurham

    Wingnuts attack gay right to "love"< by runchadrun

    A Victory for Gay Rights; A Victory for the Constitution by Categorically Imperative

    Virginia Propose Ban on Gay Adoptions by VAprogressive

    The Inherent Worth and Dignity of All People by Renee in Ohio

    NC legislators re-submit state marriage amendment by pamindurham

    School board wars. Next Target: Gays by VirginiaDem

    the pro-homosexual agenda by Dean Democrat

    Why Gay Marriage is Important by Gracchi



    LGBT News Roundup Headlines...


    Headlines from:



    Bloomberg Appeals Gay Marriage Ruling. (New York City) Hopes of gay and lesbian couples to wed in New York next month were dashed Saturday by mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    Nevada Lacks Funds For AIDS Patients. (Carson City, Nevada) Nevadans with HIV or AIDS could languish on waiting lists for medication due to inadequate state funding, those who work with victims of the disease warn.

    Jury Nullifies 'Gay Rage' Murder Defense. (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) A jury has ignored claims that a Wisconsin man was murdered in a case of "gay rage" and ruled that Gary Hirte, 19 was sane when he killed Glen Kopitske in July 2003.

    Call For Major Federal Gay Equality Bill. (Washington) The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Friday called for a sweeping LGBT civil rights bill that would cover hospital visitation rights, job protections, and equality in credit.

    New Hampshire Accused Of Foot Dragging On Civil Union Bill. (Concord, New Hampshire) A state committee formed to study civil unions and report back to the legislature is doing little to address the needs of New Hampshire's gay and lesbian population a group of lawmakers charged Friday.

    Judge Rules In Lesbian Property Split. (Spokane, Washington) A judge has awarded $6,150 to a Spokane woman to settle a dispute over property her lesbian partner bought during their 11-year relationship and sold after they separated.

    Holland May Require Immigrants To Show Knowledge Of Gay Issues. (Amsterdam, Holland) Can two men marry? That is one of the questions that would-be immigrants may be asked as part of a new exam for prospective immigrants to The Netherlands.

    Cameroon Suspends Anti-AIDS Drug Tests. (Yaounde, Cameroon) Cameroon suspended controversial tests of a U.S.-manufactured anti-AIDS drug Friday amid complaints that prostitutes were encouraged to have unprotected sex under the trials with no guarantee of medical care if they became infected.

    Transsexual Pleads Guilty In Silicone Death. (Albany, Georgia) A transsexual who pumped industrial grade silicone into other trans women to give them feminine features pleaded guilty Friday to felony involuntary manslaughter in the death of one woman who died of complications from the injections.

    S.F. Prepares To Celebrate Gay Marriage Anniversary. (San Francisco, California) A year after he made San Francisco a bull's-eye in the national debate over gay marriage, Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to mark the first anniversary of the city's "Winter of Love" with a show of defiance.

    New York Court Rules Gays Must Be Allowed To Marry. (New York City) A New York State court ruled Friday that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry.

    School Board Censures Official Over 'Ex-Gays' Letter . (Fairfax, Virginia) A Fairfax County School Board member who told principals to invite speakers into their schools to present the "ex-gay perspective" has been reprimanded by his peers.

    South Dakota Gay Marriage Amendment Passes House. (Pierre, South Dakota) Legislation to ban gay marriage in South Dakota met with little opposition when it came to vote in the House, Thursday.

    Was Gay Man's Death Murder Or Medical Incompetence? (Riverside, California) A lawyer for a man charged with murder in the death of a Riverside, California man says his client didn't kill Jeffery Owens - the hospital where he was taken did.

    Psychiatrist Testifies 'Gay Rage' Legitimate. (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) A forensic psychiatrist has told an Oshkosh court that 'gay rage' exists and that a man was legally insane when he killed a gay Wisconsin man after having sex with him.

    Anti-Gay Singer Jailed (Kingston, Jamaica) A Jamaican dancehall singer whose lyrics call for the killing of gays has been jailed but not over his incitement to hate.

    School Board Official Tells Schools To Bring In Ex-Gay Speakers. (Fairfax, Virginia) Principals in all of Fairfax county's high schools have received a letter telling them to host speakers "ex-gay perspective".

    Colorado Springs Sued After Yanking Gay Benefits (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Two lesbian couples are suing Colorado Springs for canceling their same-sex health benefits.

    Supports Gay Marriage, Kinky Runs For Texas Gov. . (Austin, Texas) Musician-turned-mystery author Kinky Friedman delivered Thursday on his first campaign promise — to run an unconventional campaign — as he officially began his independent effort to win the governor's job in Texas next year.

    Barring Gays From Adopting Not Homophobic Lawmaker Says. (Little Rock Arkansas) Rep. Bob Adams (D-Sheridan) says that his bill to ban the state from placing children in "homosexual homes" isn’t meant to discriminate against gays.

    Virginia Bill Banning Gay Adoption Gutted. (Richmond, Virginia) Legislation to prevent gays and lesbians from adopting was gutted Thursday.

    Gay Dems Back Dean For DNC Chair . (Washington) The National Stonewall Democrats Thursday announced its endorsement of Governor Howard Dean for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    It Was Catholics Not Evangelicals Who Fueled Bush Victory New Survey Shows. (Washington) John Kerry managed the best showing since in decades for a Democratic presidential candidate among mainline Protestants, but his failure to capture a majority of Roman Catholics - people of his own faith - gave President Bush an important advantage in last November's election, according to a new survey.

    Alabama Anti-Gay Bill Heads To House Vote. (Montgomery, Alabama) Legislation paving the way for Alabama voters to decide if the state Constitution should be amended to ban gay marriage is headed for a vote in House.

    Tories Revolt & Liberals Squabble Over Canadian Gay Marriage Bill. (Ottawa) Canada's two major parties are facing internal conflicts over their respective stands on same-sex marriage.

    Bush Renews Call For Gay Marriage Amendment (Washington) For the second year in a row President George W. Bush used his State of the Union speech Wednesday night to call for an amendment to the US Constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

    New Anti-Gay Attack From Ed. Secretary: 'Schools Not Place For Gay Issues'(Washington) Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings says she has no apologies to make for criticizing a PBS children's series which features an episode with a lesbian family.

    Gay Man's Killer Could Be Out In Under 3 Years(Louisville, Kentucky) A man who admitted beating and strangling to death a gay man and then stuffing his body into a suitcase and dumping it in a lake could be on the streets in two-and-a-half years.

    Idaho Gay Marriage Amendment Fails. (Boise, Idaho) A proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution to ban gay marriage failed to get the two-third majority it required for Senate passage Wednesday.

    US House Calls For Appeal In Pro-Gay Ruling(Washington) The House of Representatives is urging the White House to appeal a court ruling that allows colleges to bar the Pentagon from recruiting on their campuses because of the military's ban on gays.

    Charges Reinstated Against Gay Marriage Mayor(Albany, New York) Criminal charges against New Paltz Village Mayor Jason West for marrying gay couples were reinstated by a judge Wednesday.

    Rare STD Shows Up In Gay New Yorkers (New York City) Fears that a rare sexually transmitted disease that began showing up in gay men in San Francisco last month would spread to the east coast have been realized.

    AIDS Cases Decline In SF Bay Area (San Francisco, California) The number of new AIDS cases in the Bay Area has plummeted to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

    Vaccine For Cancer That Targets Gay Men & Women 5 Years Off (London) A British scientist says that a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) could be ready "within next five years".

    Kansas To Vote On Gay Marriage Amendment. (Topeka, Kansas) A proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution which would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions will be put to voters on April 5.

    South Dakota Gay Marriage Ban Heads To House. (Pierre, South Dakota) Legislation to ban gay marriage in South Dakota is headed to a vote in the House.

    Queer Beer Targets Europe's Gays. (Geneva, Switzerland) First there was beer. And, it was good. Then there was near beer. And, it was not so good. Now, there is Queer Beer. And the two Swiss businessmen behind it hope it will be great.

    Bid To Undo Some Parts Of Anti-Gay Amendment Fails. (Salt Lake City, Utah) After rushing to write a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution last year, Utah legislators are in no hurry to repair damage the law could deal other kinds of domestic partners.

    Story Of Gay Baghdad Blogger Turned Into FilmA gay Baghdad man whose online diary became one of the most read publications in the days leading up to the US-led war against Saddam Hussein has turned his story into a motion picture.

    'Gay Panic' Led To Murder After Sex(Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Lawyers for a Wisconsin man say he was so overcome with guilt and shame after having gay sex that he became enraged and then killed the man.

    Lesbian Teen Lovers Waive Arraignment In Grandparent Murders. (Fayetteville, Georgia) A suburban Atlanta teen described as a cold blooded killer and her lover waived their arraignments in the killings of her elderly grandparents.

    Virginia Anti-Gay License Plates Gain Momentum. (Richmond, Virginia) Cars in Virginia could soon have license plates extolling traditional marriage.

    Utah Moves To Undo Some Parts Of Anti-Gay Amendment. (Salt Lake City, Utah) After rushing to write a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution, Utah legislators are stepping back to repair some of the damage the law could deal other kinds of domestic partners.

    Kansas Gay Marriage Amendment Moves Forward. (Topeka, Kansas) The Kansas House gave tentative approval Tuesday to a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Gay Buying Power Continues To Grow. (Washington) The total buying power of the adult LGBT population in the US has grown by some $30 billion over the past two years.

    Canadian Gay Marriage Bill Faces Tough Fight. (Ottawa) The Canadian government Tuesday introduced its long awaited bill to make same-sex marriage legal across Canada.

    The Canadian Gay Marriage BillBill C-38: An Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes

    UK Gay Civil Rights Law Passes First Crucial Test. (London) In the first test of a new law protecting gays from discrimination in the workplace a London labor tribunal has awarded a man nearly $70,000 after he was belittled and harassed on the job.

    Jury Rejects Murder Verdict In Gay Slaying. (Louisville, Kentucky) A man who admitted beating and strangling to death a gay man and then stuffing his body into a suitcase and dumping it in a lake has been found guilty of manslaughter not murder as the prosecution had sought.

    Canadian Gay Marriage Bill Goes To Parliament Today(Ottawa) The Canadian government will introduce its same-sex marriage legislation in the House Commons today as the opposition Tories and conservative church groups ratchet up the rhetoric.

    L.A. County Shuts Down HIV Testing in Bathhouses AIDS Group Says. (Los, Angeles, California) As the public awaits a long-delayed ordinance in Los Angeles County to regulate bathhouses and sex clubs the L.A. Health Department has stopped all funding for HIV testing and prevention services at those businesses AIDS Healthcare Foundation said Monday.

    Court Orders NYU To Pay Gay Composer's Widower $2 Million(New York City) Composer Leonard Bernstein's surviving partner has won a $2 million dollar wrongful dismissal suit from New York University Medical Center.

    Negative Representations Of Gays Up Study Shows. (New York City) There were more "negative" presentations of gay and lesbian themes in mainstream ads in 2004 compared to the previous year a new study shows.

    Suit Challenges Oregon Gay Marriage Ban. (Salem, Oregon) A lawsuit was filed Monday challenging Oregon's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    Kansas Students Rally Against Anti-Gay Amendment. (Topeka, Kansas) Holding signs and chanting, "Straight, gay, it's all OK," more than 100 students rallied Sunday near the Statehouse against a proposed state ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions for gay couples.

    Dean Stumps For DNC Chair On Gay Inclusion. (New York City) Howard Dean hasn't lost any of his feisty support for gay issues as he stumps for the chairmanship of the Democratic Party.

