An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Good old 'small government' Denny Hastert brings home the pork

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Nine months after Scott B. Palmer, left, chief of staff to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, got an honorary degree from Aurora University, $9.8 million was earmarked for the school in an appropriations bill. Photo: Steve Lundy -- Aurora Beacon-News

Last week the Blend featured Senator "Uncle" Ted Stevens of Alaska's $1.5 million taxpayer funded initiative to renovate an Anchorage bus stop. This week we have small government advocate, disgusting porcine House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL) oinking away $24 million out of your pocket for his district, funneling it to non-profits with ties to his chief of staff Scott Palmer and other staffers.
When Scott B. Palmer received an honorary degree in 2002 from his alma mater, Aurora University in Illinois, he urged the graduating class to "give back to our university, to our community and to our country."

...Palmer runs a congressional office that has been able to do just that for Aurora, the birthplace of his boss and the largest city in his boss's home district...Aurora's Rush-Copley Medical Center, where Palmer is an unpaid trustee, captured a total of $5.5 million in 2002 and 2003. About $3.4 million has gone to another Aurora hospital where another member of Hastert's staff had worked.

...Unlike a long line of big spenders before him -- including such masters of pork-barrel politics as the late speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) -- Hastert is a conservative Republican who favors smaller government and leaner domestic budgets. He has led the fight to enforce tough White House spending limits for the highway program and domestic spending bills, sometimes over the objections of GOP committee chairmen.

As the Bush administration applies the brakes to domestic spending, some are questioning the fairness of a system that enables powerful politicians to keep federal dollars flowing back home while districts represented by mere rank-and-file lawmakers are squeezed.

"The vast majority of [congressional] districts are getting below what they would get under any kind of a formula, and the big hogs are getting a disproportionate share," said Scott Lilly, former Democratic chief of staff on the House Appropriations Committee.
These Repugs make me sick. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

Purple Heart-awarded soldier discharged for coming out of the closet

Sgt. Robert Stout in April: "I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open."

As House Blender Misty said, "This kid wanted to keep serving--but apparently the military only gives you a gun if you keep it in the closet."

Back in April I posted about Sgt. Robert Stout (Iraq soldier with Purple Heart is eager to serve - out of the closet). Today, in what is absolutely no surprise, the Army tossed this American hero out.
...Stout, 23, was awarded the Purple Heart after a grenade sent shrapnel into his arm, face and legs while he was using a machine gun on a Humvee in May 2004. Stout, of Utica in central Ohio, told The Associated Press in April that he wanted to remain in the military and be openly gay, but that would conflict with the
Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Stout said he was openly gay among most of his 26-member platoon, part of the 9th Engineer Battalion based in Germany. Army officials at the Pentagon could not immediately confirm the discharge. The Army declined to comment earlier on the case other than to say that soldiers discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" typically receive honorable discharges.

Good night - Gannon to take polygraph on TV

Will Rolanda Watts ask Jimmy/Jeff about his nighttime encounters at the White House?

Via Shakes Sis.

Editor and Publisher reports that rent-boy Jeff Gannon/James Guckert is going to take a lie detector test on TV, ostensibly to clear his sullied name (as if the man-whoring stories are not enough). Does this guy have any sense of shame?
The man with the checkered, male escort, past rode to fame recently as White House correspondent for GOPUSA and Talon News, tossing softball questions at press briefings and then taking a hike. Tonight at 8 p.m on widely available cable channel PAX, Gannon will appear on the show "Lie Detector," hosted by Rolonda ("Inside Edition") Watts. Gannon confirms this on his own Web site.

The gimmick for the show, as described on the PAX Web site: "This provocative and often surprising series examines the truth behind real-life stories ripped from the headlines, using the most powerful instrument to detect deception -- the polygraph."

Among the questions Gannon will experience strapped to the machine: Was he fed questions by the Bush administration to use as talking points at White House briefings or was he "just a man trying to overcome his past and pursue a career as a journalist?"

Wingnuts in the mailbag

I don't get many negative letters from weirdos, but this is a cute one from a fan of Hal Turner, a racist, ignorant bastard that I posted about in March, "Yes, I'm sure this "white racialist" moron just wants to send fed judges greeting cards," who got off on the fact that federal judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow's husband and mother were found murdered in her home. Turner said he wanted the judges' addresses to apply pressure to them through protests, mail or other external means for their rulings. He's another example of a domestic terrorist, inciting violence under the guise of entertainment.

So, with that in mind, get a load of this email from "Joe Doe" to me this afternoon.

"The Hal Turner Show: News & Commentary For Straight, White People."

You know, it always amazes me when someone like yourself offers rebuttals and criticism of people like Hal. You would rather bitch and moan about Hal speaking the TRUTH rather than offer your own solutions to this vial mess this country has gotten into!

Ask yourself this, are YOU better off today than you were 20 years ago when the blacks and spics basically knew there place in society?

The mass problems in this country are not made by the Great White Race but rather mud race savages your bleeding heart opens up to!

As long as the mud race ass kissing continues by people such as yourself, this country will continue to sink deeper and deeper into the abyss and eventually collapse and die! It's people like you who cannot see what is going on around them that are the misguided ones!

You really should get your head out of your ass and take a good look around! By the way, I have donated $1,500 of my own money to bring Hal Turner's radio show back! Eventually you blind dickheads will get it! Let's just hope it's not too late when that happens!

Atlanta Boy Scouts inflated black scout numbers for $$

"TRUSTWORTHY: A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him."
-- from Scouting Law
NOT. While honorable gays that abide by the rules of Scouting are not welcome, lying about the number of black members in its ranks isn't a problem unless you get caught. Its executive director has resigned.
An independent investigation of the Atlanta-area Boy Scouts found that the organization inflated its number of black Scouts by more than 5,000 in a program for inner-city youth.

...Auditors said Scout officials assigned to inner-city areas may have felt pressure to demonstrate membership growth, which is a part of their performance evaluations. Membership numbers also are used to help determined funding from the United Way, a major Scouts donor.

The audit found that former Scouts too old to participate remained on the memberships lists and that boys who had only attended informational meetings about the program were signed up. In one example, an official changed the birth date of 87 Cub Scouts so they would be old enough to participate in the program. In another case, an official continued to report membership of a church Boy Scout unit although the church had burned down three years earlier.

The inflated numbers also included 200 Scout units that did not exist.

Edgar Sims Jr., an attorney with the law firm that conducted the audit, said the Atlanta Area Council claimed there were 10,238 Scouts in Operation First Class in 2004, but the audit found that only 5,361 were registered. Operation First Class was designed to increase participation by boys in the country's poorest areas, and it provides the boys' books, uniforms and other opportunities, including scholarships for camp.

In resigning, David Larkin, executive director of the Atlanta Area Council, said he was "deeply disappointed both personally and professionally" and took fully responsibility for the false records.
Don't forget, we recently featured "The Pacific Northwest Pedophiles," which included Scoutmasters, Douglas S. Smith Jr. charged with one felony count of having photos that show "minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct," and Alabama Boy Scouts also padding the rolls with "John Does" for dollars. I think this is one organization that needs to clean house before it casts stones.

Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.

The "black hair thing" rears its ugly head again -- in Alabama

One of my favorite all-time offensive ads. This one implies that the woman got the job because her hair was chemically straightened -- she also probably paid more to have her hair styled than a white woman with kinky hair if she went to Dillard's in Tuscaloosa, AL.

House Blender Kimberley passed on a howler on one of my soapbox issues, the whole "black hair" is somehow inferior, hard-to-deal-with hair, thus justifying discriminatory practices. This gets extra special attention because this ludicrous news of "hair discrimination" comes out of Alabama, Katie's home state.
An Alabama woman is seeking class-action status for a lawsuit against a Dillard's Inc. hair salon for allegedly charging black women more than white women. Debbie Deavers Sturvisant alleges that a hair salon in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., Dillard's department store charged $35 to wash and set her hair, while white women paid $20 for the same service.

Sturvisant's lawsuit could bring a whole new level of attention to the general practice across the country of charging differently for hair care based on ethnicity.

Officials in Arizona, California, Florida, Maryland and Massachusetts have already addressed race- and sex-based pricing differences at hair salons. "The stereotype is that all black hair is the same. But that's erroneous, just as all hair for Caucasians is not the same," said Patrick C. Cooper, a Birmingham, Ala., lawyer who plans to represent thousands of affected customers. Sturvisant's lawsuit was filed in February.

Cooper said the department store's "policy completely ignores hair length, which should be the real determining factor in how much they charge. Pricing ought to be based on reality, not stereotypes, and Dillard's needs to stop what they're doing."

But Little Rock-based Dillard's says that's an oversimplification that distorts its policy. "Dillard's does not charge different prices based upon the race of the customer," the company said in a statement. "Prices for salon services are based upon the level of experience of the stylist, degree of service, amount of time required and the cost of materials provided to the customer."

Tom McArthur, an instructor and manager of ABC Barber College in Hot Springs, Ark., said different charges based on race and sex are typical. Training manuals routinely note major differences between "black hair" and other ethnic groups' hair, he said. Also, he said, additional skills must be taught to cut the coarse, tightly curled hair commonly called "black hair." "It's a whole new way of cutting. Not everyone can do it. I cut both and I do it pretty fast, but I grew up in this business," McArthur said. The more a stylist has to do with the hair, the more the customer can be charged. McArthur said that explains why women are generally charged about twice as much as men.

Still, civil-rights law expert Robert Belton said Dillard's could be in trouble if the pricing is determined solely on race, and not on other factors, like amount or style of hair. "If they're saying that because of a person's color that it takes more time, then it's obvious that it's race," said Belton, a professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.
I can see charging differently because of some kind of degree of difficulty in services, but this case involves washing hair. Washing hair is just what it is, lathering up and rinsing. WTF does that have to do with hair texture (other than you may use different shampoos/conditioners based on what's best for the hair -- again, nothing to do with race)?

More on the whole black hair thing in prior House Blend posts, The politics of hair (again): school bans white girl with braids, and The effects of slavery permeate our society to this day

American Family Association now boycotting Ford

Donald and Tim Wildmon think Ford has gone homo-fabulous.

Donald and Tim Wildmon's AmTaliban American Family Association couldn't succeed with a Disney boycott, so now they are refocusing that message of intolerance and wingnuttery -- and going after Ford.
AFA announced it has launched a boycott against the Ford Motor Company because of the company's track record for supporting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual "marriage." The pro-family group's founder and chairman, Donald E. Wildmon, says Ford's financial support of the homosexual agenda goes far beyond a few donations.

"From redefining family to include homosexual marriage; to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support homosexual groups and their agenda; to forcing managers to attend diversity training on how to promote the acceptance of homosexuality; to sponsoring a commitment ceremony -- that is, 'marriage'; to sponsoring 'gay pride' parades, Ford leads the way," Wildmon states. "The goal of every homosexual organization supported by Ford is to get homosexual marriage legalized."

According to Wildmon, there was so much material demonstrating the automaker's track record on promoting the homosexual agenda that his group decided it was best to simply give it its own website:

"The material on leaves no doubt where Ford stands on the homosexual issue," he says. And people who visit the website, he claims, will be "surprised ... to learn of Ford's extensive promotion of homosexuality."

..."Inform them you will not be buying a Ford product until they stop their promotion of the homosexual movement and homosexual marriage," Wildmon says in the message to AFA supporters. If the dealer wants more information, he suggests individuals refer the dealer to the website for the boycott.
Her is Ford's official policy statement on inclusion:
Diversity embodies all the differences that make us unique individuals. Not limited to physical aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, it includes culture, religion, education, experience, opinions, beliefs, language, nationality and more.

At Ford Motor Company we recognize that diversity is not only a reality of our global nature, it’s a distinct advantage, and one that we value and embrace. We also know that we can only leverage the benefits of diversity by understanding and respecting the differences among all employees.

[And it has an affinity group]
...Ford Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees (GLOBE)
Ford-GLOBE is active in making Ford a gay-friendly company. It strongly supports the company’s EEO policy. GLOBE has chapters in Great Britain, Germany and the U.S. providing worldwide networking and confidential employee support. Members actively champion diversity education, recruiting and marketing. They hold monthly membership meetings, lunches and socials while supporting many community events.
Let Ford know that its progressive policies are in the mainstream and that wingnuts like the Wildmons and their knuckle-dragging bible beaters are the ones on the fringe:

Ford Motor Company

William Clay Ford, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Board of Directors

800-232-5952 (TDD for the Hearing Impaired)

Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126

I'm still alive...and check out Big Brass Alliance

The house is still a mess, and I was, as you can see, totally offline yesterday. Posting will get back to normal soon; at this point I'm going through a very full email box, with lots of news, and important work by the Big Brass Alliance on Shakes Sis has spent most of this weekend picking up the heavy load on this one. I'm lifting wholesale from her post on Memorial Day:
Bush’s entire presidency has relied on his ostensibly unique ability to “keep America safe.” His reelection campaign exploited 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for every ounce they were worth, with his supporters demeaning the possibility that any other political party could oppose his actions yet still be patriotic Americans. And even many of those who oppose the Iraq War supported the Afghanistan invasion, because its purpose was to eradicate the al-Qaida terrorist network which had perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. So what would it mean if this national security president had never wanted to invade Afghanistan, had never wanted to pursue al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden (who remains on the loose to this day)? What would it mean if Iraq, which contrary to administration claims had no weapons of mass destruction with which to harm America or America’s allies, had been the only target all along? And what would it mean if the case for that war had been conceived out of thin air?

It would mean that we all had all been hoodwinked, including our soldiers who had been sent to die by a president who cared not for bringing to justice those responsible for an attack on American soil, and had cared not for the truth. It would mean a national disgrace.

The following is a passage from a recent Salon article by Juan Cole clearly intimating that Tony Blair had to convince George Bush to go after al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and Bush would only do so in exchange for Britain’s support of the Iraq invasion:
Astonishingly, the Bush administration almost took the United States to war against Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. We know about this episode from the public account of Sir Christopher Meyer, then the U.K. ambassador in Washington. Meyer reported that in the two weeks after Sept. 11, the Bush national security team argued back and forth over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan. It appears from his account that Bush was leaning toward the Iraq option.

Meyer spoke again about the matter to Vanity Fair for its May 2004 report, "The Path to War." Soon after Sept. 11, Meyer went to a dinner at the White House, "attended also by Colin Powell, [and] Condi Rice," where "Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. 'Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,' Meyer remembers." When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.
This revelation is part and parcel of a larger series of possibly impeachable offenses committed by the Bush administration in making the case for the Iraq War, as indicated by (among other resources) the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials. This memo, reveals, in part, that as of July 2002, Bush seems to have decided to take military action against Iraq, even though a month later, he was claiming he was still willing to “look at all the options” and that there was “no timetable” for war. Additionally, the memo appears to confirm, contrary to the Bush administration’s claims of a “massive intelligence failure,” that the assertions regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction instead resulted from an intentional and deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. A war that has turned up no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and has caused the deaths of 1,600 American soldiers, tens of thousands of wounded soldiers, and countless dead and injured Iraqis.

Here is more about the Alliance and its mission:
This Memorial Day weekend, I celebrated by turned my anger and frustration at the mistreatment and betrayal of our troops into pulling together an alliance of liberal bloggers 169 strong and growing, dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the Big Brass Alliance. Our intention is to tenaciously pursue this story, even if the mainstream media will not, and vigorously support the efforts of Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and After Downing Street, a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005 a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. After Downing Street reports, in response to the release of the Downing Street Memo:
John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush. Bonifaz's memo, made available today at After Downing Street, begins: “The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution."
On this Memorial Day, I urge you: Support our troops by contributing to efforts to uncover the truth about why they were put in harm’s way. They deserve that much.

Visit After Downing Street to register your support. Sign Congressman Conyer’s letter here. Write to your Congresspeople here.

And if you run a blog of your own and want to join our alliance, which is currently blogswarming this story until the mainstream media hears our collective voice, email me.

This is our country. We believe in truth. And we will fight to get it.

Survey ranks states with dumbest drivers

Sunday, May 29, 2005

So, where does your state score? (NC is 13th best, so I don't feel bad). Guess we need to invest in more public transporation; it's clear that some of our fellow citizens don't need to be on the road. (CNN):
When faced with a written test, similar to ones given to beginning drivers applying for licenses, one in ten drivers couldn't get a passing score, according to a study commissioned by GMAC Insurance. The GMAC Insurance National Driver's Test found that nearly 20 million Americans, or about 1 in 10 drivers, would fail a state driver's test if they had to take one today. GMAC Insurance is part of General Motors' finance subsidiary, GMAC.

More than 5,000 licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 65 were administered a 20-question written test designed to measure basic knowledge about traffic laws and safety. They were also surveyed about their general driving habits. Drivers in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states did worst. Twenty percent of test-takers failed there. The state of Rhode Island leads the nation in driver cluelessness, according to the survey. The average test score there was 77, just eight points above a failing grade. Those in neighboring Massachusetts were second worst and New Jersey, third worst.

Northwestern states had the most knowledgeable drivers. In those states, just one to three percent failed the test. Oregon and Washington drivers knew the rules of the road best. In Oregon, the average test score was 89.

According to the study, many drivers find basic practices, such as merging and interpreting road signs, difficult. For instance, one out of five drivers doesn't know that a pedestrian in a crosswalk has the right of way, and one out of three drivers speeds up to make a yellow light, even when pedestrians are present, the study said.
Here is the full list, by state.

Big Brass Alliance, and mailbag news catchup

Shakes Sis, while I've been slacking here with home improvement nightmares, has brought together a coalition of progressive bloggers, including yours truly, that we're calling The Big Brass Alliance. If we can't rely on the media to report on important topics, like the Downing Street Memo, then it's up to us to blogswarm things "into existence."

Regarding the Downing Street Memo, The BradBlog posts about John Conyers' request for 100,000 signatures by citizens on the same letter that he and 88 other Congressmen sent to George W. Bush concerning the Downing Street Memo/Minutes. Go read and sign if you agree.

Some other stories in the mailbag while the nail gun is going:

* From Paul: Afghan TV host's killing spotlights colliding cultures.
As the co-host of Afghanistan's answer to MTV, 24-year-old Shaima Rezayee was one of the best-known women in her homeland. Now, her killing has made her even more famous. In March, shortly after complaints from the country's conservative religious Supreme Court that "Hop" was "un-Islamic,'' Rezayee was sacked. She said in a media interview shortly afterward that she believed her life was in danger. On May 18, her fears were realized. She was shot dead at her home.
And this one as well: Colorado Governor Vetoes Gay-Rights Bill. Paul said: "We should start bitching about these "activist governors" who are blocking the will of the people..."

* Cat passed along: White House Wants Search Limits Overturned. Chimpy's asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.

* Jon Perr of Perrspectives has a fun feature over at his pad, "Conservatives Gone Wild: Powerline Drool Edition" about Powerline's and Free Republic's coverage (and photos) of Miss Universe. Too much!

More work going on around the house

The guys are back, putting in the hardwoods. What an ordeal this is. Kate and I are dead tired, because we've been up all night painting. Another long story, but since we had the delay on Friday, the house is torn up. We decided to paint, since all the furniture is out of the office and bedroom. It took forever. Anyway, I'm going to get some breakfast and read some news. I haven't had the TV on since Friday; I don't know what the hell is going on in the world!

UPDATE (12;45): OK. The home improvement store had to deliver the correct wood late Friday, but the f*ckers took away the correct threshold pieces. Now Kate has to drive there to exchange for the right ones, since on the first call, they claimed they didn't have any in stock (they just picked them up!). Kate has nothing but praise for the installation guys, who were honest about the store's incompetence. I'm here keeping the dogs occupied.

Adelphia cable adds gay channels, dumps Christian ones

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Ha ha ha ha. The AmTaliban will have ulcers over this news.
A California pastor is encouraging concerned Christians to contact a cable television company in the Los Angeles area that has dropped a Christian channel from its lineup. Recently, Adelphia Communications cut FamilyNet from its channel offerings, thus eliminating access to the Christian station from more than 300,000 subscribers. But Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, says the Adelphia Communications officials might be persuaded to rethink their decision. "They have indicated to us that [they might reconsider] if they received enough negative comments," Drake explains, "that is, if the people would write Adelphia, especially those in the Los Angeles area, and say, 'Hey, I like FamilyNet, and we want to keep it on.' So that's what we're trying to do -- get people in the Los Angeles area to write letters to the Santa Monica office." And the Buena Park clergyman hopes people beyond the local viewing area will complain to the broadcast company decision-makers as well. "Maybe they have already gotten some complaints," Drake says, "and so we're hoping that the people will indeed write. We hope that anyone would write and say, 'We encourage you as a network, Adelphia, to keep on good Christian broadcasting, especially here in Southern California." FamilyNet is a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Meanwhile, another report says Adelphia also plans to drop another Christian station in mid-June -- and then by the end of the month begin broadcasting LOGO, a new homosexual channel. Ron Shuping of i-Lifetv it is "interesting" that the change is occurring so soon after his channel is being dropped. But Don Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association, is not surprised. "You can expect the big cable companies to move toward channels such as the homosexual channel LOGO and away from Christian channels."
You can thank Adelphia for its commitment to sanity and its gay customers:

Paul Jacobson , VP of Corporate Communications
5619 DTC Parkway
Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Phone: 303-268-6426

Erica Stull , Director of External Communications
5619 DTC Parkway
Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Phone: 303-268-6502

The "I'm not sh*tting you" post of the week

Friday, May 27, 2005

I guess you can almost take it literally, given the headline: Finns hoard toilet paper
Shoppers in Finland raided shelves for toilet paper on Wednesday in fear of it running out as a lockout of workers kept the Nordic country's paper mills shut.

"As soon as we get a delivery, the packages vanish off the shelves. The big bags go first," said Hille Laine, manager of a central Helsinki shop which had no tissue paper products left.

Paper makers enforced a four-week lockout on May 18 following a two-day strike by workers. The dispute in the key export sector is mainly over industry's plans to scrap mill shutdowns during some holidays and on the use of outside labour. The latest round of talks between workers and employers ended without a deal on Wednesday, meaning that the lockout will continue at least until Monday when they are due meet again.

Another great vigil pic

Thanks to House Blender Richard, who sent this great panoramic shot of the Oval Park vigil last night. Click to enlarge.

Also, Good Morning America covered the cross burnings, and Chris Kromm of Facing South was interviewed.
One of the questions they asked was, "was this really the work of the KKK?" I answered that whether or not this was some official plan hatched in klavern headquarters was beside the point. I talked to someone this morning whose son works for the Durham Police Department, and they still don't know if this was an "official" KKK action. But the fact remains that someone or some people out there, either because they thought it was funny or because they thought it was a good idea, decided that associating their work with the Klan was a good idea, and that's all that matters.
Chris also has a great roundup of the wingnuttery that creates "A Climate for Cross-Burnings." My fave:
Deposed Rep. Cass Ballenger (R) -- called "one of the House's most notorious bigots" -- felt no qualms in 2003 declaring that he had "segregationist feelings" towards fellow Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) (who he also called a "bitch"); claimed that his divorce was largely due to "stress" he felt from his D.C. office being across the street from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group; and proudly displayed a black-faced lawn jockey in front of his Hickory home (which, after news hit the papers, he later painted white).
One more note. I was on Shakes Sis's blog today, and a comment that bolsters my thought that the cross burnings could be targeting the gay community was posted by shamanic.
About 12 years ago the Klan held a series of rallies in North Alabama, including in my home town of Huntsville. My friends and I attended all of them with protest signs (being told in Athens, Alabama, by the helpful police officer that he would be unable to protect us if the crowd turned on us). Anyway, we were all really startled by the turnaround in KKK rhetoric. They were no longer railing against people of color, but homosexuals and, to a lesser extent, illegal immigrants. It was mostly just "queers queers queers".

If the media choose to skip over that angle, it's because as responsible citizens and journalists, they have no idea what direction the Klan and like-minded freelancers have been headed in for the last decade and a half at least.

They know they lost on race. They think there's still hope with homosexuality. Anything to keep people afraid.

Just another day in home improvement nightmares

Or is it homo improvement?

Kate and I are home today, because we are to have our carpet in the main bedroom, hallway and office replaced with hardwoods. Three doggies and our late cat took a toll on carpet, so we decided to deep-six it.

I will try to make this long story short, but we're not happy with a major home improvement chain's competency. We were up late over the last couple of days and really late last night (after returning from the vigils for the cross burnings) packing up everything in our office and bedrooms because those are the floors in question. Everything is completely discombobulated:

* all of our clothes from the dressers are in garbage bags, stowed around the areas of the house that aren't affected:

* our desks, file cabinets and computers/printers have been disconnected, and all the wires and that nonsense is on our dining room table, all breakables are all over the kitchen:

We had to empty the office to let the wood acclimate, so that room was a mess since Tuesday. You are reading today's blog entries because I rigged the cable modem and wireless router from the office to the dining room. Can't be without "the internets," right?

Cable modem rigging and Kate looking at the carnage beneath the carpet.

Today, the workmen arrived and well, it all went downhill from there. After ripping up the carpet in the office, one of them saw that apparently, the 1/2" prefinished wood installation couldn't be guaranteed due to a slightly unlevel floor in the office. Our choices installing this crap or get 3/4" wood that can take larger nails to ensure stability. The latter would mean yet another wait for delivery date for the wood, and our house would remain in this bomb-went-off state for days.

So, after Kate heard this, her Lebanese temper went into gear. She kept it in check and didn't take it out on the installation guys, since it was the home improvement store that didn't suggest the thicker wood to begin with. Actually, the head install guy said this sh*t happens all the time with this store, since the associates are completely underqualified to advise customers. While I was having an out-of-body experience, Kate was on the phone with the store and, while stating to the associate that picked up the phone that this was not directed at her personally, politely ripped the unfortunate person that sold us this a new one.

After some serious back and forth, she said that they could send us something else today that was in stock that we could take a look at, and they could deliver it today. The installer guy said he was willing to come back on Sunday to work this out, since he felt the store screwed both him and us.

OK. The last weird part. We went to the home improvement store to look at the stock wood, and it was a close enough match. The lame-ass associate that Kate reamed out said she could have it delivered today. She was all apologetic and trying to smooth things out in a wholly inappropriate, quasi-nut case way. She said to Kate: "Is everything all right now?" Kate said yes, then the associate hugs her, and then me. WTF? Kate looked like she was going to hurl, and I wanted to burst out laughing at the expression on her face.

Anyway, we'll be sleeping either somehow in the guestroom or on the sofa for a while.

Oh this is rich -- Scalia's priest son is 'ex-gay' advocate

The Justice's "moralist" apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Another advocate of the movement to "de-gay" people is son of "Mr. Orgy" of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, according to AgapePress. Actually, he's more of a celibacy counselor than a true 'ex-gay' nutjob.
A priest who helps people overcome same-sex attractions says high schools should not encourage students to declare themselves as homosexual. Rev. Paul Scalia -- son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- says adolescents who self-identify as homosexual through "gay-lesbian" student clubs may find it is "a label that's very hard to get rid of." He believes many teens who might otherwise outgrow such attractions may be led into behaviors that impede realization of what he calls "their true identity as a child of God." Scalia heads the Arlington, Virginia, chapter of "Courage" -- a Roman Catholic ministry whose goal is "to help persons with same-sex attractions develop an interior life of chastity and move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete identity in Christ."

The Freepi weigh in on the cross-burnings

The knuckle-dragging beasts of Freeperland have plenty to say about Durham and the cross-burning, most of it is ignorant or just plain wrong. Here, you wade in the filth...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"These burnt crosses smell like hoax."

"When I read "Durham" and "cross-burnings" I thought a hoax might be afoot too. I have a lot of relatives in Durham - second cousins and whatnot - but I'm glad my grandfather decided to buy a farm out in Nash County so many years ago."

"Who of us is to judge who isn't on the scene?"

"These burnt crosses smell like hoax. Based on recent history (and by recent, I mean the past 15 or 20 years) that's the only informed conclusion to draw until proven otherwise. I'm sure we'll be told that the perpatrators, when caught, "Just wanted to call attention to the racism that already exists in the area.""

"If they are a hoax, what should be done with the people who did it? If they aren't a hoax, what should be done with the people who did it?"

"Being that 99 out of 100 "hate crimes" reported on the news and in the paper later turn out to be hoaxes, the odds are heavily in favor of this one being a hoax as well."

"At the same time, callers to 911 reported another cross burning near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and South Roxboro Street."

"I find it somewhat difficult to believe that some white guys could pull off something like this on any MLK without being thoroughly thrashed in the process. They also left KKK literature? For whom? The (probably) black residents? Either this was the balsiest retarted stunt in history or a hoax."

"There are a lot of people out there with outright rabid hatred towards Christians these days. They seem everywhere these days. You know. Islamofascists. Atheists. ACLU types. And of course skin head types, too. Differing in opinions or approaches perhaps, but all essentially heading to the same place where there will be plenty of fire alright but no crosses for sure. Just my hunch."

"You're definitely right about that. It's just that when you hear one of these text book type hate crimes (burning cross, "Nickel" scrawled on a door, etc.) that so many times it turns out to be a fake. The Christian college in Illinois a couple of weeks ago, the army barracks, the lesbians burning their own home down..."

"Possibly perpetuated by the wholly corrupt and unredemable Durham government itself to deflect attention."

"Durham is a cesspool of black racism and cronyism. Will be interesting to see how this plays out...."

"Well yes but it was at a time when blacks were intimidated by whites. Now a days if a bunch of yahoos in a pickup showed up in a black neighborhood to burn a cross I think the local black residents would have a field day with their sorry butts."

"I smell something rotten in Durham too. Sure, I agree, be good to get the facts. And the facts might, par usual, show up three weeks down the road on newsprint page C-15 in an obscure corner. What has happened most recently in Durham. Three minority youths shooting and killing a Pakistani convenience clerk during what appears to be a gang-initiation. Black Leadership demanding more money for black youth programs. Taxpayer dollars. What's big in Durham: gangs and drug activity. My gut reaction to the news was twofold: Which of the gangs is fighting for turf; and who is trying to "unite" the gangs under a "minority" flag. No matter who did this, whatever their reasons or their ethnicity, my response is: To hell with 'em."

"There is a problem in NC with black subculture. You can see it all the time in print and news: mostly black inmate gangs working alongside the highways. Most black-on-black crime mugshots shown on the news. There is A definite problem in NC. Screaming "white racism" is not a productive answer. The problems and causes are far more complex. Bill Cosby is trying to address this; the Drug Task Force is trying to address this; Anti-Gang task forces are trying to address this; Homeland security is trying to address this; Clergy are trying to address this; local leaders are too. But shrieking "racism" is just tomfoolery. It perpetuates fears and problems, resolving NOTHING."

"NAACP donations must be down...."

"Let's imagine: a dozen or so pickup trucks pull up on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Harlem and thirty sheeted rednecks pile out, haul the wooden cross out of the back of one, soak it with gasoline, stand it up, form a neat little circle and light it...How long would this go on? How far would this ceremony get? That's essentially what they're claiming happened in Durham."

"Absoloutely, but primarily in somewhat rural areas and mostly many years ago, pre-Civil Rights era. I'm just saying that for a group of white racists to go downtown to MLK, in a relatively densely poplated urban area to do this, was to take their lives in their own hands. I was born and raised in the South and still live here. I'm not sure I would be safe walking down our MLK, much less planting a burning cross there."

"Speaking of hate crimes and NC. What ever happened with the "hate crime" of the gay male who supposedly got beat up for being gay on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill fairly recently? After the initial report I have not heard a single thing."

"I'm not saying it wasn't the KKK(pretty much non-existant these days) but it seems a stretch for me. Either way, it's a heinous crime whose perpetrators should be punished to the full extent of the law, whatever their race."

"With the exception of the one downtown, these are fairly upscale neighborhoods (both by country clubs, too). They are all suspiciously close to Duke University and hospital. That and the fact they lit one by the news studio leads me to believe this is some kind of college activist stunt."

"FWIW, MLK and Roxboro is fairly close to, but not in, a black section of Durham. Its acutally on the north edge of the Woodcroft area, which is a huge upper-middle class section of Durham. Its not like the perps were doing this in downtown Harlem. Also, they weren't that proximate to Duke or the hospital. 3-4 miles at the closest, and Durham isn't all that big. Bottom line, this wasn't the KKK."

"Yeah, it's almost directly in front of the city work's yard (where the city workers park all their shovels when they're not leaning on them) and also the city pumps where all the police come to refuel their cars. The local talk show host is speculating that in light of all the corruption stories involving city officials, this might be astaged event to draw heat away from them."

"Thanks for the locale info. I agree with the above statement. I have been doing some reasearch on them today and they really do barely exist. The Spice Girls are a more cohesive group than the KKK. Their recruiters (all 5 of them) have hotmail and yahoo email address. Members are shunned and mostly unemployed and even the Grand Wizard has to keep a day job because they have zero funds. They are more of a joke now than at any time in history."

"Also happens to whites that sell homes to blacks, etc. in white neighborhoods. I know. It happened to my family when I was a kid. We sold a house to a Muslim family and when we moved into our new house not a week went by before we had a cross burning in the front yard."

"It figures that the mudslums would burn a cross in their own front yard upon their arrival to the civilized world. The police shouldn't even respond to these hoaxes. It is a waste of taxpayer money."

Ralph Reed kicked to the curb by Microsoft

Ralphie Reed needs to find some new AmTaliban work, since Microsoft has seen the error of its ways in hiring the turd and has cut him loose.
When it was recently revealed that Microsoft had employed religious conservative Ralph Reed as a political consultant, it was logical to wonder if his $20,000 monthly retainer was somehow related to the company's temporary refusal to support a gay-rights bill in Olympia, which failed. Maybe the fiercely antigay crusader with the choirboy looks would be there to guide Bill Gates through a nationwide boycott of software products, as threatened by Eastside minister Ken Hutcherson.

But as Jon Stewart put it on The Daily Show: Microsoft? "Afraid of a boycott? And you call yourself a heartless monopoly!" Indeed, the company has since thumbed its nose at Hutcherson and promises to support future gay-rights legislation. It also still heartlessly rules the computer desktop.

And as for Reed, if he ever had anything to do with Microsoft's role, or lack thereof, in this state's gay-rights debate, he won't next time. He's being deleted from the Redmond software giant's payroll, two company sources say, and he likely gets his last $20,000 check this month.
Hat tip, AmericaBlog.

Durham vigils -- and speculation about motive for cross burnings

Hundreds gather for a prayer vigil at Roxboro Road near Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, the scene of one of Wednesday night's cross burnings. (The Herald-Sun/Bernard Thomas)

Kate and I attended two of the vigils last night in response to the cross burnings in our town.

We first swung by the site of the one that occurred closest to our house, at South Roxboro near Martin Luther King, Jr. Pkwy. around 8:30 PM. There was a stream of cars and people lining the sidewalk near the area where the cross was placed. It was a ballsy location; right on an open construction site within a subdivision.

Kate snapped these shots of the crowd in south Durham.

After that, we drove to the vigil for the burning at St. Luke's, which was held at Oval Park, nestled between two progressive neighborhoods, Old West Durham and Watts-Hillandale. I used to live in OWD, and I met up with some of my former neighbors, including John Schelp, president of the neighborhood association, and organizer of this vigil. About 250 people participated here.

John Schelp; folks that gathered at Oval Park

I also ran into JOyODurham (below), a Daily Kos diarist that posted on the vigils; she brought a sign (below). My DKos diary is here.

One completely baffling aspect of some of the reporting about this that I came across, both in a report in the afternoon on public radio, and below in today's Durham Herald-Sun story, is a struggle by both the reporters and those interviewed to find a racial, teen prank, or local school board politics connection to the placement of these crosses -- really just about anything else except a possible message of intolerance toward gays. In neither case do they even mention the Westboro Baptist Church members' recent visit to picket the Durham School of the Arts production of The Laramie Project and several gay-accepting churches in the area, including St. Luke's Episcopal -- where a burning cross was actually found. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but come on people, at least the first Herald-Sun story by Eric Olsen had quotes from Bill Gutknecht, senior warden at St. Luke's, who brought up this possibility.

While burning a cross has a direct historical racial and religious intimidation connection, I think it's safe to say that given the tense politics about the marriage amendment in the state, and no historical highly recognizable symbolic way to get the public's attention about intolerance to gays, a cross burning is an easy way to get your point about an objection to diversity of all types across. The fliers left at one site don't give much of a clue; they seem to have some reference to gang activity and the KKK, but don't make much sense either, given the locations of the burning crosses. (Herald-Sun):
...Durham residents were shaken by the news that three flaming crosses were found in the Bull City on Wednesday night. Almost 600 gathered at three vigils Thursday night to protest the burnings.

Although authorities have not pinpointed a motive for the burnings, many residents see them as an attack on the diversity they say attracts them to the city. Community and religious leaders swiftly organized the three candlelight vigils to demonstrate they would not be intimidated by the symbols that some called "domestic terrorism."

Nearly 100 people gathered downtown and planted a crape myrtle tree at the site where one 7-foot cross burned the night before. "We feel like we were victims" said the Rev. Ryon Price, a white 28-year-old who attended the vigil with his black wife, Irie. "Regardless of motive, we feel we are victims of a hateful act."

In southwestern Durham, about 225 people gathered at a construction site on South Roxboro Street, just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, where a cross was extinguished by firefighters the night before. Some of them prayed and others spoke about what the incidents meant to them.

"We are here together as a community and we will not let someone tear us apart with hatred," said Donna Kornegay, who brought her two young daughters to teach them what race means to some people. "I will not relinquish my power to those who hate me."

The city Human Relations Department is planning a larger communitywide unity rally for next week. Yvonne Peña, who heads the department, said it's important to coordinate an event catering to all backgrounds. "The message is, 'We will not accept this kind of activity whatsoever,' " said Peña, who canceled her vacation after hearing about the incident so she could be involved in the investigation. "We're a diverse community and we're striving to overcome racial barriers."

On Thursday, the Durham Human Relations Commission met to brainstorm on whom to contact to help organize the citywide rally. The plan is to bring community leaders together Sunday to decide where to hold the rally and how to get the word out to black residents who were offended by the incidents. Most of the people who attended the vigils were white. "You're going to have to do it in a place that is not in an entity that is threatening to anyone," advised Jackie Wagstaff, a black Durham school board member who attended a meeting of the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham with Peña.

The flaming 7-foot crosses found Wednesday have left Durham residents speculating why they were put up. Some black residents have suggested the burning crosses are a result of a proposal to change the way school board members are elected -- though fliers left at the site of one cross burning mention Durham gangs and say "gangbangers ? will answer" to the KKK.

The election proposal -- being pushed by a group called Concerned Citizens for Accountable Government and the Durham Regional Association of Realtors -- would change the current setup, which ensures minority representation on the seven-member board by setting aside three areas with black majorities. The change calls for letting all registered voters cast ballots for every seat on the school board. It's a change that opponents say could diminish black representation. "The whole idea of changing the school board and the way it's been proposed creates a space for people to be saying 'white power,' " said Theresa El-Amin, director of the Southern Anti-Racism Network.

She said she cried when she was told about the cross burnings and said she hoped it was "some kind of cruel and little silly joke." Civil Rights investigator Stella Adams, who heads the N.C. Fair Housing Center, said there is no evidence the flaming crosses were planted in response to the proposed changes, even though "that's what the African-American community feels."

Although the cross lit at Peachtree Place and Holloway Street was relatively near the Durham Public Schools headquarters, Adams said the two other crosses appeared to have no relationship to the school system.

Others have suggested high schools students may have set the crosses ablaze as part of a graduation prank. It's a suggestion that Jordan High School's senior class president Kristin Cunningham doesn't believe. "I think the younger generation is generally better about respecting each other's differences anyhow," Cunningham said a few minutes before walking into her graduation ceremony Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

City Manager Patrick Baker said the incidents do not help the city's reputation, but that he did not want "to read anything into the event. "I don't think this is a reflection of the values of the community," Baker said. "Durham has always embraced the diversity of this community and I think this is sort of an anomaly."

Despite the fliers' reference to the KKK, the national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said Thursday that his organization did not have a hand in the incidents. "I'm confident they'll find this was either perpetrated by some small kid or, most likely, by some kind of minority who is trying to create sympathy for whatever cause he may feel like he had," said Thomas Robb, who is based out of Harrison, Ark.
News and Observer coverage of the vigils is here (it doesn't mention the gay hate crime possibility either).

[UPDATE: The FBI has joined the investigation.]


I didn't see it, but I heard that Mayor Bill Bell was interviewed on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The story did make the Countdown list last night, but the transcript isn't up yet.

A roundup from yesterday's mailbag

I didn't get a chance to post about anything except the cross burning yesterday, but some House Blenders passed along stories that caught their eye...

* From Cat -- Judge: Parents can't teach pagan beliefs. Father in Indianapolis appeals order in divorce decree that prevents couple from exposing son to Wicca.

* Val heard John Shelby Spong, author of The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love speaking on the Randi Rhodes Show on Air America, wanted to pass on more info about the book.

* Ann, over in the western part of NC, sent on an article about "our local U.S. Rep, Charles Taylor, an unapologetic homophobe and 'family values' guy, is hopefully getting ready to get his come-uppance. Folks in my district are aware of his shady banking practices, but they still elected him to a record seventh term last November, garnering 55% of the vote over his opponent...Taylor, also known as "Chainsaw Charlie" because he likes to clear-cut forests in the area, seems to be slathered in Teflon, but something has to stick sooner or later. "

* Paul passed along two items. First, the dumb*ss pastor in NC that had a sign out about flushing the Koran, has apologized and plans to take the sign down. "Pastor Creighton Lovelace issued a written statement May 25, according to The Daily Courier and Baptist Press. He said in the statement that he "did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran - that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible." OMG. That is too stupid to even comment on. The second item is about the bravery of Kraft, standing up to the wingnuts that are apoplectic that the company is going to continue to sponsor the 2006 Gay Games despite the call for a boycott.

* Stephanie in Victoria wanted us to see the wingnuttery going on in Canada -- Straight Pride to be recognized in Yellowknife. Love this quote from a Canuck ape: "'Many, many heterosexuals contribute largely to this community and we should recognize that just as well as the other' – Alan Woytiuk"

* Holly had a howler about Republican Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone (elected on a platform to combat black-on-black violence). A local paper unearthed the 1991 domestic violence charge against Malone for allegedly choking and hitting his mother, charges she filed along with a temporary protection order. That's also topped off with misdemeanor domestic violence charges for beating his 14-year-old son badly enough to leave welts and swelling. Lovely.

* Nancy Goldstein, who was so concerned about the cross burning incident here that she rang with kind, supportive words, has a piece up on The L Word. She says -- "Depleted and demoralized by the Democrats’ most recent piteous surrender to the Senate majority, our fair columnist drowns her woes with the season finale of Showtime’s low-fat, semi- plot-driven, luxury-good-littered drama “The L Word"�and drifts into delirium."

This sh*t shouldn't happen here: crosses burned in Durham

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A police officer and firefighters arrive at the scene of a cross burning Wednesday night on South Roxboro Street, about a quarter mile from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Mayor Bill Bell can't recall a cross burning since he moved here in 1968. (Cross photo: The Herald-Sun/Bernard Thomas)

[UPDATE: Welcome to folks from Daily Kos, Raw Story, RawQ, The Daou Report and Shakespeare's Sister. I wish that you found the Blend under more positive circumstances, but it's good to have attention turned to the latest manifestation of the Bush Era of Tolerance.]

[UPDATE (Friday, 8:33 AM): Durham vigils -- and speculation about motive for cross burnings]

Three crosses were burned last night in my progressive hometown, one only a couple of miles away from our house, near a middle-class, suburban subdivision. Some are tying it to the visit of members of the Rotting Cryptkeeper's church visit to our city to protest the Laramie Project play held at the Durham School of the Arts. The pathetic Phelps family picketed and were overwhelmingly outnumbered by supporters of the play and its performers.

[See my coverage of that event, Westboro Baptist Church protesters comes to Durham.]

It's hard to understand what kind of cretins think that they are going to find support for this rat-bastard, cowardly deed -- hey you f*ckers, show your faces -- but they won't find it in Durham. (Durham Herald-Sun):
Three large crosses were burned in separate incidents across Durham Wednesday night, the first time in recent memory that one of the South's most notorious symbols of racial hatred has been seen in the city.

Yellow fliers with Ku Klux Klan sayings were found at one of the cross burnings.

The Durham Police Department is investigating the burnings. After the third one was reported, the department ordered that any suspicious cargo truck or large pickup truck be stopped.

"At this day and time, I thought we'd be beyond that," said Mayor Bill Bell. "People do things for different reasons, and I don't have the slightest idea why anyone would do this." Bell, who said he couldn't recall a cross burning in Durham since he arrived here in 1968, said he hadn't received any calls, letters or e-mails that would "remotely" suggest someone would target the city with cross burnings.

The first burning was reported at 9:19 p.m. outside St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Hillandale Road at Interstate 85. [Note: this church is gay-welcoming; I have no doubt that's the reason this one was targeted.]

As police and firefighters were finishing their work there, a second cross burning was reported at 9:54 p.m. along South Roxboro Street, about a quarter-mile south of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. Someone had positioned the cross atop a large pile of dirt near an apartment complex construction site to the west of South Roxboro Street.

"This is ridiculous," Durham police Sgt. A.M. Batte said as she stood over the smoldering cross around 10:20 p.m.

WTVD-TV pic of the Holloway St. cross. See the video report on it here. Right: St. Luke's, where the first cross was found. (News14Carolina). News 14's video coverage is here.

Then the third burning was reported at 10:28 p.m. at Peachtree Place and Holloway Street downtown.

The crosses were about 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide, police said. They were wrapped in burlap and doused in a liquid that smelled like kerosene. The crosses were made of four 2-by-4s. They were screwed flat together with grooves cut at the intersections of the beams. Batte said it would not have been difficult to place the cross atop the mound because streetlights in the area were out and large construction equipment shielded the view of passing traffic on South Roxboro Street.


Burning a cross without the permission of the property owner is a misdemeanor in North Carolina. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that, under the First Amendment, cross burning could be barred only when done with the intent to intimidate.

"I cannot think of any reason that any insider or anyone outside would be angry with us," said Bill Gutknecht, senior warden at St. Luke's. "I don't know what kind of point they're trying to make. ... I certainly hope and pray it had nothing to do directly with our church."

Gutknecht noted that on May 9, members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., picketed outside St. Luke's, among other churches, as part of a protest against the performance of "The Laramie Project" at Durham School of the Arts. The play is about the murder of a gay man, and the Westboro protesters carried anti-gay signs with slogans including "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for 9/11."

"That's the only thing of any kind of conflict, and it wasn't really a conflict," Gutknecht said, explaining that church members ignored the protesters.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.
Mayor Bell (a former neighbor of mine) has been a strong supporter of progressive efforts and has attended and spoken at our huge annual State Pride events held in the city.

From my coverage of the Westboro Baptist Church's visit to Durham:

* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps
* My dream come true -- Fred Phelps is coming to Durham!
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC


I wonder if NC's Republican Senators are going to make a public statement about this?

Elizabeth Dole
555 Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202.224.6342
Fax: 202.224.1100
Webform is here

Raleigh Office:
310 New Bern Avenue
Suite 122
Raleigh, NC 27601
Ph: 919.856.4630
Fax: 919.856.4053


Richard Burr
Washington, DC Office
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3154
Fax: (202) 228-2981
Webform is here

And what will our Governor, Dem. Mike Easley, have to say?


[UPDATE (2PM): Information on vigils.]
The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham is calling for vigils at all three locations tonight, Thursday May 26, and believe strongly that a large community response to the cross burnings is important. The NC Peace & Justice Coalition encourages everyone in the area to join in a loud community response to these acts of violence, hatred, racism and intimidation.


DOWNTOWN VIGIL: 6:00 community dinner and discussion on the cross burnings and the communty's response, 7:30 pm Vigil: Meet for both at the Durham Main Library parking lot, at 300 N Rosboro, between Holloway and Liberty streets. The dinner will take place within walking distance of the library. The vigil will likely take place near the site of the cross burning, 2 blocks away at the United House of Prayer on Dillard and Holloway. If you can help bring a dish, banners, or candles please Contact Andrew Pearson, 360 2028.

WEST DURHAM VIGIL: 8:00 pm At or near ST. Luke's Episcopal Church, (919) 286-2273, 1737 Hillandale Rd, Durham 27705, near I-85. The Church pastor and neighborhood and community groups are involved in the planning. Contact: John Schelp,, Old West Durham Neighborhood Association,

SOUTH DURHAM VIGIL: 8:00 pm on the sidewalk on South Roxboro Street, near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in front of the site of the cross burning. The plan at present is to have everyone gather on the sidewalk at the site of the burning on South Roxboro Street tonight at 8 pm and bring a candle "to shine some light in this moment of darkness." Churches and civic organizations are being contacted and fliers are being printed up. Contact Terry and Ann Lee Mosley,, 489-8592.

(Cross-posted at Big Brass Blog.)

See follow-up post, Durham vigils -- and speculation about motive for cross burnings.

Jump start on baby-eating

He's not running for office again, but Chimpy can't help himself. He wants BABY.

Hey folks, don't tank up at homo-bigoted ExxonMobil

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

In what has to be one of the dumbest moves for a major corporation, given the trend to protect gay employees, ExxonMobil, for the seventh consecutive year has decided that its non-discrimination policy will exclude sexual orientation.
At the oil company's annual meeting Wednesday in Dallas, shareholders voted 29.4 percent in favor of giving LGBT workers protection. It was the highest support the measure has yet received.

ExxonMobil is the only U.S. company that has ever rescinded a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation. The provision had been available to workers at Mobil. But, in December 1999 Mobil merged with Exxon and under Exxon's direction the policy was abandoned. At the same time, it closed Mobil's domestic partner benefits program to any more employees.

Twenty-four members of Congress, and thousands of stockholders and consumers, wrote to ExxonMobil Chairman Lee R. Raymond in December 1999 to protest the policy reversals. In January 2000, stockholders and activists protested at a company facility in Houston, causing the facility to close for the day. "ExxonMobil is wasting resources by refusing to write down a policy it says it already has," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
On the "Guiding Principles" section of its web site, ExxonMobil says the following about its employees:
The exceptional quality of our workforce is a valuable competitive edge. To build on this advantage we will strive to hire and retain the most qualified people available and maximize their opportunities for success through training and development. We are committed to maintaining a safe work environment enriched by diversity and characterized by open communication, trust, and fair treatment.
I guess fairness is for everyone except the homos toiling away at the billion dollar oil giant. Maybe ExxonMobil's board of directors includes a few closet AmTalibaners.

ExxonMobil's Board of Shame - where is the leadership?

Michael J. Boskin, William W. George, James R. Houghton,

William R. Howell, Reatha Clark King, Philip E. Lippincott,

Henry A. McKinnell, Jr., Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Lee R. Raymond,

Walter V. Shipley, Rex W. Tillerson (President, Exxon Mobil Corporation).

This is just plain sad, when BP Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Corp., Shell Oil Company, Sunoco Inc., Valero Energy Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and Williams Companies Inc. all have non-discrimination statements inclusive of sexual orientation.

A list of business addresses for ExxonMobil is here. A web form for general business communication is here.

Corporate News Media Desk
Corporate Media - Dallas, Texas
972 444 1107

Oral Roberts flashback: my Jesus is bigger than your Jesus

Oral Roberts has to lie down after encountering the 900-foot Jesus; he must have modeled the humongous hands outside Oral Roberts University in Tulsa after the apparition.

Chris Kromm over at Facing South has a post up, This Day in Right-Wing Evangelism both at the blog and over on DKos about super-nut evangelist Oral Roberts that's a hoot. It's the 25th anniversary of the sanity-challenged pastor's alleged meeting of the minds with Jesus himself in Tulsa OK.

If you had any doubt that the AmTaliban has a screw loose, this story seals the deal. Apologies for lifting this nearly wholesale, Chris, but it's too good to pass up.
And not just any Jesus, mind you -- the Savior described by Roberts (in a fundraising letter, of course) was 900 feet tall. The following is one account of this "miracle," which was widely criticized by fundamentalist Christians who maintain that God speaks to humans today only through the Holy Scripture:
The letter which triggered the most resounding outburst of public ridicule and criticism [to that time] was a September 1980 description of Oral's vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus. Roberts reported that late on the afternoon of May 25, he stood looking at the unfinished skeleton of the City of Faith, distraught over his financial difficulties, when "suddenly an unusual feeling swept over me":

"I felt an overwhelming holy presence all around me. When I opened my eyes, there He stood ... some 900 feet tall, looking at me ... He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600-foot-tall City of Faith. There I was face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. I have only seen Jesus once before, but here I was face to face with the King of kings. He reached down, put his Hands under the City of Faith, lifted it, and said to me, 'See how easy it is for Me to lift it!'"

Oral recalled that his eyes filled with tears, and Jesus assured him that He would speak to the ministry's partners and that the City of Faith would be finished.
And, of course, I forgot about this 62-ft.-high Jesus at the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, OH, which gives you an idea of big-ass Jeebus that Oral "saw":

While you're surfing over to Facing South, Chris has a call for progressive Southern bloggers -- if you are one or know of a good one, drop him a line at

Another NC whack job: 20 calls to 911 over a pizza

Why is today a NC nut day? First we had wingnuttery from Liddy Dole, then Walter Jones, the Koran-flushing pastor, and now just plain nuttery by a Charlotte woman that really needs the phone removed. Dorothy Densmore called 911 twenty times in a little more than a half-hour — because a pizza parlor wouldn't deliver.
She told dispatchers Sunday that a local pizza shop refused to deliver a pie to her south Charlotte apartment, said Officer Mandy Giannini. She also complained that someone at the shop called her a "crazy old coot," Giannini said.

Densmore wanted them arrested. Instead, police came to arrest her, and she resisted, Giannini said. It's unusual for someone to face charges for nonemergency calls, Giannini said. But on Sunday, Densmore kept calling 911, even after she was told to stop, Giannini said.

When an officer arrived at her apartment, the 5-foot-tall, 98-pound woman attacked him, Giannini said. Densmore scratched him, kicked and bit his hand, she said.

Low-wattage Walter Jones: 'Freedom Fries' was a dumb idea

Eastern North Carolina U.S. Rep. Walter Jones rues his coining of the term "Freedom Fries."

So when exactly did the light bulb come on over this wingnut dunce's head? The Guardian has a story on the Tar Heel knuckle-dragger's second thoughts about his little wartime wordplay now that the war is dragging out and the bombs and body counts are rising.
It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".

Mr Jones, who in March 2003 circulated a letter demanding that the three cafeterias in the House of Representatives' office buildings ban the word french from menus, said it was meant as a "light-hearted gesture". But the name change, still in force, made headlines around the world, both for what it said about US-French relations and its pettiness.

Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign - an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Empty Wig Dole: the nuclear option is on the table

The Joker, er, Liddy Dole (NC), one of my Repug Senators.

I somehow got on this Repug mailing list, so I get spammed by Liddy. Is there are more empty, meaningless, ineffective vessel than Elizabeth "Empty Wig" Dole? Even so, the head of National Repug Senatorial Committee is confident we'll be back at the brink when it comes down to the filibuster:
"Although I am pleased that some of the President's qualified judicial nominees are finally getting the fair up or down vote they deserve, I am disappointed that not all nominees will be afforded that same courtesy. The understanding made by the group of fourteen made clear that judicial philosophy is not a legitimate reason to filibuster qualified judges. If Democrats should choose to continue their unprecedented use of the filibuster, we should immediately move to the constitutional option. Although I believe a vote on the constitutional option was certainly justified today, I am glad that it has not been taken off the table for future confirmation debates."
Looks like the Freepi also give a no-confidence vote re: Liddy and the NRSC, hahahahahaha.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"...let them know what you think. I told them no more money from me until they cut off funds for the seven traitors and fund their opposition in the primary."

"I wonder if she is enjoying the emails from their website. I notice how they don't have a phone number that is easily accesible. I sent them an email today telling them to take my name off of their mailing list and kiss their donations goodbye."

"If Democrats should choose to continue their unprecedented use of the filibuster, we should immediately move to the constitutional option. Sounds to me like she found the cajones that McCain seems to have lost."

"She could be denying reelection funds to the the 3 of the 7 up for election in 2006 and offering funds to their primary candidates. Chaffee, at least, can clearly be defeated in a primary. We're more likely to 'lose' the seat then, but in reality we only have his for organizational purposes. We can afford to lose one to make a point to the other RINOs."

"Ah, yes... the organization that will receive no more of my cash until they state in writing that they will not fund the campaigns of any of the seven RINOS that betrayed their country. Sorry, Liz."

"It's always been my understanding that the NRSC will never work against an incumbent GOP senator...regardless of that Senator's ideology. In '04, the NRSC backed Arlen Specter in his primary against Pat Toomey. In '02, I believe that even backed Bob Smith over John Sununu."

"My email to the NRSC: I am EXTREMLY upset at what seven RINO senators did Monday evening, May 23, 2005. These party traitors must learn that actions have consequences. Accordingly, if you will state in writing that they will receive no funding from the NRSC in their upcoming campaigns and that the NRSC will be funding their primary opponents, I will consider resuming funding your organization. Until then, expect no support or contributions from me. "

"The NRSC gets no donations from me until Frist gets his caucus in order. I agree. Why waste time, energy and money on getting republicans elected when they are only going to cross over to the other side of the aisle on crucial issues."

"We could not give him that much funds and let him raise his own. But if the RNC tries to fund a primary challenger against Chaffee, he might just switch parties and get re-elected anyway. While making a example out of one RINO might be a good thing. I wonder if this is the one to do so with. Some RINO's are RINO's because they have to be to get elected. I think we should go after a RINO that doesn't need to be a RINO in their home state. While McCain would be my first choice I say go after Lindsey Graham. He has been a thorn in the side of Bush for some time now and he doesn't need to be to get re-elected in his own state. This guy needs to go and at least there is enough of a conservative base in that state to oust him. And if he tries to run for president, the Clinton lovers will remember his role in the impeachment episode. This would be the loser I would go after."

"I bailed on the NRSC when they had the 100-0 vote to not hold a real impeachment trial on Clinton. All the GOP had to do was support the status quo rules, essentially those used in Andrew Johnson's trial and then polished by the Democrats (including Hillary) for anticipated use against Nixon and then further polished by the Democrats for anticipated use against Reagan. They weren't going to get the 2/3 to convict, but they had the 50 needed to protect the honor of the Senate and force a real trial. Every GOP Senator then in office bailed and the best of them, Phil Gramm, co-authored the bail out with Ted Kennedy! Every one of those 50 cowards needs replacing, some of them (e.g. the then least worthy House manager, Lindsey Graham) more than once. My Senate $ goes to the Club for Growth.

A chip off the old AmTaliban Bloch

This toad Scott Bloch deserves his balls tightened in a vise. Photo: (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)

"The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection."
-- Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, and administration henchman for gay-bashing

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) grilled this bastard about his failure to enforce a federal workplace policy that forbids bias based on sexual orientation, but Bloch insists it's out of his hands. (WP):
If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.
But that really the policy? WTF?
..."Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation," the White House said in a statement. "President Bush expects federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work."

Levin reminded Bloch of that policy yesterday. "That is not something that you believe is binding on you?" he asked. "It is binding on me," Bloch said, "but it is not something I can prosecute in my agency. . . . I am limited by the enforcement statutes that you give me."

Federal civil rights laws ban employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability and political affiliation. Sexual orientation is not among these "protected classes."

When Levin asked if Bloch would recommend that Congress clarify the law so that protections for federal employees extend to sexual orientation, Bloch declined to take a position.
Is Dobson pulling this man's chain too? A "what he said" to John A. over at AmericaBlog : "Fuck you, George Bush. Fuck you, Scott Bloch. Fuck you, the very single 38 year old and never been married Ken Mehlman. Fuck you, Mary Cheney and your entire milquetoast sell out family."

More ranting by Shakes Sis over at Big Brass Blog.

Laugh of the night from Concerned Women for America

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

This graphic is up on the Concerned Women for America web site:

This juxtaposition with old TJ just cracked me up, probably because the allegedly pious Reich are consumers of plenty of porn. Somehow I don't think CWA is going to get very far if the intention is to ban porn. They are joining up with Phil Burress's outfit, Citizens for Community Values, to "mobilize citizen action against porn's encroachment upon our society."

You'll also recall that Burress is the brain behind (see "And I thought they were talking about clean sheets")

Howie Fineman -- clueless part 2: AmTaliban is in retreat

Duh (again).

Howard Fineman, that wise sage at Newsweek pontificated the following about James Dobson on May 4 (see "Howie Fineman: clueless on Dobson"):
I asked him what his top priority was in public life, and was astonished to hear him answer: ending the filibuster rule.
Our MSM oracle is at it again -- this week we have his web-exclusive, highly insightful laff-riot, "Food Fight in the Big Tent," ruminating hilariously whether voters starting to turn against the AmTaliban (the emphasis is mine):
I’m wondering if we haven’t just witnessed a turning point in politics. Years from now, when we look back on the “Gang of 14” deal, will we see it as the moment when the tide of conservative Republicanism crested?

American public life moves in cycles. A generation ago, Lyndon Johnson trounced Barry Goldwater. But Goldwater’s 1964 crusade unleashed energy and ideas that inspired the New Right-Republican movement, which eventually reached its zenith in George W. Bush. He unified the libertarian, religious and corporate cadres of conservatism under his GOP banner.

Is the wheel turning again with another bold Texan in power? Hard to know, of course, and the Democrats won’t rise in some mere hydraulic fashion. They need to find vision, ideas and charismatic leaders, and none of them seem to be in great supply. But the line of products—call them “Bush Right” —suddenly is looking like what marketers call a “mature brand.” There are signs of age, strain and overreach, internally and externally.
I won't disagree that the Reich is over-reaching, but damn, what echo chamber has Fineman been in? There's no one there from the real world in there with him. The wingnuts are not in retreat by any stretch of the imagination. He's convinced that the recent filibuster compromise represents a smackdown on the Right.
Inside the Big Tent, the “Gang of 14” deal pitted libertarians against the religionists, with Bush —who rose to power by taming both—caught in the middle. Faith-based conservatives felt betrayed by the bi-partisan deal and with good reason: they were betrayed.
But most of the GOP members of the Gang don’t feel guilty about it—they are (privately) delighted. Many other Republican senators, who stayed away from the filibuster-judges deal for various reasons, were relieved that rules of the Senate were saved and that religious conservatives were, in essence, told to shove it.
Again, he's not completely incorrect, just dementedly short-sighted. This is a short term "loss" for the AmTaliban, but when the Supreme Court vacancy is ready to be filled (these "moderate" Repugs better pray Rehnquist doesn't kick it around election time), Dobson, like The Mummy, will be back, staggering and slobbering all over them again, threatening to club them into submission.

That nuclear button will be pushed when the Repug theocrats are ready because the whole religious extremist movement is about changing the direction of this country by appointing justices that will "make things right" -- in the biblical terms. This little filibuster jousting match means nothing to them -- this as a long-term war and they intend to go the distance. I cannot fathom how anyone in the MSM can seriously observe that some kind of political corner that has been turned, harkening a return to centrist control.

Spokane's Jim 'Wild Wild' West faces more allegations

State Sen Pam Roach (R-31) said that Mayor Jim West made a pass at her son.

You really need a shower after reading about this homo-bigot, de-closeted dude; each nasty bit that comes out is proof positive that the closet can create mental illness and deviancy. What a shameless, corrupt, arrogant perv. He still has no intention of stepping down. (NYT):
New allegations of misconduct surfaced Tuesday against Mayor James West, who has rejected demands for his resignation amid allegations he offered city jobs to men he met in gay online chat rooms.

According to The Spokesman-Review, state Sen. Pam Roach said that when West served in the Legislature, he made an inappropriate sexual comment to her about her teenage son. The newspaper also said a man claimed that he was inappropriately touched during a pat-down search when West was a sheriff's deputy in the 1970s.

Through his attorney, Bill Etter, West denied the published reports. ''Mr. West denies each and every one of these allegations,'' Etter said.

The new allegations were part of a series of articles the newspaper has published about West, a conservative Republican and longtime opponent of gay rights. The Spokesman-Review has also reported allegations that West molested two boys in the 1970s when he was a Boy Scout leader, and that he offered gifts, favors and jobs at City Hall to young men he met online. The mayor has denied those allegations but acknowledged having relations with adult men. The Justice Department is investigating whether West used his political office and city resources improperly. The city also is investigating.

Roach told the newspaper that West made the comment in the Senate chamber around 1990, when her then-18-year-old son was working as a tour guide in the state Capitol and West was a state senator.

''West told me, 'I want to do to your son what no mother would want to know,''' Roach said the former senator told her. Roach said she told fellow Republican Sen. Ann Anderson about the encounter at the time, but Anderson, a friend of West, told the newspaper she recalled that West told Roach: ''Pam, you have a nice-looking young son.''
Thanks to House Blender Holly of Julien's List for the pointer.

UPDATE (5/25): Read more sleaze on West by JJ over at B3.

Yet another tiny town NC pastor loses his mind: 'Flush the Koran'

photo via Booman Tribune.

"If we stand for what is right and for God's word and for Christianity then the world is going to condemn us and so right away when I got a complaint I said, 'Well somebody's mad, somebody's offended, so we must be doing something right,'"
-- Rev. Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church, on his church sign that says 'The Koran needs to be flushed.'
Yes, this is part of my state too. Out there in the hinterlands is Forest City, NC. It's a picturesque town about 200 miles west of Durham, and home to yet another pastor who has a tenuous grasp on the meaning of the Golden Rule and "turning the other cheek." Maybe Rev. Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church is friends with Waynesville's former political pastor of stupidity, Chan Chandler. These zealots are so completely unhinged and don't mind sharing their twisted thoughts that it scares me. (Durham Herald-Sun):
A Baptist minister refuses to apologize for a church sign saying the Muslim holy book should be flushed.

"I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong," said the Rev. Creighton Lovelace of Danieltown Baptist Church. "I knew that whenever we decided to put that sign up that there would be people who wouldn't agree with it, and there would be some that would, and so we just have to stand up for what's right."

Seema Riley, a Muslim born in Pakistan and reared in New York, said she moved to Rutherford County, about 60 miles west of Charlotte, for the "small-town friendly" atmosphere. The church sign reading, "The Koran needs to be flushed," angered her and made her feel threatened, she said. "We need a certain degree of tolerance," Riley said. "That sign doesn't really reflect what I think this county is about."

Lovelace said he expected the sign in front of his 55-member church to also stir anger in some people. [No sh*t.]

Jim Diehl.

...Danieltown Baptist Church belongs to the Sandy Run Baptist Association. Each church in the association is autonomous, said the Rev. Jim Diehl, the group's director of missions. "Each church can develop a stance on doctrinal issues and can develop its own stance on moral issues," he said.
Note: The Freepers had a thread on this, but it was pulled. It must have been too full of hate for even the admin to take.

Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.

Out-of-state AmTaliban pushing hard on NC legislators to hear anti-gay marriage bill

Losers at the May 10 anti-gay protest in Raleigh; Rev. Mark Creech: "Every day this matter is delayed is another day the gay rights coalition have time to plan and strategize to redefine the timeless institution that is the greatest pillar of society."

These creeps make me sick. There's a reason that marriage amendment bills have not gone anywhere in our General Assembly. The Dems let the bills stay in committee and die, and local gay rights efforts by Equality NC and other progressive groups have helped keep this legislation at bay.

The economic engine of this state -- the Triangle -- is a formidable influence on this as well. With significant medical, educational and technology institutions in the area, they know that the extremist legislation - which also deep-sixes civil unions and legal arrangements between gay couples - will have an impact on the state's national and international business reputation. That said, in 2004 we saw many other states with more progressive than NC's pass marriage amendments because of the Rove Machine's tactics that got them on the ballot. We dodged that bullet.

This is frustrating the Reich, and they have been pouring lots of money, time, and shipping ignorant people in to marshal protests to put the pressure on legislators to give this hate bill a hearing. Radio ads have blared over Christian stations to stir the sheeple in the rural counties to flood the mailboxes and phone lines of Senate Pro Tem Marc Basnight.

Homo-bigot local AmTalibaner Rev. Mark H. Creech (, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, is practically wailing over the situation here in the Tar Heel State.
Despite the fact that 18 states in our Union have already approved marriage amendments to their State Constitutions, the leadership in both the North Carolina Senate and House has resisted the hearing of legislation for the same in our state.

...Although North Carolina's laws against homosexual marriage are relatively strong, the State is still vulnerable to homosexual activists who would "judge shop" and challenge such laws and prevail in court. The definition of marriage is a matter the people, not the courts, should decide. Every day this matter is delayed is another day the gay rights coalition have time to plan and strategize to redefine the timeless institution that is the greatest pillar of society.