    Appeal In Case Of Gay Couple Ordered To Split Up Over Child. (Annapolis, Maryland) An appeals court was told Monday that a lower court ruling that bars a man from living with his partner while raising his 12-year-old son is unconstitutional.

    City Ordered To Pay $1.3 Million To Gay Musical. (San Juan, Puerto Rico) A federal court has ordered the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to pay the producers of the gay musical Naked Boys Singing $1.3 million in compensation for closing the campy musical a day before it was to open at the state-owned Tapia Theatre in 2003.

    Nun's Gay Outreach Angers Church. (Royal Oak, Michigan) The Archdiocese of Detroit says it canceled planned honors for a nun at a suburban church because her gay outreach mission is incompatible with Roman Catholic beliefs.

    New Hampshire May Repeal Gay Hate Crime Law. (Concord, New Hampshire) Legislation before the New Hampshire legislation would repeal the state's groundbreaking civil rights law.

    ***

    Headlines from:



    Out news with an attitude...

    Bloomberg to appeal marriage ruling in NY. NYC Mayor to fight against marriage rights; Read Art Leonard's expert analysis.

    High school students are underserved. Survey: School counselors not trained to help gay and lesbian students.

    In Oshkosh, jury tosses gay panic idea. Jury stands up to murderer in case in WA State; Self hate not cause for killing.

    Marriage rights move ahead in New York. Judge: 'Couple entitled to rites;

    Task Force: 'Ruling brilliant'; Expert analysis.

    Newsom celebrates Winter of Love

    Anti-gay graffiti found in school

    Black AIDS Institute issues report

    Silicone death: trans woman gets 5 years

    Alan Keyes' daughter comes out, fights for marriage in Maryland

    Bush and Lieberman in new film: 'The Kiss"

    NH lawmakers: 'Get to work on unions'

    Virginia, School Board member censured

    Paisley censured for remarks about gays

    ILGA tells EU: LGBT rights important

    Conservative in Canada for gays

    In Taiwan, protests over homophobia

    Queer Beer hits European markets

    In London, lesbian model wins sex harassment case

    Judge rules in lesbian couple break-up

    The National Black Justice Coalition: Civil Rights for all Americans

    Gay Congressman buoyed by Bush

    Staff changes at HRC and Foundation

    'Bear Cub' opens to favorable reviews

    Witeck-Combs report puts buying at an all time high

    $2 million awarded to Bernstein's lover

    Gay bar fire blamed on electrical system; Will reopen soon

    Liberals in Canada fast track marriage

    Zimbabwe gay group recognized by ILGA

    In Virginia, haters get new car plates to drive with pride

    New lesbian and gay books are kid friendly

    Out woman in heavy metal band

    Oklahoma GOP student group plans 'Straight Pride'

    Victory Fund wins fundraising award



    Help needed in Kansas as marriage amendment pushes forward

    Saturday, February 05, 2005


    The Rev. Terry Fox, middle, senior pastor of Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church, gives a thumbs-up to the Kansas House of Representatives after a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed Wednesday at the Statehouse in Topeka. Pat Bullock, left, is with the Heart of Kansas and Phillip "Bo" Graves, right, is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Haysville. Kansans will vote on the measure on April 5.

    I certainly don't mind spreading the word for other states engaged, as we are here in NC, in a constitutional fight. It looksl ike Kansas is definitely under the gun...First, some background on the current state things. The Kansas House adopted a proposed amendment to the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The vote was 86-3 -- three more votes than the two-thirds majority needed. The amendment states that only married couples of one man and one woman would be entitled to the "rights or incidents" of marriage. The statewide vote is slated for April 5, with only a simple majority needed. Lawrence Journal-World):
    "This is bigotry wrapped in a prayer," Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray said. He and other opponents of the measure said it would embed discrimination into the state Constitution. Tiffany Muller, a gay-rights lobbyist and Topeka city councilwoman, denounced the proposal. "This is about actively hurting people in this state," Muller said. She said opponents would fight the measure, but given the success of similar proposals in other states, she wasn't optimistic. "We are going to have to rely on the courts to uphold our civil rights," she said.

    ...But Irigonegaray said he was upbeat about the possibility of Kansas voters rejecting the amendment. "Our state has a rich history of equality. We came here for freedom," he said.

    But if the voters support the measure, some attorneys said it was ripe for a legal challenge. The first part of the amendment states that marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. The second part says that no relationship other than marriage is entitled to the rights of marriage."It diminishes a class of people before government for no other reason than their sexual orientation. What about atheists; where do they rank here?" he said.

    Some attorneys have said the amendment could restrict the rights of unmarried heterosexual couples or prevent private companies from offering insurance benefits to gay employees' partners. Other gay people have said they fear the amendment could nullify their decision to grant power of attorney to their partners to make health care decisions.

    "Part B is vague and ambiguous," Irigonegaray said. Bill Rich, a constitutional law professor at Washburn University, said the second part of the amendment would prevent people in relationships other than marriage "from seeking legislation that would provide equal treatment. It's almost certainly unconstitutional."

    House Blend reader Paul forwarded me this email from Richard Donner, of the Kansas Unity and Pride Alliance, which is woefully underpowered to lobby against this amendment push. He's looking for help locally (and nationwide), so spreading the word is always a good thing.

    [There is no Equality Kansas, BTW. There is reference to one that disbanded in '97, when I Googled it.]
    From: "Richard Donner"
    Subject: RE: We need your HELP NOW. Kansas Constitutional Amendment

    Hello to our brother and sister state wide organizations-As you know we lost the amendment battle in the Kansas House yesterday and now have less then three months to mount a campaign . We have little or no money, lots of passion, some people and groups who are willing to help and no campaign manger. What I (we) need from you NOW is-

    1. Specific detailed media campaigns that have worked in the Midwest-especially media

    2. Ideas to make a few short dollars go as long a way as possible

    3. The name of anyone who is interested in and has experience in doing a short term issue campaign starting immediately.

    4.Anything else you think that would help us.

    5. Money !!! Seriously we need you all to help us raise money outside of Kansas- contact me for more specific information or check out our web site at www.kansasunityandpridealliance.org.

    Email me directly at rdphd@cox.net. Please help us in Kansas.

    Richard Donner, PhD
    Executive Director
    KUPA
    Topeka, KS 66611
    785-267-4160
    For those of you that think it's enough to feel good about the fact that there are Blue states where progress is being made, I beg you to really hear the sense of purpose in the above email, despite the long odds faced.

    Gay people live everywhere in this great nation. To say that it is sufficient to make "safe spaces" in a few states (MA, VT, possibly NY next) and the hell with the rest of the states is simply not good enough. We can't let states like Kansas (or god forbid, NC) go without a fight.



    House Blend open thread

    My first open thread on a sunny morning here in NC! Folks sit back, relax, chat and have a cup of fresh blend...


    Depraved adoptive (and heterosexual) parents from Florida, John and Linda Dollar, captured


    Investigators found John and Linda Dollar in Utah by tracking cell phone signals. Being straight doesn't guarantee you're qualified to be a adoptive parent. But it's required in Florida.

    I cannot overlook the irony that this sick heterosexual couple, described as "strict and religious" no less, was able to adopt and torture, starve and electro-shock innocent children. In Florida. Jeb's state has ruled gay people, are ineligible to adopt. What did this state do to ensure this couple was qualified to adopt kids? (St. Petersburg Times):
    A Citrus County couple accused of torturing and starving five of their eight adopted children were arrested Friday evening in southeastern Utah. John and Linda Dollar were arrested at 7:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time after law officers saw their gold Lexus sport utility vehicle on a roadway. Investigators said they learned the Dollars were in Utah by tracking their cell phone signals.

    John Dollar, 58, and his wife Linda, 51, were being held Friday night at the San Juan County jail, said Citrus County sheriff's Capt. Jim Cernich. It was unknown late Friday when they would be returned to Florida to face charges of aggravated child abuse. The arrest ended a search that attracted national media attention Friday. CNN and America's Most Wanted posted mug shots of the Dollars on Web sites and broadcasts.

    The children told investigators that the Dollars starved them, shocked them with electricity, pulled out their toenails with pliers, bound them with chains and strips of plastic and struck their feet with hammers.

    A 16-year-old boy weighed 59 pounds. Twin boys, age 14, weighed 36 and 38 pounds, the Sheriff's Office said. Seven children, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were living with the Dollars on Jan. 21, when authorities first began to suspect abuse. The children now are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

    ...DCF released documents that showed the Dollars adopted three children in Hillsborough County in 1995; at that time, they already had five children. DCF also said it had not investigated any complaints of child abuse or neglect involving the Dollars, adding to the puzzle of how allegations of such heinous acts, which authorities believe occurred in Tennessee as well as Florida, failed to surface over many years.

    Friends and neighbors, meantime, described the Dollars as religious and strict, and said the children hardly ever were seen.

    The investigation began Jan. 21 when Mrs. Dollar called an ambulance for her 16-year-old son, said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney. The boy was taken to Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center near Crystal River, where he was treated for head and neck injuries. His injuries weren't the only thing that caught the attention of law enforcement. No one in the family seemed able to explain how he got the injuries, including red marks around his neck, Tierney said.

    Oddest of all was his weight: 59 pounds. He looked closer to 6 years old than 16, Tierney said.

    In the next six days, investigators interviewed the children and John Dollar's elderly mother, who lived with the family in rural Citrus County. The children were put in DCF custody Jan. 27. Investigators also spoke with the couple's oldest adopted child, who is now more than 20 years old and no longer lives with the family. On Monday, the Dollars failed to appear at a hearing where the court system would determine, among other things, whether their children would remain in DCF custody or be returned to their parents, Tierney said.

    When the Dollars didn't show, authorities went to their home and found two of their vehicles missing and much of their belongings cleared out, Tierney said. A breakthrough came late Friday morning when investigators found the couple's motor home abandoned in a Polk County RV park.

    After tracking the couple's cell phone calls, law officers determined the Dollars were near Salt Lake City and likely traveling in their gold Lexus SUV, which the motor home had been towing.


    Whatever Happened to John Edwards?

    Friday, February 04, 2005



    Just so you know, Kerry's former running mate didn't fall off the face of the earth. Here's where he's parking himself. (Raleigh News & Observer):
    John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential candidate will head UNC-Chapel Hill's new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

    The center will be non-partisan, according to a university news release. It will convene professors and public policy experts to examine initiatives for bringing more Americans into the middle class. It will have an advisory committee of senior faculty representing several disciplines across campus.

    In his run for president, and later as John Kerry's running mate, Edwards stressed the theme of two Americas, one for the rich and one for the poor and middle class. In addition to leading the center, Edwards also will serve as a guest lecturer on campus. "The fact that millions in this country go to work every day and still live in poverty is wrong and unacceptable," Edwards said in a news release of his own. "This is personal to me, and I believe that it is one of the most important moral issues of our time. "Together with UNC, I will work hands-on to explore creative approaches to the difficulties that families in poverty face every day. We may not have all the answers right now, but I can promise you this: we will be asking the hard questions. We will work tirelessly so that America's bright light of opportunity shines on all of us."


    Looks like Maya Keyes kicked her closet door open -- and her dad has no mercy


    Compassion doesn't begin at home with the Keyes.

    Maya is the daughter of wingnut supreme (and the doormat Baraka Obama wiped his feet on before heading to the Senate) Alan Keyes. Oliver Willis points out that Maya has officially come out of the closet, and her family kicked her out. So much for compassionate conservatism. She'll land on her feet. If HRC or the NGLTF has any sense, they'll sign her up to speak out on a national level about the hypocrisy of the allegedly religious Right. There's nothing more disgusting than your family rejecting you for simply being yourself. In the Keyes house, the vice is being a "selfish hedonist," like Mary Cheney. From Maya's blog:
    Well, it's happened. Finally and officially.