Phone calls need to be made to the office of House Speaker Jim Black (919.733.3451) and Senate President Pro Tempore, Mark Basnight (919.733.6854) asking them to stop playing Russian roulette with marriage and the family. They control what legislation is heard in our State. It's time they stop stifling legislation for a State Constitutional amendment to protect marriage.

"Let us vote! Let us vote! Let us vote!"
Some of the choice words from the AmTaliban on the NC effort to enshrine hate in its Constitution. The unbelievable, bible-beating bullsh*ttery flows freely here. It takes your breath away:
Mike Johnson, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund: "We are all seeing the full effects of the 1960s' and 70s' sexual revolution, radical feminism, no-fault divorce laws, and the rejection of moral absolutes -- and God's created order. Forty-five million babies have been murdered by legalized abortion. Pornography and crime have reached crisis proportions. Sodomy is now embraced by our courts, and the radical homosexual agenda is threatening the very definition of marriage. The culture is slipping into chaos and sexual anarchy. And yet, when we take a stand for America's Judeo-Christian heritage, for morality, for traditional marriage, we are marginalized and persecuted. We are accused of being 'intolerant' ... of violating the so-called 'separation of church and state' .... Thankfully, God's people are finally waking up, and we are once again demanding a return to the Founder's original intent, and to justice and righteousness in the public square .... The truth is religious conviction should influence our thinking on these issues, and on every aspect of our public lives."

Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, argued this issue is about making sure our government doesn't put its stamp of approval on wrongful sexual behavior. He said the term "sexual orientation" is a misleading term. "A lot of people misunderstand the term 'sexual orientation,' he said. " 'Sexual orientation' was invented in the 1970s by homosexual activists as a radical challenge to the Christian worldview. In essence, 'sexual orientation' says you are born with certain desires, are therefore entitled to act on these desires, and this condition is just like skin color or ethnicity, thereby making it a civil right to be enforced against others who disagree. Contrast this with the Christian message, which is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior who offers us redemption. 'Sexual orientation,' quite simply, says that we are fine the way we are and don't need Jesus. This is a terrible lie, and it traps people in sin instead of giving them hope for a better life. This is not about tolerance for homosexuals," added Knight. "If the homosexual agenda is enacted, we will see the criminalization of Christianity in a few short years. It is already happening in Canada and Sweden, and we now have seen it happen in Philadelphia, where 11 Christians were arrested and jailed for preaching the Gospel at a public park during a homosexual street festival last October ... this should send a chill down the backs of all freedom-loving Americans."

Bill Maier, vice president for Focus on the Family, told rally attendants "the saddest thing about same-sex marriage and parenting is that it places adult desires above the interest of children." He added: "Same-sex marriage intentionally creates motherless or fatherless families .... Gay activists will tell you that all children need is two 'caring adults.' But children need more than that ... they need a mommy and a daddy....Same-sex parenting really boils down to those two words ... 'I want.'"

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, contended that the potential for same-sex marriage is an urgent matter. He said many judges are just waiting for an opportunity to redefine the sacred institution. He warned North Carolina lawmakers resisting the push for a state marriage amendment: "Recent elections indicate that those politicians who get cold feet when it comes to giving the people a voice to defend marriage find themselves in the hot seat at election time. The people of North Carolina want to join the marriage march that is moving across this nation, promoting and protecting the institution of marriage." Perkins called upon North Carolinians that support traditional marriage to do three things: (1) Pray for our leaders and for the promotion of marriage, (2) Don't grow weary and stay in the battle, and (3) Don't let America down. He said that North Carolina needed a State Constitutional marriage amendment to help make the case for a federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A 'must-see' according to Agape Press - Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink

Is there anyone who didn't think Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) was queer as the day is long? Two commenters remembered one of my favorite game show queens, Charles Nelson Reilly.

[UPDATE: I'm moving this one back up since I want to hear more from you all about the (actual or seemingly) queer characters you've noted in TV or the movies.]

I love reading the wingnuttery at Agape Press. They don't realize how helpful they are in getting the word out on upcoming queer programming. Now I can set my DVR to record this program.
.A one-hour special soon to air on Nick at Nite's "TV Land" network will examine how homosexuals have influenced and reacted to various television shows, characters, and celebrities over the last 40 years. On June 1, the cable network will premier Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink, a show focusing on celebrated TV shows, characters and personalities that homosexuals have closely identified with or gravitated towards and why. A article on the special quotes TV Land/Nick at Night president Larry Jones as saying that many of the shows and characters mainstream America has embraced -- from Uncle Arthur on "Bewitched" to the women of "Sex & the City" -- have "also meant a great deal to gay Americans," a group whose members, Jones says, "have had their own way of watching and creating classic comedy." Produced for TV Land by Linda Ellerbee's Lucky Duck Productions, the 60-minute special will feature commentary from such show business notables as Sandra Bernhard, Kelsey Grammer, Rue McClanahan, Diahann Carroll, Bruce Vilanch, and others. Ellerbee, an outspoken journalist, author, and former NBC News Overnight co-anchor, has recently been the host of Nick News, a "kid's issues" TV program on Nickelodeon.
There's an encore presentation that night at 2 a.m.


Who were your favorite coded "homosensational" characters on TV (or for that matter, the movies)?

I'll toss one in the ring, from the movies -- Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker, Jr.) from Hitchcock's Stranger on a Train (1951). It's barely veiled that Walker's character has an unhealthy attraction/obsession with Farley Granger's tennis pro character Guy Haines. He's even willing to kill for him. Of course if a character could be seen as remotely queer in the movies of that time, you had to be evil and die, or you were seen as the screaming queen (a la Franklin Pangborn), or a bull-dyke warden in any number of women-in-prison films, the earliest and most subtle being Hope Emerson's Evelyn Harper in Caged (1950).

Walker (R) gives his finest (and penultimate) performance as psychopath Bruno trying to get tennis star Granger to "exchange murders."

Hitch definitely had issues, as Mrs Danvers in Rebecca (Judith Anderson) as well as James Mason's villainous Phillip Vandamm in North By Northwest are easily read as queer.

Have at it!

How's that war going, Chimpy?

Left: A U.S. Army Humvee burns after a car bomb attack in Baghdad May 24, 2005. Insurgents killed three U.S. soldiers and two Iraqis in car bomb attacks in central Baghdad on May 24, a day after a wave of suicide attacks and bomb blasts that killed at least 56 Iraqis. A sharp escalation in insurgent attacks since Iraq's new Shi'ite-led government was announced four weeks ago has killed more than 600 Iraqis and deepened sectarian tensions, prompting Shi'ite and Sunni Arab leaders to open talks on reconciliation. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters). Second photo: A man cleans as a US soldier walks past following a car bomb in central Baghdad. A London-based think-tank noted that the situation in Iraq was also creating a recruitment effect for terrorist groups, an aspect which remained 'the proverbial elephant in the living room' of US foreign policy (AFP).


The AmTaliban's full-force assault on corporate America

As we saw in the Microsoft debacle, when the $30 billion company withdrew support for gay rights legislation after being criticized by evangelist Ken Hutcherson, it was clear that the American Taliban has corporate America shaking in its boots. [It was only after pressure from employees and the blogs that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer later reversed Microsoft's stance -- after the bill was defeated.]

In an excellent piece by J.D. Bullington in the Albuquerque Tribune, the assault and intimidation techniques are relentless. The distressing news is that corporations are buckling.
America's largest companies are increasingly being targeted for their stances on social issues and dropping their gloves without a fight, showing no willingness to jump into the ring and take on the new breed of righteous, heavyweight contenders. Big business would rather forfeit these days instead of upsetting a huge, well-organized and rapidly growing religious conservative consumer sector.

According to a report in the May 23 edition of BusinessWeek, more and more corporations are facing threats of evangelical-led boycotts, including General Electric for pursuing stem cell research, Proctor and Gamble for advertising Downy fabric softener in a foreign gay magazine and supporting gay rights, and Kraft Foods for supporting the Gay Olympics. Safeway, Lowe's, Tyson Foods and Kellogg no longer plan to purchase commercial ad space during the TV show "Desperate Housewives" because of pressure from Christian organizations.

The largest church in the nation is Lakewood Church in Houston. Weekend attendance is 30,000, which helped net the church $55 million in contributions last year. Megachurches, like Lakewood, which are actually sophisticated multimedia enterprises, have become incredibly successful at targeting people who have drifted away from other traditional denominations or who have never attended church regularly.

The religious right is one heaven of a force, surging with confidence, power and money after helping President Bush get re-elected. Now it has its sight set on broader issues that conflict with the business agenda.

Evangelicals are obedient followers. A few high commands from the pulpits of megachurches can rock America's largest corporations and send them scurrying with their tails between their legs.
It's a formidable challenge for the Left. Can we organize, compete and win over these sheeple? It's hard to beat a group of people that blindly follow their leaders without firing off a synapse of their own, and corporate weathervane folks that think the wind is driven by the Religious Reich.

NC GOP re-elects its hard-Right chair

Redneck Ferrell Blount was re-elected over black wingnut, Winston-Salem city councilman Vernon Robinson.

NC is a strange state. Despite AmTaliban characters such as Jesse Helms and Bill James, the citizens vote Democrat for its legislature and Repug for national offices. This problem was the talk of the recent GOP state convention in Asheville, and the re-election of knuckle-dragger Ferrell Blount highlights the frustration -- and desire -- to "take back the state."
GOP's state convention overwhelmingly re-elected Pitt County farmer Ferrell Blount to a second term as chairman Saturday. The vote repelled a challenge from Vernon Robinson, a blunt-spoken conservative city councilman from Winston-Salem and self-described "black Jesse Helms."

[Blount] once erected a granite inscription of the Ten Commandments in city hall after a similar effort in Alabama drew national attention. And in his unsuccessful congressional primary race last year against Republican state Sen. Virginia Foxx, he bashed her as a "liberal feminist."

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx and State Sen. Julia Bozeman got slagged by Blount.

...The dissatisfaction among some Republicans was fueled, in part, by North Carolina's split political personality. The state tends to vote Republican in federal races and Democratic in state government elections. Robinson, in a forceful speech to the 1,075 delegates and alternates, charged that the state party had failed to capture the momentum of the growing Republican wave in North Carolina and the South. Republicans, while gaining ground in other states, lost the N.C. governor's race and most of the top state offices and remain in the minority in the General Assembly.

"Now only Oregon has gone longer than North Carolina without a Republican governor," Robinson said. "We lost seats in the General Assembly, including (2004 nominee for governor) Patrick Ballantine's Senate seat to a lesbian," he said, referring to Sen. Julia Boseman, an openly gay Wilmington Democrat.

Wingnut American Family Association gives up its Disney boycott

AFA's Tim Wildmon: "We're just saying as an organization, after nine years of boycotting the Walt Disney Company, that we're calling an end to it officially as a ministry agenda item."

Chalk up a win in the homo agenda column. Am Taliban AFA propaganda organ AgapePress reports that the organization is throwing in the towel on its Disney boycott. I guess he feels Walt Disney World and the Disney studios are so overrun with fags that there's no point focusing on the company. Ha ha.
The Mississippi-based American Family Association is announcing the end of its years-long protest against the Walt Disney Company. For nine years, the pro-family organization has urged its supporters to avoid anything Disney, but the boycott has now officially come to an end.

AFA president Tim Wildmon says there are a number of reasons for this recent decision, and chief among those reasons is what he calls "a culturally crowded battlefield." The ministry's leadership decided it was time to end the boycott, he explains, "because there are so many other issues we need to move on to and deal with that are taking our time and energy, and we feel like, if you're going to call for a boycott of a company -- if something has become that serious -- you need to have all your resources behind it."

Dobson, Bauer and Freeper reaction to the filibuster deal

First, the spin from Dobson. He's not happy, but he doesn't blame Frist, since he doesn't want to figuratively kick his puppet to the curb just yet.

Focus on the Family Action Chairman Dr. James C. Dobson today issued the following statement, upon the announcement by members of the U.S. Senate that a "compromise" had been reached on the filibuster issue:

"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush’s nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals.

"We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust."
Whining Little Gary Bauer isn't much happier...

The President of American Values said: "This is a sad day for our nation. The desire of millions of Americans to restore balance to our federal courts has been thwarted behind closed doors by 14 senators. Only three of President Bush's appointees are guaranteed an up or down vote under this sell out.

"Under this agreement it is now more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to same sex marriage, abortion on demand and hostility to religious expression. The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters. Shame on them all."
The Freepi are ready to go after the Senators ("I'm angry enough to pledge money to real conservatives who will run against these RINO's and replace them. How about $100.00 a head? I encourage everyone to attack! "): Lincoln D. Chafee (RI), Susan M. Collins (ME), Olympia Snowe (ME), John W. Warner (VA), John McCain (AZ; the link is to a blowtorch Freeper thread entitled "John McCain Appreciation Thread [Enter At Your Own Risk]"), and their usual b-boy, Lindsey Graham (SC; his ass is kicked all over in that thread).

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"This is the price paid for lack of party discipline. RINOs are nothing new. We can go back to people like Jacob Javits, Howard Baker, and that hump from Connecticut whose name I can't remember, but who National Review called "the worst Republican Senator." None of these people EVER paid a price for going either agianst the leadership or against conservatives. Just try going against the Democrat leadership and see what happens. For examples, ask Bob Casey Sr. or Zel Miller."

"The harsh truth is that even after all of these election "victories", we only really have 48 true Republicans. Frist knew this, which is why he didin't call the Democrats' bluff meuch sooner."

"On the list of shame, they only one I'm really surprised at is Lindsay Graham. He did good work as a House manager on the impeachment. Looks like that was all for show, though, as he has revealed his true self. John Warner has been off the reservation for years now. Don't forget, he's still trying to push that idiotic and sovreignty-threatening LOST treaty on us. How sad is it that Norm Coleman (a very pleasant surprise, coming from Minnesota), is more reliable than senators from Virginia or South Carolina?"

"Concerning Bush, I certainly blame him Cheney and the RNC for failing to support true conservatives, especially in Pennsylvania. Toomey WOULD have won the general election against that empty suit Hoeftel (sp?). 2/3 of the Republican primary voters went with Specter BECAUSE of the Bush/Cheney endorsement. Anybody think we're better off with Arlen in the Senate instead of Toomey?"

"This deal is a total sell-out. Forget about DeWhine's rantings that if the Democrats evoke "extraordinary" circumstances over the next SC appointee, that gives the Republicans the right to change the Senate rules. It doesn't. Even if it did, which RINO would be stand up for principle and change the rules?"

"I don't think that these RINOs understand the opportunity that they just pissed away. Or maybe they do, which is far worse. Bush will make at least 2 SC appointments, possibly 4. The tyranny of the judiciary COULD have been ended, but now, that will not occur. No way will Bush get any real conservatives on the court. The only solution I see is to get three more real Republicans elected in 2006. The party has no stomach for disciplining and expelling these RINOs. In the meantime, we have to hope that only Rehnquist retires so that the only SC vacancy is his."

"Nice profile of the Democraps that have infiltrated the GOP. If our leaders don't purge these TRAITORS from the party I'll have rethink my membership. I'm worried they are all spineless RINOs. I'm seriously considering leaving to the Consitution Party whose goal is: to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries. They would make all abortion illegal, bring back school prayer & the 10 commandments in courtrooms and elimate numerous useless federal departments (EPA, interior etc). Thats the party for me! Hopefully some of the Repubs with spines will quit their spineless party for this one..."

Lindsey Graham: "Democrat by night"

"I wonder what's in Lindsey Graham's FBI file."

"Graham: "...there's gonna be a lot of people spinning tonight....." He thinks people will thank him in the long run.

"I'm a yes vote" says he wanted to get rid of the filibuster, because he is a conservative. YET HE MADE A DEAL TO KEEP IT. The guy is a fraud. He is no conservative!"

"okay south carolinians give him the attention he deserves and let him know don't even bother running in the primary"

"Graham.....better enjoy his fame.....he sold out his party. I will donate money to his next opponent"

"This nation is in bad shape...We have a party of collaborators with every enemy this nation has had in the last 50 years, and a party that has no guts to fight the democrats to save its life. The republicans caved on Terry, caved on the judges, and will continue caving. Why bother voting for them? The democrats and judges run the nation...I better learn Spanish..."

"Not a big deal. The trend is with us. There's no need to overplay our hand at this point, the same issues will come up in the future. We may be better able to deal with them then, after the 2006 election."

"The Democrats lost big tonight. The three most EXTREME nominees, held at bay for four years because of the "damage" they would do to the nation, have just been cleared by the Democrat moderates. That means that if Janice Rodgers Brown is nominated to the Supreme Court, the Dems simply will not be able to filibuster her."

"Last I heard, we won the election...NOT the you think they would have asked us what we think if they had a majority in the senate? I have been voting for republicans to keep the democrats from power and making decisions...but the guys I vote for seem to lack the gumsion to put the dems in their place. I'm disgusted..."

"Every RINO in the Senate let us down. Again. And the sad thing is that McCainiac ran unopposed in the primary just last year."

"the democrats part of the "deal" is to not filibuster anyone but the "extreme" - which means they have to be "worse" than the ones we're going to be voting on tomorrow (Owens, Brown, etc.) , because the democrats let them pass. I hear what you are saying, but to the demonrats EXTREME means anybody Bush nominates. Now they will let these few pass now, but they'll be up to their old tricks, and who will call the on it, the MSM? Ha! The RINOs that caved? No way they will get clobbered if they admit they screwed up. A previous poster said he was one that defended Republicans when they got beat up here, and I too was one of those, and like he says, I too was wrong."

"All seven! Every single one sold us out. They will be beatified in the MSM for a few days and that is their 30 pieces of silver. The Constitution will continue to be crucified by leftists for the time being. We need to do whatever we can to get these RINO's out of the Senate."

"Great letter. Now follow it up with a photocopy of a check (no matter how small) to anyone opposing him in any primary."

"Win/win for us. We wanted an up or down vote on judges, and the filibuster stopped. We got it. Secondly, the democrats part of the "deal" is to not filibuster anyone but the "extreme" - which means they have to be "worse" than the ones we're going to be voting on tomorrow (Owens, Brown, etc.) , because the democrats let them pass. If they can't "prove" another is worse, the Constitutional option - according to the Dems agreement - is still an option. If they renig on their deal, we can still nuke them with clean conscience. They're the ones that lied!

"Put down the bong and get straight, man. You can't be serious. Are you really that naive?"

"Any supreme court justice nominee anywhere to the Right of John McCain will be considered "extreme" and this bunch of RINOs will back the filibuster of them because they have to live up to this deal they cut with the devil. If they didn't have the guts to stand up today, what makes you think they will in the future?"

"Extraordinary Circumstances"= Conservative record. The Rats will break this deal faster than Bill Clinton did to his vows of fidelity when he married Hillary."

"Nothing to do with not having enough votes. This was about a handful of weak-kneed Republicans who can't stand up to carping liberals. Simple as that."

The Democrats lost big tonight.

"Oh really! Let's see... they had two choices: 1. Get all the Bush's nominees voted on; 2. Get just three voted on. Tell me how number 2 is bigger than number 1. By the way do you have anything for sale? I would love to do a deal with you. Better yet I'll get one of my liberal friends do it for me!"

"Who let us down in the filibuster? No one. Albeit, unwittingly. We are right where we've always been, in spite of the idiot 14. If the Dimms filibuster in the future...we nuke them. And, we have the votes to do it...probably more tonight than last night. The only change is two nominees without a hope of winning 51 votes have been taken off the table...and three Conservative judges are going to the bench."

"We "real" conservatives were only 24 hours from the showdown, the pinnacle to which we have waited for months to employ part of the Bush agenda only to be thoroughly and wretchedly disappointed once again. These guys we have elected to office in the name of conservatism are nothing but a big tease. They talk big, they threaten big, but when push comes to shove they melt in the hands of the minority. It is so disheartening to see this behaviour over and over and over again. Imagine if the Dems were in power 55-45, they'd be shoving their agenda down our throats no questions asked."

"Social conservatives are growing weary from being sold out. Partial Birth Abortion Ban passes and then is rectified by the liberal agenda through the courts. So we need to change the courts, the system by which we are continously hoodwinked. So here we are at the juncture and our weak-kneed Senators sell us out AGAIN!!! If any Republican is reading this and you have influence in our conservatively elected Congress please take note: Social Conservatives are beginning to feel as if we elected a "pig-in-a-poke." At some point the agenda has to be moved in our direction, at some point there needs to be a payoff however small. We are looking at what is happening in the Senate with keen interest. To control the Executive and Legislative brances and NOT get the same percentages of Judges seated as Clinton is UNFORGIVABLE. Trust me, we social conservatives won't be around forever waiting for you to grow a spine. There is a point at which we begin to collectively throw our hands in the air. And we are close to that time!!!!!!!!!!"
NOTE: Mark and Brian of Dem Bloggers passed along that the site has videos online of the Compromise press conference and Reid's press conference as covered by CNN.

Apparently the pilots have to be passed out to be 'too drunk to fly'

As House Blender Paul pointed out in his email to me about this story, "This is the best defense their lawyer could come up with????":
Two former America West pilots charged with operating a plane full of passengers while drunk may have consumed alcohol and smelled of alcohol but they could still walk and see, their lawyers told a jury on Monday. Pilots Christopher Hughes and Thomas Cloyd were hauled off an Airbus 319 in Miami on July 1, 2002, and charged with operating a plane under the influence of alcohol.

They were in the cockpit as the plane was being towed to the runway for takeoff from Miami International Airport on a flight to Phoenix, Arizona. But after a security screener reported the pilots were red-eyed, flush-faced and reeking of alcohol, air traffic controllers ordered the plane back to the gate.

Police said Cloyd's blood-alcohol reading was 0.091 and Hughes' was 0.084. Florida law assumes a vehicle operator, including the operator of a plane, to be drunk if the blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher, and state authorities charged them with operating an aircraft while intoxicated.

Defense attorneys said the pilots should not be convicted because they were not "operating" the plane at the time in question. The aircraft was being towed away from the gate and the driver of the tug truck had control of the aircraft, they said. "They couldn't endanger anyone as long as they were connected to that tug," said Cloyd's attorney, Dan Foodman. "The plane is inoperable at all times that they were in that plane."

The fact that the pair had consumed alcohol the night before the flight and the fact that they smelled of alcohol did not mean they were impaired, the defense attorneys said.

"Mr. Hughes was able to see, hear, walk, talk, etcetera," attorney James Rubin said of his client.

Most excellent NY-based blog community to check out

Liza Sabater of culture kitchen is one of the driving forces behind a just-launched New York progressive blogging community that you should hurry over to, The Daily Gotham. The early response has been great:
What an amazing first week.

I thought that I would be able to manage all the panels and conferences and networking and still launch this here site and do the tweaking and take care of business and what not.

Boy, was I in for a big surprise. Why? Because it did happen. I call on kossaks and netizens from all corners of the web and bit by bit you've come and without hesitation started to post and make this community space happen.

It may be a movie cliché but if you build they will most certainly come. You have come here, you're making it possible. You're making it grow.
Makes me want to re-activate my dual citizenship card (Tar Heel/New Yorker)!

Filibuster deal is sucktastic

Monday, May 23, 2005

Bill "Cat Killer" Frist pretty much got what he wanted, except in "extraordinary circumstances."

WTF kind of deal is this? It doesn't sound like a deal at all.
Centrists Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise Monday night to avoid a showdown on President Bush's stalled judicial nominees and the Senate's own filibuster rules, officials from both parties said. These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would clear the way for yes-or-no votes on some of Bush's nominees, but make no guarantee.

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush's future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in "extraordinary circumstances."

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

Under the agreement, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, nominated to a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, would advance to a final confirmation vote.

Senate Republican leader Bill Frist has made her a test vote in a bruising showdown over the fate of several appeals courts nominees that Democrats blocked in the past and had threatened to block again.

With the series of climatic vote set for Tuesday, compromise-minded senators of both parties met in the office of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for a last stab at compromise. The compromise drew the support of six Republicans and six Democrats at a minimum, although the names were not immediately available.

Under a complicated situation in effect on the Senate floor, that meant that Democratic opponents would lack the support needed to sustain a filibuster against Owen and other nominees. At the same time, it meant Republicans would not be able to strip Democrats of their ability to filibuster.

The agreement came as majority leader Frist, R-Tenn. and Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. steered the Senate toward a showdown on Bush's nominees and historic filibuster rules, under which a minority can prevent action unless the majority gains 60 votes.

There currently is no vacancy on the high court, although one or more is widely expected in Bush's term. Chief Justice William Rehnquist's coincidental presence in the Capitol during the day was a reminder of that. At age 80 and battling thyroid cancer, he entered the building in a wheelchair on his way to the doctor's office.
OK. The Repugs agreed not to support a removal of the filibuster. How long do you think it will take for them to renege on this one if a Supreme Court vacancy actually materializes. The hard right AmTaliban is salivating at the chance to get a wingnut on the Court. They will not back down one iota.

Photos from Birmingham

I love this one; the no-tell motel has a diver on its sign; we drove in the parking lot and there's no pool to be found -- but we did see a tidy yard with a sorry-looking lawn chair on it. Katie said this place has been around forever, and that the pool was probably filled in long ago.

Still have to scan the loft tour brochure, but I thought that I'd put up some pix...

This is the town/county where Kate's relatives' house (on Smith Lake) is located. It is, as one reader said, one of the most culturally backward parts of the state. They do, however, have wireless internet at a local Mexican restaurant, lol. We had lunch there, and a large table of young locals was giving us the evil eye, since clearly I "didn't belong." Fortunately, we finished up and left.

Yesterday, after the hotel flooding incident, Kate and I did a little detour to Irondale, little town/neighborhood that was the inspiration for Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes. It's a tiny town, in fact, the "historic district" where the Whistle Stop Cafe is located, is about 3 blocks long. I took some pix of some of the interesting things there (click to enlarge):

The last couple I took in Irondale were funny, though the pix didn't turn out too well. There was this sad-looking van for sale in a yard that had fundamentalist stuff all over it. It had the biggest sign of the fish I've seen painted on its hatch, along with a bumper sticker that said "If Jesus is your co-pilot, SWAP SEATS!". It also had "I live for the Lord" on the side door. It looks like it's been out there for a while.

Back to the loft tour on Saturday. Here are some pictures of buildings that have been rehabbed and are now homes for commercial businesses again.

Below is our favorite building downtown, City Federal. It was vacant for over 11 years before recent plans to convert it into condos. They have not begun the restoration/construction yet, but surely this will be one of the coolest addresses in Birmingham. The building, which opened in 1913, is on 2026 2nd Avenue North, and has views of the entire city.

One last story before I forget it. Katie and I stopped in McD's for some tea one AM, and we were hit full force by the oddity that is self-segregation in Birmingham. Kate noted that we got some interesting looks when we came in together and ordered. The all-black staff behind the counter looked at us strangely, which I really didn't take note of -- Kate did. She had told me before that despite all the civil rights struggles, blacks and whites really don't socialize. We asked for confirmation of this with a cousin, who said this is definitely the case. Interracial dating is still a big problem in most social circles of any kind in Brimingham.

When we sat down, Kate wanted to get some jam for a biscuit, and when she went up, she said they gave her the up-and-down as if "why are you there with a 'sister'." We laughed it off, but it's really sad, and a foreign concept to my experience here in Durham, which didn't experience the level of racial conflict that Birmingham did. I think that has to be a factor. No one here was siccing dogs or turning fire hoses on people. The legacy of that sh*t is hard to erase if white folks are in denial mode and black folks are too wary to let the past go.

Back in NC

Hey, folks. I'm back, but won't be up to political posting speed for a bit. Still unpacking, petting the doggies and feeling pretty exhausted (physically and mentally). Will have more Alabama pix later.

All and all, it was a good trip. I have to share our nightmare AM at the Tutwiler Hotel on Sunday morning. I had just finished showering, and I hear this dripping, which becomes a torrential downpour. I look at the spigot and the water is off. I step out and there is water POURING out of the fan in the ceiling.*

I calmly tell Kate "Oh sh*t, it's raining in the bathroom." [Kate says I said it so matter of factly -- like it's an everyday occurrence -- that she didn't believe it at first until she heard it herself and came in, lol.] So, here we are rushing to get some clothes on, empty our stuff out of the bathroom and pack, knowing that once we call downstairs the maintenance folks will fly up. We call, and no one comes after 10 minutes. The water is still pouring down, and it's soapy -- it's the folks up in 613 taking a shower. Bleh!

We catch housekeeping in the hall and have him radio down to get someone up there, and we roll our bags out (we were going over to Kate's folks house that AM, so we were leaving for the day anyway). The gal at the front desk gave us a free breakfast, and, well, to make a long story short, we stayed at her parents' house last night.

*Note: this was room 513, so if you're ever staying at the Tutwiler, beware!

Hello from Alabama

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hey folks, I didn't drop off the face of the earth, just had connectivity issues at our hotel. We're staying at the historic Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham, and while the room has wireless, the "hot spots" are inconsistent from room-to-room. They had to send the "tech engineer" (the front desk person's words) up while we were out during the next day to deal with that.

Anyway, Downtown Birmingham has an extremely beautiful skyline (the above pic is just one I took of a tiny slice from the freeway; I snatched some better web ones below), with a huge amount of early 20th century office buildings that were completely abandoned. The city has clearly suffered from commercial and "white flight" in this space over the last 40 years or so, with businesses moving to the outskirts of town and residents to the substantial 'burbs, an sad problem in many larger cities across the nation. It's the largest city in Alabama, and has a historical economy based on iron and steel production, but today the largest employer here is the University of Alabama -- the school and hospital. There is a huge, newish magnet high school, School of the Fine Arts, that is also downtown.

These abandoned office buildings are being bought, renovated and turned into loft and hip commercial spaces. We had the fortunate timing to be here for the Historic Footnotes Loft Tour, and spent several enjoyable hours yesterday seeing some spectacular conversions with Kate's dad and brother, who are extremely knowledgable about downtown history. I'll post more on the tour in another entry, but it's safe to say we know where the gay population lives in Birmingham. We are yet again the homesteaders in an urban space, making it safe for the straight folks to come back to a revitalizing area. As you would also expect, the kinds of businesses that are the first to move back include the artsy ones -- architects, graphic and web designers, etc. And these spaces are kick-ass designs. One, Kinetic Communications, has done a gorgeous job with its offices.

There were plenty of queer folks on this loft tour, though, given we are in Alabama, I didn't sense that I could walk up to these folks and assume they would either: 1) self-identify or 2) engage in a conversation about gay life here. We saw no visible evidence of a lesbian population or openly gay nightlife (though this site says it's here). The closet is deep here; outside of this loft district, it's apparent that gay folks are invisible.

Once I get home I'll post more about this tour, since I have to scan the brochure that has pictures of the interiors and descriptions of them. I love these kinds of tours, so I'm glad the timing was right.

In other notes, Kate and I went to visit relatives in a small town yesterday (a wonderful place on a lake), and I snapped these church sign pictures along the way.

Yesterday, also during the drive to the lake house, Kate's sister told us about a local radio station, Y94.5 (home of the Rick and Bubba Show, I kid you not), that is running a listener feedback campaign to determine its playlist (currently Soft Rock). They are actually banning certain records from the air that people find "offensive." Two songs given the boot that she personally heard about while driving were "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye and "Into the Night" by Benny Mardones (remember this one -- "she was 16 years old, leave her alone, they say..."). Oh, man, we just could not stop laughing at the wingnuttery.

Log Cabiners try a different approach in NC

Given my home state GOP's reputation, it wasn't a surprise when the local chapter of the Log Cabin Repugs were denied a table at the state convention in 2004. The public position of the party was "homosexuality is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle either in public education or in public policy," and it strongly endorsed the anti-gay marriage amendment proposal that is currently in committee in the state legislature.

This year the LCRs are not even going to attempt getting a table, but are running a tolerance ad during the state convention. I just don't see any room for inclusion for the LCRs in the party of Jesse Helms, James Forrester and Bill James.
Log Republicans are running a television commercial during the state Republican Party convention here urging North Carolina's GOP to be more inclusive. The Log Cabin Republicans, which were barred by current GOP chairman Ferrell Blount from setting up a table at last year's convention, planned to air the ad through Sunday on Asheville's cable television system.

"Our commercial has a simple message - the GOP can be an inclusive majority party uniting all North Carolinians or it can be an intolerant party hijacked by the radical right's divisive social agenda," Chris Barron, the group's political director, said Friday at a news conference in Asheville.

Barron's group decided against asking for a table at this year's convention. Instead, they plan to spend from $4,000-$5,000 to air the 30-second ad during the convention's three days.

The ad begins with footage of Ronald Reagan saying that he hoped history "will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears."

"Will we unite on the things that matter most, like supporting our troops and winning the war on terror?" the ad says. "Or will we divide the American family with the politics of intolerance and fear that only lead to hate?

"Our choice is clear," the ad ends. "Hope, not fear."
Thanks to House Blender Ann for the pointer.

F*cking shameless - Frist tap dances to get black pastor support

Friday, May 20, 2005

Senate Majority Leader Bill "Cat Killer" Frist, R-Tenn., center, speaks as black religious leaders look on at a rally in support of Janice Rogers Brown, President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, at Russell Park on Capitol Hill. Frist said he will call a vote next week on whether Republican senators are willing to let the minority Democrats continue to block the White House's judicial appointments through filibusters. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

I am sick and tired of the Repugs rustling up some colored tokens like Harry Jackson to bolster inane, disastrous and ultimately anti-minority political positions. It's nauseating that they always manage to find black sheeple to shill for their bullsh*t. Hey, guys, do you remember how that support of Clarence "yes massa Scalia" Thomas worked out for you?
"Why are they afraid to put a black woman on the court?" asked Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of a group of black pastors, standing next to Majority Leader Bill Frist at a news conference outside the Capitol. Referring to Janice Rogers Brown, a California Supreme Court judge whom Bush has named to the federal appeals court, he called her "not only a legal hero for black America, she is a legal hero for all America."

Frist, R-Tenn., did not mention Brown's race in his own remarks. He said Democratic treatment of her nomination was "unnecessary, uncivil. It is injustice. I pledge to you here today that I will do everything in my power to see that it stops."

He made his comments after members of the Congressional Black Caucus said he had declined to meet with them to discuss the issue. An aide said Frist was speaking on the Senate floor at the time. The Democratic lawmakers proceeded to a news conference where they released a letter to the Tennessee Republican arguing that his call for a partial ban on judicial filibusters "would be particularly offensive to people of color."