    A couple days ago I got my official two-week warning that I have to be out of this apartment; so finally for real I'm getting cut off. I got no severance or anything like that from my sudden termination of employment (don't I have freedom of speech? the right to protest Bush without losing my job? Hehe... most people would think that working under a parent would be security but for me it's quite the opposite.) and so I definitely don't have anywhere near enough cash to find a new apartment; not even one room rented from someone anywhere. I've been searching craigslist but even places where I'd have enough to pay the first month's rent on some room I never have enough for the deposit as well, so so far I've had no luck at all finding a new home, since shelter requires money. Sad boo.

    After all the arguments and tension over the years, I always hoped it would never actually get to this point, although I suppose given our vastly divergent political beliefs it was inevitable.
    She's going to be speaking at an Equality Maryland event.
    Maya Marcel Keyes, the self-described queer activist who is also daughter of ultra-conservative Alan Keyes, whose recent campaign for senator from Illinois included his calling Mary Cheney a "hedonist." Maya group up in Montgomery County and will certainly have some interesting things to say about living with someone who is so outspoken in his opposition to gay rights.
    Alan Keyes needs to take a good look in the mirror.



    Newsday: NY State Supreme Court rules -- gays may marry; Raw Story Q has complete ruling

    Have to put this kick-*ass news up to counter the black cloud here in NC. My other "home state" has come through for us. There still needs to be a ruling at the Court of Appealse (see this graphic of the NY court system), but this is promising.

    Here's the scoop from NY Newsday:
    A Manhattan judge declared Friday that a section of law that forbids same-sex marriage violates the state constitution, a ruling which if upheld on appeal would allow gay couples to wed. State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the words "husband," "wife," "groom" and "bride" in relevant sections of the Domestic Relations Law "shall be construed to mean 'spouse,' and all personal pronouns ... shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women."

    Ling-Cohan, ruling for five same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses, also said the New York City clerk could not deny a marriage license to any couple solely on the ground that the two are of the same sex.

    One couple, Mary Jo Kennedy and Jo-Ann Shain, said they were very happy about the ruling and believed it would offer their family increased legal protection. They have been together 23 years and have a 15-year-old daughter who is Shain's biological child. "We're just overjoyed," said Shain. "We didn't think it would ever happen. Kennedy said she wants to marry Shain as soon as possible. "I can't wait," she said. "We went to buy a (marriage) license in March 2004 and couldn't get it. That's what started this whole thing."

    The city Law Department issued a statement saying only, "We are reviewing the decision thoroughly and considering our options."


    The opinion was written by State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan.

    RAW STORY

    It was only less than 40 years ago that the United States Supreme Court held that anti-miscegenation statutes, adopted to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classification, violate the Constitution because they infringed on the freedom to marry a person of one’s choice. Similarly, this Court must so hold in the context of same-sex marriages.

    Simply put, marriage is viewed by society as the utmost expression of a couple’s commitment and love. Plaintiffs may now seek this ultimate expression through a civil marriage. Rote reliance on historical exclusion as a justification improperly forecloses constitutional analysis and would have served to justify slavery, anti-miscegenation laws and segregation.

    There has been a steady evolution of the institution of marriage throughout history which belies the concept of a static traditional definition. Marriage, as it is understood today, is both a partnership of two loving equals who choose to commit themselves to each other and a State institution designed to promote stability for the couple and their children. The relationships of plaintiffs fit within this definition of marriage.

    Similar to opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are entitled to the same fundamental right to follow their hearts and publicly commit to a lifetime partnership with the person of their choosing. The recognition that this fundamental right applies equally to same-sex couples cannot legitimately be said to harm anyone.

    More is up at RawStoryQ now. The complete ruling is up now (summary and PDF) at this link, or click the image below.





    North Carolina's constitution is under attack


    My marriage is sowing the seeds of societal destruction in NC.

    [UPDATE: I've added a "How to help with this fight" section at the end of the post.]

    I was born in this state, moved away for many years, living as a New Yorker, but that time away never took the Tar Heel out of me. I missed it, so I returned. I also love the fact that my hometown, Durham is in a bluest of blue counties; it is not uncommon to see gay and lesbian couples out and proud walking in downtown areas. Major employers in the area include universities, medical centers, hi-tech, non-profits and municipal governments that offer partnership benefits to its gay employees. Neighborhoods are diverse and progressive, all seems well with the world.

    However, once you drive outside of this bubble of tolerance (just a few miles outside, even), you encounter the harsh reality that this is a red state, where tolerance can be hard to find, the bible is beaten hard, and a sizeable amount of wingnuts are appalled by what they see going on in the bubble. This is what has created the legislative backlash that scares me.

    A group of scared, middle-aged white men is so threatened by my relationship with Kate that they want to write discrimination into our state constitution. They have been elected to do so, and have made this their top priority. Here is the latest version. It is patterned after the highly restrictive Virginia legislation, attempting not only to define marriage, but to prevent civil unions and restrict contracts between same sex couples that would ensure legal protections.
    GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA SESSION 2005
    SENATE BILL 8
    Short Title: Defense of Marriage.
    Sponsors: Senators Forrester, Smith; Allran, Apodaca, Berger of Rockingham, Bingham, Blake, Brock, Brown, East, Garwood, Goodall, Hartsell, Hunt, Jacumin, Pittenger, Presnell, Stevens, Thomas, Tillman, and Webster.
    Referred to: Ways and Means.

    January 31, 2005

    A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

    AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO PROVIDE THAT MARRIAGE is the union of ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN at one time, and this is the only marriage that is recognized as valid in this state.

    The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
    SECTION 1. Article 14 of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding the following new section:

    "Sec. 6. Marriage. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time. This is the only marriage that shall be recognized as valid in this State. The uniting of two persons of the same sex or the uniting of more than two persons of any sex in a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar relationship within or outside of this State shall not be valid or recognized in this State. This Constitution shall not be construed to require that marital status or the rights, privileges, benefits, or other legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried individuals or groups."

    SECTION 2. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the primary election in May of 2006, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

    "[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

    Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time, and this is the only marriage that shall be recognized as valid in this State."

    SECTION 3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office. The amendment set out in Section 1 of this act shall become effective July 1, 2006.
    Let's meet the fellows behind this "essential legislation", beginning with the man that submitted it:


    Senator James Forrester (Rep)
    Joint Republican Caucus Leader
    2005-2006 Session
    (919) 715-3050
    Email: Jamesf@ncleg.net
    District: 41
    Counties Represented: Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln

    Here are the sponsors of this hate legislation. What are they scared of?



    Senator Austin M. Allran (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5876, Email: Austina@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Catawba, Iredell.
    Senator Tom Apodaca (Rep), Deputy Republican Leader, Phone: (919) 733-5745, Email: Toma@ncleg.net.
    Counties Represented: Buncombe, Henderson, Polk
    Senator Phil Berger (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5708, Email: philbe@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Guilford, Rockingham



    Senator Stan Bingham (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5665, Email: stanb@ncleg.net.
    Counties Represented: Davidson, Guilford
    Senator Harris Blake (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-4809, Email: Harrisb@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Harnett, Moore
    Senator Andrew C. Brock (Rep); Phone: (919) 715-0690, Email: Andrewb@ncleg.net.
    Counties Represented: Davie, Rowan



    Senator Harry Brown (Rep), Phone: (919) 715-3034, Email: Harryb@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Jones, Onslow
    Senator Don East (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5743, Email: Done@ncleg.net.
    Counties Represented: Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin
    Senator John A. Garwood (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5742, Email: Johnga@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Alexander, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes


    Senator W. Edward (Eddie) Goodall (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-7659, Email: Eddieg@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Mecklenburg, Union
    Senator Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr. (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-7223, Email: Fletcherh@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Cabarrus, Iredell
    Senator David W. Hoyle (Dem), Phone: (919) 733-5734, Email: Davidh@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Gaston


    Senator Neal Hunt (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5850, Email: Nealh@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Wake
    Senator Jim Jacumin (Rep), Phone: (919) 715-7823, Email: Jimja@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Burke, Caldwell
    Senator Robert Pittenger (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5655, Email: Robertp@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Mecklenburg


    Senator Keith Presnell (Rep), phone: (919) 733-3460, Email: Keithp@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey
    Senator Fred Smith (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5748, Email: Freds@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Johnston, Wayne
    Senator Richard Stevens (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5653, Email: Richards@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Wake


    Senator Scott Thomas (Dem), Phone: (919) 733-6275, Email: scottt@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Carteret, Craven, Pamlico
    Senator Jerry W. Tillman (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5870, Email: Jerryt@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Montgomery, Randolph
    Senator Hugh Webster (Rep), Phone: (919) 715-0706, Email: Hughw@ncleg.net
    Counties Represented: Alamance, Caswell

    Passing this heinous amendment would deny equal rights to gays and lesbians by squashing any future legislative and legal efforts at the state level toward civil recognition of gay and lesbian families. This would affect health benefits and hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and child custody rights. It would also hurt unmarried heterosexual couples in the above areas as well. This is already posing a serious problem in domestic abuse cases in states like Ohio where amendments have passed.

    It's clear that Tar Heel legislators behind this measure need to re-learn what the difference is between the civil and religious or ceremonial aspects of marriage. Achieving legal equality in the civil aspect of marriage has no bearing on a church's recognition of such a union. It is apparent that these lawmakers don't give a damn about any of this. It's going to be a long, frightening fight ahead for gays and lesbians in NC. One can only hope that the economic impact of enshrining hate into our constitution will carry some weight in this battle, since no appeal to their humanity or concern for their gay and lesbian constituents will reach them.

    ***

    The latest edition of the local progressive paper, the Independent Weekly, has a great round up of people to watch in the new legislative session. Check it out, if you want a sense of North Carolina's local politics. I'm just going to share some of the bits related to the above legislation here on the Blend.


    First, there is a profile by Blair Goldstein of Julia Boseman. Even though she's the first openly gay state senator, she's there to do the job for her constituents, a far cry from the all-gay, all-the-time hysteria that the Right tried to whip up in their bid to defeat her during the election.
    When the General Assembly convened on Jan. 26, Sen. Julia Boseman became the first openly gay legislator in North Carolina. Her Senate campaign focused on her accomplishments while serving a four-year term on New Hanover's County Board of Commissioners. She pinpointed traffic and growth, education, a lottery, and economic development as her primary concerns--not her sexual orientation.

    "I don't think (my sexual orientation) will affect my work," she says. "I plan to focus on constituent issues, not on my personal life." However, Boseman's path to Raleigh was marred by the Republican Party's anti-gay campaign in support of her opponent, incumbent Woody White. The ads, which claimed she would pursue "a liberal, activist homosexual agenda," caused The Star-News in Wilmington to revoke its endorsement of White.

    ...Boseman said she plans to concentrate on issues important to her constituents. One of her primary concerns is working to secure Department of Transportation funding for local highway projects, such as completing the Wilmington bypass. Boseman said she will try to get a seat on the Transportation Oversight Committee to ensure her projects are considered.

    Retaining and attracting jobs to her district is also a top priority for her freshman term, Boseman said. As a member of the county board of commissioners she worked to bring filming of the TV series One Tree Hill as well as GE Nuclear headquarters and Verizon Wireless to New Hanover county. "So many people have had to move and lost their jobs because the film industry has had to move," Boseman said. "We have been lacking in local projects for over a decade with past senators who haven't been bringing home the bacon."

    Boseman says she supports a lottery as a means of attracting capital to her district. Boseman believes a lottery would keep North Carolinians from spending millions of dollars in neighboring states and could help support education initiatives, such as smaller class sizes, and a prescription drug fund for seniors.

    "I take it very seriously what my constituents have sent me to do," Boseman said. "Keeping my promises is most important. I guess that's also my greatest fear."

    Also in the Indy roundup are some people I would deem "those to watch out for" during the marriage amendment debate. These are folks that range from the serious freeper-level wingnuts to centrist-left Dems -- all in support of an amendment. This shows you how much work is ahead for gay Tar Heels.


    * Bill Faison (D). District: Caswell, northern Orange counties. Fiona Morgan reports, "Perhaps underscoring Faison's tobacco-country appeal is his position on issues relating to gay and lesbian rights. "As a general proposition, I think the concept of gay rights is a misnomer," he says. "It's not about rights at all. It's about public visibility, people wanting to make a statement. Rights are legal things and can generally be accorded without involvement of the state." When asked where he would stand on legislation banning the legal recognition of any same-sex relationships, including domestic partnerships, a bill gay rights groups fear will be introduced soon, Faison responds, "I would not support legislation to treat same-gender relationships as if they were a husband and wife."


    * Carolyn Justice (R): District: Pender and New Hanover counties. The Indy's Barbara Solow: "That's not to say that the former Pender County commissioner, who works as business manager for Condo & Patio Associates, is liberal on all fronts. Equality North Carolina, a statewide gay and lesbian lobbying group, lists Justice as among those candidates who opposed gay-friendly legislation in 2004. For her part, Justice sees no contradiction between her support for issues like environmental protection and her own conservative values. "I think saving our children and the environment are conservative issues," she says.


    * Paul Stam Jr.(R- strong wingnut). District: Wake County. Reporter for the Indy, Jennifer Strom: "When he served in the N.C. Legislature the first time, from 1989-90, Apex Republican Paul Stam Jr. occupied a slot on the political spectrum that fell pretty far right of right....In 2002, voters in Wake County's 37th district sent him back to Raleigh for a second term, and he won re-election easily last fall. His public stances really haven't changed that much--he's still crusading against abortion at every opportunity, and last spring asked his colleagues in the legislature to sign onto a resolution urging Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage..."His emergence as a voice of leadership in the legislature is an interesting commentary on how right the legislature has gone," says Chris Fitzsimon, of N.C. Policy Watch.

    How to help with this fight:

    1) Watch this blog. I keep House Blenders informed as things progress here, and if there are any action items that may help us out here, I'll let you know. Email me (pam at pamspaulding.com) if you've taken action or sent a letter that you wish to share on the Blend on this issue.


    2) Support Equality organizations in your state, if it is at risk for an amendment challenge. Give your time and money, if you can spare. In North Carolina, the organization at the grassroots level is Equality NC.

    3) If you are gay and if it is at all possible for you to safely come out, DO IT. No one ever regrets throwing open that closet door, even if the path is difficult for a while. The more that people realize we are your neighbors, co-workers, teachers, police officers and leaders in the community, the less effective the "fear and loathing" demonization campaign by the Right is. We're usually living average, boringly normal workaday lives like the average American and no threat to life as we know it.

    4) If you are straight and an ally, COME OUT. Support your gay friends and loved ones when you hear intolerant conversation, politely engage ignorance with information.

    5) Make the Democratic establishment get off of their asses on this issue. Too many are DINOs, ready to sacrifice all principles for a vote as a career politician. Courage is in short supply, apparently, so these losers need to be threatened with the electoral boot. Party hacks need to be held accountable. Write them and call them out in emails and in the blogosphere. So far, I've only heard Mel Watt (D-NC) make a persuasive case on how to approach gay civil rights in the public sphere. Where are all the other Dems? Let them have it. Don't give a dime unless they are willing to take a real position, not the punt of "marriage is between a man and a woman" so there's no need for a constitutional amendment, "unless the courts see otherwise."

    6) The Raleigh News and Observer is the most influential paper, and covers the legislature in depth (registration is required for some things). You can send a letter to the editor here. They also have a forum/message board that will give you an idea of what a Tar Heel freeper is like.


    Update on NC amendment from Equality NC

    I just received this update from Equality NC.
    February 4, 2005

    Anti-LGBT Amendment Introduced in NC House Fewer Representative Sponsor Discriminatory Bill than in 2004

    Yesterday, Represenatives Moore, Hill, Crawford and Barnhart, along with 58 of their colleagues introduced a bill to amend the North Carolina Constitution to deny equal marriage rights, as well as recognition of civil union, domestic partnership, or any similar relationship for same-sex couples. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last week.

    "Although we are saddened that 62 of our elected Represenatitves chose to sponsor this discriminatory bill, we are pleased this is fewer than the 67 who signed onto the 2004 version of the bill," said Ian Palmquist. "Clearly, we have a long way to go in our work to get legislators and our fellow North Carolinians to understand us and our families, but we are making progress."

    The sponsor list includes 53 Republicans and 9 Democrats.

    In order to pass, the bill would need to be approved by 3/5ths of both the House and Senate, and be approved by a majority of voters on a statewide ballot. The House Committees have not yet been assigned, and no date has been set to hear the bill.

    Equality NC is working hard to stop this bill in both the House and the Senate. Already, hundreds of North Carolinians have contacted their legislators in opposition to these bills through Equality NC's online action center. Stay tuned for future action alerts so you can continue to help us defeat this legislation that would be so harmful to our community.

    A complete list of sponsors is below.

    Primary Sponsors: Moore; Hill; Crawford; Barnhart;

    Co-Sponsors: Allred; Almond, Jr.; Blackwood; Blust; Brown; Brubaker; Capps; Clary; Cleveland; Cole; Culp; Current, Sr.; Daughtridge; Daughtry; Dockham; Dollar; Eddins; England; Folwell; Frye; Gibson; Gillespie; Gulley; Hilton; Hollo; Holloway; Holmes; Howard; Johnson; Justice; Justus; Kiser; Langdon; LaRoque; Lewis; McAllister; McGee; McMahan; Nye; Pate; Preston; Ray; Rayfield; Rhodes; Sauls; Setzer; Stam; Starnes; Steen; Stiller; Vinson; Walend; Walker; West; Wiley; Williams; Wilson; Wray;


    Goodbye, Ossie



    He will be missed. So many unforgettable performances. Do the Right Thing was filmed in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, back in the day (1989). Another progressive voice falls silent. (Reuters):
    Actor and civil rights activist Ossie Davis, whose career spanned more than half a century, has died in Miami while working on a new movie, his office said on Friday. Davis was 87 and was found dead at his hotel, his office said. He was working on the film "Retirement."

    Davis, who was married to the actress Ruby Dee, spoke at the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and gave voice to the famous United Negro College Fund advertising slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

    He and Dee received Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 for their body of work. The two often appeared in films together.

    They also co-wrote a biography in the late 1990s, "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together," chronicling their history of activism in the civil rights movement as well as their more than 50 years as a couple. They also spoke in the book about their decision to have an open marriage. The couple had three children.

    Davis broke barriers for black actors on television, stage and in the movies and developed a reputation as one of the country's most recognizable character actors. His film credits date to the 1950s. He appeared in such movies as "Jungle Fever" and "Do the Right Thing" and TV projects like "Roots: the Next Generation" and "Evening Shade."


    Joe and Chimpy sittin' in a tree...



    ...K-I-S-S-I-N-G. (via Irish Trojan's Blog). Barf bags not included.


    Dumb*ss Foot-in-Mouth disease: General thinks killing is fun


    Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis in Iraq. (Shawn Baldwin for the NYT)

    Guess Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis needs a little more polish, eh? Give him a few nice quips, because clearly, he isn't good at spinning the "realities of war" in public. Sounds more like sadism to me. (NYT):
    Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, an infantry officer who is a revered figure among marines for his fierce demeanor and warrior ethos, made the comments on Tuesday while speaking to a forum in San Diego about strategies for the war against terror.

    According to an audio recording of General Mattis's remarks obtained by The Associated Press, he said: "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil." General Mattis continued: "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

    On Thursday, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement saying, "I have counseled him concerning his remarks, and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully." General Hagee added, "While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war."

    The general is no stranger to controversy. After marines under his command seized an airstrip in Afghanistan at the start of the war against the Taliban, he declared, "The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan."


    Bush can't keep his GOP ducks in a row on Social Security dismantling plan


    Bush doing what he does best -- cutting it up with "regular folks" at a town hall meeting in Great Falls, MT. It's all part of his two-day tour to spout lies about the impact of his proposed Social Security overhaul. (AP/Laura Rauch)

    The ducks are not in a row, and they are quacking loudly. Guess these folks on the Hill didn't get the talking points, or maybe they did. They know Chimpy's plan is bullsh*t that cannot be papered over with the usual Bush Big WhopperTM lies. (AP):
    Congressional Republicans are expressing doubt that President Bush's plan for personal accounts in Social Security can win approval, saying lawmakers fear the political consequences of voting major change to the popular retirement program. Some suggested that Bush jettison the central feature of his plan, which is to let younger workers divert part of their Social Security payroll taxes to private retirement accounts.

    "Politically speaking, right now it's probably not doable," Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said Thursday, citing lack of Democratic support. "We should take this year to study the issue and come up with solutions," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. She said there was no consensus for action now and that she had not made up her own mind.


    Domenici, Collins and Snowe better watch out -- they're going to get Freeped; member of the "family" Mark Foley of FL says his colleagues are "panic-stricken" over having to sell Bush's plan.

    Her Maine colleague, Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, has said outright that she opposes diverting the program's taxes to pay for personal accounts. Snowe serves on the Senate Finance Committee that would handle any Social Security legislation, making the task before Republicans more daunting.

    Not a single Senate Democrat has endorsed Bush's proposal. That stands in stark contrast to legislation cutting taxes, setting new standards in education and adding prescription drugs to Medicare. In each of these cases, the president had at least one prominent Democrat on board early. Under Senate rules, supporters would need 60 votes for their plan if Democrats try to block it. That means proponents would have to persuade at least a few Democrats to join them if the plan is to become law.

    ...Bush wants to let workers divert up to two-thirds of their Social Security taxes into private accounts that they could invest in stocks and bonds. At the same time, the guaranteed benefit would be cut, though by how much is not clear. Many Democrats favor personal accounts, but want them in addition to benefits paid by Social Security.

    Bush's proposal is also stirring worry in the House, where Republicans have often fallen in behind his programs. "I've talked to some of my colleagues and they're panic-stricken," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who said he welcomes a serious debate over the sweeping changes Bush outlined in his State of the Union address Wednesday.

    ...Sen. Rick Santorum, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, acknowledged the dissent over Bush's plan but said it should diminish as members of Congress learn more. "We have a lot of work to do, not just among the American people, but in our own caucus," said Santorum, R-Pa.

    As I mentioned, the Right and the Freepers will take no prisoners on wavering Repugs.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™:

    "Pete Domenici is a pansy, IMHO. The other names of those opposed or wavering will surprise nobody."

    "Susan Collins, big surprise. I have become less tolerant as I've grown older, and I can no longer listen to someone who has a mealy-mouthed, silly-assed way of speaking. She and Patty Murray are near the top of my list. The fact that they're both flaming a-holes just seals the deal."

    "We need names of those not supporting or wavering. They are cockroaches and should feel the full wrath of those to whom they are accountable."