There was irony — as members of the caucus noted — since the historic civil rights legislation of a half-century ago was passed only after supporters overcame filibusters by conservative Southern Democrats and like-minded Republicans.

"The filibuster was systematically used when Senate minority rights meant the denial of the rights of African-Americans," caucus members wrote. "We cannot and will not stand down when Senate minority rights are proposed to be overruled against a Senate minority that seeks to protect the rights of African-Americans."
Here's a sampling of prior Blend posts on the Right sucking up to and buying off the black religious vote.

Can someone buy Phyllis Schlafly a pair of these?

Is this why Mother Schlafly is smiling?

It's late, I'm tired from packing, but I had to post this, considering that last porn star post. Items like these are now banned in Alabama -- except 'for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose.'
The following cautionary tale must surely rate in the top five of "most embarrassing things that can happen to you in public - ever". According to UK tabloid the Sun, a 33-year-old Welsh housewife ended up in hospital after wearing Ann Summers vibrating Passion Pants to her local Asda supermarket in Swansea.

Unfortunately, she became "so aroused by the 2½-inch vibrating bullet inside that she fainted" then "fell against shelves and banged her head". This prompted the attendance of the paramedics who "found the black leatherette panties still buzzing". Having disabled the orgasmatronic underwear, they then whisked the senseless shopper to hospital where she made a complete recovery. Staff handed her back the Passion Pants upon discharge, discreetly concealed in a plastic bag.

Dobson and the eHarmony guy are best buddies

Neil Clark Warren says his service excludes gays and lesbians because "he does not know enough about gay and lesbian relationships to do same-sex matching."

If you're queer and looking for a mate, you're not welcome at the popular Neil Clark Warren is close friends with James Dobson of Focus on the Family, so that pretty much says it all. When it comes down to dollars and sense Warren is not stupid -- there are no more public references to his ties with Dobson.

You've no doubt seen Neil Clark Warren on TV commercials: He's the affable, silver-haired gentleman touting eHarmony, the rapidly growing online dating site he founded five years ago. Or maybe you caught Saturday Night Live or Jay Leno spoofing his earnest manner and "29 dimensions of compatibility."

...And he really does want to set you up - but only if you're emotionally healthy, heterosexual and want to get married. A psychologist with a divinity degree, Warren has emerged from the Christian community - three of his 10 books on love and dating were published by conservative Focus on the Family - to become one of the Internet's most unlikely entrepreneurs.

...Warren started out marketing primarily to Christian sites, touting eHarmony as "based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family author Dr. Neil Clark Warren." The connection may come as a surprise to today's mainstream users: Nothing in Warren's TV or radio ads ($50 million spent last year, $80 million projected this year) hints at his Christian background.

And while it's no secret, the Web site doesn't play it up, either. eHarmony increasingly is seeking out secular audiences through online partnerships, including promotions on and other news sites owned by USA TODAY's parent company, Gannett. As part of that effort, Warren is trying to distance himself from Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson, a longtime friend.

...Warren says he will no longer appear on Dobson's radio show, and he recently bought back the rights to the three books Focus on the Family published -Finding the Love of Your Life, Make Anger Your Ally and Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life - so he can drop Focus' name from their covers.
The lame defenses for not considering same-sex matches are nuts, but hey he's targeting his desired audience.
Some also criticize eHarmony's decision to refuse to provide matches for gays and lesbians - a policy that differs from Yahoo, and many other sites.

"From a corporate perspective, eHarmony does discriminate. There's clearly a deliberate desire to exclude gay people from the site," says New York psychiatrist Jack Drescher, who is gay and treats gay and lesbian couples.

But Warren says eHarmony promotes heterosexual marriage, about which he has done extensive research. He says he does not know enough about gay and lesbian relationships to do same-sex matching. It "calls for some very careful thinking. Very careful research." He adds that same-sex marriage is illegal in most states. "We don't really want to participate in something that's illegal."

Off to see the 'in-laws' - Alabama

I'm heading off Friday morning to Birmingham, AL -- Katie's hometown -- to visit her family. They are interesting people, aside from the fact that they aren't happy that 1) I'm not white; 2) I'm not a man and 3) I'm married to their daughter.

Makes life interesting, huh?

Katie and I are staying in a hotel, renting a car and doing some sightseeing while there. We'll see if there are any signs of out gay life downtown, but I'm not holding out too much hope. Any Alabamians out there that can help us out with some recommendations? I'm taking my camera and the laptop, so I'll likely blog a bit along the way, treating it as a fact-finding mission. After all, remember my post, "Is Alabama really the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America?" It was about an Out Magazine article that asked that very question, called Unsweet Homo Alabama. A snippet:
My wife Kate, a native Alabamian, escaped from the nightmare, and even she couldn't believe the depth of the hatred and homophobia exposed by this article, including the heinous statistic that 44% of gay Alabamians are physically beaten and assaulted -- by their own family members. It's truly upsetting, and depressing. You wish the queer community would just get the hell out of there, but as with all stories like this, there are those that still want to stay and fight for their rights. I would consider this an almost insurmountable mountain of intolerance that runs both deep and high -- and all the way to the state house. Judge Roy Moore, famous for wanting to keep a gigantic slab of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, is planning to run for governor. He says some frightening things about gays in this story that make you wonder what could happen if he is elected -- and he just may be.
Take a look at some of the comments that native Alabamians left about that article. They tell you all that you need to know about being gay there, but there's nothing like going to see for yourself. Here are a couple of typical comments:
Thanks Bob Moser, and thanks also to Out Magazine -- for exposing some of this shameful secret to those of us who live in our progressive bubbles far away from Alabama. Having both been born and raised there, we know first hand that it truly is the worst place in America to be gay. Sadly, at age 28 and 26 respectively, we saw no choice but to pack up and leave. Alabama has many, many good people who would never harm or bash or even hate us, but they too are terrified. They are afraid to speak out at the office water-cooler, or the PTA meetings, or the summertime backyard cookouts, or church potlucks. Those of us living elsewhere, in our safe bubbles, need to think up some clever way to help them find the tipping point. Perhaps one day it will be obscene to openly gay bash in Alabama -- today it is perfectly acceptable behavior.


This is an awfull place to be gay, not mention being gay & black! Color should not be issue in humanity, just like gayness should not, but once you get to Alabama you better get use to it. Here you have:
1. straight people who don't like gay people.
2. black people who don't like gay people but like racist white people.
3. black closeted gays who like out gays, but hate out black gays.
4. racist white gays who don't like black gays (& VICE VERSA!)
5. gays who feel they are going to hell for their sexuality but can't stay out of the gay club.
6. & a large amount of married men (to women of course!) who can't stay out of atlanta gay clubs.
This place is a huge mess. The only way this is going to get better is for gay people who are from Alabama to support GLBT groups, events, law firms & churches, moneywise in order for young teen gay youth to have a chance!
I'll be back in the progressive bubble of Durham, NC Monday night (hopefully).

Porno star in the White House: no, it's not Gannon

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Maybe Karl and Mary Carey can discuss inflation.

Is this the "I'm not sh*tting you" post of the week?

I'm wondering if someone there has lost their minds at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because Falwell, Dobson, and the rest of the AmTaliban have to be lighting up the White House phones right about now.
Porn star and former gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey will be joining her boss, Kick Ass Pictures president Mark Kulkis, in attending a dinner with President Bush in Washington, D.C. on June 14. K

...“I’m hoping to run as Lieutenant Governor of California next year,” Carey said. “Since Arnold {Schwarzenegger} is a Republican, I thought this dinner would be a great networking opportunity for me.” “I’m honored to be invited to this event,” Kulkis said. “Republicans bill themselves as the pro-business party. Well, you won’t find a group of people more pro-business than pornographers. We contributed over $10 billion to the national economy last year.” [Take that,!]

“I’m especially looking forward to meeting Karl Rove,” Carey added. “Smart men like him are so sexy. I know that he’s against gay marriage, but I think I can convince him that a little girl-on-girl action now and then isn’t so bad!”
(Hat tip Cat, via AmericaBlog)

Two for two in pious Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana

I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this one. How can a bible-beating bumf*ck place like this make it in the news twice in one week? This story cannot possibly dethrone the news about the sick, beast-f*cking predatory pedophiles of Hosanna Church, but it's clear that, not surprisingly, these folks also have issues with church-state, as well as man-dog, separation.
The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to jail public school teachers and administrators for allegedly violating a court-imposed ban on school prayers. It's the fourth time the ACLU has told Judge Ginger Berrigan that officials in Louisiana's Tangipahoa Parish are flouting her prayer ban. This time, the ACLU says an elementary school teacher repeatedly held prayers in her fourth-grade class, encouraged students to bring their Bibles to school, held Bible studies in the school cafeteria and admonished students who did not show up. In addition, the ACLU cites a prayer "in Jesus' name" that was recently given over a high school's public address system while the principal sat by silently. The ACLU says school officials' violation of the prayer ban "must result in their removal from society."

Check out Nancy Goldstein's column: 'Hold On, Christian Soldiers'

Nancy Goldstein rocks on RawQ.

House Blend reader and ace columnist over at RawStoryQ, Nancy Goldstein, has an incredible column up, Hold On, Christian Soldiers. She takes on the conventional wisdom is that in order to win, the Dems need to basically suck the gnarly toes of the ethics-free theocrats for its political strategy. The ball-less, aimless, message-less, brain-dead Dem establishment and a good number of bloggers just want to cast certain tough issues (and the people behind them) overboard instead of coming up with ways to earn those votes back. The power brokers are willing to sell out principles of civil rights for a check in the win column, and Nancy's not having it.
This blogosphere discussion is emblematic of a larger phenomenon that has snowballed in the wake of the 2004 election: in a harried quest to keep the Democratic Party from sinking, a number of its members are looking for something to throw overboard. So far the leading contenders appear to be reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and separation of church and state – the populist social issues that both Democrats and the radical Republican right credit with determining the election’s outcome.

But thinking that these issues cost Democrats the election, or that abdicating responsibility for them will win the next one, is sheer wistful denial. The poor bastards running Kerry’s campaign couldn’t even figure out how to defend a war hero from a dirty-trickster AWOL National Guardsman, let alone defend the basic tenets of their party platform.
Amen, sister.

Canadian government survives confidence vote

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin receives a standing ovation from his ministers and MP's as he takes his seat for a budget vote in the House of Commons in Ottawa. Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

It was a squeaker -- by just one vote -- but the Liberal government still stands, and with it a chance to pass the country-wide gay marriage measure. Unless, of course, the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper intend to try this nonsense again.
Prime Minister Paul Martin, badly damaged by a corruption scandal, was saved when an independent legislator chose at the very last moment to back the government over its budget. Chuck Cadman's decision gave the Liberals and their allies 152 votes, the same number as the opposition Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois. The Liberal speaker of Parliament broke the tie by backing the government.

"The House (of Commons) has expressed its confidence in the government," Martin told Parliament to boos, catcalls and raucous laughter from opposition legislators.

The vote ended a month-long drama that started when the Conservatives and the Bloc said a corruption scandal meant the Liberal government must go. The scandal centers on misused government funds, and allegations of kickbacks to senior Liberals in return for federal advertising contracts.

Martin's victory was something of a political miracle because until two days before the vote, he did not look to have enough support to prevent the Liberals from being ousted after 12 years in power. Political parties had chartered planes to take off on Friday for the start of campaigning for a late June or early July election. Those plans will be put on hold now.

But on Tuesday leading Conservative legislator Belinda Stronach defected unexpectedly to the Liberals, a move which gave the government the extra backing it needed.

The Conservatives of Stephen Harper must now decide whether to call a truce until a new session of Parliament starts in September or whether to keep trying to bring Martin down before the current session ends in mid-June.

Homo-bigot Bill James shares the love via email

He just cannot stop. Got an email from CharMeck County Commissioner Bill James; he also passed on his statement from the meeting on Tuesday when the county voted to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination laws. He sends his love to the homos.
Demos pass homo resolution 6 -3 (as expected)
Rembert accuses James of being a closet homos_xual
GOP all vote no - vow to reverse policy at first meeting of newly elected GOP Board

Next election 18 months away

Local Evangelical ministers group claiming 75,000 members says they plan to get involved.

One Apostate minister showed up to support the measure.

James discusses the Bible and how "Christians" can claim to stand for something condemned in it. Some excerpts:

* "When you invoke that your decision was based on being a ‘Christian’ you defile both God, Christ as the only intercessor between God and man and most of the population of Mecklenburg who disagree that the “Christian” thing to do is to condone sodomy, lesbianism and other perversions."

* "The same folks that play fast and loose with Christianity, trying to turn it into some sort of universalist dogma, removing from God his sovereign righteousness, are the same that remove the requirement that individuals act morally and in accordance with his rules."

* "That is what we have here Mr. Helms. Your view of what you want “human tradition” to be NOT what Christ would want or what is outlined in the Bible but the thoughts and views of a fringe element of apostate Christianity."

* "It is amazing to me and most Christian Charlotteans that you could take the plain language of the Bible and twist it into whatever you want slapping the “Christian” label on it figuring that will make it all right."

* "When you invoke that your decision was based on being a 'Christian' you defile both God, Christ as the only intercessor between God and man and most of the population of Mecklenburg who disagree that the 'Christian' thing to do is to condone sodomy, lesbianism and other perversions. There are those that claim to represent Christ and call themselves Christians while denying the scriptures. It is a small step for them and you to re-translate the precepts of God for your own purposes."

These individuals start by denying that Christ is the ONLY intercessor between God and Man. The follow the "many roads to heaven" approach. After they remove Christ and his unique sovereignty the proceed to re-write the Bible to fit their particular viewpoints. Parks Helms' church, Park Road Baptist and Myers Park Baptist are especially known for this "creative" (and apostate) view on the Bible.

This is why Democrats loose the votes of 78% of the church attendee's but get 65% of the votes of the "heathen" (those that don't go to church).

Red versus Blue America but at its core the Democrats are a party that have abandoned God, its precepts and Christ. They are the "Party of Perversity" but there was a time when that was not so.

Fair and F*cking Balanced

That headline seems fair, don't you think? From Crooks and Liars.

What was that about small government?

Uncle Ted brings home the sizzling bacon. Soon the above stop will be one banging-hot place to wait for the next bus.

Repug Senator "Uncle Ted" Stevens picks $1.5 mil out of your pocket for an Anchorage, Alaska bus stop.
Tom Wilson is faced with a problem many city administrators would envy: How to spend $1.5 million on a bus stop.

Wilson, Anchorage's director of public transportation, has all that money for a new and improved bus stop outside the Anchorage Museum of History and Art thanks to Republican Sen. Ted Stevens — fondly referred to by Alaskans as "Uncle Ted" for his prodigious ability to secure federal dollars for his home state.

Wilson is prepared to think big.

The bus stop there now is a simple steel-and-glass, three-sided enclosure. Wilson wants better lighting and seating. He also likes the idea of heated sidewalks that would remain free of snow and ice. And he thinks electronic signs would be nice.

"It is going to be a showpiece stop," Wilson said.
Uncle Ted's web site.

Flashback: The House Blend and Freepers agree: Alaska Senator Ted Stevens is an indecency dumb*ss

How does one publicly prove 'testicular virility'?

Blagojevich defends his boast.

I'm laughing my *ss off at this one.
Blagojevich is defending his use of the phrase "testicular virility" to describe his determination to make tough decisions. [He may want to bottle it and send it around to some Dems that badly need some.]

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said today that the people of Illinois know what he meant. He calls it -- quote -- "baloney" to suggest the phrase excludes women or is inappropriate for a governor to use.

The Democratic governor says he used the phrase to mean political courage that both men and women can exhibit.

Blagojevich made the remark Monday to explain his decision to temporarily close a landfill run by a distant relative of his wife. The governor said other politicians might overlook a problem involving a relative but he had the "testicular virility" to step in.

The phrase has prompted both laughter and complaints that it was undignified for a governor to say.

Dobson has Frist on a short leash for the 'nuclear option'

Frist image from BlogActive.

We've been talking about the influence of AmTaliban James Dobson (Focus on the Family) for quite some time here on the Blend. It's no surprise that his maneuvers behind the scenes to push the nuclear option on judicial filibusters via Frist have the traction that they do. He has no problem with smear and fear tactics against political figures, including wingnut Trent Lott, who felt Dobson's heat recently over the nuclear option. When it was clear Bush wasn't going to push for a federal marriage amendment, he and his Arlington Group knuckle-draggers threatened support for Chimpy's Social Security dismantling campaign.

Dobson plays hardball, and his grubby hands are all over Bill Frist's strident campaign to toss our system of government in the trash can to accomplish this extremist agenda. Not the removal of the filibuster, but the long-term goal of packing the Supreme Court with justices that will roll back the clock, attacking the hard-won rights of women, minorities and of course, the current social agenda whipping boy, the homos. Some good DKos diaries on the topic:

* Understanding the Republican "Nuclear Option"
* Frist (And When I Say Frist I Mean Dobson) Will Not Accept Any Compromise
* Frist Admits Filibustering Judges is Constitutional -- Just Not When Democrats Do It

Congress, Pentagon clash over women in combat

The recruiting woes are so bad for the military, that the Pentagon is in stark disagreement with the House Armed Services Committee over its vote to limit the role of women in combat. The wingnuts (primarily Elaine Donnelly, head of the conservative Center for Military Readiness) have been quite vocal that women's role in the military should be curtailed, or preferably eliminated. Because women are unfit for this you know, like the homos.

The Army opposed the initial amendment by Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., saying it would have closed almost 22,000 slots to women and limited the service's fighting ability. Folks you can't have it both ways. They are completely confused by this political conundrum, as RPGs and bombs are over there killing men AND women in uniform.
A House committee voted to prohibit women in the military from serving in direct ground combat roles Wednesday as part of a bill setting Defense Department policy and spending plans for the coming budget year.

By voice vote, an amendment was approved that would put into law a Pentagon policy from 1994 that prohibits female troops in all four services from serving in units below brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat.

"Many Americans feel that women in combat or combat support positions is not a bridge we want to cross at this point," said Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., who sponsored the amendment. It also allows the Pentagon to further exclude women from units in other instances, while requiring defense officials to notify Congress when opening up positions to women. The amendment replaced narrower language in the bill that applied only to the Army and banned women from some combat support positions.

...The issue arose last week, when Republicans, at the behest of Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., added to the overall bill a provision that would have banned women from being assigned to "forward support companies."

Those units provide infantry, armor and artillery units with equipment, ammunition, maintenance and other supplies in combat zones. The Army started allowing women to staff such support posts last year and says it is complying with the 1994 policy. Some Republicans aren't so sure. "The Army is confused. They're all over the place on this one," Hunter said.

Updates on the mess going on in Canada

Canadian Blender Reader Cat provides me with insight regarding the situation going on in The Great White North, where there's quite a bit of political turmoil going on, you know, like the possibility of the current Liberal government getting overthrown (and with it, the country-wide gay marriage proposal). Since I don't have a lot of time this AM to go through all the details, I thought that I would share Cat's latest update and a few links to get you up to speed.
According to what various web sites have told me, things get started in the House at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. Problem is, just as it is in your government, things happen when they happen. Definitely there will be a vote on the Budget Bill C-43. When though, is another question. Now, here's where it gets interesting.

After Belinda Stronach left the Tories, Stephen Harper announced that the Conservative Part would support Bill C-43, which is the original budget. But, Bill C-48 is an amendment to the original budget. It's the result of the deal Prime Minister Paul Martin made with Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP, to gain the NDP's support. Harper hates it. Much to the disgust of many, particularly supporters of the NDP, he's called it "a deal with the devil", and has vowed to vote against it, bringing down the government.

But, just to complicate matters, there are three independent MP's whose votes are critical. One has already said she will vote with the government; another has said he's been listening to constituents, and they don't want another election. So, even though he hasn't come out and said it, he will probably vote with the government. The third, however, is being a real son of a bitch, in my opinion, and is absolutely wallowing in his moment of power, hinting that he just might want to bring the government down. Don't you just love this? And these are only the basics; there's a host of little side issues I can't even begin to get into. Not least of them, what will happen to Bill C-38 The Marriage Equality Act, should the government fall. Oh, and Queen Elizabeth is in the country to celebrate the centennials of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

I hope I haven't made your head spin with all of this...This government is the best hope for making same sex marriage legal from coast to coast in Canada. Wait! I almost forgot. There's something going on in your country too! A little something called the"Nuclear Option", that about right? Oy!
Some of the latest news:

* Liberal-Tory showdown looms. You can't tell which way it's going to go, in this long, good article on the current state of things.

* A CBC commentary by Georgie Binks on Belinda Stronach's very interesting political background.

* Sexism cited in reaction to Stronach move. Her switch to the Liberals has resulted in some amazing insults from the Conservatives, including: "a dipstick – an attractive one, but still a dipstick" and that she "whored herself out for power."

* Canada's version of C-SPAN, called CPAC, where you can watch the wrangling live.

Sick f*cks in Louisiana arrested in child sex-cult ring

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Chris Labat, Louis Lamonica, and Austin Bernard are charged with unbelievably heinous crimes.

Three Arrested in Sex Ring Involving Kids, Animals, and Church. Do you even know where to begin with this case? In the deepest part of the fundamentalist bible belt, we all know the darkest of perversions lie. Every possible cliche accompanies this horrible story.

* it takes place in the deep South
* these guys are your typical, redneck crackers
* it involves church members AND the minister
* the acts took place IN the church
* it involves bestiality
* a law enforcement officer allegedly took part in the abuse

Who wants to put money on it that one or more of these wretched excuses for a human being is married and has kids? I truly hope that is not the case, but it would complete the above sad list.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's office has broken up what they call a "child sex abuse cult." Three members of a Ponchatoula church have been arrested for allegedly raping children, and in some cases, having sex with animals. Some of the kids are as young as two years old.

The Tangipahoa Sheriff's office says the alleged abuse occurred two years ago. Sheriff Daniel Edwards says his office began investigating the Hosanna Church more than a month ago, after getting information from a mother of an alleged victim. The big break in the case came Monday when the church's minister turned himself in to the Livingston Parish Sheriff's office, and allegedly named names, one of whom was a Sheriff's deputy.

Sheriff's officials say certain church members allegedly raped children and animals in a cult-like fashion at the Hosanna Church. A nieghbor says when he found out about it, "It surprised me. But I wouldn't put it pass them. They were weird looking people to begin with."

Livingston Sheriff's Detective Stan Carpenter says church minister Louis Lamonica turned himself in on Monday and admitted to having oral and anal sex with kids for years... and that's not all. "He was basically showing the kids how to have sexual relations at a very young age. That is just something children at that age, they shouldn't have to know anything about that," says Carpenter.

Lamonica also allegedly named other church members in the child sex ring. They include Austin Bernard and Chris Labat. Labat is a patrol deputy with the Tangipahoa Sheriff's office. Livingston Sheriff Daniel Edwards says, "It certainly doesn't make me happy to be a human being to have fellow human beings that are capable of doing what is alleged to be done here. To have a member of this Sheriff's department involved in any way is disheartening." [Police said Bernard confessed to detectives that he had sex with a young girl in November 2002 and admitted to knowing about sexual acts involving children and a dog that occurred at Hosanna Church.]

How many others were allegedly abused at the church? No one knows. But investigators have faith more arrests will be made as they uncover what really happened inside the church. All three men are in prison on aggravated rape charges, and Deputy Labat has been fired.
I just don't want to hear another word about the evils of being a law-abiding gay citizen when allegedly Christian, sick, predatory pedophiles like these monsters are running loose committing unspeakable acts in a house of worship.

Freep wingnut Michael Medved's Star Wars poll

Michael "It's cool to be conservative" Medved, movie "critic", radio drone and columnist is running a poll on Star Wars. You'll remember that there is a movement to boycott the latest installment, because the storyline has an anti-Bush political lean (whatever). Look at the results of the poll so far, now that some of his Freepi have weighed in:

Q: "Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" opens this week. Will you see it...

On DVD or video later this year 37%
Never, because of the left-leaning political slant of the film 26%
The month it opens 17%
The week it opens 9%

Go Freep the poll for fun.

Oregon homo-bigots said OK to civil unions -- until after the marriage ban passed

Ben Westlund's trying to do the right thing in Oregon, but the local bigots as well as his party are coming after him.
"In the campaign by the proponents of Measure 36, it was very clear that civil unions were OK...But now that 36 has passed, all of a sudden they're not."
-- Oregon State Sen. Ben Westlund, on wingnuts changing their tune, once a gay marriage ban passed.

I feel sorry for this Oregon legislator, but he clearly doesn't know what kind of wingnuts he's up against. It's another case of an attempt to thwart local gay civil rights efforts by the shameless, lying, hypocritical Reich. The sad part is that this Republican won't get support from his own party while he twists in the wind. Bullsh*t.
Anti-gay rights groups and conservative activists are ratcheting up the pressure on Sen. Ben Westlund, R-Tumalo, and a colleague who have proposed allowing civil unions for same-sex couples and outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Critical postcards flooded Central Oregon mailboxes this week courtesy of the Oregon Family Council, which was instrumental in the successful Measure 36 campaign that outlawed gay marriage. Bend-based religious radio station KNLR-FM also is encouraging people to call Westlund and voice their opposition to Senate Bill 1000, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and establishes procedures for civil unions. The phone at Westlund's Capitol office has been ringing since.

Meanwhile, the executive board of the Deschutes County Republican Central Committee will call Westlund to the carpet on Friday to explain his support of a measure that board members unanimously oppose. "We're very disappointed in him," said Richard Morehead, the local party chairman.

Westlund is one of four sponsors of the bill. The others are Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany; Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland; and Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland.
Drop him a line of support, for his courage:

'Vine that ate the South' helps boozers cut back

How do you like this? Scientist have found a use for this foul, fast-growing plant that you can find all over NC and the rest of the South. Perhaps they can send some of those pills over to East Campus when the students are running wild.
Kudzu, the fast-spreading weed also known as the "vine that ate the South," contains chemicals that reduce the urge of binge-drinkers and alcoholics, as well as casual imbibers, to ask for that second, third or fourth drink, Harvard Medical Center researchers report in what is being called a groundbreaking study.

Their research suggests that kudzu compounds called isoflavones are keys to treating intoxication. Heavy drinkers who took pills made from chemicals in kudzu seemed to lose their urge to order a second or third drink or, at the least, extended the time between ordering additional drinks.

"We want to develop a medication that would be effective and safe, and pills without side effects like other drugs on the market (for treating alcoholics and binge-drinkers)," said the lead researcher, Dr. Scott E. Lukas, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of behavior psychopharmacology at McLean Hospital in nearby Belmont, Mass.

More boo-hoos: Gary Bauer and the "persecuted Christians"

Bring out the tiny violin again. This is just pathetic. Please, Little Gary, you gnome.
One pro-family leader is worried that American Christians could be facing a new form of inquisition. Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families senses that anti-Christian feelings are on the rise among some segments of America. He says he is concerned that born-again believers could be facing tough days ahead. "I'm concerned about the possibility of real persecution in the United States toward conservative Christians," Bauer states. "Harper's Magazine this week has a cover story entitled 'The Religious Right's War on America.' So there's a lot of rhetoric out there, very hateful rhetoric, aimed at traditional Christian conservatives -- and that can be very dangerous." Many Christian leaders have expressed their worry over the increase in "hate speech" aimed at Christians and the lack of public uproar over it.

CharMeck votes to expand anti-discrimination law to protect gays

In a meeting that went way-long last night, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) County board voted 6-3, to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy. The meeting was contentious, the vote was along party lines, and it was not a given it would pass. Here are just a sampling of quotes from the commissioners:

"This is to say who we are," he said. "This is what we believe."
-- Parks Helms

"I'm just as much of a Christian as commissioner (Jim) Puckett, commissioner James and commissioner Bishop, God will judge me. Not these three."
-- Norman Mitchell

"A human right to be treated as a person of dignity and worth should not be debated."
-- Wilhelmenia Rembert

"I suggest seeking services, seeking counseling, seeking help."
-- Rembert, referring to Bill James's fixation on sexual acts - and that he could be coping with unresolved issues. [He sent out several e-mails describing Democratic commissioners as endorsing perversity and sexual deviancy.]


Most of you don't live in CharMeck (I don't), but this success isn't just a local issue; what happened here can be repeated all over this country, in cities, counties and states that are Red, moving toward Purple. It shows us that there are elected officials willing to stand up for what is right, not what is politically safe or expedient. It is about conviction and courage.

Sadly, we cannot look to the majority of national, establishment Dems for this kind of leadership seen by Parks Helms, Jennifer Roberts to bring forth this measure and take the heat. All of those that voted for this did so regardless of any political consequences.

At Large:
Parks Helms
Wilhelmenia Rembert
Jennifer Roberts

1 - Jim Puckett
2 - Norman A. Mitchell, Sr.
3 - Valerie Woodard
4 - Dumont Clarke
5 - Dan Bishop
6 - Bill James

Video is here.

From the Charlotte Observer story this AM:
Mecklenburg County commissioners voted to add "sexual orientation" to the county's nondiscrimination policy, over the vehement objections of Republicans and after hours of debate that went late into Tuesday night.

The new policy means the county cannot discriminate in hiring and personnel decisions on the basis of sexual orientation, adding that to a list that includes race, color, sex, religion, national origin and age.

Democrats who voted for the change said it was an overdue statement of tolerance. But Republican members predicted a backlash at next year's election, and at least one -- county commissioner Bill James -- said the board's action went against God.

Commissioners Chairman Parks Helms set off a firestorm when he proposed the change last month. Democrats said they had been flooded with e-mails on both sides of the debate. On Tuesday night, they faced a crowded meeting chamber and, some said, an unusually passionate and eloquent one on both sides of the issue.

...When Helms proposed the change, he said he would also favor offering county employees health benefits for same-sex partners.

This week, he said he didn't have the votes to make that change, but believes changing the anti-discrimination policy could pave the way. This is the first time the county board has voted on adding sexual orientation to the county anti-discrimination policy. The change will not cost the county any money.

Republicans vowed to fight any further changes. James said that if Republicans regain a majority on the county board in the 2006 election, they would reverse Tuesday night's vote at the first board meeting.

"This is our collective judgment and the rock upon which we stand," he said. Puckett and Bishop said they did not believe the change was necessary. Both said they believe homosexuality is wrong, but would not discriminate because of it.

"If I were to discriminate against someone, I would discriminate against liberals, not homosexuals," Puckett said.

Scores of people attended the meeting, and more than 40 signed up to speak on the issue. Many carried signs, most in favor of the change, and most were quiet. Ministers spoke both in favor of and against it.

James Johnson, a social worker for the county, said he knew employees who were afraid to attend the meeting because they feared discrimination in the workplace if they were identified as gay. "Some had to stand by quietly," he said.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Check out Perrspectives for this gem (and more):

Also, don't forget to swing by Perrspective's Conservative Threat Level. Current level: High (Church and State to Merge)

N.C. man charged with mobile meth lab

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

One pancake short of a stack, few cards short of a deck, a light is on and no one is home, etc...this is your guy. (News 14):
A North Carolina man is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine after he got out of his car holding a can of beer and told authorities he had a mobile drug lab in his car.

Joe Banner, 36, of Asheville, N.C., was arrested and charged Monday with manufacture of schedule II narcotics, driving on a revoked license and violation of the open container law.

Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris said Banner was pulled over in Fishery Park on suspicion of driving on a revoked license, and he got out of his vehicle carrying an open beer. When Banner was asked if he had anything else in his car, he didn't hold back, the sheriff said.

"He came right out and said, 'I've got a meth lab in the car,'" Harris said.

Stronach gives Conservative BF the heave-ho

Two..two...two screw-overs in one! Belinda Stronach publicly dumped her Conservative boytoy (Peter MacKay, in the left pic) AND her party leader Stephen Harper (R) by switching over to the Liberals.

She says it's a "break," but if I were Peter MacKay, Conservative deputy leader in Canada's Parliament, I wouldn't wait by the phone. (cnews):
They started off as a political golden couple, but wound up a wincing example of why you shouldn't date someone from work. "Never dip your pen in the company ink," as one Conservative insider put it. With news reverberating around Parliament Hill of Belinda Stronach's blockbuster bolt from the Tories to the Liberals, the indelicate question was unavoidable: What about Peter MacKay? Belinda Stronach Peter MacKay

Stronach's well-publicized romance with the Conservative deputy leader charmed many of the hard-hearted vote-counters who populate Parliament Hill. Both were photogenic. Both were ambitious. And their relationship could hardly have come to a more disastrous end. Sources confirmed the pair are taking a "break" from the relationship first made public in January.

"Suffice it to say, I'm very happy and quite smitten," MacKay beamed at the time.

Tory insiders now say he was one of the last to know of Stronach's planned defection. MacKay got the news early Tuesday and had the unhappy task of notifying Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

"If he was smitten a few weeks ago, he's probably smoked today," said a party source.

Harper didn't get a call from Stronach until moments before she appeared at Prime Minister Paul Martin's side to make the jaw-dropping announcement.
If you can believe it (and I know you do), the Freepi commentary on this is enlightening...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Hillary, look out. She's made two big moves to take your place."

"Did she meet with Bill Clinton at some point in the past year? It's pretty scary to think that she was the runner-up for the Conservative Party leadership in Canada. Sounds to me like she was a faux conservative."

"If Shrillary knew it would further her career, she would jump into the bed with them.

"Thanks ever so much for that disturbing mental image. I'm going to go shower now."

"One of the sleaziest greasy treacherous harlets in canadian political history ! ! !"

"Suffice it to say,she may have made a deal with the devil aka,socialist Liberal party, to prop this corrupt mafia-esque political party for the interim,but she will lose her seat in parliament.The socialist Liberals may survive the budget vote on may 20th and validate canada as a banana republic,but in the next election,if there is ever one,Stronach will lose her seat in parliament.Who`d vote for scum like that."

"Unfortunately, most of her constituents owe their livelihood to her dad's company. She'll be the party's new Sheila Copps- a bimbo who keeps her job because she's got loads of cash and personal popularity behind her."

"but in the next election,if there is ever one,Stronach will lose her seat in parliament.Who`d vote for scum like that. I'm not sure, but I guess if we asked Carolyn Parrish's constituency, we might get an idea. :-("

"What will Martin not do to stay in power. Who is he going to give a blowjob to next? It seems to me that much of Ontario don't see the Liberals as anything but centre. Not left of centre as I see them. Did they not hear Martin last year when he said the Liberals and NDP have the same values?"