    "This issue has obviously become job #1 with the Prez. It's going to be more difficult than bringing free elections to Iraq. I think these wavering winnies will come around in the end. It's the lib/dems who are have put on their political suicide vests to sabotage the effort. In fact, didn't you see Pelosi pull the cord on hers the other night in response to the SOTU? Fortunately, she only took out herself and Harry Reid. Pay no attention to the naysayers on FR - they just hate Bush, are still angry that they can't get their single-digit candidates elected, and are still holding out for a president with whom they agree with 100% of the time on 100% of the issues. Such are a waste of time as they don't really want to play - just want to sit on sidelines and criticize."

    "This seems like a typical AP article designed to sow seeds of doubt within our party. Something along the lines of "Hey, even Republicans don't like this idea!" Remember the articles before the election claiming that some GOP House members felt that if GW wasn't re-elected it would actually be better for the party? It's total MSM BS."

    "Domenici did the same with the Contract with America. This is a battle that will not be won overnight, but can easily be lost overnight. As far as the RATS and the RINOs are concerned, that overnight was Wednesday night. They've already put their fingers in their ears and are chanting, "La la la la." "

    "Those who oppose W should not be invited by him to go with him when he visits their state. THAT would get their attention for sure."


    VA school board reprimands wingnut official for touting "ex-gay" propaganda


    Robert Rigby, a Falls Church High School teacher, said using a classroom setting to say that homosexuality is a choice could hurt gay students. (Frank Johnston -- The Washington Post)

    At least this time, the wingnut was called out and was forced to apologize. I'm sure in many, many other districts around the country, sending a letter promoting the "ex-gay" movement wouldn't even cause a stir. (WP):
    The Fairfax County School Board issued a public reprimand last night to a member who sent a letter to high school principals urging them to ensure that students hear the views of people who believe homosexuality is a choice and a "destructive lifestyle." After a unanimous vote and a nearly two-hour closed session that ended about 11, Board Chairman Phillip A. Niedzielski-Eichner (Providence) released a board statement criticizing the actions of Stephen M. Hunt (At Large).

    "The letter sent by Mr. Hunt was not authorized by and does not reflect the views of the School Board," according to the statement. "The School Board continues to support the family life education curriculum and its treatment of this sensitive subject."

    This week, Hunt sent a letter to the district's 24 high school principals in which he expressed concerns over the way homosexuality is taught in the school system and encouraged the addition of speakers with an "ex-gay perspective." Last night, Hunt apologized to the board, the principals, the staff and the community in a written statement and said he had "usurped board policy."

    ...Earlier yesterday, as news of the letter spread, so did the debate over a school district's role in teaching about sex and sexual preference. Robert Rigby Jr., a gay Fairfax County schoolteacher, expressed concern that Hunt's letter might be harmful to gay students. "The problem with promoting the ex-gay movement is it is part of a larger movement that is against gay people," Rigby said.

    Hunt's letter was not reviewed by any of his colleagues on the 12-member board, and several said it was inappropriate because principals might have believed it was endorsed by the board. The two-page letter was written on personal stationery, but the signature identified Hunt as a School Board member. Several board members said yesterday that they were flooded with e-mails and phone calls on the issue, many from people angered by Hunt's letter and some from people who support his views.



    Gay Marriage Ban Fails in Idaho; Freepers hot under the collar

    Thursday, February 03, 2005


    Should I say anything here? It would probably be unkind.

    Some good news...(Corvallis Gazette-Times):
    A proposal to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the Idaho Constitution was defeated Wednesday for the second consecutive year. A statutory prohibition remains in force.

    The constitutional measure had majority support in the state Senate in a 21-14 vote. But that fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to send the constitutional amendment to a vote of the people. Eight Republican senators and six Democrats voted against. The amendment would have invalidated any type of marriage or civil union except those between one man and one woman.

    The bill's sponsor, Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said he would not try to pass an amended version of the bill this year. But the narrow margin of defeat means the bill will probably be considered at least once again next year.

    You know I had to do it...


    Actual Freeper Quotes™:
    "Wow. Why would this fail in one of the top 5 most conservative states in the Union? I hope you spud-heads replace the politicians who voted no in the next election!"

    "Sad. WA state is next. God help us all."

    "Wha-a-at?? Idaho?!! That's where I've wanted to move! Unngh! "

    "Liberal strains are deeper than what we had hoped."

    "First Washington (state), then Idaho and Montana. I believe what you're seeing is the "liberal flight" effect - the lefties leaving Kalifornica and infesting other areas. The "Homies" need to stop these parasites in their tracks, lest you find yourself in the same straits as Washington..."

    "The gay lobby has tons of money thats why. It is so sad that the politicians really only represent the interests of a very few. The majority's opinion is irrelevant to them. They figure we are too busy living our lives and working to care about what they are doing."

    "Sad. Sad. Sad. Kansas ahead of Idaho....."

    "Eight Republican senators joined with six Democrats to form a blockade of moderates. Does Utah have a Recall provision in their State Constitution? Looks like there's at least 8 targets right here."

    "I know nothing about this, but off the top of my head I'd guess it's about polygamy. Aren't there a good number of renegade old school Mormon people there in Idaho?"

    "Yeah, the liberals vote for policies that destroy the schools, economy and the culture of their community. Then when it gets too bad to live where they live, they move and start to infest and destroy another place. Like cock roaches or something."

    "Gay marriage is a complete ruse. Most gays/lesbians aren't even interested in it. The real goal is to dilute the meaning of "marriage." The homosexual lobby is intent on destroying the family, nothing more and nothing less. Intolerance for barely-disguised war against the crucial institution of the family is no vice."

    "Spot on buddy... Break the Church...Break the Marriage...Break the Family...Break the Democracy...GLBTSMFC agenda. in a nutshell (Gay Lesbo Bi Tranny Socialist Marxist Facist Communist)"


    Taliban takeover in Georgia: church and state separation jeopardized by proposed amendment


    Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue thinks it's A-OK to blur the line between church and state.

    This is what happens when the Dems at the national level don't put forth serious efforts in the South. The Georgia legislature used to be split controlled (Repug Senate, Dem House), and now, after this last election, it's wingnut controlled. A fringe amendment like this shouldn't pass, but it looks like it will have no problem. I guess the governor wouldn't mind a little faith-based help from the Moonies or the Christian Identity movements, eh? (AP):
    Gov. Sonny Perdue is trying again to pass a constitutional amendment that would give Georgia new legal power to contract with faith-based social service groups. Perdue said at a Capitol rally last Friday that churchgoers provide crucial support to needy Georgians but that the state's ability to work in partnership with them could hang by a thread if the amendment is not adopted.

    The proposed amendment would eliminate language in the state Constitution which bars the use of any state money "in aid of any church, sect, cult or religious denomination or of any sectarian institution." The state has managed to get around that language in hundreds of instances by contracting with affiliated but legally separate church-sponsored groups that provide a range of services. But Perdue said that arrangement now is in danger.

    "In the litigation climate in which we live today, where people sue to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, where they sue to ban prayers at the presidential inauguration, it's just a matter of time before this provision becomes the basis of a lawsuit that could end any state partnership with all these organizations," the governor declared.

    He pushed last year for a similar amendment. It easily passed the Republican-run Senate but failed in the majority-Democrat House. This year, both houses are under Republican control. His new bill already has been introduced in the Senate with 36 co-sponsors, all but assuring it will attract the two-thirds vote necessary to pass.

    That should result in an exponential explosion in "churches" with "pastors" bellying up to the public trough for some feed.


    Alabama at it again: Marriage bill moves to House, anti-gay fliers put out by GOP


    Alabama Governor Bob Riley is a family man, and as long as he's in charge, his kind of family - a hetero one - is the only one that gets his endorsement. Democrat Rep. Yusuf Salaam backs the marriage ban as well. Another brother bites the dust. Any Dems out there paying attention?

    It gets tiring talking about this state's backwards, redneck race to the bottom of civilization, but it must be done (sorry, Katie). First up, "progress" on the state's marriage amendment bill. (365Gay.com):
    The measure was approved by a 12 - 2 vote Wednesday in committee. The only issue was when the measure would go to voters. Democrats who control the House pushed to have it placed on the 2006 primary ballot. Republicans attempted to have it moved to the 2006 general election.

    The proposed amendment would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    The House will likely vote on the bill early next week as one of the first pieces of business in the new legislative year. Since it has the endorsement of both parties and the support of Gov. Bob Riley there is virtually no chance the measure will be defeated.

    Although Alabama already has legislation blocking same-sex marriage, both Democrats and Republicans agree that the only way to prevent judges from overturning the law is to enshrine traditional marriage in the state Constitution. "We do have a responsibility as legislators to do what's best for the long-term interest of the state," said bill sponsor Rep. Yusuf Salaam (D-Selma).

    LGBT civil rights group Equality Alabama called the amendment an endorsement of discrimination. Spokesperson Howard Bayless said gays have become "the new whipping boy" for politicians, as racial minorities were in the past.


    Democrat Gloria Dolbare was on the receiving end of a homo-bigot campaign by the Alabama GOP.

    Then, we have the little matter of the Repugs attempting to smear a Dem candidate because she didn't sign a pledge to support an amendment. The Alabama Republican Legislative Committee sent out a homophobic flier, in true ignorant, down and dirty politics fashion. (NBC 15 ):
    The flier, sponsored by the Republican Legislative Committee, stated that Democrat Gloria Dolbare had not signed a Christian Coalition pledge to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in the state. In a special election last month, she lost a bid to fill the seat vacated by the death of her minister husband.

    The flier said: "Let Gloria Dolbare know God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!"

    Dolbare, a school teacher from Bigbee, said she never saw the pledge but during the campaign probably set it aside with other mail. "I never dreamed how dirty politics could be," said Dolbare, widow of state Rep. Jeff Dolbare, who died from cancer last year.

    ...The first page of the flier shows a classical painting that appears to represent the Garden of Eden and a nearly naked man and a woman with a copy of the Christian Coalition pledge covering her body. A photo on the left side of the flier's second page shows two smiling men on a porch. One is kneeling on one knee before the other and holding the man's left hand in both of his own. "God made Adam and Eve," the flier says, "but Gloria Dolbare wants you to meet ... Adam and Steve!"

    "That was an issue that we thought she was vulnerable on, not because the issue was the gay marriage issue, just because she would not take a stand on the issue," said Leland Whaley, a consultant to the committee. "It's been part of the legislative debate."


    It's a bright financial future ahead for this tyke, with Chimpy minding the wallet



    Some stats on Social Security and the South



    Some facts about Social Security and folks in my part of the world, from the Durham, NC-based Institute for Southern Studies...
    * Percentage of current Social Security beneficiaries that reside in the South: 33

    * Of 9 states with the highest percentage of children receiving Social Security benefits, number in the South: 8

    * Of 11 states with highest percent of elderly poor, number in the South: 8

    * Year that George W. Bush predicted Social Security would "go broke" when running for Congress in Texas in 1978: 1988

    * Amount per dollar that goes towards administrative costs under current Social Security system, in cents: 1

    * Amount per dollar that President Bush says would go towards these costs under his proposal: 5

    * Average amount that has gone towards administrative costs in other countries that have privatized Social Security: 15

    * Amount that finance industry stands to gain from privatized retirement accounts, in billions: $940

    Sources on file at the The Institute for Southern Studies.

    ***



    I'm putting in a plug here on the Blend for the work of The Institute for Southern Studies because it's another voice out there dispelling the myth held by the media (and many Democrats) that all of the South is hopeless wingnut country.

    Yeah, we had Jesse Helms, but we also have our freshly-minted, out lesbian State Senator Julia Boseman, the first openly-gay mayor in this state, Mike Nelson of Carrboro; Rep. Mel Watt is head of the Congressional Black Caucus, and on the local level, Dems won control of the legislature, despite the national party virtually ignoring the state in the general election. There is a future for progressive politics here, dammit, and I'm tired of being ignored. It's not like NC is Alabama, for crying out loud.

    We are, however, fighting off a freaking state marriage amendment, introduced last week, which I blogged about.

    Institutions like ISS and publications like its Southern Exposure are proof that progressive organizations can and do thrive in the region. Plus it's based in my hometown, in the bubble of tolerance that is the Triangle area.

    Southern Exposure, incidentally, was the recipient of the 2003 George Polk Award for magazine reporting on for "Banking On Misery: Citigroup, Wall Street, and the Fleecing of the South." It profiled how the country's biggest financial institutions prey on the economically vulnerable and make a killing while doing so. That issue also took the 2003 Green Eyeshade Award of the Society for Professional Journalists.

    You can learn more about ISS on its web site. Here's a snippet:
    The Institute draws attention to the national importance of the South and offers an exciting vision of the region-a place brimming with a capacity for progressive change that challenges its reputation as a monolithic, conservative stronghold.

    Throughout our history, the Institute has maintained a strong commitment to developing research and publication projects that directly support grassroots organizing, especially efforts for corporate and government accountability. It has also led the Institute to be involved in the launching of such organizations as the Brown Lung Association, Southerners for Economic justice, the Georgia Power Project, and the Gulf Tenants Leadership Development Project. The Institute has also examined the southern contribution to culture and social change, from gospel music and the blues to the civil rights movement and community organizing.

    Since 1973, the Institute's journal, Southern Exposure, has gained critical praise for its thorough investigations, unsentimental portraits of Southern life, and resources for change. From our first issue on the military in the South through our special book-length issue on the Klan, economic development, the nuclear industry, and regional theater, the magazine has remained in high demand among organizers and trainers.

    The Institute for Southern Studies
    P.O. Box 531
    Durham, NC 27702
    Email: info@southernstudies.org.


    PBS's Buster the bunny meets lesbians - and the world doesn't end


    Margaret Spellings, had her panties in a bunch over an innocent cartoon episode featuring two lesbian couples. She doesn't want America's children "exposed to this lifestyle."

    House Blend reader Katherine wanted to share her email about the airing of the infamous PBS cartoon that has been pulled from stations because it depicts lesbian families. It aired on our local PBS station, UNC-TV in Chapel Hill, yesterday - ha - on the SOTU address day. What a hoot.

    New Education Secretary Margaret Spellings raised hell about this recently, which I blogged about on the Blend a few days ago.


    From: Katherine
    Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 09:06:15 EST
    Subject: unctv frees buster baxter!
    To: Pam

    Hi Pam,

    Well, I was very surprised yesterday when my five year old son turned on Postcards From Buster - recently on the new Secretary of Education's hit list for an upcoming show on Vermont, maple sugar, and, oh, yeah, same-sex couples. The Vermont show was on! (I thought it was scheduled for March - must be a Chapel Hill thing to run it the day of the State of the Union address.)

    Well, this new Secretary of Education must have some kind of paranoid delusions because this show was as edgy and in-your-face gay agenda as, say, an episode of "Kate and Allie." Seriously! Buster arrived at the house, met one woman, she took him inside and said hi to another woman. Then, kid stuff - Buster cleverly noted that the two brothers, one African-American and one Caucasian, didn't look alike. They explained they were stepbrothers. Okay. The daughter did show a photo of the two moms and said it was special to her because it was a photo of people who meant a lot to her. Something like that.

    I am waiting for the controversy. Their house is clean, the mom makes chocolate chip cookies, they are JEWISH.(was this the problem?) My son wondered why he couldn't light candles at dinner as they did. They prayed. Buster visited a farm, saw a guy milk cows, saw maple sugaring, ate a lot. The family and another family with two moms who were NOT mentioned in any way - it was all about kids - had a bonfire. They dragged out a Christmas tree to burn and yelled, "Goodbye Winter!" Oh, the dog ate Buster's gifts for his mom, and Buster fainted, but he recovered.

    I was disappointed that it did not even PROVIDE an opportunity to talk about same sex marriage or couples and kids. I asked my son what he noticed about the families, and it was all about candles, how much sap it takes to make maple syrup, and the dog eating the presents. He did not notice the two moms at all, and he is a pretty observant kid. All I can think is that Secretary of Education must also see dead people, communists under her bed, and black helicopters because this show was completely tame.

    Now, the one with the Mormons and their overpopulating the world big family, THAT one bugged me. But that is another story.

    Please feel free to share my post. It was a nice episode, about Vermont and maple syrup. NO marriage mentioned, of any kind. Just happy families, cows, stuff.

    Katherine


    Well, your president came out hard and strong for FMA, mealy mouthed on Social Security

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005


    Why on earth is this bozo our President? Darth Cheney can barely stay awake; photo op of inked fingers in support of the Iraq elections.

    Joe Liebertwat (as bloggrrl Shakespeare's Sister has renamed him) was enough to make me nuts. Please folks in CT, vote that traitor out.

    Yeah, Bush's definitely scared of his Right flank. The Arlington Group of wingnut enforcers threatened his kneecaps over support for his Social Security dismantling project, and he's tap dancing for them again. He has to throw them this bone to keep them happy and not in revolt. It also conveniently diverts attention to the army of society-destroying fags and dykes, which always riles those Freepers up. Queers are the real problem. Right. Not Iraq, or the economy or his uncooked plan to f*ck up Social Security. Nice.

    Bush will probably not do the promised legwork on FMA unless he has to. I think it all depends on how much continuous pressure the wingnuts put on him and how poorly he does at selling his SS plan (tonight's effort was lame and purposely lacking any details). If it looks like he needs to marshall his American Taliban forces in order to sell this, he's going to have to make the push. Remember, he's even cultivating the black pastor homophobes as ground forces on Social Security using the gay bogeyman, so it's clear the divide and conquer strategy will be at work.

    The Dem response: ::crickets chirping:: . Reid and Pelosi gave decent rebuttals, but really, all the speeches were sleepers to me. Reid is amiable, I'll give him that. I don't think, however, we need amiable. We need scrotum twisting attacks on the GOP.


    The Three Stooges of the shadowy Arlington Group: Dobson, Falwell, Weyrich.

    [I'm just flipped to CNN's post-show, and lord, they've got Sully on pontificating. Click it off. Time for bed.]



    The effects of slavery permeate our society to this day

    After reading and posting about that PBS documentary on slavery that will be airing soon, I remembered a really interesting exchange about race and politics with Shakespeare's Sister a while back on race and politics. Go here for a good read. I will include some of what I said there below, since it is relevant to that last slavery post. The effects of slavery permeate our society to this day. I say this not to indict the dominant culture; it is only to say that the subtle (and in some cases, not so subtle) racism is so ingrained that people on both sides of the color line react and act on it without thinking. I relate this to the terrible self-loathing many black women have about their hair texture. Light skinned house slaves with straight hair, were favored, and for some, they were even able to "pass." The whole "good hair/bad hair" pathology was handed down from generation to generation, as a sign of favorable treatment that one would receive for having straight hair -- you were closer to white. White is Right. The whole brown paper bag test of the black upper class. All legacies of slavery that just will not die.

    This ad implies that the woman got the job because her hair was chemically straightened. Sick. For my own hair journey, visit my web page on it.

    The status quo is to straighten your hair; this is clearly an internalized self-loathing and assimilationist mindset that is poisonous. Women are chastized by family and significant others not to 1) cut their hair or 2) let it be kinky. It's a sickness. Thank god I don't have a family like that -- they all had straightish hair anyway, I was the anomoly. But I have seen on the natural hair care YahooGroups some of the most hateful and strident flame wars over the subject of hair. And most of the proponents of hair straightening were of the conservative bent. So strange. Read this this essay on the politics of hair. Amazing.

    ...It's clear from the time you are very very young that there is "good hair" and "bad hair" and you're never told why this is. That hot comb or kiddie relaxer is used on 3 and 4 year olds without a second thought.

    By the time a young girl is school age, she doesn't even know what her natural hair texture feels like. That's why you see so many adult black women seeking out information on how to style natural hair (locs, twists, twist-outs, etc.). The styling implements (combs, brushes, conditioners, etc.) used in the dominant culture just cannot be used on kinky hair without often breaking or damaging it. Their mothers have no idea how to handle natural hair other than to "tame" it. You get messages like "you won't get a man if your hair isn't straight" or "you'll shame the family with that bushy head". Crazy crap like that. It's as if kinky hair is some dreaded leprosy or hairy mole you want to hide. Oh, and it's reinforced in the media. Surf over to BET rap videos, and you'll see the 'hos dancing around with straight, processed hair (or it's a weave). Black men have been conditioned to dislike kinky hair on women as well. Anyway, I'm glad I stopped using that relaxer crap on my head years ago. So toxic.

    The awful legacy of racism should sensitize the black community regarding the bigotry of homophobia, but as you've read on the Blend, it's non-existent for many of the black religious leaders being courted by the Bush administration. My comments back in that exchange with SS are relevant now.
    [The] increasingly hostile reception gay rights is receiving in the Civil Rights Movement™ is odd. My reference there by using the ™ is obviously making a point. I do think that the black community has co-opted this term to mean "black civil rights," since the movement itself is still a living memory for those that experienced Jim Crow.

    There is no comparison to slavery and the impact that it has had on this country for good (the economic power and wealth of this country was built on the backs of the slaves) or ill (the fact these human beings were bought and sold and treated like animals).

    I see two distinct groups in the black community that seem to be angry about gay rights, with some people in both camps...

    1) The Civil Rights Movement™ people: These folks only see things in terms of what I described above -- that the black/slavery struggle is unique and that gays have no business trying to appropriate the frame of that movement. Gays were never slaves, imported from another continent, etc. Gays, they believe, can pass and choose not to reveal their identity (those that are transgendered are usually overlooked in this argument). Skin color is immutable. I think these folks can be won over with persuasive framing of constitutionality and human rights with the issue. They can be shown that this not a zero-sum game. Gays seeking the right to not be fired in a job or to marry because of who they love does not diminish the struggle of the Rights Movement™ of the 1950s/60s.

    2) the Hellfire-Brimstone religious blacks: these folks, like the Woodson/Upper Room homophobes, just see gays as sinful and undeserving of any rights at all. These people cannot be reasoned with, and are, in fact, dangerous to the black community. This is the crowd that scares black men, in particular, who are gay, into going on the DL, secretly sleeping with men on the sly and maintaining sexual/marital relationships with women, potentially spreading HIV. As far as these church folks are concerned, being gay is a white thing. If you're black, religious (in the traditional church) and gay, it's extremely hard to come out to family and church members without fear of reprisal and isolation from the community. I think these people represent fertile ground for recruitment by the Right.

    An interesting fact about the religious black community -- it is so conservative that you will find that this is the group of people that give women a really hard time for going natural (hair).


    Upcoming PBS series on Slavery in America this month looks great


    Inspection and sale of a captive; an African man is being inspected for sale to European or American slavers while a white man talks with African slave traders.

    Slavery happened. Lynching happened. Our country's prosperous economy was built on the backs of people that were bought and sold like cattle, and often treated even worse. That was then and this is now, but it's always worthwhile to reflect on what is a part of American history. It is sad, enraging, and profoundly embarrassing, but it is our history, for good or ill. We should never forget how its role in society came to be, and how it echoes even today in internalized racism and, I would add, self-loathing by many blacks.