"Why has the United States succeeded in breaking the Easter Establishment barrier - under Goldwater - but Central Canadians still have a biased against anyone that is not from Ontario or Quebec?"

"I believe Canada is better off if the parliament never gets on doing anything. If it means no more money is wasted, the whole lot of them can go on permanent vacation."

"McKay's penis is reportedly smaller than Scott Brison's, thus the switch. There's no other way after you've tasted GAY, she is reported to have said. Stronach figures she can convert affirmed homosexual Brison into an honest man, seeing as how her billionaire father does run a parts replacement company, and she was appointed the CEO based on her astute business acumen and year of service."

"This has been a setup from the get-go when she and Brison ran for the leadership 2 years ago.
So the CORRUPT liberals are calling in the markers
She is a political lightweight.
She ran...because we needed a womwn on the ballot
To show how politically correct the Conservatives were
Nothing more...nothing less"

Caption this...

You really have to wonder...

Pat Buchanan boo-hoos about the 'death of U.S. conservative movement'

It's Pat: "Unnamed phonies have infiltrated the movement."

It's not possible to generate tears for this guy over this. You do have to admire him for his consistency in the culture wars. All-around bigot, that's never going to change. Do you hear the world's tiniest violin playing? Here's some classic Pat: (WaTimes):
"The conservative movement has passed into history," says the one-time White House aide, three-time presidential candidate, commentator and magazine publisher. "It doesn't exist anymore as a unifying force," he says in an interview with The Washington Times. "There are still a lot of people who are conservative, but the movement is now broken up, crumbled, dismantled."

..."American culture has become toxic and poisonous," he says. "Take a look at what Hollywood produces today and what it produced in the 1950s. The alteration is dramatic."

..."We say we won a great victory by defeating gay marriage in 11 state-ballot referenda in November," he says. "But I think in the long run, that will be seen as a victory in defense of a citadel that eventually fell....I can't say we won the cultural war, and it's more likely we lost it."

The evidence? He says it was all over the tube, in prime time, at last year's Republican National Convention, which featured California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, all social liberals.

"They are indifferent to those moral issues because they see them -- and correctly -- as no longer popular, no longer the majority positions that they used to be," he says. "They say, 'Let's put those off the table and focus on the issues where we still have a majority -- strong national defense and cutting taxes.' "

..."The conservative movement is in large part a reaction to the social revolution that had been imposed on this country from above, without the consent of the people, by the Supreme Court. "Frankly, you would not have a cultural war in this country if the Supreme Court had said, 'Look, free speech is one thing, but pornography is not covered by the First Amendment.'"

..."Look, you're going to have 100 million people of Hispanic, primarily Mexican, descent in the American Southwest by the middle of this century, and I think you are in danger of losing the American Southwest, de facto. I think this country is risking coming apart, like other countries in the world, over issues of language, culture and ethnicity."

Shocking PM defection boosts chances of gay marriage in Canada

Conservative Belinda Stronach jumped ship to Paul Martin's flailing Liberal government, making it more likely that gay marriage will become a reality country-wide.

Wow. What drama is going on up there! Paul Martin's government is hanging by a hair, so his snaring of Conservative lawmaker Belinda Stronach to his camp is a huge boost. The no-confidence vote for his Liberal goverrment is scheduled for May 19. I have no doubt that this will cause an exponential increase of hysteria by the religious wingnuts here and up there. (Bloomberg via RawStoryQ):
Stronach, the former chief executive officer of auto-parts maker Magna International Inc., will be the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Martin said at a press conference in Ottawa today. Stronach, 39, lost a leadership race in March 2004 to Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, 46.

Stronach's defection from the Conservatives gives Martin a crucial vote in a non-confidence motion scheduled on the budget for May 19. Martin now probably needs to secure the support of one more independent member to win the vote and avoid an election. Opposition parties had sought to oust the Liberals over a spending scandal.

"Belinda's actions today make the defeat of the government on Thursday much less likely," Harper said at a press conference in Ottawa.

...The Liberals may win this week's vote if Martin convinces one of the two undecided independent members to support the government. Chuck Cadman and David Kilgour said yesterday that they are undecided. Calls to their offices today weren't immediately returned. The third independent member, Carolyn Parrish, has said she will vote with the Liberals on the budget.

...Stronach said she switched parties because she didn't want to side with the separatist Bloc Quebecois party to defeat Martin's minority government, and that the alliance hurts Canadian unity. Stronach also had opposed Harper's stance against legalizing same-sex marriages. "I have been uncomfortable for some time with the direction the leader of the Conservative Party has been taking," Stronach said at the press conference.

...Time Magazine last year ranked Belinda Stronach as one of the world's 100 most influential people.

L&O: Trial by Jury gets the axe

Too bad that Law & Order: Trial by Jury didn't get another chance (yet NBC keeps "Joey" on the air for fall? WTF?). It was scheduled on Fridays at 10, not a killer slot by any stretch of the imagination. Gee, the last thing I remember kicking butt in that slot was what -- 20 years ago -- Miami Vice?

Bebe Neuwirth was really excellent in this show as Tracey Kibre, an assistant district attorney involved in the New York City jury system. Kirk Acevedo as D.A. Investigator Hector Salazar was also peachy (though it was hard to see him and not think of him as Alvarez in one of my fave series, Oz).

TBJ was just beginning to hit a good patch. It really hurt that Jerry Orbach passed away, after only filming four episodes. [Every time I see an old L&O with him, it really hurts. He was that show -- he was NY.

My favorite of the L&O library is Special Victims Unit (the two-hour season ender is tonight). Mariska Hargitay, and the rest of the cast rocks; and well, Chris Meloni is the man (swoon, another Oz refugee). He's gotten some real red meat as Elliot Stabler this year. His marriage has broken up and he's clearly losing it on the job. Can't wait to see what happens.

Kate and I really miss Stephanie March (as ADA Alex Cabot; we call her "blonde chick") especially her sexy deep voice. She came back for one ep this season, but (sigh) it looks like she's not returning for any more.

And I thought they were talking about clean sheets

Here you go folks, this one is red meat. I don't know where these people come up with such nonsense? Can they just not order the porn?
A new website is up and running, providing a valuable service to families and business travelers who don't want to stay in hotels that offer in-room pornography. The website has been in the works for four years -- and now, is a reality. Phil Burress of the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values came up with the idea because he felt there needed to be a resource for people to book a hotel room and be assured there would be no pornography on the room's television. "So rather than just curse the darkness and just keep complaining about this, we decided to launch into an opportunity to offer people a new way of dealing with this problem," Burress explains. "About four years ago, we birthed the idea of, and we surveyed 43,000 hotels across America. We identified the hotels that do not offer in-room, hard-core, pay-per-view pornography." Burress says by using the website, not only can families be assured they will not be exposed to pornography, but they will be supporting companies that care enough about their customers to not offer pay-per-view porn.

What Shakes Sis said on Newsweek

I was mulling over whether to weigh in on this whole Newsweek/Qur'an flushing story, when Shakes Sis -- who has somehow tapped into my brain -- said what I was thinking.
Am I really supposed to be outraged that our military interrogators are so insensitive that they allegedly flushed a holy book down the toilet, when I already know they’ve put people on leashes, smeared them with shit and menses, attached electrodes to their genitals, critically beat them, and a slew of other physical offenses that I find ever so much more objectionable than the desecration of a holy book? Am I really supposed to be outraged that a news magazine may have rushed something into print before it was fully confirmed, when I already know that our media is irrevocably fucked? Am I really supposed to be outraged that the administration has intimidated Newsweek into an apology, when I already know that Bush & Co. are the unchallenged masters of media manipulation and intimidation?
Yes. My two cents is -- we all know the incident probably happened, after all the rest of the abusive sh*t that has gone on. Bush and Co saw this blowing up into mass Islamic hysteria and the only way to put the kibosh on it was to intimidate NW editor Mark Whitaker into letting the magazine taking the fall.

The mainstream news media is almost completely, fraudulently in bed with the power brokers. All Chimpy's folks had to do was threaten journalistic access to White House staff, for example, and of course Newsweek would roll. The newsmagazines are so competitive that it's equally plausible that Newsweek played fast and loose with standards to beat existing (and New Media) to get out a hot story -- you think that this is the only time something like this has occurred?

It is indeed hard to get outraged when things have been circling the drain for so long.

NC AmTaliban Rep. Walter Jones pushes for backdoor book ban

Rep. Walter Jones (Wingnut-NC), regularly carries a copy of King and King around with him. Guess it's an educational experience for him

Eastern North Carolina U.S. Rep. Walter Jones is a piece of work. Thankfully he doesn't represent my district, but this boob is responsible for some high-level, even dangerous wingnuttery. Mr. Freedom Fries is also responsible for:

* introducing a bill to name Falls Lake after bigot wingnut ex-Senator Jesse Helms

* the introduction of H.R. 235, which would obliterate this line between church and state, allowing relgious leaders to make endorsements from the pulpit.

Now, he's threatened by children's books that teach tolerance. Since he readily admits banning books is illegal, he figures that he can work his way around that little obstacle. In the clip below you'll see some indignation from Chris Barron of the Log Cabin Repugs about the whole thing. Hey, these are allegedly your people Chris. Can't you snap them in line, or are you just realizing THEY DON'T LIKE HOMOS?
With the Federal Marriage Amendment unlikely to pass this Congress, some House Republicans are planning to move legislation that would restrict access to children’s books about homosexuals.

After reading news articles about a 7-year-old girl borrowing a children’s book from her school library about two men marrying, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) began to craft legislation that would give parents a significant role in reviewing literature before it can be accessed by young children.

Jones’s bill, introduced late last week, would establish review boards of five to 15 parents who would analyze and make recommendations on potential purchases by educational entities.

The impetus behind the legislation is a book titled King and King, which starts out with a queen urging her son to marry and ends with the prince tying the knot with another prince. The book, which is advertised for children from 4 to 8 years old, shows the two men kissing with their lips hidden by a heart.

...His legislation would prohibit states from receiving federal education money unless they have “certain policies and procedures” on buying books for elementary-school use.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian rights group, strongly opposes the bill. Christopher Barron, the group’s political director, called the bill "a federal power grab" that "flies in the face" of the long-held Republican stance on states’ rights. Barron said decisions on purchasing books should be left to the states, adding that the legislation “would be laughable if it weren’t real."

Responding to those criticisms, Jones said he has analyzed the issue extensively and concluded that the only viable approach to restricting children’s access to books such as King and King is through the processes outlined in his bill. "You can’t ban the book," Jones said. “This is the only way to do it.”

Jones said that by returning power to parents on the state and local level, his bill will promote states’ rights.

Thanks to House Blender RealValuesDC for the pointer.

CharMeck County Board meets tonight; wingnuts are coming out

This evening, Commissioner Bill James and his wingnut supporters are coming out to make a stink over a proposed resolution to add sexual orientation to the county's employment policy.

Parks Helms and Jennifer Roberts are bravely moving forward despite a barrage of hateful and ignorant emails from James and his ilk since last week's announcement that the measure would be on the agenda. Roberts issued a statement:

It is never right to discriminate, or to engender hatred and violence, against people just because of who they are. Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, women, and people of color have all been targets of violence in the past and in the present just because of who they are. A humane society should not stand by while this happens.

This issue has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with justice and equality. This should not be a partisan issue or a religious issue, and in fact it is my deep belief in the Christian values of tolerance, peace, humility, charity and acceptance that helps me support this so strongly.
-- Jennifer Roberts

"The proposed resolution redefines the county's equal employment policy. It would read: "The County will make all decisions regarding the terms and conditions of employment including hiring, training, promoting, and terminating employees without discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability as defined by applicable state and federal law."
House Blenders have been doing their part to "educate" Bill James on his ignorant stand, sending some reasoned smackdowns (Misty, you really schooled that bastard!). The fun part is that the dumb*ss always writes back with completely ludicrous defenses for his homophobia. Here just one diatribe.

From: "Commissioner Bill James"
Subject: RE: doing god's work
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 16:30:59 -0400

All the GOP are opposing it. Perversity is not diversity. You can try and re-define the Bible all you want. Fake Christians are good that way.

The Bible condemns it and clearly says that unrepentant homo's are going to Hell.

That is the kind of Christian I am. One that understands the Bible, knows what it says and believes it. I will not support or endorse Sodomy. Period.

Bottom line (a term homo's seem to "understand"). The Democrats promotion of sodomy and other perverse activities including "gay marriage" will be used against them in the next elections.

In the current edition of the "Charlotte Post" is the following (page 2A):

"Did Mecklenburg County Commissioner Parks Helms really step into it when he proposed the board study same-sex benefits?"

"Fly's spies say that even some sho-nuff Democrats are uneasy about supporting benefits for gay couples or anyone who hasn't done the 'I do's".

"Of course, political bad boy Bill James is having a political field day with the Democrats dilemma. Just think - he didn't even have to drown anyone's e-mail to raise a stink. Helms' allies are doing that". If the Democrats pursue it will use it to insure GOP control of the County Commission in much the same way that Bush used it to kill off Kerry. It is that simple.

Ya feel lucky today?

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina

Run and get your Star Wars tix: there's a wingnut boycott

Monday, May 16, 2005

It's hard to forgive George Lucas for the offensive Jar Jar Binks and the hapless casting of Jake Lloyd as young Anakin. However, I want to see the storyline come full circle, so I'm in for this last go-round.

After reading the following, now I'll have to go at least one extra time just to spite this sure-to-fail boycott by some low-rent, ludicrous outfit called Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood (PABAAH). (Original emphasis)
When will Hollywood learn? George Lucas and his intergalactic empire have now been added to our official boycott list. Sad...but necessary. A bigger Star Wars fan you'll never find...until now. Our country is at war and Lucas spouts off this crap?

Star Wars a cautionary tale about politics

Star Wars is a wakeup call to Americans about the erosion of democratic freedoms under George W. Bush, George Lucas said yesterday.

Lucas, at a Cannes film festival press conference yesterday, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then-U.S. president Richard Nixon and the events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in history.

"I didn't think it was going to get quite this close," he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security.

"It is just one of those re-occuring things. I hope this doesn't come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is . . . The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable."
For extra fun, check out the official Hollywood Boycott list.

Rhode Island Legislature to consider same-sex marriage

State Rep. Art Handy and State Sen. Rhoda Perry are shepherding bills to allow gay marriage.

Last Freeper post for the day. I like it when they squirm...

Great news in a very Blue state. A bill to allow same-sex marriage in Rhode Island will be heard on Wednesday by the state's House Judiciary Committee. It's noted that clergy will not be obligated to officiate at civil or religious weddings.

HB5660 (PDF) is sponsored by Cranston Representative Art Handy. Similar legislation, SB0217, is already before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and scheduled for a hearing tomorrow; that bill is sponsored by State Senator Rhoda Perry. The fact that these measures will have a chance is making the Freepers quake in their shoes. Ah, the smell of fear...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Here it comes. I don't know if the laity can be organized to make a sound, public voice on this or not. We tried last summer, got about 300 people on board to stand up to this crap, but it fizzled out. Too many backed out, were scared of "reputations" being affected by taking a stand. Keep praying that the blind will see the truth, and that the wolves will be abated & defeated."

""clergy will not be obligated to officiate at civil or religious weddings""

"Until it is more entrenched as a civil right. Then clergy that refuse will risk losing their tax exempt status. That is my moment of Cynicism for the day."

"Just wait till the "nondiscrimination" laws hit, then they can be fined or imprisoned by refusing to hire a gay couple as "marriage ministry leaders"."

"The moral left strikes again."

"The cancer is spreading..."

"It's time to shut these 'blue states' down. Quit doing business with them, if possible. I actually live in New England, and I boycott this rat's nest as much as possible. Maybe we'll have to build a wall along the Potomac to keep this insidious tumor from spreading south and west any more than it already has."

"In other words, no Holy matrimony - ever - just the unholy abomination kind. Homos will never be considered "normal", no matter how much they try to sue for it."

"I'd rather fight for my "home soil" of northern Delaware, as liberal as it has become."

"They'll get their butts kicked attempting to do this legislatively. The good people of this nation will never support something as perverse as homosexual "marriage.""

"Remember, this is RI - the bluest of the blue states. If it passed in MA, it'll have an easier time passing here. The pro-sodomite groups that are pushing this are very well organized and well funded. Currently, there is no RI Pro-Marriage group or Family Policy Council to make a strong public front in support of traditional marriage. Keep praying."

"At least it's being done in the legislature. Keep the courts out of it and let the legislative branch decide--as it should be."

"Can you tell me how you or your family is affected by a homosexual couple that wants to marry?"

"This is already happening to the Salvation Army. They were sued a few years back for not hiring a gay man and they lost. I have no idea where it went from there.

"1 - Redefinition of terms. By law, my wife is no longer my wife, but rather my "spouse". Same thing for the term husband.

2 - State-sanctioned demand/forced acceptance of a perverted and deviant lifestyle.

3 - It encourages and promotes homosexuality as a healthy and viable means of human relation. To the contrary, homosexuality is quite unnatural and unhealthy, given that the average lifespan is 47 years [good god where are they getting this sh*t?], that 44% of all new AIDS cases come from them, and that 68% of ALL AIDS cases currently dwell among them. Higher instances of domestic violence, STD's, drug abuse, etc.

4 - Needlessly undoing thousands of years of Natural/Biblical Law, and human tradition - all to assuage a group that represents less than 3% of the total US Population.

When it was just "in the bedroom/behind closed doors" it didn't bother me. Now that their perversion has gone outside the front door, and the walking bio-hazards are in the street - heck yes, it affects me. As a Christian, I am obligated to stand in the face of sin and denounce it for what it is. I am obligated to warn others of the coming sword. I am accountable to "snatch them from the fire". I am not supposed to lay down and roll over for those who wish to demand acceptance of such an abominable lifestyle on the rest of the public.""

"but don't take my word for it, look at the legislation itself. Look what they've done to it - the only thing they've excluded from their "total marriage equality" is marriage of kin. How long before that too is rendered obsolete? Why would it be illegal then? Isn't that their sexual preference, too? What about 2 homosexual brothers? nything will be acceptable, right? It's illegal to discriminate based on a chosen sex fetish." [Just open the trap door and let this moron drop through the floor.]

"Exactly right. This is how it starts - it's the quintessential "slippery slope"."

"Once society as a whole is forced to accept one form of deviancy, others inevitably follow. We have a moral obligation to stand against it, preserving what is left of a once wholesome and sanctified institution."

"Names and phone numbers? People only have hours to act on this stuff. As a Christian, I am obligated to stand in the face of sin and denounce it for what it is. I am obligated to warn others of the coming sword. I am accountable to "snatch them from the fire". I am not supposed to lay down and roll over for those who wish to demand acceptance of such an abominable lifestyle on the rest of the public. You are one of the very, very FEW Christians I have ever encountered who "gets it". Good for you."

"Yep, I had a feeling Rhode Island would be next... :-("
The emails for the Senate Judiciary Committee are here; the House contacts are here.

Kenny Mehlman: GOP is "best party for minorities"

The oh-so-unofficially-heterosexual Ken-boy Mehlman, chair of the Repug National Committee, is sucking up to the black folks again. And guess what, he has more takers -- the latest small fish to drink the Kool-Aid is Harrisburg, PA City Councilman Otto Banks, who switched parties to join the Repugs. Smell the flaming pile of sh*t:
Mehlman said his visit here was part of an ongoing effort to support minority candidates across the country, and to recruit minorities into the Republican party.Those objectives can be accomplished through "education reform, [supporting] small-businesses, home-ownership initiatives," Mehlman said. He said the Republican agenda is "designed to help working Americans."

Banks: "The Republican party has a direct relationship with people of color."

Mehlman said the Republican party "is the party that offers people the opportunity for the American dream."

Mehlman said home-ownership initiatives and support for small businesses are critical steps to help people see that they have opportunities to realize their own dreams. "We need to make sure we close the gap between minorities and non-minorities in home-ownership, [through] mortgage protection, mortgage insurance and financial literacy," he said.
Can he really utter this stuff with a straight face? Hahahahaha.

Gay marriage anniversary wingnuttery from Agape Press

Tomorrow (5/17) is the anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts (congrats to all of you that tied the knot on that historic day!). The knickers are in a twist over at American Family Association's propaganda organ, Agape Press -- witness the headline: Mass. Pro-Family Groups Resist Homosexual Activism's 'Reign of Madness'. Based on the article, you'd think that the world has gone homopocalyptic and that Christians are on the run with the dogs nipping at their heels.
...the citizens have endured a "reign of madness" since the fateful Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (MSJC) ruling that cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry legally in that state.

Brian Camenker of the Article 8 Alliance says since the MSJC legalized same-sex unions, Massachusetts has become overrun by homosexuality. "Even driver's licenses now, when you renew them, have a question such as, 'Has your sex changed?'" he notes.

And since the MSJC ruling, Camenker points out, parents can no longer opt their children out of pro-homosexual lessons and activities in school. During school assemblies, he asserts, speakers will come in and tell the young people gathered "that the Bible's prohibitions on homosexuality are essentially misinterpretations, and if your parents believe them then they're wrong."

Parents have even been arrested by police for resisting having their kids exposed to homosexuality, the pro-family advocate claims. "Society is going through this enforced homosexualization in Massachusetts," he says. "It's truly frightening." For example, he points to Lexington parent David Parker, who was arrested and charged with "trespassing" at his son's elementary school during a scheduled meeting with the principal and the town's Director of Education over his objections to homosexual curriculum materials.

Camenker and other traditional family supporters feel the MSJC's ruling legalizing homosexual marriage was tantamount to ripping the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts into shreds. In addition, he maintains that parents and others who believe in the biblical view of homosexuality are being vilified in the schools by supporters of the educators' unions.

In response to all this, the Article 8 spokesman reveals that a big rally is being planned for City Hall Plaza in Boston, with its number-one priority being to inform the media and the public about what is going on. "Essentially, we're going to outline to the press the kinds of things that have been going on in this year that have oppressed the people," he says, such as "the incredibly accelerated homosexual agenda in the schools because of this [court ruling]."
My, my, there goes our incredible power to destroy society again.

It's back: the Official Right-on-Right Get-It-On-a-thon

Another edition of the Shakespeare’s Sister's Official Right-on-Right Get-It-On-a-thon is currently under way. Come up with the most disgusting Righty pairings you can think of -- in a compromising position. She provides some visual inspiration over there. Ugh.

Mass. Dems blow off Kerry and support gay marriage

Kerry didn't even have the micro-cojones to endorse a plank supporting gay marriage in his party's state platform. Barney Frank doesn't see what the big deal is.

Kerry's spineless comments clearly didn't affect Massachusetts Dems when it comes to supporting gay marriage.
More than 2,500 delegates OK'd the new platform, without debating the language in favor of same-sex marriage, at the Democratic State Convention in Lowell.

"It is a little controversial to have it in our platform, but we are all about equal rights," Framingham delegate Stephanie Mercandetti said after the annual convention at the Paul E. Tsongas Arena.

Democrats from U.S. Sen. John Kerry to former state Sen. David Magnani had expressed concern about how the change would affect the campaign of a Massachusetts Democrat seeking higher office in the nation.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who is openly gay, called such an assertion "nonsense" yesterday. "As time goes by, a lot of things that are controversial in contemplation are boring in reality," he said.

CharMeck homo-bigot will not STFU

This Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Commissioner needs to get a mailbox full of homo-mail. He's obsessing.

I'm so sick of this man. The Commissioners meet tomorrow and Parks Helms and Jennifer Roberts are siding with sanity and proposing the addition of sexual orientation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg's anti-discrimination law. He keeps sending out these horrible emails because he can't stop thinking about "the homosexual agenda".

There are going to be pro and con demonstrations tomorrow at the meeting and this guy and his "religious" supporters need to be outnumbered. If there are any Blenders over in Charlotte, please report in and give us the scoop tomorrow.
From: Commissioner Bill James
To: = deleted=
Cc: =deleted=
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2005 11:58 AM
Subject: RE: Proposed Change to Discrimination Policy

The Democrats seem intent on running off the cliff.

They are the party of the heathen and the party of perversity. Parks Helms claims it is his "Christian duty" however the Bible is explicit in condemning sodomy. He knows this. If he is a Christian I must be a Buddhist. Claiming to be something and then acting in opposition to the Bible is not evidence of Christian faith. Playing a Shepard in a Christmas play is the same as being a Christian in real life. He is a Pharisee - pretending to be something he is not.

The only solution is for folks like you to pass the word to remove the Democrats from office.

There is a reason that 80% of those that go to church vote Republican and 65% of the heathen non church going crowd votes Democrat. The GOP aren't perfect but the Democrats are immoral.

The Democrats each took $2,000 from the homosexual lobby last year. This is payback.

Take it out on them on election day and send them a message and I guarantee it will be a long time before they try it again.

There is a group of ministers (both Black and white) that have formed the Mecklenburg Evangelical Association to go after them.

Across America similar organizations were formed during last years presidential elections resulting in 11 states banning homosexual marriage and Bush winning a significant chunk of the Black vote in Michigan and Ohio costing Kerry the election.

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina

Military's 2006 recruiting looks like tough going -- Freepi worried

Things aren't looking any better for military recruiting in 2006...hmmm...I wonder why? (NYT):
The Army's top recruiter, already struggling to meet his quotas this year, said yesterday that 2006 would be even harder, and perhaps the toughest year for recruiting since the all-volunteer force began in 1973.

Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, in a telephone interview, said the Army would most likely start its fiscal year this October with the smallest pool of recruits ready for boot camp in at least a decade. He said that by then, only 9.9 percent of the roughly 80,000 new active-duty soldiers the Army needs next year to replenish the ranks in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere were expected to be in the pipeline.

Normally, as the Army begins its recruiting year, it has a goal of having already-signed contracts with one in every three of the year's expected arrivals - a cushion that helps recruiters through the slow winter months. But this year, the Army started with one in five, and if General Rochelle's prediction is correct, next year will begin with only one in 10.

The general said that prospect was "not a bright picture" and blamed a variety of factors, from the war in Iraq, to an improving economy, to family members and friends of applicants who he said often dissuade recruits from joining.

Beth J. Asch, a senior economist specializing in military personnel at the RAND Corporation, a military-financed research organization, described the general's prediction as "near disastrous."

She said the reduced pool of enlistees would force the Army's 7,500 recruiters, already struggling under intense pressure, to find applicants, verify that they are qualified and send them to boot camp in 30 days or fewer. In 2004, recruits typically waited 110 days to report to boot camp after signing up; as of March, that had dwindled to 50 days.

"It's comparable to having no savings account," Ms. Asch said. "They'll be living month to month."

In interviews over the past five months, recruiters have said they already feel rushed to push recruits to boot camp as quickly as possible. They said the accelerated pace often leads recruiters to overlook or illegally conceal psychological problems and police records that might make a recruit ineligible.

Various forms of cheating, or breaking Army rules to enlist unqualified applicants, have been on the rise. Army statistics showed 325 closed cases of substantiated improprieties in 2004, up from 199 in 1999, the last year the annual active-duty recruitment goal was missed.
Do you think the Freepi have a solution? Maybe they can all do their patriotic duty and sign up. Note they are really getting nervous about the draft. What happened to all that cockiness about Iraq, huh?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I won't be surprised if this is eventually offered to the Marines and Navy Corpmen(sp?) as well, i.e. folks on the ground. "

"The Army and Marines, both active and reserve components, have not been making their quotas for the last three months, IIRC. Check comment# 1."

"Great incentives..but I KNOW what the Libs will say.." "What good are incentives like that when you won't be ALIVE to use them??" Anyone have a counter to that lilly-livered argument?"

"Well, I will just say that the dems and the MSM have a lot to do with this---Why would young people want to join the military to go to an "illegal war" and "kill innocent people"? They are filled in with so much anti-America propaganda in high school and college nowdays that it would seem almost impossible to get a "patriotic" emotion from a lot of them these days....I would think that if they could see the pride of what American troops have accomplished in Afghanistan and Iraq, it might help, but where would they see that---even Fox isn't showing it as much as they used to..."

"This is worrisome, but at least they're doing something. It's set up so that they can do one tour in Afghanistan or Iraq with an Active duty unit and another tour with an Army Reserve or National Guard unit."

"IMHO it's a lot simpler than that. Most potential recruits know that there's a good chance they'll end up in Iraq within a year. We're going on our fourth year of active warfare, and it's tough sledding, recruitingwise. Even in WWII, a "popular" war, most people didn't volunteer, they waited to get drafted."

"I think it will eventually come to a draft this time around, too, unless Iraq quiets down dramatically in the next six months or so. The numbers just aren't there. The trick will be in getting it through Congress, and in selling it to the public in a way that won't result in a major bloodletting at the polls. If Rove can pull that off, he'll deserve every nickel of his salary."

"Right on about Fox. Lately I've been really turned off by FNC. I don't know but recently, to me, it seems like they are mainly concerned with more tabloid-like crap such as in depth coverage about what Michael Jackson had for breakfast rather than actual news. I mean come on, with everything going on in the world there is no reason why FNC needs to saturate us with coverage about Michael Jackson, the runaway bride, or whatever other garbage turns up. Nobody cares! "

"And if Korea or Iran blow up....all bets are off."

""It's set up so that they can do one tour in Afghanistan or Iraq with an Active duty unit and another tour with an Army Reserve or National Guard unit.""

"AR and ANG are geopraphically located. People aren't assigned or deployed the same way as Active Duty. They likely won't go unless their AR or ANG unit is sent and only a fraction of AR and ANG units are deployed at a time. "

"And this time around it is time for women to step up to the plate and be required to register with the SS since they want equality. Fem groups argued for years about women on ships and combat areas. There is no reason for them to be exempt from national service or the draft. A guy years ago was more to the point. He would go all out for women and equality WHEN he saw them join in mass protests for the right to be drafted. The wusses in Congress after years of hand wringing finally allowed them to participate in current realities."

"I posted comments earlier elsewhere about FNC's ratings running circles around the other news channels. They have been my news channel source for obvious reasons. But, I pointed out they lately have regressed and seem to be using a National Enquirer mentality by sensationalizing lead-ins to upcoming segments..."See the shocking videos...blah, blah," "You won't believe what so and so said...blah, blah." Yesterday, I emailed Greta's show, which is amounting to Son of Court TV about the above. "

"A few months ago a thread like this would have already been loaded up with the, "What,-are-you-crazy? We-don't-need-no-stinking-draft!" crowd. The authority to draft and the registration of women should have gone through congress and signed by the President before the end of September 2001. Now, it's going to be a wee bit tougher to "get 'r done.""

"Even in WWII, a "popular" war, most people didn't volunteer, they waited to get drafted. Ten Million+ of what some refer to as "The Greatest Generation" were drafted. The trick will be in getting it through Congress, and in selling it to the public in a way that won't result in a major bloodletting at the polls. If the Bolton matter and the Filibuster issue were settled today, it would still take many months for Congress to even focus on the issue of manning the force. "

"Imo we need to pay the soldiers fighting on the ground much much more then they are making now. And get away from this promising of benefits crap.. make it real cash, aka increasing salary. And we need to get away from the whole reserve idea of sending them overseas for a continuing mission."

"After congress is done shelling out money to the unions, pork barrel contracts, and every other special interest.. I doubt there will be any money left over for troops."

"I'm not sure more pay is the answer. Don't get me wrong, the troops can't be paid enough but big incentives are being offered right now. I do believe, under conscription, we'd have be a little more creative than in the past. Of course, when the draft ended in 73, E1 thru E5 weren't highly paid anyway. So, it didn't much matter that a US (draftee) made the same as an RA (enlistee). One way would be to create a two-tier pay scale for the grades effected (E1-E4 or 5). If a draftee chooses to stay longer at any point in the process, they would immediately jump to the higher scale. People forget that, even under the old draft, many draftees re-enlisted."

"A few months ago a thread like this would have already been loaded up with the, "What,-are-you-crazy? We-don't-need-no-stinking-draft!" crowd. No way there would be a draft. It would never pass in congress. If that were really the only option, which I don't believe it is, then the U.S. would have to leave Iraq. I'm not saying there will not be a need for a draft in the future, but its not going to happen for Iraq. The U.S. will need to get hit with a nuke, or something of similar significance, before there would be any chance of selling a draft."

"And if Korea and Iran blow up....they will raise the Draft Age to 75 and Save Social Security. "

"If Iraq is not worthy of a Draft, then we shouldn't be there. I guess I agree with you. I also agree that it may take another major attack on US interests to make it happen. Make no mistake, something"

"Come on. You know very well what sort of event would be needed to get public support for a draft - something on the level of a nuclear attack on a U.S. city. To claim that anything short of that is not worthy of military commitment seems ridiculous and would give our adversaries free reign."

"I said it would take a **major** attack to get enough support for a draft, but I also feel that changes will need to be made in the near term in terms of retainment, recruitment and deployment until the Iraqi army gets up to speed. If that doesn't happen in a reasonable timeframe in which we can maintain sufficient troop levels then we will have to look at other options, which include, among others, handing the keys to al Zarqawi and friends or stepping back and allowing a civil war to break out while aiding whatever group seems advantageous to U.S."

"Even without a major attack on us, at the current deployment tempo and drop in recruiting, Iraq is going to take the Army and Marine Corps to the breaking point."

This and that from the Blend mailbag

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I haven't had time to post today outside of the epic CharMeck post and Tar Heel Tavern. I've been getting quite a bit of mail from House Blend regulars about things in the news, so I'll pass these tidbits on for comment...

* Cat in Canada reports that Focus on the Family's exported its wingnuttery to the Great White North -- and hiring. Boy, that's heartwarming, isn't it?

* Paul in SF pointed to the unbelievable story about "driving while gay," where cops in Ohio are targeting cars with rainbow stickers that are in parks, looking for gay men cruising to bust them. A Dayton cop that participated in one of these busts told a gay man, “The bumper stickers are going to have to come off.” Paul had these comments.
Think about it. If no-interested men were being approached, the cops could simply send in any cop in plain clothes to get hit on. Only that doesn't work. To be able to get their arrests the cops have to send in men dressed suggestivly, and those officers have to get into long and intimate conversations with those gays they are targeting. See the parts I have highlighted in the story. In one case the cop asked to get his dick sucked. In another the cop engaged the gay man in conversation in a rest room and continued that conversation as they left the rest room and moved to a different part of the park where finally the gay man did something that he could be arrested for.

In other words these cops had to pretend to be looking for sex. Someone who wasn't interested in sex, but was there simply to use the facilities would have never let the situation drag on to that point.