    Slavery and the Making of America is a four-part PBS television series that will be shown starting on Wednesday, February 9, 2005, (9 pm EST). It looks like it will be an excellent event. Morgan Freeman will narrate. The web site describes the four parts.
    * The Downward Spiral: In 1619, 20 Africans were delivered to the English colony of Virginia. A few years later 11 more Africans were brought by the Dutch who ran the colony of New Amsterdam. Thus began one of the most tragic and misunderstood chapters in American history. Through the lives of Anthony Portuguese, John Punch, Emmanuel Driggus, Frances Driggus, and several others, this hour tells the complicated story of the establishment of slavery in America, the transition from indentured servitude and "half freedom" to African and African-American enslavement for life, the brief but bloody Stono Rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina, and the establishment of the "Black Codes," regulating virtually every aspect of slave life.

    * Freedom is in the Air: From 1740 to 1830, slavery became an indispensable feature of the American economic landscape and spread throughout the colonies, eventually taking deepest root in the new territories of the Deep South, created in 1803 by the Louisiana Purchase. At the same time slavery spread, the enslaved found some inspiration in a diverse group of sources, including the wording of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; the Bibles shared with them as they were "Christianized"; and David Walker's landmark missive Appeal to the Colored People of the World, one of the first expressions of black nationalism and activism. The stories of Jupiter, a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson's family, the revolutionary Colonel Tye, and abolitionist leader Mariah Stewart are also told, among others.

    * Seeds of Destruction: "Slavery was not a side show in American history," says Dr. James Horton of George Washington University; "It was the main event." Slavery's economic clout transformed the nation in the first half of the 19th century, and with the money came political clout as well. For 50 of the 72 years between the election of George Washington and the election of Abraham Lincoln, a slave-owner occupied the White House. The story of this hour--a story of often unendurable conditions for the enslaved and a widening rift between North and South--is told in part through the lives of Harriet Jacobs, who hid for seven years in a tiny garret before escaping to the North, and Louis Hughes, sold South at the age of eleven.

    * The Challenge of Freedom: African Americans played prominent roles in the Civil War, pressed into service on the Confederate side and fighting enthusiastically for their freedom in the uniforms of the Union. But, when freedom came, what did it mean? How were the promises of the Emancipation Proclamation kept or abandoned? This complex story is told in part through the extraordinary life of Robert Smalls, born into slavery, who hijacked a Confederate ship in Charleston Harbor and presented it to the Union Navy, and who went on to serve in the South Carolina legislature and to purchase the house in which his mother had been enslaved.

    By focusing on enslaved individuals, the series presents a new and vivid look at the institution of American slavery. The four hours make it clear that slavery was essential to virtually every aspect of the creation of our nation. These programs will change the way your students look at this vitally important aspect of American history. A companion book by Dr. James Horton will be published this Fall by Oxford University Press.

    Thanks to House Blend reader Sandra for the pointer.



    The full text of the State of the Union speech



    ...is here (via AmericaBlog). I really think I'm going to be sick. Feel free to post comments as you watch.


    I don't even know where to begin with this - PFOX's "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Club

    "Start an ex-gay club at your school!"

    Does this make ANY sense? Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has gone off the deep end. Their response to Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) at schools is to encourage kids to start "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight Clubs". Since when does a majority group (straight folks) need a support group? This is this utterly lame*ss crap. PFOX, of course, was recently in the news because one of its leaders, Richard Cohen, was expelled from the American Counseling Association for unethical behavior. These folks are freaking dangerous to gays and lesbians that are struggling with their identity. In this little initiative, they seem comically pathetic -- it only underscores the need for more GSAs.
    The purpose of an ex-gay & everstraight club is to provide a safe environment for all students to discuss alternatives to homosexuality and find ex-gay resources. Clubs can be started by students who have never been gay (everstraights), ex-gay students, and those struggling with unwanted same sex attraction. These alternative ex-gay clubs are started at schools (high school or college) which already have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or similar gay affirming club. These ex-gay clubs can be called by whatever name the student(s) decide is best for their school.

    The whole idea behind this effort is to counteract what PFOX suggests is an overwhelmingly queer-centric world out to recruit horny teens into the so-called "gay lifestyle." Since when has high school been a haven for homosexual expression? I doubt "faggot" or "dyke" have fallen out of favor as a slur for most insecure young people. When was the last time a straight person was targeted for liking someone of the opposite sex? Good god, my head hurts thinking of this stupidity. Read on and try not to let your head explode...
    With an Ex-Gay Alternatives Club at their school, students have the option of receiving all of the facts on sexual orientation before trying to adopt a gay identity. Students need positive support from teachers and their peers to deal with their unwanted same sex attractions. Straight kids (everstraights) need to understand what their peers are struggling with and why. Schools must present ex-gay options and resources...According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the year 2000, 49% of all AIDS cases were among young men who had sex with other males, ranging in ages 13 to 24. An Ex-Gay Alternatives Club will introduce alternatives to homosexuality so that young people will not find it necessary to participate in risky sexual behavior.
    Look at this ridiculous recruiting meeting poster:



    EX-GAY & EVERSTRAIGHT CLUB

    Alternatives is a club for ex-gay, gay, everstraight and questioning youth to safely discuss sexual orientation:

    For those struggling with same sex attractions - Why do I have same sex feelings? Does it always have to be this way? Do I have to take on a gay identity?

    For questioning youth - If I have gay thoughts or feelings, does that mean I'm a homosexual? Am I gay if other kids call me gay names?

    For straight teens - How can I understand sexual orientation? How can I help stop name calling against gay kids? Can gays at school be my friends?

    For ex-gay teens - How do I explain sexual reorientation to others? How can I find support for my journey out of homosexuality? Are there any ex-gay books I can read?

    Welcome to the Alternatives Club! We will confidentially discuss sexual orientation in a supportive environment and together try to find a way out of the confusion.
    Good grief - who is forcing these kids to engage in homosex? What are they talking about? These freaks at PFOX -- they are truly off their rockers -- pfox_exgays@hotmail.com.

    Thanks to Mike@RawStoryQ for the link.


    Freepers pissed at an MTV gay segment of Room Raiders

    I'll be offline for most of the day, so I thought I'd leave you with some Freep-cereal to munch on...

    Apparently the totally throwaway MTV program Room Raiders is making the Freepers lose it because gay folks were featured on an episode. I guess soon all they'll have is the Family Channel.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™: Here is the original Freep post:
    "I just was flipping through the channels and came across room raiders on MTV. I watch it sometimes and it can be entertaining. However, tonight I was uterly disgusted to see an actual gay segment of the program. There were three gay guys who had their rooms raided by another guy. Listen, I am not homophobic. I have no problem with gay people if they keep what they to the privacy of their home. I do have a problem with those gays that try to redefine marriage or in this case push their lifestyle in the public sphere. MTV is a willing culprit. Is there anything we can do to stop this?? I doubt an email campaign would work, but maybe it might be worth it. Any suggestions?"

    Choice responses:
    [Someone asked what Room Raiders is...]
    "It's one of those dating shows where three guys are taken out of their homes while a girl comes in and checks out their cribs and makes her choice on that. (or three chicks and a dude.)

    "I stopped watching MTV after I saw the "Know your rights" sex special with Christina Auguilera. You know, the "Let's get Dirty" singer who publicly admits she loves sex. She told two abstinent young adults that they "gotta test drive the car before you buy it."

    "You're watching a voyeuristic show, and then complaining about what you saw. Be an adult and don't watch that crap. Some people are just as disgusted by the male/female version of the show." [Freeper with a brain!]

    'Again, its not me. I know I can easily shut it off, it's the fact that it is out there for young teens to see."

    "I think most of their viewers were teens in the 80's and have failed to grow up, we call them DUmmies. =o)"

    "I believe that MTV is the station that has the commericials for KY jelly "The Personal Lubricant" in which a woman is describing the joys of KY with her backside to a man in the background. The implication is stated subtlely and geometrically. If Room Raiders is being taken over by Rump Rangers, then look for these commercials to start featuring two men.

    "I've always been somewhat amused at the line "as long as they keep what they do in the privacy...." the fact is kids, they don't, they never do...they not only push it in our faces, but try to teach it in our schools..and worse than that, they have unleashed one of the worst epidemics on mankind.. Add that to the simple fact that it's an abomination before God.... even if you're an atheist, you can't deny the harm they've done society.."

    "You have a problem with gay people appearing on MTV? So what channel are they allowed to be on?" [Freeper with a brain!]


    GOP hijacking more black pastors into its bible-based Taliban takeover


    NY Congressman Major Owens knows the deep sh*t that the Dems are in regarding this issue. Televangelist Frederick K.C. Price of L.A.'s Crenshaw Christian Center backs Bush and is taking part in a 100-minister summit opposing same-sex civil marriage.

    As I've been noting here and here, the Democratic Party is allowing the religious Right and the slimy Bush admin to siphon off black pastors (and with them, black votes) by stirring up the pot of "values" and tossing them faith-based initiative cash. This LA Times story gets to the heart of why this needs to be taken seriously. The black religious wingnuts are emerging, organizing and planning to take control of the agenda and the spin with the help (and funding) of the Repugs and the evangelical fringe.

    The GOP even plans to enlist these new "friends" in the PR war against Social Security. WAKE UP PEOPLE. They are not going to let go of the gay bogeyman, as long as it can be used to rile up people, regardless of whether the Dem establishment knows it is a red herring. (LA Times):

    ... The effort will be visible today at the Crenshaw Christian Center, one of Los Angeles' biggest black churches, headed by televangelist Frederick K.C. Price. More than 100 African American ministers are to gather in the first of several regional summits to build support for banning same-sex marriage — a signature issue that drew socially conservative blacks to the Republican column last year.

    Before the meeting, one prominent minister plans to unveil a "Black Contract With America on Moral Values," a call for Bible-based action by government and churches to promote conservative priorities. It is patterned loosely on the "Contract With America" that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used 10 years ago to inaugurate an era of GOP dominance in Congress. A separate group with ties to Gingrich will announce a similar "Mayflower Compact for Black America" later this month in Washington, which includes plans to organize in key states ahead of the 2006 and 2008 elections. And at the end of the month, the Heritage Foundation will cosponsor a gathering of black conservatives in Washington designed to counter dominance of the "America-hating black liberal leadership" and to focus African American voters on moral issues.

    Those events all enjoy support from the Republican Party and its allies in the philanthropic and religious worlds. The meetings have a common goal: to foster a political realignment that, if successful, would challenge the Democrats' decades-long lock on the loyalty of black voters.

    ..."I am frightened by what is happening," said Rep. Major R. Owens, an 11-term Democratic congressman from New York who has been conferring with colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. "Our party is in grave danger. This Republican movement is going to expand exponentially unless we do something."



    Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman and the GOP and will unveil the The Black Contract With America.

    ...The Black Contract With America will be unveiled by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., a registered Democrat from suburban Washington who backed Bush in 2004 after voting against him four years earlier. He was drawn, he said, to the GOP's social conservatism that he thought reflected the true values of black churches.

    ... In addition to such conservative GOP priorities as allowing workers to create private Social Security (news - web sites) accounts and banning same-sex marriage, the Jackson contract deals with some potentially dicey issues for Republicans — such as restoring rights to former felons. The contract, Jackson said, combines the Bible-based elements of the traditionally Republican and Democratic platforms.

    ...Jackson's enthusiasm for working with Washington's Republican power structure is shared by the party's leading strategists. Today's Los Angeles meeting is sponsored in part by the Traditional Values Coalition, headed by the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, a white evangelical Christian with close ties to White House political strategist Karl Rove, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and other senior Bush administration officials. Mehlman said Monday that he was in close contact with the organizers of each group and was coordinating with Gingrich and other party leaders.