Note too that the courts over the years have declared that sex in an outdoor setting is not illegal for gays or straights. It only becomes illegal when it takes place where someone else can see it and becomes offended. In otherwords if you go far enough off the beaten track to where it is likely no unsuspecting person will stumble across you, then you have the right to expectation of privacy. Look how these cops ignored that Ohio law.
* Faithful Progressive announces he's contributing to Christian Alliance for Progress, a blog organized in response to the Right hijacking the public face of Christianity. From The Cavalry Has Arrived:
After years of sitting back and watching the public perception of Christians plummet as the intolerant and often extreme Christian right established itself, here was finally a national organization with the skills and resources to present another vision of the faith that sustains me. It's been a long time in coming--there were many moments when many of us felt terribly alone...
* Mike Tidmus, as usual, stirs the pot with some hilarious graphic imagery, this time in response to Bill Frist and the "nuclear option" re: judicial nominees:

Unidentified Fristian operatives unveil the briefcase nuclear device they intend to detonate in the US Senate in the coming week. It’s too late to duck and cover. It’s here. If you’re uncertain about how serious the fallout is going to be when the theo-cons go nuclear, pick up a copy of the May issue of Harper’s magazine.

Blend Exclusive: interview with Jennifer Roberts on CharMeck gay rights initiatives

Making it happen in NC: Commissioners Jennifer Roberts and Parks Helms support adding gays and lesbians to CharMeck's anti-discrimination laws and partner benefits. One the other side, Commissioner Bill James, below, has concluded that the issue is about sex -- and he's the perv.

UPDATE: See Bill James's latest foul smear campaign following this interview.

May 17 is going to be a landmark day for Mecklenburg County, NC -- a resolution to include sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination laws will be on the agenda of the County Commissioners meeting. You'll recall that Commissioners Parks Helms and Jennifer Roberts expected a firestorm from the bible-beating, homo-hating Right when they planned to introduce this measure (and possibly to consider domestic partner benefits at a future time).

They didn't have to wait long, as fellow Commissioner Bill James unleashed an unbelievably unhinged email that shows you the level of ignorance and bigotry that Helms and Roberts are up against. House Blenders responded with some interesting email exchanges with James that solidly proved that rational thinking about the matter isn't on his agenda.

From: Commissioner Bill James
To: =emails deleted=
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 8:56 AM
Subject: Perversity is not diversity

You really think that a pool of people (homosexuals) where 45% of them eat feces from the rear end of another male is "normal"? If you do, you are frankly nuts.

A lifestyle where one of their past times is buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching? A group of people who like to urinate on their partners and call them "golden showers"? Where one of the honored members of the Gay Alliance is an organization called the "Man-Boy Love Association" that promotes sex with underage boys?
It went on and on.


Now that the initial proposal to add sexual orientation to the County's anti-discrimination law is going to be on the table, I spoke with Jennifer Roberts to see how she's weathering the pressure, what the prospects are for the measures to be adopted, and, well, why she's put herself in the middle of this political maelstrom.

Roberts is new to the political arena; she was elected in 2004. She serves on four committees: Natural Resources, Effective & Efficent Government and Economic Development, and the Community Building & Diversity committee. This initiative did not come out of this committee, however, it came directly from Commissioner Parks Helms. She credits Helms, her political mentor, for shepherding the initiative and showing her the ropes. "He has 20 years of tremendous leadership on this, weathering political storms; I want your readers to know how committed he is to diversity and fairness."

Both Roberts and Helms (no relation to Jesse), are getting plenty of feedback on his decision to promote the addition of sexual orientation to CharMeck's anti-discrimination law, and at this point, she says the emails that she's received are running about equal, pro and con, with fewer objecting to the anti-discrimination measure. She wants to focus on that measure to stir discussion and debate; it motivates her. "I believe that discrimination is never right; its impact can be so negative, long lasting, and far reaching." In fact, a reporter from the Rhino Times (a local conservative/libertarian publication) Roberts said, didn't see what the big deal was about the anti-discrimination initiative. She points out that the business community has led on this issue in Charlotte. Bank of America, Wachovia, Duke Energy -- all have anti-discrimination policies. "A policy of fairness helps recruitment and retention and creates an atmosphere of respect for all employees. The private sector has known for a long time that it's good for business. The difference with the County is that these issues are open to public debate and discussion and people want their say."

More often than not, people tend to fixate on the domestic partnership benefits (DPB) issue, which is actually not being discussed at next week's Commissioners meeting. "Those who are against it usually do so from a religious/morals standpoint." Even so, when that measure is eventually discussed, it's clear some community education is in order. Many of those that object have cited the "cost" of providing benefits for same-sex partners, when in fact, Roberts noted, the County doesn't pay for spousal health care premiums. The employee's is covered; the policy simply allows a spouse to be on the plan, but they must pay the full premium. It means the cost issue is a red herring once people are given the facts.

It disappoints Roberts that people focus on sex and emotions on these matters and make an erroneous connection between religious, sacramental marriage and civil marriage, and wrongly assume that anything to do with gay rights must be about gay marriage. "The Right is good at that; there are a lot of people trying to divide the community." The wingnuts are already trying to hijack the religious black community to marshal a more sizeable opposition. "Bill James has been in communication with religious leaders to make this a wedge issue. There are others that aren't buying into these tactics."

Philip Davis plans to let his bigoted views be known at the next business meeting of the CharMeck County Board of Commissioners.

In fact, two ministers plan to attend next week's meeting. Bishop Philip Davis, of Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte and Dan Burelle of Northside Baptist Chuch are likely to arrive with parishioners in tow to protest. Burelle has already launched a shot over the bow:
Dan Burrell, senior pastor of Northside Baptist Church, is organizing an e-mail campaign to counter efforts to provide the benefits. He said he's opposed to it for fiscal and moral reasons. "We're doing an e-mail campaign and trying to get the troops rallied," Burrell said. "I believe this is an issue around which fiscal conservatives and moral conservatives can unite." He said county officials, by design, will likely underestimate the cost of extending benefits to same-sex couples, Burrell said his moral opposition to the proposal is driven by faith. "Civilizations for thousands of years have never recognized homosexual unions," Burrell said.
Roberts feels that, this no different than other times in history, where core beliefs held by people have been responsible for reprehensible behavior. "Look at slavery, the Crusades, the Salem Witch Hunts, six million Jews murdered in World War II...there are so many opportunities to learn from the past. I feel very strongly that this is an ethical and moral issue to do the right thing."

Yes, religious convictions and biblical interpretations are being used once again to cover for bigotry, fear and ignorance.

However, it's clear that the stridency of the Religious Reich is starting to get to the more moderate/Libertarian wing of the Republican party in the County. Roberts says that she's spoken to several Republicans, and fellow Commissioners Jim Puckett and Dan Bishop, that "are getting uncomfortable with the hands-on, in-your-face tactics of the religious Right. The privacy issues are very interesting to me; people don't want a policeman peeping with a flashlight into your bedroom -- it's not your business."

As we've seen over and over on the Blend, some on the Reich very clearly want law enforcement and the government in our bedrooms, our wombs, our relationships. That's not small government.

In Roberts's own family, there is disagreement about these issues. She has relatives who don't support the initiative for partnership benefits, their discomfort based on the feeling that it will somehow affect families. "Family is the be-all and end-all; anything different, outside the norm, is feared. The nuclear family, while it can be a very stable and supportive unit, is not the only family structure; others can work equally well."

Roberts' perspective on the blogs and mainstream media is that "blogging is another way to get information out -- it's a great way to organize and can help ensure that you don't get misquoted." The mainstream media, which purports to be objective, is something Roberts laughs off when I bring it up. "I don't expect them to be objective. Their job is to try and sell newspapers; the fact that these initiatives were splashed on the top half of the newspaper tells you what they are interested in."

I asked her about her concern about re-election; wingnut Bill James, who ran unopposed in his district, plans to make the political lives of supporters of these measures miserable. [I have no doubt that this publicity hound will work to import AmTaliban forces if things look like they aren't going his way.] I noted that he freely claims that he represents over 100,000 residents. "Well, only two-thirds are registered to vote, and only a portion of them voted. He could have been elected by 5,000 people." That said, she's aware that he doesn't shy away from controversial statements. "People are afraid to run against him," said Roberts.

It was refreshing to speak with Jennifer Roberts. She is an example of a politician (like the Texas legislator Senfronia Thompson, who bravely spoke in the Texas legislature against bigotry toward gays and lesbians), who is willing to speak out for what is right, not what is politically expedient. It is here, at the local level, where change happens. We cannot wait for the national leadership of either party to get with the program; witness the shuffling and backpedaling of John Kerry (or substitute any establishment Dem name) on this issue. The future lies with putting people in office that actually have progressive convictions and gumption.

The Roberts family on the New River.


The Jennifer Roberts web site:
Visit her site for more on her stand on the issues, newsletters, public appearances, and to contribute to her campaign.

Video of Parks Helms on human rights issues.

UPDATE: Bill James starts the smear campaign

I barely finished writing up this post about Jennifer Roberts when bigot Commissioner Bill James and his supporters started spamming the commissioners opposing the anti-discrimination measures, quoting scripture, spewing ridiculous "facts".. I was forwarded some of this ignorant drivel. I had to follow up with her to ask whether James has anything better to do besides emailing his hate-filled, bible-beating nonsense. Roberts said:
"He has no other job. He does not give public meetings, attend community awards ceremonies and school openings, or serve on boards of community organizations, as most of the rest of the commisssioners do. He just emails all day."
He's in rare form (again):

Email to the Commissioners and the Charlotte Observer about the measure to include gays and lesbians in the County's anti-discrimination law.

From: Commissioner Bill James
To: =emails deleted=
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 4:40 PM
Subject: Agenda item 31

I notice that Parks put on the agenda a change in our policy regarding the groups that are considered protected classes of individuals for purposes of affirmative action.

In regards to this agenda item I have some questions:

1. The policy change adds the term "sexual orientation" yet I can find no reference to what that term means in the materials supplied.. What is the definition of "sexual orientation? Sexual orientation usually means alternative sexual lifestyles other than heterosexual including:

* Homosexual (meaning men who believe that they are born to have sex with other men) * Lesbian (meaning women who believe that they are born to have sex with other women) * Bi-sexual (meaning individuals who believe that they are born to have sex with both men and women) * Trans-gendered (meaning surgical alternation of one's sexual gender because the believe they were born "wrong" so that they can engage in sex with someone) * Bigamist (meaning individuals who believe that they were born for one man to have many women or one woman to have many men) * Pedophiles (meaning men or women - generally male homosexuals - who believe that they are born to have sex with children - One member of the gay alliance is the "Man-Boy Love Association" - see It says, in part: "NAMBLA's goal is to end the extreme oppression of men and boys in mutually consensual relationships ) * Practicing Bestiality (meaning men or women who believe that they were born to have sex with animals)

2. The policy indicates that individuals considered as part of a protected class will be tracked in various statistical studies. What does this mean? Are we do do studies of the above classes of sexual orientations in the same way that we do studies of Race?

3. The policy says that the County will use this list of protected individuals and use "affirmative recruitment efforts" to attempt to reduce any "underutilization" of these groups which may exist in any established job category. This sounds to me like the County will be using affirmative action to promote homosexuals and others above those of heterosexual employees if the number of homosexuals does not equal the requisite percentage.

4. How can the board of County Commissioners promote activity (sexual orientation however defined) that is against NC law and other policies regarding the education of children. While the recent Supreme Court decision in Lawrence V Texas made the prosecution of some of the above behavior unlawful in the privacy of one's homes it did not according to the DA and others invalidate the law or the State's condemnation of the behavior. If the state condemns a behavior, how can Mecklenburg County promote it by making it a protected class? If we can make homosexuals a protected class could we also make moonlighting prostitutes or bigamists protected as well?

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina

More nonsense from James...

From: "Commissioner Bill James"
Date: Fri, May 13, 2005 1:44 pm
To: =emails deleted=
Priority: High

it is a choice. It is also a sin and unhealthy.

Why should County employees who find the behavior sinful ( and illegal under NC law) be forced to accept it?

The Demo's are intent on running off the rest of the church going crowd that votes for them.

That is there choice. The GOP will be smiling all the way to the election booth.

If passed the GOP will reverse at the first meeting of the new board.

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina

Corinthians 6: 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12"Everything is permissible for me"but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"but I will not be mastered by anything. 13"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh."[b] 17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
1 Tim 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.


From: Commissioner Bill James []
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:44 PM
To: =emails deleted=
Subject: Pastors rally to oppose homosexual benefits

Thank you for your note. I look forward to hearing your comments this Tuesday though it is my understanding it is not on the agenda. A variety of ministers (Black and white) from the inner-city to suburbia are lining up to oppose this. See letter from an African-American pastor in Charlotte below.

"As an African-American pastor, I understand the arguments about discrimination; however this is not a matter of discrimination based on race, which is beyond the individual’s control. This is a matter of individuals choosing to live in a homosexual relationship and violate the biblical pattern for family. "

"....when individuals choose to live a deviant lifestyle and desires to utilize public tax dollars to support that choice, it becomes the business of taxpayers and all the citizens"
- Bishop Phillip M. Davis, Nations Ford Community Church, Charlotte

Other pastors have also lined up including the Senior Minister of Northside Baptist (Dr. Dan Burrell).

As you probably know, I will not be voting for it. The activity is illegal and extremely unhealthy to engage in. Numerous health risks exist for those that practice this activity. It was quite divisive for Mr. Helms to bring the matter up.

Parks Helms is also in favor of homosexual marriage, you can ask him about that..........see below...........

"The sanctity of marriage is created by the husband and the wife or by the partners who choose it. You do not legislate it" (meaning marriage)........

"Some men love men, Some women love women, What's wrong with that." "That's what we were taught to do"
-- Parks Helms (speaking in support of homosexual marriage) June 1, 2004 at a County Commission Meeting

See video of the above at the link below (approx 2min 10 sec) - MPEG 1


Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina


Subject: RE: Pastors rally to oppose homosexual benefits
From: "Commissioner Bill James"
Date: Fri, May 13, 2005 11:28 am
To: "'James Akers'"

Yes I know. The GOP will be opposing. The Declaration does not cover perversity. In any event, the GOP is committed to reversing it once we take back over the board. Between the tax increases the Democrats are about to adopt and the promotion of homo's the narrow electoral victory of Roberts and Rembert will be short lived.

Enjoy it while you can. Don't forget that the reason the Democrats lost across the country last year was the public's revulsion of homo's, the promotion and passage of anti-homo marriage amendments and a belief founded on fact that the Democrats are the party that has abandoned faith. They are the party of the heathen.

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina


A black homo-bigot pastor falls into line...

From The Office of
Bishop Phillip M. Davis
Nations Ford Community Church

Thursday, May 12, 2005

To: The Board of County Commissioners
Mecklenburg County
Subject: Domestic Partner Benefits for County Employees

Dear Sirs and Madams;

I greet you on behalf of the members and leaders of Nations Ford Community Church. Although the issue of Domestic Partner Benefits for county employees may not be an official agenda item for you at this point, it is my hope that you will not entertain it as such in the days ahead. With all due respect I would urge you to reject this item as being worthy of consideration.

What a private citizen does and how one behaves in the privacy of their, own homes, is a choice that he or she makes and even then we have laws to prevent behavior that is outside the norms of our community culture. However when individuals choose to live a deviant lifestyle and desires to utilize public tax dollars to support that choice, it becomes the business of taxpayers and all the citizens.

For those who choose to live in cohabitating homosexual relationships and call it domestic partners, then expect the public to pay for any portion of that choice is wrong. For our county government to even consider funding any portion of benefits for those living in violation of the culture norm, the moral standards and the biblical pattern of marriage and family is wrong.

As an African-American pastor, I understand the arguments about discrimination; however this is not a matter of discrimination based on race, which is beyond the individual’s control. This is a matter of individuals choosing to live in a homosexual relationship and violate the biblical pattern for family.

I trust that each of you as representative of the citizens of Mecklenburg County would resist the temptation to entertain this issue and focus the resources of the county on educating our children and improving our schools, roads and services.


Bishop Phillip M. Davis
Nations Ford Community Church

Tar Heel Tavern at Pam's House Blend

Welcome to the Tar Heel Tavern a traveling carnival of North Carolina bloggers. Today's gathering is at Pam's House Blend, a local coffeehouse, a comfy place to relax, kick back and discuss events of the day. The room is full of plush sofas and big chairs, and local bloggers are gathering to discuss what they've been typing about this week.

As the smell of java and warm pastries, cookies and tea fill the air, folks are settling down for a spell to share, as soft music plays, and folks mellow out. Grab a cup of java, a smooth chai, or English Breakfast tea and a scone and join me!

Jay Ovittore's Blog, is talking about the legislation on the NC House floor that would allow pharmacists to decide if, women can have their birth control or Morning After Pills, or men can
have their Viagra, "You Don't Have To Do Your Job If It Is Against Your Morals."

Ogre's Politics & Views is holding court, actually, presenting Good North Carolina Court News, and advocating that judges on the North Carolina Supreme Court should not be appointed by the governor.

Plebeian Hick at Scrutiny Hooligans is settling in for a discussion of "Fear and Loathing in the Great Parenthesis: Why the Religious Right is Wrong."

Patrick Eakes is chatting about An American Hero here in NC, Martin Eakes of the Center for Community Self Help, recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential North Carolinians of the 20th Century.

Andy Clarkson of Charlotte Capitalist is hopping mad, but engaging folks with "Hell No, I Won't Glow," about Duke Power's filing with North Carolina regulators for licenses to build new power generators that would be fueled by coal, natural gas and oil and has repeated its interest in a new nuclear plant.

Ron Hudson of 2sides2ron is relaxing over in a chair and a cup of Joe and wondering about Freedom of AND FROM Religion....Did the founding fathers forget something? He states, "gay people have often been accused of "recruiting others" by the Religious Right, yet it is the very same Religious Right who keeps coming back to recruit me. Did the founding fathers ever envision this kind of intrusion into one's privacy?"

Tony Plutonium of offers Advice to Grads...advice (that they'll never heed) for all those kids in the java
shop frantically studying for that last final.

Billy The Blogging Poet of is with friends sitting around drinking coffee that are suggesting titles to him at the center table for future ideas and he shares "And it all came crashing down!", inspired by a North Carolina blogger and television news photographer named, Chris Weaver, who works for FOX8 in High Point and writes the TV Photo Blog.

Favorite food memories from childhood is the hot tasty topic over at Judy Carrino of Just Ask Judy's table.

Science And Politics blogger Bora ssays he's an old man in a wheelchair who comes to the coffeeshop every morning and bores everyone to death with his senile incoherent stories about the good ole' times when I was young, in his post "39." Hey Bora, I'm going to be 42 this July...hardly ready for the wheelchair, lol.

Looks like there's an open invitation to Jon Lowder's hometown leaders (we're talking Winston-Salem, Forsyth County) to start their own "fireside chat" via blogs which he's happy to host and help them create over a hot cup of java.

I'm chatting up folks about the latest wingnuttery about CharMeck County Commissioner Bill James attempting to thwart fellow Commissioner Jennifer Roberts's efforts to add sexual orientation to the county's anti-discrimination laws.

I offer a last refill and and folks slowly make their way back home, after a lot of fun, laughs and hopefully not too wired from the caffeine.

The next Tavern will be hosted by Ogre's Politics & Views.

'Dr. Strangelove' rapist Ob-Gyn Hager stepping down from FDA advisory panel

Whoa, that was fast. Didn't he get the memo that Repug freakshows are supposed to fight back, lie and deny, no matter how cornered they are? We were just getting started kicking your perv ass all over our playground. I think someone in Chimpy's house probably told him his services were "no longer needed." The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that he's also challenged claims by his ex-wife in the Nation article that has everyone buzzing, something he didn't do earlier.
"I will no longer be on the advisory committee after June 30," Hager said. He indicated the decision was made before the allegations surfaced.

In a story in The Nation magazine, Hager's former wife accused the doctor of sexually abusing her during their 32-year marriage. The couple divorced in 2002. Yesterday, Hager, who was appointed by the Bush administration to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, questioned the motives of his ex-wife and the liberal monthly. He said the article -- which includes graphic details about their sex life together -- was "not based on all of the facts."

[Oh, like maybe this part in the article: "it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."]

"As I said before, the allegations as stated do not reveal all of the information and therefore they're incomplete and not true," the obstetrician-gynecologist said. "No one likes to be criticized, no one likes to be torn apart privately or publicly and I think that it's disappointing that my former wife has chosen this avenue to vent her anger and bitterness."

Hager has long been a target of groups who dislike his conservative Christian views and opposition to abortion. Many of those groups vigorously fought his appointment to the FDA board in 2002. The White House declined to comment on whether Hager will be reappointed. "We don't speculate on personnel announcements," said White House spokesman Taylor Gross.

Hager's ex-wife has changed her name to Linda Davis. She is now a Georgia Methodist minister's wife. Reached yesterday, she said "every detail" of the story in The Nation is accurate. "The Bible says that it's the truth that sets you free, so that's part of my decision to speak the truth," she said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Parks Helms: 'The time for same-sex issue is now'

Saturday, May 14, 2005

This is the first of what will be a few Blend posts on the gay rights situation in Charlotte-Meckenburg County, NC (CharMeck). County Commissioner Parks Helms and Jennifer Roberts are supporting the addition of sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination law. Mecklenburg County, is still a conservative area of North Carolina, so this is no small potatoes. It's the brave folks in the local trenches, allies like Parks Helms, that are also the ones willing to take the heat. And trust me, they are.

The Charlotte Observer interviewed Helms, and he's not shying away from doing what is right.
Helms: Time for same-sex issue is now Chairman says he has votes to add sexual orientation to nondiscrimination policy Calling it "long overdue," Mecklenburg County commissioners chairman Parks Helms said Friday that he has the votes to add "sexual orientation" to the county's nondiscrimination policy next week.

Commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would make sexual orientation -- like race, color, sex and religion -- an unacceptable reason for the county to discriminate in hiring and personnel decisions.

"This is an important public policy decision that is long overdue," said Helms, a Democrat. "And I would hope the members of this commission would accept it in the spirit in which it is offered."

"It's mystifying to me that the majority would want to go into an issue that would so divide the community and cause upset," said Republican commissioner Dan Bishop. "This appears therefore to be solely for the purpose of division and serving an extremist special interest."

Republican Bill James said the proposed resolution condones something illegal under N.C. law.

"I know that (Helms) is a liberal, and Democrats are in favor of all things perverted," he said, "but I'm trying to understand what it is he wants to promote. I want to understand how much deviance Parks is talking about."

This would be the first time commissioners vote on a measure adding a person's sexual orientation to categories of bias in hiring. A similar effort several years ago never came to a vote.

The city of Charlotte has debated but never adopted the anti-discrimination language, which would require legislative approval because it would change the city charter. Last year a proposal to extend city benefits to same-sex partners never took off.

Helms also has expressed support for partner benefits. But he said Friday he's not ready to officially raise that issue.

It is not clear whether such benefits are legal in the state. Though N.C. law prohibits sodomy, a U.S. Supreme Court case recently left the status of many state sodomy laws in doubt.

Tuesday's resolution deals only with discrimination. Helms says he has discussed the measure with local ministers.

He said he told them he was "driven to this decision by my Christian faith and my understanding of what is required of us. I believe in the worth and dignity of all persons. ... We have got to get away from the political condemnation of people and the religious condemnation. It's wrong."
This is going to be a contentious meeting on Tuesday, with religious leaders planning to attend and make their Reich views know.

I'm also going have a post up soon, featuring an exclusive interview with Commissioner Jennifer Roberts on the upcoming meeting, the unhinged Bill James, and what the climate really is in her neck of the woods. I've already received and compiled Bill James's latest sick email assault about this matter, and all of that will be included as well. It's unbelievable.

UPDATE: Here is the post with Jennifer Roberts and more from Bill James.

American Family Association is pissed at Wal-Mart now

Friday, May 13, 2005

Gee, the corrupt, immoral retailer is getting it from the Left and the Right, ha ha. Read the foaming-at-the-mouth diatribe from the American Family Association:
A pro-family activist says America's largest retailer is helping to further the homosexual agenda of destroying the traditional family. Wal-Mart has announced its approval of a "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Associates" affinity group for employees. Some pro-family advocates believe is only a matter of time before this group demands same-sex partner health benefits, financial support for homosexual meetings, "pride" parades, and workshops. Randy Sharp, special projects director for the American Family Association, is advising pro-family shoppers to think twice before patronizing a store that openly promotes the homosexual lifestyle. He says by embracing homosexuality, Wal-Mart is now pulling away from the ideals that have helped the retailer foster longtime positive relationships between customers and its neighborhood stores [oh, like killing mom-and-pop stores, creating environmental havoc, wage and hour violations and sex discrimination] and allying the company with pro-homosexual interests.

"Wal-Mart's decision is normalizing a very dangerous and unhealthy behavior," Sharp warns concerned citizens, "and you should care because Wal-Mart is helping to advance [homosexual activists'] agenda, and that final agenda ... is same-sex marriage -- to destroy traditional marriage as between a man and woman." The AFA spokesman is encouraging Wal-Mart customers to voice their objection to the company's endorsement of homosexuality.

Base closings and the South

Chris Kromm at Durham-based Facing South/The Institute for Southern Studies analyzes the effect of the recent announcement of 180 military installation closings on the region.
Given the South's dependence on military towns, the Pentagon's list of proposed closings was highly anticipated in the region. But while the South would lose 62 of the 150 installations slated for closure, the region as a whole stands to gain from the Pentagon's first major base realignment in a decade.
One of the stats provided is that Trent Lott got kicked in the teeth this time around; three bases in Mississippi are on the chopping block. North Carolina is expected to lose 4,145 at Pope Air Force base, but Fort Bragg will grow by 4,325 personnel.

Check out JJ's post on Big Brass Blog about what's really going on behind the closings.
The closing of military bases weakens the ability of this country to quickly respond to threats from terrorists and natural disasters. By closing the bases this administration is once again weakening this country, and for no other reason than to hide the gross negligence and miscalculations of the ongoing wars. If these closures go through, Osama Bin Laden and his cronies will be dancing with glee because they know they are succeeding in their efforts to weaken this country.

Don’t be fooled, this is the last ditch effort of this administration to avoid a draft. The last gasping breath in an effort to prove that all is well in Iraq and that the US is truly an all volunteer army. This last effort to gather bodies to throw at the rising insurgency will ultimately fail, wether it is within the remaining days of this administration or passed on to the next remains to be seen.

'Go nuclear' - wingnut Tim Wildmon

God-fearing Wildmon's Christian approach to the nuclear option: "the Republicans need to ram it down the Democrats' throats."

No more pussyfooting, GOP, just go nuclear on the judicial filibuster. The AmTaliban is in no mood for you to deal with the Dems. So says Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. The problem is, now I can't read the words "ram it" without all kind of perverse imagery, due to all the Republican deviants spouting off and getting caught with their collective pants down.
Here we go again. Seventy percent of the citizens of Nebraska pass an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman -- and on Thursday, one federal judge overturned it.

I did interviews with reporters from ABC World News Tonight and TIME magazine this past week. They were asking why some Christian and conservative groups feel so passionately about the issue of federal judges. The reason this story is timely is that there is likely to be a vote the next few days in the United States Senate on whether or not to end the Democrats' filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominees. Some call it the "nuclear" option. Others call it the "constitutional" option. This will be one of the most important congressional votes of the last 20 years and is a couple of years overdue in my opinion.

But there needs to be no deal making with Democrats in the Senate on this matter. They started this whole mess by blocking votes on President Bush's judges. Senator Bill Frist and the Republicans need to ram it down the Democrats' throats, if only by a 50-50 vote with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote for ending the filibuster. No apologies. What are the Democrats going to do about it? A few weeks ago they said they would shut down the government if the Republicans did this. Talk about a nuclear option! They have since backed away from this threat, realizing it would only hurt them with the American people. I say conservatives have worked hard over the last 15 years or so to bring about majorities in the Congress and now it's time to use the majority vote on the issue that motivated many people to vote for them in the first place -- ending the reign of pompous, liberal, activist judges who have lifetime appointments.

Was this last election about values? Hmm...

Shakes Sis had me rolling about "Dr. Strangelove" aka David Hager. She quotes Paul at The Adventures of the Smart Patrol, and adds her own 2 cents on this perv and the GOP's claim as the party of morality.
Paul, at his own website, commenting on Dr. Strangelove, says:
You know something? I don't want to hear one more goddamned thing about Clinton's blowjob. Not until these Republicans can manage to keep from raping their wives, cruising websites for sex, and engaging in pedophilia.
No shit. Not to mention having sex with farm animals, attempting to coerce their wives into exhibitionism in sex clubs, advertising their services as male escorts on the internets, having illegitimate children, and sexually harassing female coworkers, among others.

And you know what else? Here are some other things I don’t want to hear one more goddamned thing about, either:

Any negative reference to any consensual sex between two adults, married or not, of the same sex or opposite

Criminalizing any legal method of terminating a pregnancy or punishing any federally funded agency that performs, refers, educates about, or utters the word abortion

Banning or refusing to fill the prescription for any legal drug used to prevent pregnancy

Refusing to teach children proper sex education, including contraceptive options

Any further claim that the GOP is the party of moral values

Convoluted, typical Southern denial going on in Greensboro

Gary over at Facing South points out the bigoted wingnuttery of Greensboro's City Council, which deep-sixed support for the work of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The body was created to look into the 1979 fatal shootings of five anti-Ku Klux Klan demonstrators by neo-Nazis and Klansman. This event occurred in broad daylight with video rolling. The class and racial divisions that are responisble for the shootings highlighted still exist, along with the typical Southern to hope that if you don't talk about race, the problem will go away. As Gary points out, the mayor isn't helping the situation when he saies something like this. (Greensboro News & Record):
Mayor Keith Holliday said that the shootings should not be forgotten and could be the focus of further study but that the investigation could create more divisions than it would mend. He said that he believes the shootings had little to do with race, but that the process might make it look as if they did.
The council voted 6-3 in favor of a resolution opposing the project, with the three black member supporting the commission's work. Nope, there's no problem there. Move along...

WRAL-TV video on the massacre is here.

David Hager, rapist, AmTaliban OB-GYN, Bush appointee

Just getting around to this turd...

Bush wants to re-appoint this AmTaliban psychopath to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration. If you take a look at this piece in The Nation, you'll understand why this is a world gone mad. The man repeatedly raped his wife, and all the while he is a practicing gynecologist, well-credentialed at Lexington Kentucky's Central Baptist Hospital. Oh, and he has unorthodox ideas about PMS. To get rid of a headache, Hager suggests in his book Stress and the Woman's Body that women consult Matthew 13:44-46 and for the woes of PMS, Romans 5:1-11.

Women, would you want a man that does this slapping the gloves on and coming at you with a speculum?
According to [former wife Linda] Davis, Hager's public moralizing on sexual matters clashed with his deplorable treatment of her during their marriage. Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."

Not once during the uproar over Hager's FDA appointment did any reporter solicit the opinion of the woman now known as Linda Davis--she remarried in November 2002 to James Davis, a Methodist minister, and relocated to southern Georgia--on her husband's record, even though she contributed to much of his self-help work in the Christian arena (she remains a religious and political conservative).
Because she was a deeply religious woman, it's clear in the article, that the concept of marital rape was a foreign one to her; the man is in control. It is also pointed out that as recently as twelve years ago, it was legal for a man to force his wife physically into sex, or commence having sex without her consent. And in Kentucky, up until 2000, a woman was required to report spousal rape within one year of incident. The abuse continued, as Davis struggled to figure out how to make the relationship work with such a deranged man.
...Davis says she soon learned that sex could "buy" peace with Hager after a long day of arguing, or insure his forgiveness after she spent too much money. "Sex was coinage; it was a commodity," she said. Sometimes Hager would blithely shift from vaginal to anal sex. Davis protested. "He would say, 'Oh, I didn't mean to have anal sex with you; I can't feel the difference,'" Davis recalls incredulously. "And I would say, 'Well then, you're in the wrong business.'"

By the 1980s, according to Davis, Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn't have otherwise engaged in--for example, $2,000 for oral sex, "though that didn't happen very often because I hated doing it so much. So though it was more painful, I would let him sodomize me, and he would leave a check on the dresser," Davis admitted to me with some embarrassment. This exchange took place almost weekly for several years.
The pious sick bastard fills every checkbox for hypocrisy that lands you on the Conservative Values Monitor. He is a whackjob that has no business practicing medicine, let alone determining policies at the federal level that affect women. How has this re-appointment flown under the news radar? I guess a madman with latex gloves putting his hands up a woman's privates by day quoting ridiculous scripturally-based medical advice and raping his wife by night wasn't a disqualifier for the Bush team.
...his religious ideology underlies an all-encompassing paternalism in his approach to his women patients. "Even though I was trained as a medical specialist," Hager explained in the preface to As Jesus Cared for Women, "it wasn't until I began to see how Jesus treated women that I understood how I, as a doctor, should treat them." To underscore this revelation, Hager recounted case after case in which he acted as confidant, spiritual adviser and even father figure to his grateful patients. As laid out in his writings, Hager's worldview is not informed by a sense of inherent equality between men and women. Instead, men are expected to act as benevolent authority figures for the women in their lives. (In one of his books, he refers to a man who raped his wife as "selfish" and "sinful.")

...A member of Focus on the Family's Physician Resource Council and the Christian Medical and Dental Society, Hager assisted the Concerned Women for America in submitting a "Citizen's Petition" to the FDA in August 2002 to halt distribution and marketing of the abortion pill, RU-486. It was this record of conservative activism that ignited a firestorm when the Bush Administration first floated his name for chairman of the FDA's advisory committee in the fall of 2002. In the end, the FDA found a way to dodge the controversy: It issued a stealth announcement of Hager's appointment to the panel (to be one of eleven members, not chairman) on Christmas Eve.
I have to say, the more you learn about these allegedly, God-fearing Repugs, the worse it gets. The level of deviancy and depravity that is uncovered beats anything they could make up about gays and lesbians.

Check out Shakes Sis's post on this topic, as well as an excellent DKos diary by lorraine.

The 50s are back: Wingnut Homemakers for America

HFA founder Kimberly Fletcher "We can no longer be silent .... Our elementary school libraries are filled with books like My Two Mommies, and we can't even turn on PBS anymore," Fletcher explained. "We cannot hide our heads in the sand. We must speak out.