    In my earlier Blend post on Mel Watt and framing gay rights for this population, the Dems have a roadmap, if they only would get some balls and stop being afraid of mentioning the word G-A-Y.

    Other new Bush colored friends of faith (the House Blend's running list):



    Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values." Homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the Bush American Taliban agenda, and Philadelphia's Rev. Herb Lusk, pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church has had his coffers filled with a cool million to run faith-based initiatives by the Administration.


    Give me a f*cking break - Medicare to pay for the boner brigade of drugs

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005


    Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, says, “Not to stiff the elderly from having a little fun, but asking Uncle Sam to pay for the romance of 76 million baby boomers will quicken the impending collapse of Medicare.”

    Love that quote in the caption above. Why on earth is medicating for a "quality" woody more important to pay for with taxpayer dollars than, say, drugs that treat serious, life-threatening illnesses? (AP):
    Sexual performance drugs such as Viagra will be covered in Medicare's new prescription drug program, a lifestyle rather than lifesaving benefit that conservatives and watchdog groups say the government shouldn't provide...The new prescription coverage begins Jan. 1 and is expected to cost more than $500 billion over the next decade.

    Pfizer's Viagra, Bayer's Levitra and Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cialis are used primarily to treat erectile dysfunction, but they also help treat enlarged hearts that can result from high blood pressure. Some conservatives and public watchdogs say Medicare coverage of sexual performance drugs could bankrupt the program. "Asking Uncle Sam to pay for the romance of 76 million baby boomers will quicken the impending collapse of Medicare," said Tom Schatz, president of a taxpayer watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste.

    "These bureaucrats defend the additional drugs as 'lifestyle-improving' instead of 'just life-saving,' but tax-funded Viagra will drain resources from medication for more severe conditions," Schatz said.

    ... "You cannot have a universal entitlement like this without extreme micromanagement," said Robert E. Moffit, a health care analyst at the Heritage Foundation. "Members of Congress, frankly, are not competent to make these decisions," Moffit added. "Micromanagement will institutionalize incompetence."


    Headline of the Day: Canada Unveils Explosive Gay Marriage Legislation


    Maybe the Hoover is detonative. Martin Viau vacuums the House of Commons in preparation for the return of the Canadian Parliament. Photo by Jim Young

    How asinine is that Reuters head? What exactly is going to explode? Conservative Stephen Harper's head? Just for comparison's sake, here are some other headlines reporting the same story:





    Bush Not Revealing Social Security Details


    Bush "practicing" his SOTU today. What will he do if the teleprompter freezes? (White House photo)

    No, it's not necessary for Bush to reveal the details. We can see the GOP's whole game plan to dismantle Social Security right here (downloaded from Kos). Also, see fellow bloggrrrl Shakespeare's Sister for an excellent fisking of some of it. (AP):
    Bush's strategy to offer a partial outline rather than detailed remedy reflects a split between the two houses of Congress about the president's role in the politically sensitive debate. In the House, where every seat is up for election every two years, Republican leaders want the president to present a specific plan and work to sell it to the country before pressing Congress to vote. But key Senate leaders prefer that Bush work behind the scenes with Congress to develop a bipartisan consensus.

    "It's time to shine a very clear light on the problems facing Social Security and then to talk about ways we can work together to strengthen it," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday.

    ...Social Security restructuring has been on Bush's agenda since before he entered the White House. In 2000 he campaigned on the idea of letting younger workers divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes into private investment accounts, a move that might offer higher returns but also would deplete money for guaranteed benefits in the future.

    The administration said Bush's speech would leave key elements to be worked out with Congress and that Bush was willing to come out and make another speech sometime in the future to articulate more details of a solution. "In the State of the Union you're going to hear him talk in greater detail about ideas for strengthening and saving Social Security, in greater detail than he has previously," McClellan said.




    Pope Watch...



    I'm trying to figure out why Yahoo chose to juxtapose the above picture with the AP story about the Pope going to the hospital with the flu. It looks like the dove is about to drop a load on him. I'm sure old Bill Donohue of the Catholic League will find some way to accuse Yahoo News of an anti-Catholic conspiracy.


    Don't tell the American Taliban about this - N. Korea nixes long hair


    Is this in our future?

    Long day at work today. That means posting weird stuff like this. With life under the American Taliban well under way, I keep on the lookout for possible new initiatives in control over our minds and bodies. They may take a cue from the North Koreans...(MyWay):
    The reclusive communist country is waging a hair war, telling its male population to lose the long locks, cut the coiffures and mow the mane to conform to "socialist style" - no longer than two inches.

    Even hair-challenged, authoritarian leader Kim Jong Il has trimmed his famous pompadour. One exception, however: Comradely comb-overs are OK for older men. The short-hair campaign actually was launched in October, but it reached new lengths Monday when state-run Central TV began ridiculing nonconformists as unhygienic, anti-socialist fools. It comes as North Korea's dictatorship struggles to tighten its control over information, monitor its population and dictate cultural tastes.

    State TV even derided violators of the order by name and address, calling them "blind followers of bourgeois lifestyle," and exposing them to jeers from other citizens. "We cannot help questioning the cultural taste of this comrade, who is incapable of feeling ashamed of his hair style," the station said Monday, showing a man identified as Ko Gwang Hyun, whose unkempt hair covered his ears.

    "Can we expect a man with this disheveled mind-set to perform his duty well?" the announcer asked.


    U.S. Firm about to launch world's first male contraceptive implant (yipes)


    Dr. Timothy Rowe, director of the Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of British Columbia thinks the "squeamish factor" for men may keep the IVD from being a big success.

    Before any House Blenders say I'm man-bashing that guys won't be interested in this advance in reproductive responsibility, get a load of the tepid confidence expressed by a male doctor in the field...(London Free Press):
    A private U.S. firm hopes to revolutionize birth control by launching the world's first implantable male contraceptive. Neil Pollock, co-founder of Shepherd Medical Company, said at a news conference yesterday the Intra Vas Device, or IVD, is less invasive than a vasectomy, but just as effective.

    "We feel that we have the potential to make a huge impact on the future of contraception in the world," Pollock said as he showed off the 2.5-centimetre hollow silicone plug. Normal sperm flow would resume after the device is removed, he said, compared to reversing a vasectomy, which lowers the chance of conception to about 60 per cent. Pollock, who specializes in performing vasectomies, said implanting the IVD would be an outpatient procedure, taking about seven minutes under local anesthetic at a cost of $1,000 US.

    Timothy Rowe, director of the Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of British Columbia, said the burden of responsibility isn't about to shift to men with a new male contraceptive.

    "Men are more squeamish than women about these things, so you've got a tough sell," Rowe said. "You've got to convince guys that they want to do this.

    "You'd have to be so confident that this thing is not going to cause any pain, it's not going to affect their sex life, it's not going to have any harmful effects." Women are much more tuned in to knowing about contraceptives, and unless men take responsibility for birth control, they don't represent a viable target group for the IVD, Rowe said.

    Just for fun, I thought I'd see what the Freepers are thinking about this. Boy, they are a bunch of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals. This is why they cannot get a date, never mind in a position to need contraception. Actually, it would be best if Freepers couldn't procreate at all.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™:
    "Ohh and before female freepers bitch about that fact, just remember, you get the kids in a divorce."

    "Actually if they would just implant an ampule with a shock sensitive explosive (like nitroglycerin) in the scrotums of some men, I guarantee they won't reproduce."

    "The last thing Europeans need is more contraceptive unless they are going to be exclusively attached to the muslim population."

    "Sorry... I'm of the mind that thy've gotta spread their legs first before any male zippers cum into play...."

    "Bill Clinton has just anounced he is going to move to Seattle later this year. "I can't wait to test this out!" he was quoted recently. "The 60's were fun, but this is too good to pass up"."

    "Now I'm thinking of applying for a US Grant. Maybe I could get 1.4 million to develop this birth control device. How about an ultralight weight high tech chastity belt for my teenage daughter with built in parental digital locking controls and GPS electronic cellphone tampering notification plus a patented stun gun emergence penetration deterrent system. Now that will stop unwanted teenage pregnancies. When her date arrives at the door, I'll just take him aside and hand him this warning card."


    EMS workers fired for declaring injured man dead


    Last week, Larry Green was zipped into a body bag and taken to the morgue. Today his family heard the official report that found EMS workers ignored rules and made critical mistakes after their son's accident. (Photo: Scott Lewis, N&O)

    A follow-up to my post on a Franklin County, NC man wrongly declared dead by EMS workers after an accident. He's still alive, but paralyzed.

    The news story goes into detail around what occurred, but the bottom line is, for once, someone's *ss was fired for incompetence. (newsobserver.com):
    At least twice on the night of Jan. 24, paramedics told a doctor they thought accident victim Larry D. Green might be alive.

    Still, medical officials made no efforts to resuscitate him. They zipped him into a vinyl body bag and placed him in a portable morgue, according to a report released Monday by Franklin County commissioners. More than two hours after he was hit by a car, it was determined he was alive and Green, 29, was transported to a medical facility.

    As a result of what occurred, the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Service suspended the licenses of two paramedics; Franklin County fired them. A report on the county's investigation will be provided to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for review and so it can decide what action might be taken against Franklin County Medical Examiner J.B. Perdue.

    Franklin County Attorney Darnell Batton read the eight-page report to the crowd of more than 100 who had waited Monday night through a two-hour closed meeting between Batton and the commissioners.

    During the 30-minute report, the crowd gasped and murmured in disbelief at the graphic descriptions of Green's injuries and the actions of medical personnel who moved his broken limbs and examined his open head wound.

    Green's father wiped tears from his eyes and held his head in his hands.

    ..."He still has a long way to recover," the elder Green said.


    Your tax dollars at work: Texas teens increasingly knocking boots after abstinence program


    The Right Wing doesn't want teens to use those parts, but if they do, the parts better fit; Dr. Buzz Pruitt was the director of the study out of Texas A&M.

    The abstinence-only sex-ed plan doesn't work, people, and $130 million is being pickpocketed from the taxpayer to continue this "education." The horny teens in Texas aren't getting the message, so what are Focus on the Family-type folks going to try now? (Reuters):
    Abstinence-only sex education programs, a major plank in President Bush's education plan, have had no impact on teenagers' behavior in his home state of Texas, according to a new study. Despite taking courses emphasizing abstinence-only themes, teenagers in 29 high schools became increasingly sexually active, mirroring the overall state trends, according to the study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University.

    "We didn't see any strong indications that these programs were having an impact in the direction desired," said Dr. Buzz Pruitt, who directed the study. The study was delivered to the Texas Department of State Health Services, which commissioned it. The federal government is expected to spend about $130 million to fund programs advocating abstinence in 2005, despite a lack of evidence that they work, Pruitt said. "The jury is still out, but most of what we've discovered shows there's no evidence the large amount of money spent is having an effect," he said.

    The study showed about 23 percent of ninth-grade girls, typically 13 to 14 years old, had sex before receiving abstinence education. After taking the course, 29 percent of the girls in the same group said they had had sex.

    Boys in the tenth grade, about 14 to 15 years old, showed a more marked increase, from 24 percent to 39 percent, after receiving abstinence education.

    Abstinence-only programs, which have sprouted up in schools across the nation, cannot offer information about birth control and must promote the social and health benefits of abstaining from sex....One program technique has been to try to bolster students' self-esteem, based on the theory that self-confident teenagers would not have sex. Those programs, which sometimes do not even mention sex, have shown no effect, Pruitt said.

    This is serious, because these teens are sexually active and are probably not using protection of any kind (since they're not getting info in school). The spread of STDs will inevitably skyrocket because Bush and his fundy base have their heads in the sand about what their children are actually doing.