I'm not slagging stay-at-home moms in this post. What we're talking about here is a Stepford Wives organization of the AmTaliban designed to encourage a return to "Father Knows Best" and Donna Reed -- Homemakers for America, Inc. (HFA). As far as these women are concerned, the clock has rolled back.
"We are the homemakers," she explained. "Men build the house. We make the home."

HFA, a national citizenship organization, formed after an epiphany during the 2004 presidential election as a means of uniting a diverse group of women who share the core values of God, freedom and family. The epiphany soon turned into an organized effort as 26 women gathered together for the first time last November in Dayton, Ohio. These women, who largely differed in age, ethnicity, income and religion, became HFA's first members.

Fletcher and HFA fellow members used grassroots efforts to promote the group's website. Within two months of the first meeting, HFA grew to a membership of over 200 women from 11 states. Presently, HFA is made up of nearly 400 members from 16 states.

"I have truly felt inspired and directed by God to form this organization. I have been led all the way," Fletcher said.

...His guidance was evident in the development of HFA as the Lord began prompting Fletcher to form the organization while she and her family were working at a voting precinct in Trotwood, Ohio, on Election Day. The Fletcher family, among other volunteers, passed out detailed voter guides compiled by the Christian Coalition of Ohio. While distributing these guides, Fletcher compared them with the vague leaflets being distributed by the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

..."Homemakers for America, Inc. is a powerhouse -- a one-stop shop where you can ask questions, get answers, receive information on issues and find out what avenues are available to be most effective in influencing our families, communities, and our nation," Fletcher summarized.

"This [decay of America] is not a matter of Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives ... or Americans versus terror. It is as simple as good versus evil. "Homemakers in America want to be heard," Fletcher added. "How loud we are depends on our numbers."
I find these things and it's surreal; I cannot believe the number of sheeple that are out there, and the sad truth is that it is obvious that women like Fletcher are perfectly willing to turn the cultural clock back.

Also: enjoy this related Blend flashback in the same vein, about an essay that explains how to properly "submit" to your husband, What Does The Bible Say About The Duties of a Christian Wife?

Now here is a brave straight ally in Texas

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The important thing to remember in this fight for gay rights, is that we do need the support and action of our straight allies. House Blender Sandra pointed me to this incredible speech by a Texas legislator that opposed its anti-gay marriage amendment. The words of Representative Senfronia Thompson are brave and meaningful, especially so because she is black, given the rampant homophobia in the religious black community -- a group that should be supportive, given civil rights history. Sorry this post is long, but you really need to read this.:

I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about, this is the politics of divisiveness at its worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

Members, this issue is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this Leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas, fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP, who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination. I know something about hate and fear and discrimination. When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about "protecting the institution of marriage" as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree. That's what the white folks did back then to "protect marriage." Fifty years ago, white folks thought inter-racial marriages were a "threat to the institution of marriage."

Members, I'm a Christian and a proud Christian. I read the good book, and do my best to live by it. I have never read the verse where it says, "gay people can't marry." I have never read the verse where it says, "though shalt discriminate against those not like me." I have never read the verse where it says, "let's base our public policy on hate and fear and discrimination." Christianity to me is love and hope and faith and forgiveness -- not hate and discrimination.

I have served in this body a lot of years -- and I have seen a lot of promises broken. I should be up here demanding my 40 acres and a mule because that's another promise you broke. You used a wealthy white minister cloaked in the cloth to ease the stench of that form of discrimination.

So, now that blacks and women can vote, and now that blacks and women have equal rights -- you turn your hatred to homosexuals -- and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag. . . brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what? Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this State now. Texas does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this State -- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing -- the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way -- this is obscene.

Today, you are playing to the lowest common denominator -- you are putting aside the real issues of substance that we need to address so that you can instead play on the public's fears and prejudices to deceive and manipulate voters into thinking that we have done something important.

I realize that gay rights are not the same as civil rights -- but I can guarantee you we are going in the wrong direction. I can not hide my skin color. In fact, in most of the South, people as pink as Rep. Wayne Smith were still Black by law if they had a great grandparent who was African. I was unable to attend an integrated and equally funded school until I got my Master of Laws degree. There were separate and unequal facilities for nearly everything.

I got second-hand textbooks even worse than the kind you're trying to pass off on every public school student next year. I had to ride to school on the back of the bus. I had to quench my thirst from filthy coloreds-only drinking fountains. I had to enter restaurants from the kitchen door. I was banned from entering most public accommodations, even from serving on a jury.

I had to live with the fear that getting too uppity could get you killed --- or worse. I know what third-class citizenship feels like. In my first term, one of my colleagues walked up and down this aisle muttering about how Nigras should be back in the field picking cotton instead of picking out committees.

So, I have to wonder about Rep. Chisum's 3/5 of a person amendment. Some of you folks hid behind your Bible then, too, to justify your cultural prejudices, your denial of liberty, and your gunpoint robbery of human dignity.

We have worked hard at putting our prejudices against homosexuals in law. We have denied them basic job protections. We have denied them and their children freedom from bullying and harassment at school. We have tried to criminalize their very existence.

But, we have also absolved them of all family duties and responsibilities: to care for and support their spouses and children, to count their family's assets in determining public assistance, to obtain health insurance for dependents, to make end-of-life or necessary medical decisions for their life partners --- sometimes even to visit in the hospital, even to defend our own country. And then, we can stand on our two hind legs and proclaim, "See, I told you homosexual families are unstable." And nearly every one of you on this Floor has a homosexual in their extended families.

Some of you have shunned and isolated these family members. Some of you, even some of the joint coauthors, have embraced them within your own family for the essence of Christianity is love. Yet, you are now poised to constitutionalize discrimination against a particular class of people.

I thought we would be debating real issues: education, health care for kids, teacher's health insurance, health care for the elderly, protecting survivors of sexual assault, protecting the pensions of seniors in nursing homes. I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors pensions and stem cell research, to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids --sweet little vulnerable kids -- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting. Today, we are telling homosexuals that just like people of my ilk, when I was a small child, they too are second class citizens. I have listened to all the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap.

Mr. Chisum, is a person who I consider my good friend and revere. But, I want you to know that this amendment are blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry. You are trying to protect your constituents from danger. This amendment is a CYB amendment for you to go home and talk about.
If you want to drop her a line to thank her for standing tall, go here.

Michiganers freak over high school non-harassment policy

The good folks at MailToBlog have an action item post up that you should take note of. The Detroit Free Press reports
"a Troy High School classroom poster with a message that "gay people are everyday people," has ignited protests from some parents at the suburban Detroit school.

One of the parents, Anthony Cruz, 49, said he expects about 80 people to join the protest at the next Troy School Board meeting, on May 17. He said the problem with the poster is that the school is supposed to concentrate on academics and leave other matters for after-school time and activities.

Instead, the classroom poster has a "a captive audience," in students, Cruz told The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak. He has two daughters at the school.

Troy School District spokesman Tim McAvoy said Superintendent Janet H. Jopke has met with some parents over the poster and will continue to talk to them about it. He said the poster promotes safety and tolerance.

"We do not allow our students to be harassed for any reason. It is an issue of tolerance," McAvoy said."
On the MailToBlog site, there are links to email the Troy School Board and administration of the high school in support of the message of tolerance. Take a look.

You know it's bad when Oliver Stone caves to the wingnuts

Politically focused, rabble-rousing filmmaker Oliver Stone must have been hijacked by a pod person. He's going to snip the gay-flavored content out of Alexander because the poor American homophobes had their sensibilities rattled. What kind of ball-lessness fever is spreading around these days? Did it ever occur to him that the film flopped because it wasn't good? Read his bullsh*t quotes; it's sickening. (SFGate):
Director Oliver Stone has cut the gay references from his "Alexander" movie for the DVD version of the 2004 flop. Stone claimed his epic was unpopular with American audiences because of the subtle homosexual content.

He said, "They didn't even read the reviews in the South because the media was using the words: 'Alex is Gay.' As a result you can bet that they thought, 'We're not going to see a film about a military leader that has got something wrong with him.'"

In the DVD version, the relationship between Colin Farrell's Alexander the Great character and Hephaistion -- played by Jared Leto -- will be portrayed as simply a friendship. However, fans of Rosario Dawson will be pleased to know more angles of her character Roxanne's naked exposure will be included in the DVD.
Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.

Tom Ridge: we were all a bunch of f*cking liars

But we knew that already -- the Bush admin is rotten to the core. He's just admitting now that he had the country on a leash, jerking the fear chain with each damn terror alert.
The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.

Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled.
I just want to remind folks that millions, if not billions of dollars were spent (and lost) as a result of these mindgames. While it may be abstract to Ridge or Bush, it caused a nightmare in NYC last August, for instance. From my post at the time (Kate and I were in NYC the week after the alert was raised in advance of the GOP convention. It was chaos there.
BTW, what I call the "orange-plus" alert up there had everyone that I ran into pissed at Bush. These were just random folks chatted up on the bus and subways. Not one person felt comforted by the "extra security". Went down Saturday to ride the Staten Island ferry and we had to walk through the terrorist bullseye that is Wall Street. I guess they figure the area isn't a target on weekends, since we saw a single lonely officer at the NYSE with an automatic weapon, two sleeping (bomb-sniffer) Labs, and a couple of cops shooting the breeze.

They finally eased up on the bridge vehicle searches while I was there because businesses were taking such a hit because of delays and searches (the alert meant only the Manhattan Bridge was open to commercial traffic). For instance, a 40 minute trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn for a delivery vehicle could take 6 hours.

What a joke. The Bush/Tom Ridge fright exhibit only snarled traffic and caused local businesses to lose who knows how much money.

My cousins that work in Manhattan plan to get the hell out of there when the GOP convention comes to town. Midtown will be a living hell to get around in for locals.

Jeff Mathews

UPDATE: Buddy Radical Russ did up a nice revamp of the alert:

What is Newt smoking?

Tell me this is a joke.
Iowa Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he will spend the next two years focusing on changes needed in the nation and less time talking about his own political ambitions. Gingrich tells The Associated Press that he may be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but says the discussion should be about the big issues...Gingrich is on a three-day visit to Iowa, where precinct caucuses launch presidential campaigns every four years.

Spain and gay marriage -- good news and nutty news

A few updates on this country's progress and fallout regarding gay marriage. It's going to pass, but the pressure from the Catholic church and their version of wingnuts is making it all interesting. For instance, take veteran Spanish politician Manuel Fraga, president of the Galicia region. You've heard all kinds of reasons why gay marriage is bad from our home-grown leads to:

* bestiality
* STDs
* polygamy
* the end of the world
* name ten other homopocalyptic things you've heard.

But Fraga's added a new, unhinged one to the list: allowing gays to marry would worsen Spain's aging population problem. Look at this:

"At the moment there is a population crisis ... This could aggravate a problem Spain already faces," Manuel Fraga, president of the Galicia region and a leading member of right-of-centre Popular Party, said yesterday. He did not elaborate. "Soon, if things don't improve, it will be the most aged country in the world," he said.

Fraga, a minister during the Nationalist, Catholic dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, is running for a fifth term as president of Galicia in June elections at the age of 82.
OK. You can stop laughing now. We move on to the Vatican issuing threats to all Catholics that might be accepting of gay marriage. I expect Pope Ratzi to send some goons with nightclubs to bash some kneecaps at this point.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, also said adoption of children by same sex couples was "moral violence" against children and jeopardised their personality and stability.

Lopez Trujillo said the law, along with the growth of couples living together outside marriage, was " destroying, bit by bit, the institution of marriage" which the Catholic Church teaches should be a partnership for life. "Christians, even if they are state employees, are asked to become conscientious objectors because the laws we are speaking of are deeply offensive to morality," Lopez Trujillo said. The Colombian cardinal said homosexuals deserved respect but allowing gay couples to adopt children "destroys the future of children, (and) they suffer moral violence."
And we need to give three cheers to someone with big brass cojones -- Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He is not only in favor of gay marriage, he's snapping back at the Vatican big time. If only our politicians had even one sac.

In his "state of the nation" address to Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero lashed out at the Church. "I will never understand those who proclaim love as the foundation of life, while denying so radically protection, understanding and affection to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues," Zapatero told parliament.

"What kind of love is this that excludes those who experience their sexuality in a different way?" he said.

Last year, shortly after Zapatero announced he would bring in the legislation, he was summoned to Rome for a lecture by Pope John Paul. Nevertheless, Zapatero and his government refused to bow under the pressure.

The attacks have continued under Pope Benedict. The Pope, speaking through Cardinal Alfonso Lopes Trujill, head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, said Roman Catholics should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law.

Marriage wingnuttery being cultivated in South Africa too

Bigotry and ignorance continues to fester over marriage, even in a country that explicitly states in its 1996 constitution that gays and lesbian have equal rights. It's clear that the same sorts of evangelical bullsh*t tactics and reasoning used by the AmTaliban are being applied in South Africa. Do you see the trend here? (Pretoria News):
The Marriage Alliance of South Africa has thrown its weight behind the government's attempts to have a Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment allowing same-sex marriages reversed.

The organisation said at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday that it had been granted an application by Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson to be admitted as "friends of the court" when the Constitutional Court hears the case of the Minister of Home Affairs vs Fourie and Bonthuys on Tuesday.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has challenged the Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment, in which the common law definition of marriage was developed to include same-sex couples, effectively legalising same-sex marriages in South Africa.

The alliance stated that steps to redefine marriage were unnecessary, as marriage was by its nature a heterosexual institution. The organisation submitted that rather than strengthening marriage, the redefinition would actually undermine and ultimately destroy marriage in its traditional and currently recognised form. Furthermore, the attempt to redefine marriage was an encroachment on religious freedom.

"Contrary to the assertion that religious officers will not be compelled to solemnise the marriages of same-sex partners, there is an underlying threat that this is not the case, as has been shown in other countries where same-sex marriage has been adopted," the organisation stated.

It also said that to redefine marriage as the union of any two persons was not to pull gay men and lesbians into marriage as it is known, but to pull married men and women into a "genderless marriage". Dr Michael Cassidy, international leader of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, said marriage as an institution was being "assaulted" from many quarters.

..."The Supreme Court of Appeal's judgment is wrong because we believe that marriage provides a social thread that should not be broken," said Cassidy. He said marriage was a proper place for nurturing children. "Children develop best within the context of a family, where there is a biological mother and father," said Cassidy.

Canadian Gay Marriage Bill To Die May 19

It's not good news at all, though take solace in the fact that gay marriage is legal in much of the country. (
Canada's minority government is expected to be toppled next week and with it same-sex marriage legislation. Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Wednesday that he has scheduled a vote on his government's budget for May 19. Loss of a budget vote is considered a loss of confidence in the government and would force an election.

"If the government loses the vote next Thursday, I will seek the dissolution of this Parliament," Martin told reporters following a caucus meeting. The earliest date for an election would be June 27. The Liberal government has been on life support for months - mainly the result of a political scandal involving allegations of kickbacks, payoffs, and judicial appointments to party hacks.

Earlier this week the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebec held a dress rehearsal for the defeat of the government. In a key vote the rightwing party and the separatist party teamed up to defeat the measure 153-150. If as expected, the Liberals expire next Thursday, all pending legislation would die with it.

The same-sex marriage bill passed second reading in the Commons earlier this month. Committee hearings mean it could not return to the House for a final vote for weeks. It would then need Senate passage and royal assent. "There's a growing consensus the current government is in its final days," Gilles Marchildon, the executive director of national LGBT rights group Egale told Wednesday. With an election on the horizon public opinion polls are divided over who might win. A Decima Poll shows the Liberals would return to power, but a Gregg Poll shows it would be the Tories. Both polls, show whoever wins they would form another minority government.

A new Liberal government would most likely quickly reintroduce the same-sex marriage bill. But, a Conservative government is pledged to fight gay marriage. Conservative leader Stephen Harper has proposed legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman but allow for civil unions.

Pam's House Blend hosts the Tar Heel Tavern carnival

I'm the host of the Tar Heel Tavern carnival this weekend -- featuring the best of NC bloggers. What is a carnival?
A blog carnival is a regularly compiled selection of blog-posts submitted by bloggers who either belong to a particular geographical region (e.g., India, Iraq, Balkans, or North Carolina), or write on a particular topic (e.g., medicine, science, philosophy, history, religion, education, etc.), or regularly post photographs of animals (e.g, cats or dogs). If you are still not sure what a blog carnival is, check this carnival collection for some examples. The very first blog carnival, The Carnival of Vanities, was invented right here, in Chapel Hill, NC, by Bigwig of Silflay Hraka.
I'm continuing the House Blend theme of the virtual neighborhood coffee shop -- a comfy place to relax, kick back and discuss events of the day, or whatever's on your mind this week. I'll be asking other NC bloggers to grab a cup of java, a smooth chai, or hot beverage of choice and a scone and join me!

I'll be posting the carnival roundup on Sunday, so check back to see what other Tar Heels are blogging about.

NC bloggers: to submit a post, please use this form or email me:

Interesting things in the mailbag...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

* Elise at After School Snack pointed me to some wingnuttery -- Oklahoma's House of Representatives passed of a resolution that would ban books on gay families from the children's sections of public libraries. It asks Oklahoma libraries to "confine homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material to areas exclusively for adult access and distribution." Sounds like those folks have been talking to Alabama's Gerald Allen, who wants to bury books with any references to homosexuality, or authored by homos.

Hutcherson photo art via Mike Tidmus.

* Mike Tidmus has a hilarious post about Pastor Ken Hutcherson, who was the AmTaliban representative trying to (almost successfully) make Microsoft buckle to the Right.
“When [Microsoft] stepped out and tried to make their [anti-discrimination] policy my policy and other companies’ policy and the state’s policy, they stepped into a den of snakes and I was the main cobra.”

Like a lot of people I applauded Hutcherson’s honesty when he admitted to being a snake.

When Microsoft denied their decision (to discontinue full support for a Washington State gay civil rights bill) was based on the threat of a nationwide Christian boycott made by Hutcherson, Kenny the Cobra cast the first stone and publicly called them liars. He then proceeded to belittle the behemoth corporation, “If I got God on my side, what’s a Microsoft? What’s a Microsoft? It’s nothing.”

Nothing but billions in the bank and an unshakable customer base, Ken. And, if you’ve got God on your side, bring on the boils, the frogs and the blood-red Perrier.
Mike also found a gem of an article by Hutch, who teams up with an Orthodox Rabbi to write a bizarre opinion piece on WingNutDaily. You have to read it to believe it.

* Also, head over to Big Brass Blog because JJ has even more sleaze on Spokane Mayor Jim West. It just doesn't stop:
I am still working on the number of interns that were appointed by Mayor West. If in fact as my source tells me, 11 to 12 young men who were appointed in an effort to get them into bed that will likely come out in the FBI investigation. (Even in my slut years I didn’t date 12 people in six months).

It looks to me like the outing of Mayor West has made him realize what persecution of gays is actually like.

Anyone have other interesting things that you've come across today that you want to share?

Freeper 'surprises' on the anti-gay marriage rally in Raleigh

I had to run this pic again; the ignorant knuckle-draggers don't know the contraction for "isn't."

There was a Blend post a bit earlier on the media coverage of the few hundred wingnuts, mostly imports, that rallied at the Legislative Building in Raleigh on Tuesday in support of a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.

I was looking for Freeper reaction on it -- and I found the usual drivel there -- but you'll see that there are a couple of quotes that are surprising, even encouraging in terms of the strategy that can be used in the equality movement -- and it's what the Reich fears most.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"This same-sex marriage stuff should be deeply troubling to all of us here. Yet another example of how liberalization of our morals and values will lead to the destruction of the republic. I'm afraid. Very afraid"

"I think an anti-gay marriage amendment is the will of the people of NC, but the Democrats control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. NC is funny, as it usually goes for the Republican presidential candidate, but hardly ever fails to give the Democrats control on the state level (Republicans elected to governor only 3 times since the Civil War, I think, with Holhouser in '72 and Jim Martin in '84 & '88). The GOP did take control of the NC General Assembly (both houses) in 1994, but has lost it to the Democrats over the last few elections."

"Judges do not do these things in a vacuum. They have a constituency, sometimes a "silent majority" one. Abortion is just one example. If Planned Parenthood can be believed, nearly half of the adult public has been involved in abortion since the SC overturned all the state laws against it. But we don't have to go that far to find comparable examples. Here on FreeREpublic, we just had two lengthy threads about the anti-cohabitation law in your state. All the libertarian types came out of the woodwork again screaming about the oppressive government trying to take away their rights to screw whomever they wanted, whenever they wanted. The gay-is-great types easily tap into this mentality . . . and take it to court with them."

"As this is an Associated Press article, there must have been THOUSANDS there [no, there were not thousands, wishful thinking], as the left-wing media outlet stated that "hundreds rallied". I wish I would have seen the rally advertised on here somewhere, as I was off today and would have gone."

[personal experiences with gays alert]
In my small town, there are at least 3 sets of alleged "gay couples". Even though this is a strict Baptist, God-fearing community, people generally accept them and do not cause them any grief (which they should do). I feel that what they do behind closed doors is their own business, so long as they do not involve minors or anything like that. I do have a problem when some of the gays that try to force their decadent lifestyle "down our throats" (excuse the pun) with their gay pride rallies, indoctrination of children in the schools/on television, other "in your face" tactics. And when they try to re-write a clearly black-and-white issue such as marriage, then I have major problems.

[personal experiences with gays alert]
It's no secret on this site- my wife & I have lived next door to a couple of gay gals since 1987- and they are perfectly good neighbors, and nice folks, to boot. Quiet, keep to themselves, but if you need a hand, they'll help you out- and whatever they do together, they keep it private. I really do believe in live & let live. As you said, it's the over-the-top, in your face characters who are very annoying.
Those "personal experiences" with gays are proof positive why people need to come out. If there are Freepi that can attest to the fact that gays and lesbians can be "good neighbors and nice folks" their virulent hatred and ignorance really have nowhere to go. It gets displaced onto this abstract "in your face" gay character that is somehow different from the gay people they do know.

Those quotes are clearly not a complete change of heart, but remember, these are people on the fringe Right. They shouldn't even be expressing this level of acceptance. This is what the Right fears. Softening opinions and opening minds, one at a time...even in Freeperland.

Softening opinions means the vast majority of people in the center, if exposed to gay people on a personal level (leaving out the self-loathers, who do as much harm to the cause as a Dobson or Falwell), can be educated about what the real civil rights issues are and how granting them takes nothing away from their marriages or affects their lives in a fundamental way.

We can move forward on this front only if the establishment Dems can stop shuffling and jiving on this issue and become coherent and committed.

Dobson, Freepers want Trent Lott's hide

Watch your back, Trent: Dobson says conservative-without-equal Lott is sabotaging the Repugs on "the nuclear option."

Repugs like Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) better not mess with the AmTaliban -- they'll turn on you in a flash. WorldNutDaily is reporting that Focus on the Family's James Dobson is pissed at him, and shared his thoughts with fellow Talibaner Don Wildmon of the American Family Association (see the AFA's campaign to smear Kraft in an earlier post).
Dr. James Dobson, the influential founder of Focus on the Family, has just about had it with former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, whom he accused of cutting a deal with Democrats in the upper house that would preserve their right to filibuster judicial nominees.

Dobson told another pro-family leader, American Family Association's Don Wildmon, in a radio interview yesterday that he was "disgusted and alarmed" about the deal he heard about from a "totally reliable source."

According to Dobson, the Lott deal with the Democrat leadership would prevent Majority Leader Bill Frist from invoking the constitutional option – sometimes referred to as the "nuclear option" – to stop the Democrats' continued filibuster against the president's conservative judicial nominees.

"I don't remember being so disgusted and alarmed by what I just had confirmed in the Senate as I am now," Dobson said. "Senator Trent Lott is about to sabotage Majority Leader Frist and cut a separate deal with the Democrats to preserve the filibuster of judges."
So what do you think the Freepi have to say about this? Wading into the sewer of Freeperland...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Just like the deal Lott made not to impeach Clinton!!!! Dr. Dobson is right about being disgusted with the former Ole Miss cheerleader. Lott needs to shut up, he no longer has any power."

"Whatever reputation Lott has or has had in doomed for the toilet of history if this comes to pass. Also if he succeeds he can count on a whole lot of repubs to work against him if he ever runs for anything again. Hey Lott you girlie cheerleader p.o.s."

"You cannot make deals with those lacking the honor to keep their end of it, and they won't. NO DEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Lott needs to answer thewse questions:
1. Who do you think you work for, anyway?
2. Who elected you...the democrats?
3. Did you bother to poll your base to see what THEY want out of a "deal" with the democrats?
4. Did you poll your base to see if they WANTED a deal with the democrats?
5. Do you think so little of us Republicans that you think we are ALL spineless wimps like you?
6. Do you think so little of your Republican colleagues...the conservative ones, anyway, that you feel you can jeopardize their re-election campaigns because you want to cut-and-run?"

"Trent Lott is a Democrat with fake elephant ears and a trunk pasted onto his head. Any conservative would "

"Trent Lott still has that Ole Miss snob attitude. Someone needs to take him aside and inform him that he is a has been."

"One could ask those same questions of so-called "conservative" John McCain."

"Trent Lott...

...say it ain't so"!!!

"If that mincing little faggot did this to us, not enough bad stuff can happen to him."

"At some point after enough of this has gone on with Lott, if his true colors are those of the liberal left in this country. The spineless jellyfish explanation can only go so far."

"Looks like Trent is considering dropping out of politics; us Mississippi voters are certainly waiting for the opportunity to help him make the transition."

"Yesterday, Lott's office was saying that 'he' didn't release the statement about the 'deal in the making'. However, reports from Capitol Hill said the 'reporting' came from Lott's office (as in his Chief of Staff or other high staff member). So, Lott seems to be doing a Kerry -- letting his staff take the heat for releasing info about the 'deal in the making'."

"It may be time to think about a "Daschle" for ole' Trent. Hello Club For Growth? Let's put a real conservative in Trent's seat. He sucked as senate majority leader, and he has obviously learned nothing but how to put on panties for his friends the demoncrats. What a complete POS!!"

"I suggest that any Republican that cuts a deal with the Democrats and there is no up and down vote should be recalled."

"Back when LOTT as Senate "Majority/Minority" Leader was going through the Strom dustup, I called our Senators and advocated FOR his removal as such, not so much for his verbal indiscretion as for his consistant incompetence and, as far as I could tell, total LACK of any "leadership" skills! And it does not appear that he's learned much since then, either. "

"Unfortunately, R's can't seem to act like a "majority" and the Dems get to pretty much rule as if they were still the majority, mainly due to a gaggle of turncoat "moderate" (i.e. Pro-Prenatal INfanticide) RINOs. "

"And I suspect that RINO's pivotal issue is the same as their Sociocrat "Colleages", by and large. That's why they don't want Constitutional Judges on the bench any more than the Dems do. "

"So - what are we going to do about that, I wonder? CAN anything be done?"

"I am beginning to like Dr. Dobson a lot!... Because he is taking active leadership for our conservative issues. forget about the Catholic C - which I am part of, sort of [smile] - the CC will always be a liberal organization, especially here in the U.S. The see every problem in terms of God's point of view (and can one argue with that? so, fine by me), but for political purposes, I would like to support (with $), someone who goes out ther and fight for our causes, like Dr. Dobson. What do you all think?"

"There has been a rumor amoung certain circles that Lott is doing some dirty work for Frist. Frist can't herd in the Rinos, but he has to hold a vote. If Lott does enough "freelancing" to botch the vote, then blame for the failure moves towards Lott and away from Frist. Lott has a safe seat and no realistic shot for higher office or a leadership position, so he is the ideal high profile Senator to take the heat for the Constitutional option failing. Frist can give off the appearance that he did everything within his power to win the vote. Dobson is being played. The vote will fall just short and Frist will say to Dobson: if your base can just deliver a couple of more Senators in 2006, we can get this done then. The Republicans need Dobson's base but can only be assured of getting it if there is a carrot just slightly out of reach. They've dangled that carrot just slightly out of reach for at least 30 years now."

American Family Association urging boycott of Kraft over Gay Games

I received an email from House Blender Sandy about another wingnut smear campaign...

Under the guise of One Million Dads, the American Family Association is planning a boycott and intimidation campaign of Kraft because the company is sponsoring the Gay Games. From the bigoted site:
Kraft is a major sponsor of 2006 Gay Olympic Games

Kraft Foods, makers of popular products like Macaroni and Cheese, Kraft Singles, Oreo cookies, Maxwell House coffee, and Ritz Crackers is a sponsor of the 2006 Gay Olympic Games in Chicago.

Click Here to see their sponsorship commitment for yourself.

The gay games are supported and endorsed by dozens of homosexual activist groups and organizations, including homosexual magazines and television outlets.

Tell Kraft to drop their corporate sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.
Send Your Letter Now!

NOTE: If you see a commercial or program which is offensive, email us the information. Many of you have done this, and it is very helpful.
Sandy writes:
If you could call or write in support it might be a help-I did and the operator thanked me profusely, but then, that's her job. Anyway, the contact info is :

Their toll-free number is 1-800-323-0768

Additional contact information:

Kraft Foods
CEO Roger K. Deromedi
3 Lakes Dr.
Northfield, IL 60093
Phone: 847-646-2000
Fax: 847-646-6005
TOLL FREE: 1-800-323-0768

There is an online form also, if you want to email. Thanks, seems everytime you turn around the bigots are howling after anyone who isn't as hateful as they are. Sad.

More of the Bush economy: United Airlines can dump pension plans

United's about to give the shaft to over 120,000 workers; Darth Cheney's secret energy committee seems only to have resulted in outrageous gas prices that the airlines are sinking fast.

Welcome to the Bush economy. United Airlines is going to dump its underfunded pension plans onto the taxpayer to survive bankruptcy. Yes, this would be the largest default in the history of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC). U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff ruled that $6.6 billion of liabilities can be shifted to the PBCG, which will result in reduced retirement payouts to United workers - flight attendants, ground workers and pilots -- all 121,500 active and retired employees.

This should scare everyone; it could lead to a disaster of savings & loan debacle proportions if a big fish like Ford or GM tanks and tries this maneuver. (LAT):
The ruling fueled speculation that other major airlines — which also are suffering huge losses — might try to ditch their pension plans to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage to United, the second-largest U.S. carrier, behind American Airlines.

...Wedoff said that transferring the pension plans to the federal agency didn't violate any law or United's union contracts, and that reduced benefits were better than having the airline go under.

"The least bad of the available choices here has got to be the one that keeps an airline functioning, that keeps employees being paid," Wedoff said. United, based in suburban Chicago, is the busiest airline at the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports, and about 4,000 of its 61,000 active employees live in California, along with thousands of United retirees.

United has lost nearly $10 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including $1.6 billion in 2004. The carrier, like many other older so-called legacy airlines, has been hurt by soaring fuel costs, widespread fare cutting, relatively high operating costs and the growth of low-cost discount airlines such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2002.

United's unions say that missteps by airline management over the last several years also are to blame, and that they've been asked to make excessively steep concessions.

But United Chief Executive Glenn Tilton — a former oil industry executive who took United's helm in September 2002 — has pushed hard for the labor concessions and the pension plan switch, saying they're the only way the airline can climb out of bankruptcy.
You will note below that they are trying to blame the unions for this, but sh*t, you know the top-level execs have been flying high with bonuses regardless of the airline's performance. When the rubber hits the tarmac, though, they first go after the workers.

How about Chimpy's energy policy -- you know the one developed by all the pigs at the trough like Ken Lay. The ones you'll never know the identities of because the courts have ruled that those meetings with Dick Cheney are privileged conversations?

It's no wonder that strikes are threatened.
But the pact has outraged some United unions, and the airline's employee situation "has become extraordinarily volatile," said Ron Kuhlmann, vice president of Unisys R2A Transportation Management Consultants in Oakland.

The Assn. of Flight Attendants has threatened random, unannounced strikes against United flights if the pension plans were transferred. The association represents about 15,500 United flight attendants. United warned them last week that they could be fired if they walked off the job.

Association spokeswoman Dianne Tamuk said, "We feel sold out" by the ruling, and said that the union would meet to decide its next step.

"A strike is a real prospect if that agreement is approved," Jack Carriglio, a lawyer for retired United pilots, said at the hearing. "Also, this will have a grave impact on United employees' morale."

Under federal pension law, the PBGC pays no more than $45,613 a year to a worker who retires at age 65; it's less for those retiring at an earlier age. As a result, United's pilots are expected to take the greatest hit to their pension benefits. They commonly earn six-figure salaries while working, but under federal law they must retire at age 60.

Moreover, United and most of its union employees have another battle to wage. United also is asking Wedoff to throw out the airline's wage-and-benefit contracts with most of its employee groups, so it can secure the more than $3 billion in annual labor savings — aside from the pension costs — that United says it needs to survive.

A hearing on that request begins today, and some United employees have threatened to walk out if the carrier wins that contest as well.

The politicking NC mountain pastor gives himself the boot

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chan Chandler got the message from above to get the hell out of Dodge, er, East Waynesville.

We posted a couple of days ago about the dumb*ss pastor of East Waynesville Baptist Church, you know, the knucklehead that "excommunicated" followers with "Democratic tendencies" if they didn't vote for Chimpy (since a vote for Kerry was a vote for abortion and support of homos).

On Sunday he attempted damage control saying the flap over the church members' dismissal was "a great misunderstanding" and he tried to welcome them back into the fold. No one bought that line - the dismissed members, who attended the service with their lawyer said there was no misunderstanding so Chan's the one walking away instead... (Herald-Sun):
"I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family," the Rev. Chan Chandler said during a meeting at East Waynesville Baptist Church.

Congregants of the 100-member church in western North Carolina have said that Chandler endorsed Bush from the pulpit during last year's presidential campaign and announced that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry needed to "repent or resign." Speaking from the pulpit Tuesday night, Chandler opened the meeting with prayer before telling the gathered congregation that, "For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family."

He then left with his wife and drove away from the church escorted by police. A few moments later, about 40 of his supporters -- many in tears -- came out of the church while the nine ousted members and about two dozen other church members remained inside for about 40 minutes to pray and talk.

"I don't believe he preached politics," said Rhonda Trantham, one of Chandler's supporters. "I don't believe anyone should tell a preacher not to preach what's in the Bible."

Frank Lowe, one of the nine to leave, said: "I think his duty was to preach God's word and let the people sort out what they want to do."

Chandler attorney, John J. Pavey Jr., said Chandler has not apologized for anything he said and would continue to speak out against abortion. He said the dispute inside the church had nothing to do with politics, a contention seconded Tuesday by Chandler's supporters. "The only thing I wanna say is that everything that's been in the press is a lie," said Misty Turner. "I have never bowed down to Chan. I've only bowed down to the Lord." Asked if she would remain a member of East Waynesville, she said, "I'm not going to serve with the ungodly."

Local coverage of anti-gay marriage wingnut rally in Raleigh

Resident Margie Harvell on gay marriage: "God didn't ordain it that way, He created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Yawn.

The turnout wasn't the 10,000 they were looking for. Most were church folk and some were the wingnut traveling road show of professional protestors from Called2Action.WRAL-TV:
Margie Harvell and others believe most people want the chance to vote on the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

...Several popular conservative Christian speakers, as well as lawmakers, spoke at the two-hour event. They want legislative leaders to allow for referendum bills to be heard. Republican sponsors of bills in the North Carolina House and Senate claim Democratic leaders are blocking the measures from even being considered.

A spokesperson for North Carolina Senate leader Mark Basnight pointed out that state law already bans gay marriage and says a constitutional amendment is not necessary. "I think the leadership is recognizing that there are more important issues for the legislature to address and focus their time on then trying to discriminate against a group of North Carolina citizens," gay rights activist Ian Palmquist said.
WTVD-TV (link to video)

"It's an abomination to God to have same-sex marriages. We believe marriage is something that God created for one man and one woman," Raleigh resident Latonya Hinton said.

Jeff and Pam Gorton brought their children to the rally. "Families like ours are committed to one man and one woman," said Jeff Gorton, of Wake Forest. "This is one of the issues that's going to affect my children, grandchildren, in the future, and I want to make sure we can protect the marriages now and into the future."

But Jennifer Rudinger of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a constitutional amendment would go further than the state's current defense-of-marriage law. "This would really hurt a lot of families in North Carolina," Rudinger said. "It would be a real shame to amend our constitution and for the first time use our constitution to discriminate against so many people who are raising families."
Freep this poll on "Should North Carolina amend its constitution to ban same-sex marriages?" Right now (10PM), it looks like this:

News 14 Carolina (video at this link):

"I think it's important because I have children, and I want their future to reflect on a Godly principle,” said amendment supporter Andre Barrios.

"I think we'd have 70 percent to 75 percent of the people in North Carolina who would support a constitutional amendment if it came to a vote but we can't even get it out of committee,” said Sen. Jim Forrester (R-Gaston). "We are certain that if the bills are brought up in either the House or the Senate that they will pass,” said John Rustin of the N.C. Family Police [Policy] Council. "The will of the people needs to be decided by the legislative branch,” said Sen. Fred Smith (R-Johnston). “Not one single judge in the judicial branch determining what marriage is going to be in this state."
News & Observer:
Supporters of traditional marriage mounted their first effort to influence lawmakers to amend the state constitution on Tuesday with deafening shouts of "Let Us Vote."...But turnout for the rally behind the Legislative Building in Raleigh fell far below expectations. An estimated 500 people - mostly church members - showed up, less than the thousands organizers had hoped for.

...But the Rev. Patrick Wooden, pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, said the state needs another added level of protection that only a constitutional amendment can bring. "Let's just put another lock on the door, just in case, just for safekeeping," he said.

Bill O'Reilly tanking in ratings

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. A little post-election/falafel pain via Media Bistro:
Monthly averages:
October: 3,166,000
November: 3,080,000
December: 2,610,000
January: 2,478,000
February: 2,391,000
March: 2,320,000
April: 2,178,000
May-to-date: 2,096,000

Canadian Catholic diocese is paying out big time

And the cancer spreads...this child-molesting priest in Newfoundland admitted his guilt and was sentenced to four years in prison in the early 1990s. He's retired and continues to draw a church pension while living on a family property. This diocese was hit so hard by the lawsuits over this man's behavior that it's going to sell all of its churches. (AP):
The Catholic Diocese of St. George's will sell about 150 properties to raise $10.5 million as part of a settlement for the victims of the Rev. Kevin Bennett, who was convicted in 1990 of hundreds of sexual assaults over three decades as a priest in the province of Newfoundland.

"All of the churches, all of the parish houses, all the missions," will be sold, Bishop Douglas Crosby said. Forty properties, apparently cemeteries, weren't part of the deal.

The organization was appealing to its 32,000 parishioners for donations to buy back core properties when they go on sale in the coming months. "What we're hoping is we can save, or repurchase, one-third of them," Crosby said.
And what will the return be on that investment?

A big strike at the Phobocrats

Love it. Fellow bloggrrrl and ally Shakes Sis has a good long rant on the sorry state of the Democratic Party regarding gay rights and gay marriage. The movement every eloquent straight and gay voice out there to call the Dems out on their complete ball-lessness on support of gay citizens, especially in light of John Kerry's recent unbelievable kow-towing to the centrists, sh*tting on gays to drum up support when we are clearly in the Right's crosshairs at every turn.

I had pointed Shakes Sis to a ridiculous DKos diary yesterday by dataguy that made me so angry that I had to shut off the computer and just walk away for a while. Take a read at some of the comments in Gay marriage - why it is not a good issue for Dems. It really says it all. Dataguy's drivel:
Committed dems are looking for the values of the Democratic party. I see, over and over again, that "If we don't stand for something, we stand for nothing." I agree 100 %. However, the search for values is NOT a suicide pact. A value like "equality" can be achieved by many approaches. In particular, CU is equality, with a name change. Choosing and promoting a clear issue is important. However, we must also use sensible choices to decide WHERE to stand. CU [civil unions] is just as principled as GM [gay marriage], and a clear statement that this is good would clarify matters nicely.

The many gay members of the Democratic party are to be commended for their great passion for this issue, which is naturally very important to them.
As a democrat, I am NOT willing to give up public schools, Social Security, progressive taxation, environmental progress, science and all other democratic values for this one issue. I put it that way SPECIFICALLY because this is the request: We go the way of GM. This is not just a request, this is a demand by many of the strong supporters. If we do that, we lose election after election.
He just doesn't get it. I think this is the sick thinking of a silent majority of the Dems out there. Gay issues don't resonate with them as civil rights issues at all. They are underinformed and seek a "win" over principles. They, the Dems, are the roadblock to our obtaining equal rights.

Shakes Sis coins these Dems the Phobocrats, in the vein of the Southern Dixiecrats that opposed integration. It really is political history repeating itself.
Only the Phobocrats continue to insist on the need to acknowledge and respect the sanctity of marriage, with little concern for the simple reality that changing the definition of marriage in no way undermines its sanctity. Only the Phobocrats continue to insist that the militant gays and their supporters clamor exclusively for marriage, when the reality is that the Dems’ refusal to enact legislation providing for civil unions long ago has forced the LGBT community into challenging the constitutionality of state marriage laws. What can be expected of people who have no champion for their rights in Washington, or in state government? The idea for civil unions has been there for the taking by any party who had the guts and the belief in full equality for decades. That the people who would benefit were continually and wholly ignored (and still would be, sans challenges to state marriage laws) is not the responsibility of a radical gay agenda, but the fault of every straight politician and voter who happily and contentedly took advantage of the rights and benefits afforded them by marriage while never giving a second thought to what was being denied their fellow gay Americans. It was the complacency of the Phobocrats that compelled the very challenges for marriage equality they now lament. And from whence did that complacency spring? I suppose one doesn’t fight for something in which one doesn’t believe.
She's spot-on; the Dem's reticence to fight for gay rights has just as much an impact as the Right's relentless whipping on these issues. At least the fundy Repugs know and accept their position -- and believe in it. Dems are continually parsing, wavering and obfuscating their positions on this. They refuse to openly discuss the differences between civil marriage and religious marriage and whether they truly support federal equivalency of civil unions, and if not, why?

The bottom line is this -- there isn't really a middle ground here, despite the hand-wringing and talk of "patience" and "compromise". The civil union/gay marriage red herring is a diversion, a way to avoid the hard discussions of why separate and unequal is deemed politically OK. There wasn't a call for middle ground with the black civil rights movement, so to continue this charade of not publicly acknowledging that establishment Dems are too weak-kneed to hold to principles of equal rights for all is ludicrous. It's feet to the fire time.

[Also, check out more anger by 'Bean over at Julien's List.]

Hurl alert: Halliburton gets $72 million bonus for work in Iraq

How does this happen? Never mind. All of us can think of better ways to spend $72 million lifted from our wallets.
The U.S. Army said on Tuesday it had awarded $72 million in bonuses to Halliburton Co. for logistics work in Iraq but had not decided whether to give the Texas company bonuses for disputed dining services to troops.

Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Illinois, said in a statement it had given Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown & Root ratings from "excellent" to "very good" for six task orders for work supporting U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Army said its Award Fee Board in Iraq had met in March and had agreed to pay KBR bonuses for work it did in support of U.S. forces there. But it said dining facility costs questioned by auditors from the Defense Contract Audit Agency had not yet been considered by the military's Award Fee Board.

...Halliburton, which was run by Vice President Dick Cheney until he joined the 2000 race for the White House, has earned more than $7 billion under its 2001 logistics contract with the U.S. military.
Don't forget these little facts...

* A criminal investigation into whether kickbacks were involved in Halliburton's use of a Kuwaiti subcontractor to provide gasoline for Iraq's civilian market. Halliburton says it notified federal authorities after an internal probe found two of its former employees may have been involved in corruption worth $6.3 million.

* A review of that fuel contract by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which concluded Halliburton overcharged the Army by $61 million.

* An investigation by the former Coalition Provisional Authority's internal watchdog which found Halliburton could not account for scores of items in Iraq worth millions of dollars.

* A report by Congress' Government Accountability Office, which found a "pattern of contractor management problems" by the Army on Halliburton's largest Iraq contract. The nonpartisan GAO said the problems including taking more than a year to finalize the documentation on work orders worth billions of dollars.

* A Pentagon audit, which found that Halliburton charged the Army for meals it never served to troops. Halliburton said the problem was caused by the widely fluctuating levels of troops in and around Iraq. Halliburton has repaid $36 million and set aside more than $140 million for a possible settlement as it negotiates with the Army on that issue.

Southern Baptists: investigate the homo agenda in schools

Minister Voddie Baucham's web site touts him as the seemingly oxymoronic "evangelist to intellectuals." As you can see, with the above pic there, we have yet another black pastor beating the homo-hating drum out there...

Ah, I needed my dose of wingnuttery from the American Taliban propaganda organ AgapePress today. A resolution to investigate "the influence of the homosexual agenda in the nation's public schools" will be heard at the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville.
Sponsors of the resolution -- Southern Baptist preacher Dr. Voddie Baucham, and author Bruce Shorrt -- contend that parents are often unaware of what is being taught to their children under the guise of promoting tolerance, safety, diversity, and multiculturalism. Baucham says the objective of the resolution is to "shine the light of truth in the dark corners of our schools and force our brethren to take a long, hard, honest look at what we have tolerated for far too long."

According to a press release from the group Exodus Mandate, the resolution encourages every church in the SBC to determine if any schools in their local school district have either a homosexual club or any curriculum or program that "attempts to influence children to accept homosexual behavior as a legitimate lifestyle." If such clubs or material are found, Southern Baptist churches would be urged to let parents in the community know, and to encourage them to remove their children from the district's school immediately. The Baucham-Shorrt resolution also commends Christians who are currently working in the public school system, encourages Southern Baptists to support educational alternatives to government schools, calls for Baptists to pray for homosexuals, and rebukes homosexual activists for "slandering" minorities by claiming that homosexual behavior has any authentic connection with the civil rights movement. The SBC's Annual Meeting takes place in the Tennessee capital on June 21-22.
You have to take a look at this resolution. Some of the folks backing this are familiar to you if you're a regular House Blender. The crap is unbelievable...

* Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth and Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute,, 630-790-8370: "I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools...Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the 'sexual orientation' agenda works its way into their children's education."

[He's the nutcase that feels the Religious Right is "in the closet", being persecuted by the pagans, atheists and homos that are allegedly in charge of everything and that the fundies are being persecuted.]

* Linda Harvey, President, Mission America, Columbus, OH,, (614) 442-7998: "Based on my 10 years of tracking and researching the growth of homosexual activism in public schools, I know that very few parents are aware that the majority of public school districts are selling our children the dangerous and false notion that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable lifestyle."

[I've not heard of her before. Here's a snippet of her bio, full of ties to the usual suspect AmTaliban organizations: "She has contributed to materials published by Focus on the Family, and has been a speaker at their "Love Won Out" youth conferences. She is interviewed regularly by AFA Radio, CNS News, SRN News, the Beverly La Haye Show, and has spoken at national conferences for Concerned Women for America, Heartbeat International, and Reclaiming America. She was a featured speaker in 2002 at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by the Culture and Family Institute of Concerned Women for America on the topic of the homosexual agenda in American schools."]

* Robert Knight, director, Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America (202) 488-7000: "Under the rubric of "diversity," "tolerance," "safe schools," and AIDS education, homosexual activists are selling a pansexual agenda right under parents' noses. They gain access to public schools by initiating something with obvious appeal, such as the anti-bullying program "No Name-Calling Week." Such projects are a Trojan horse for promoting homosexuality as normal and inevitable for some kids. Parents then find themselves being accused of bigotry for trying to steer children away from a set of behaviors whose risks are well documented. By the time it reaches that stage, the activists and their materials are entrenched in the school system."

[This dude is off the wingnut scale: "Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute says he is well aware of the huge effect being exerted by the homosexual population of DC. "I myself have talked to people who have been in the 'gay lifestyle' and in Washington and have since left it -- and they said that it's a lot bigger than people realize."]

* Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, M.S., M.D., Department of Politics, Princeton University and Laboratoire de la Physique de la Matiére Condensée, Université de Nice USA+1 (203) 221-0031 "Any program, club, or curriculum that signals to students that homosexual behavior is 'just another lifestyle' places children at tremendous risk. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that for boys and young men in North America who identify themselves as homosexual even if the identification is only temporary, which as has been documented in numerous large-scale sociological studies in America, France, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, as is the case with the majority of such self-identified homosexuals - the risk of being either HIV positive or dead by age 30 may now be as high as 65%."

[Another discredited "scientist", Satinover is the author of "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth" and specializes in "reparative therapy" for gays, saying the American Psychiatric Association was misled into removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.]

* Dr. Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology, Grove City College 724-458-3787, "As a result of over 20 years of clinical experience and academic research concerning education and sexual orientation, it is clear that schools are increasingly being used by groups such as the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as focal points for their advocacy. Instruction time is being given over to political activism, much of which has as its purpose to change traditional beliefs concerning sexuality. Most parents have no idea that this is going on or that public school officials collaborate with political activists to attempt to alter the beliefs of school children."

[Throckmorton's science has been discredited, yet the Religious Reich forced the reversal of a decision by the country's largest mental health management company, Magellan Health Services, to boot this 'ex-gay' advocate Dr. Warren Throckmorton from its advisory board.]

What's the matter with Hollywood - the product sucks

Hollywood insiders are hand-wringing about the poor box office totals of late. I suppose the last Star Wars installment, Revenge of the Sith, will bring a lot of folks into the theatres, but aside from that, I'd be worried too if I was a Hollywood mogul. It's not DVDs or home theatres keeping people away. The movies SUCK, people. (NYT):
Now Hollywood is starting to get worried.

The poor box-office performance last weekend of the first major film of the summer, "Kingdom of Heaven," released by 20th Century Fox, made for 11 weeks in a row of declining movie attendance and revenue compared with last year, adding up to the longest slump since 2000 and raising an uncomfortable question: Are people turning away from lackluster movies, or turning their backs on the whole business of going to theaters?

The historical epic about the Crusades, which stars Orlando Bloom and was directed by Ridley Scott, took in just $20 million at the domestic box office, a puny opening for a film that cost about $130 million to make and was supported by a major marketing push. The film was helped by a stronger performance abroad, where it took in $56 million in 93 territories.

Since 2002, attendance is down about 10 percent for the comparable period, to about 433.7 admissions from about 485 million. The decline has provoked speculation that a rising DVD market and the advent of more elaborate home entertainment centers, along with the shrinking window of time between a theatrical release and the appearance of the DVD, is causing moviegoers to stay home and wait for discs.

Still, some of Hollywood's most seasoned executives insist that this year's problem is a simpler one: The movies have not been good enough.
It's obviously not just me; I think I only went to a handful of mainstream movies over last year or so. There was nothing compelling; the most interesting and enjoyable films I saw were at the Full Frame Documentary Festival and the NC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Aside from that, off the top of my head I can think of these.

* Ray: Jamie Foxx was a revelation, the movie decent, not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.

* The Incredibles and Shrek 2: both featured most excellent, genius work -- I saw the Incredibles twice, because there was so much there to absorb on many levels. And I'm not a big animation buff.

* The Forgotten: OMG, this was a piece of sh*t. There was some serious, probably intentional, deceptive marketing for this movie. What was Julianne Moore doing slumming in this crappy flick? The first third was a psychodrama and it quickly devolved into a low-rent X-Files episode with people getting sucked into the sky by aliens.

* Sideways: Good writing and brain food. I wasn't as taken by this film as many were. I'm not into the whole wine culture thing, so that metaphor grew stale after awhile, but the acting was stellar.

* Blade 3: Don't blame me - my brother forced me to go see this over Christmas; he's a fan of the comic book. Boy was it a lame film; and I've seen a lot of bad kung-fu Hong Kong flicks and action films, so I know B-A-D when I see it. This was so low-rent that it was embarrassing. Can Wesley Snipes find anything better to do? Sad.

* and of course, F9/11 and Control Room from last year as well. I didn't get to Hotel Rwanda, but I'm going to get the DVD. Maybe I'm contributing to Hollywood's downfall...

Look at this list of 2005 movies on IMDB. These are supposed to be the most popular of this year. Do you see quality on this list?

Question: have you also found that there's just not enough good stuff out there to make you want to spend a small fortune to go to the movie theatre (tix here I think are up to $8.50). Some films you need to experience in the theatre (e.g. Star Wars)

On a related note, it's increasingly an unpleasant experience to go to the movies, don't you think? I don't know what it is, but why can't people just shut the f*ck up when the movie is playing? This must be a side effect of home theatres; people think they can sit and chat/behave as if they are in their living room.

When we went to see Ray, Kate and I had to endure this awful (way too old to be doing this - like 40s) man and woman crawling all over one another. Like fricking horny teenagers. They were miffed that people were pissed at their antics; cripe they weren't even in the back row of the theatre, so everyone in stadium seating could see the sideshow.

Please people. Get a room. I didn't pay eight bucks to see you hump one another.

'Jesus Christ' wants a driver's license

This religious gentleman wants his name changed on his driver's license to Jesus Christ, but he's having a bit of trouble with the courts. So what if his name offends some people? What legal reasoning does a judge have to prevent him from changing his name to this? (CNN):
Attempts to prove his name really is Christ have led the man born as Peter Robert Phillips Jr. through a lengthy legal battle and a recent victory in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

"This all started with him expressing his faith and his respect and love for Jesus Christ," attorney A.P. Pishevar told The Associated Press. "Now he needs to document it for legal reasons."

...Christ applied for the legal name change in May 2003, but it was denied by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Tim Murphy because "taking the name of Jesus Christ may provoke a violent reaction or may significantly offend people."

In his appeal, Christ's attorney argued that Phillips had changed his name to Jesus Christ 15 years earlier, and "has been using the name since then without incident."

Iraq is really under control - governor is kidnapped

Saboteurs attacked a crude oil pipeline complex near the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry said. It was a bomb.

Sh*t is still blowing up and now one of the governors has been snatched. The trade-in for Chimpy's version of "democracy and freedom" -- oh, what a feeling! (AP):
Gunmen kidnapped the governor of Iraq's western Anbar province Tuesday and told his family he would be released when U.S. forces withdraw from Qaim, the site of a major new offensive against followers of Iraq's most-wanted militant, relatives said.

Gov. Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi was seized as he drove from Qaim to the provincial capital of Ramadi, his brother, Hammad, told The Associated Press. The kidnappers later called the family and said they were holding the governor until U.S. forces pull out of the Syrian border town, about 200 miles west of Baghdad, Hammad Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi said. "The kidnappers have demanded that American forces leave Qaim in order to release him," he said.

U.S. forces are conducting one of their largest offensives in six months in the remote desert region, believed to be a haven for followers of militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

American Taliban to descend on NC Legislature Tuesday

I'm sick of the intolerance and bigotry getting imported from other places, Called2Action; we have enough wingnuts here already.

[UPDATE: I'm moving this weekend post up, since the event is today.]

There is going to be a "Traditional Marriage Rally" on Tuesday May 10th at the NC General Assembly and the American Taliban is going to make its presence known by supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment bills that are currently stalled in committee. The wingnuts are trying to get it on the floor for discussion and a vote. The deadline for passage is May 19th. The bill would deep-six equal marriage rights, but it would also prohibit any recognition of civil unions, domestic partnerships, or similar relationships in the state. To add insult to injury, the language of the bill is so broad it could prevent private companies from extending domestic partner benefits to their employees. It must be stopped.

The efforts of progressive and gay activists, including the folks at Equality NC, were thankfully able to keep an almost identical marriage amendment in similar circumstances off the ballot in 2004, but we all knew they would be back at it again this year. It was one of the first bills sent up for this session; this year's version has five fewer sponsors than the 2004 bill. A rally of religious leaders and progressives against the amendment was held in March, but we knew the Religious Reich's response was going to be to bring out the big guns. And yes, they are...

I lifted this from NC Rumors, a right-wing blog:
Representative Tim Moore of Cleveland County. He and Representative Jeff Barnhardt are primary sponsors of this bill in the House. Senator Fred Smith is sponsoring a similar bill in the NC Senate.


This weekend is our last chance to sound the trumpet for the Marriage Rally next Tuesday, May 10th at Noon! God has been moving in so many ways and we are looking forward to a powerful day. Here is the final list of speakers, in order:

[Links below are to Blend posts on these homo-obsessed people]

Michael Johnson, Alliance Defense Fund

Steve Noble, Called2Action

Dr. Bill Maier, VP, Focus on the Family (James Dobson's outfit); Bob Knight, Concerned Women for America

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council; Pastor & Mrs. Patrick Wooden, Upper Room Church of God in Christ (Raleigh) [More on this f*cker here.]

Dr. Danny Aiken, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest); Bishop Wellington Boone, nationally known evangelist, speaker, author and Promise Keepers favorite

note: The program will begin promptly at 12:00 and end at 1:30. We hope you will stick around after the Rally to go visit your legislators personally. Listings of Representatives and office information will be available at one of our tables, or you can go to our homepage and look them up.

note: I have attached a great Rally Flyer to this email...please print it, cut it, and use it! If everyone getting this email were to hand out 20 flyers, we would distribute over 37,000 this weekend! That's what can happen when we operate as One Voice. If you are a Pastor or Church Leader, please get this flyer into your Sunday School classes as well as your Sanctuary...please challenge your flock to invest a few hours of their time to help defend Marriage!

note: Please make sure you look over the parking options: Park & Ride or Park & Walk If you are going to Park & Ride, PLEASE make sure you register here! If you are a Pastor, you can get a "head count" and register with that information!

note: Please take a moment to look over our Rally Signs and Rally Etiquette pages (they will be up by Friday night). It is vitally important that this rally remains positive - we are not there to bash people who disagree with our views. If we see offensive signs, we will be asking you to get rid of them (we are trying to provide some signs for you to use - if not, please check out our suggestions). There will probably be protesters, but treat them with respect & dignity - even if they don't treat you that way. Be a good witness of the Love and Forgiveness of Christ.

Please pray for good weather, a mighty crowd, and a movement of God on our Legislature.

In His Service,

Steve Noble
The folks at Called2Action showed up in March to protest Chapel Hill and Orange County's non-binding measure to support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, to support adding sexual orientation to the state's hate crimes law; and to oppose the constitutional amendment up now. These losers are featuring "Talking Points" on its web site for Tuesday's rally (I have the document here). Look at the bullsh*t they are feeding the sheeple, coaching them for lobbying our legislators:
Legalization of same-sex marriage is crucial to a broad agenda that includes

· Silencing all public religious teaching against homosexual activity
· Criminalization of any institutional limitation of homosexual activity
· Complete legal and financial equality of same-sex partnerships
· Complete normalization of homosexuality in all public education
· Aggressive reverse discrimination in favor of homosexuals and their proponents
· Aggressive institutional and legal discrimination against anyone who speaks against homosexual practices

North Carolina has strong laws that define marriage as only between one man & one woman at one time. However, having a strong law is not enough in todays culture. Indeed, North Carolina is only one decision away from having its marriage laws declared unconstitutional. The strongest defense in favor of traditional marriage is a state constitutional amendment an amendment which has been introduced in both chambers of the NC legislature.
I'm sick of this roadshow of hate coming to my state. Clearly the Reich is worried that NC is wavering as solid "Red" state, sensing a political shift that requires them to take strong action. This is scary stuff. I will keep monitoring the situation -- folks that can get to that rally, please send first-hand reports in and I'll post.

EqualityNC is holding a fundraising event, based on each minute Called2Action lobbies:
Wow! Less than 24 hours ago, we asked you to take a stand against religious-based bigotry by pledging to support Equality NC for every minute the far right Christian group Called2Action holds their hateful rally at the General Assembly on Tuesday. So far, we have pledges totaling $70 for every minute their rally to write anti-gay discrimination into our state constitution lasts!

If you've already made your pledge, thank you. Please consider passing this message on to friends and family who might want to be a part of this exciting opportunity. They can learn more and pledge at:

If you haven't made a pledge yet, now is the time to do it. Help us raise $100 for every minute of their divisive rhetoric. Pledge online right now at:

Your pledge of just a quarter or 50 cents a minute really makes a differnece!

Toegether, we can show the far right that we won't let them get away with claiming religion is on the side of bigotry and discimination.

Thank you!

Ian & Ed
Equality NC
UPDATE (11PM, Tues): Here is local coverage of the rally. They wanted 10,000, they got a few hundred.

The Spokane pedophile mayor "takes a break"

Ryan M. Oelrich (L), 24, says he rebuffed sexual advances from Mayor Jim West. (Brian Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

JJ's still digging up the dirt on this guy over at Big Brass Blog. Oh, after the masturbation post, I didn't know if it could get any lower, but apparently the mayor of Spokane, the sleazebag Jim West, needs to take a "few weeks off" to figure out how to combat all the news coming out about his behavior on and off the city's dime. This guy makes my skin crawl.
Ryan M. Oelrich, a 24-year-old openly gay man, said he was appointed by West to the city Human Rights Commission in April 2004, but didn't know at the time that West was the same man he'd met earlier in using the screen aliases "Cobra82nd" and "RightBi-Guy."

Sometime after the appointment, Oelrich said he realized the mayor was the same person he'd been talking to online beginning in 2003. While on the commission, Oelrich said he rebuffed a series of sexually explicit online advances from West. After appointing Oelrich to the policy-making Human Rights Commission, West "offered me $300 cash if I'd swim naked with him in my swimming pool," Oelrich said.

Darth Cheney adds $200K to homo-bigot Marilyn Musgrave's war chest

Monday, May 09, 2005

Daddy-of-a-queer Darth Cheney doesn't mind shilling for one of the all-time homo-bigots, Marilyn Musgrave
Calling her "exactly the right person for the job," Vice President Dick Cheney raised an estimated $200,000 for the reelection campaign of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado) in Denver on Monday. Musgrave is the author of the proposed amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Just over 200 people paid between $500 to $4,000 to attend Monday's luncheon-fundraiser in downtown Denver.Musgrave is one of a number of Republicans that Democrats believe is vulnerable in 2006 and she is building a war chest to stave off an attack.
Folks, this woman has a campaign fund of $422K; can the Dems field someone to beat this sick hater?

So much to catch up on...

We're doing physical inventory of all of books and journals that we publish at Duke Press; the staff goes down to the warehouse and starts counting. It will be going on all week. I actually just got home and have to turn around and go back out for a business dinner (after showering all the dust and cobwebs off!).

What's been going on today? I've gotten a few tips on things so far from Blenders in my inbox:

* Scott points to Holy War, by Bob Moser of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's an excellent article on the Religious Reich's obsession with homos."The religious crusade against gays has been building for 30 years. Now the movement is reaching truly biblical proportions."

* Sandra sent a link to a Boston Phoenix article on Bush’s house homophobe, by David Bernstein. "The Office of Special Counsel exists to protect federal workers from job discrimination and whistle-blowing retaliation. Here’s how Scott Bloch turned it into a haven for gay-bashing and partisan politics."

* Holly found a BBC article covering the "hate case" of Ake Green. "Sweden's Supreme Court has said it will review the acquittal of a Pentecostal pastor who denounced homosexuality as "a deep cancer" in a sermon. Ake Green was convicted of hate crimes in June 2004 and given a 30-day suspended prison sentence." Other deep thoughts by Green:
-- He warned that Sweden risked a natural disaster because of its tolerance of homosexuality.
-- "Homosexuality is something sick," Mr Green said, comparing it to pedophilia and bestiality.
-- He said gays were likely to rape children and animals

* Fellow Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien reminded me that Charlotte Pride was this past weekend, and that AmTaliban group Operation Save America disrupted the event. OSA "harassed people entering a city park. On the sidewalk the group set up a loudspeaker system to preach and play religious music in an attempt to drown out the Pride celebration." I've covered the wingnuttery of OSA head Rev. Philip "Flip" Benham before on the Blend.

* Mike Tidmus, my hotline to the wittiest Photoshop political wizardry, passed along an online petition effort that good old pious Flip above surely knows about by now. Oops...
"Scott Heldreth of Kannapolis, North Carolina; is a sex offender. More importantly, Heldreth is out of compliance with registration requirements in Florida and North Carolina. Heldreth was found guilty of two counts of child rape in 1992 while a tudent at Ohio University. He later moved to Illinois, where in 1999 he was rrested for harassing an abortion doctor...Heldreth has taken part in several Operation Save America outreaches to high schools in the Charlotte area. While we would like to think that Heldreth didn't inform you about his past, the fact remains that a sex offender was in a position where he could have had contact with minors--both at these outreaches, at OSA protests, and at the protests at Terri's hospice."
* Speaking of Mike T., he has a hilarious Bush image up today:

Audiences responded with wild enthusiasm during President George W. Bush’s recent visit.

Caption these

Sunday, May 08, 2005

OK Blenders, these Bush-Putin photos beg to be captioned...

AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Presidential Press Service

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

I almost didn't want to link back to this

JJ of Big Brass Blog keeps coming up with more on sleazebag pedophile/sex maniac-on-government-time Spokane Mayor Jim West. It's almost beyond the pale; West has a political death wish. Read on.
Here in Spokane where Starbucks is outnumbered by Christian Supply Centers (not kidding), City Councilwoman Cherie Rodgers says that Mayor Jim West called her up and admitted to using his office to go to online chat rooms and engage in mutual masturbation. You heard right, he was wankin his willie, jerkin the stick, squeezing the monkey, beating his meat and shaking it so much he was playing with it in his office! The next mayor will likely want to swab that desk down with some disinfectant before he takes office.

Happy Mother's Day

I still miss Mom; we planted flowers today, since she loved gardening. This year it was petunias. She passed away from lung cancer in 1997.

Chimpy, please stop the dick-wagging

Does Chimpy really want to go over there a play "mine is bigger" with nutbag Kim Jong-Il and blow sh*t up when we don't even have enough troops to fight his fiasco in Iraq? Jeebus.
The United States warned that any nuclear weapons test by North Korea would be considered a provocative act, as reports suggested the Stalinist state could stage an underground nuclear experiment.

...NBC television, without citing sources, said the US military has drawn up plans for a possible preemptive strike against North Korea should Pyongyang appear ready to test a nuclear weapon. The Pentagon has had B2 stealth bombers and F15e fighter jets on alert in the Pacific since September, as part of a contingency plan, the report said, adding that US allies in the region strongly oppose the military option.

A great piece -- "Black Men: Is it Safe to Come Out?"

Sonya Shields, director of development for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, has an excellent piece on RawStoryQ about black men, sexuality and the black community's denial and homophobia. Anyone that wants to continue to put their heads in the sand about whether this has an impact on the spread of HIV among straight black women, please read this. A snippet:
Black men have not felt safe to come out. What has made their plight even more challenging is the tension coming from Black straight women. Increasingly outraged that they can't always tell when a man is gay. Of course, Black gay people have always lived amongst the straight community. The Black community has just been in denial. Not willing to accept that within our families, circles of friends and society at large-the construction worker, the police officer, the football player and your mailman are all gay. It was safer to believe a gay person could simply be picked out of a crowd. After all, if a gay person can look "straight"-what does that mean for everything we've been taught to believe? Our misplaced fear has prevented us from dealing with the realities of sexuality. And as result, the Black community continues to live in a sea of lies and deception. We ignore what we know is true. We don't talk about it. We marry into the lie and deception. We create mistruths in our hope to feel safe. But are we safe when we don't protect ourselves from HIV? Are we safe when we lie to everyone in our lives, including telling lies to ourselves?

In a related story, House Blender and Julien's List contributor Holly pointed me to a PBS profile of infamous professional "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. He was also one of the headliners at the GOP convention; go figure. You need to read the article (there's also video on the site) and see how he is part of the problem...
[PBS'S KIM] LAWTON: McClurkin says that through Bible study and intense prayer, he has overcome his homosexuality.

Pastor MCCLURKIN: God gave me the wherewithal to get out of that and to find out who I really am and, consequently, that's how the change took place. The different scriptures in the Bible, his will being shown through the scriptures -- God walked me through it.

LAWTON: His comments have provoked a firestorm of controversy, particularly from gay rights groups that are offended by his belief that homosexuality is something that can be chosen or "overcome." McClurkin insists he's not condemning anyone, but he makes no apologies for his beliefs.

Pastor MCCLURKIN: There's a group that says, "God made us this way," but then there's another group that knows that God didn't make them this way. And for those that are looking for that exit -- there are those of us, and I'm not a lone wolf -- there are many more that can tell that God did it for us, and he will do it for them.

...McClurkin, who is still single, says he stays grounded by surrounding himself with family, including several of his sisters who sing backup for him. Music, he says, helps keep his relationship with God fresh.
Well, alrighty, then. Keith Boykin also has an excellent piece on McClurkin and his closet.

Can this biddy just kick it already?

I am so sick of Phyllis Schlafly. She must be 500 years old, yet she, like the ancient cracker Jesse Helms, just keep hanging on because they are just too vile to die. Mrs. Justice Sunday is ready to punish the judiciary by "starving" them into compliance if the GOP doesn't get to end the filibuster. That dovetails nicely with her other plan to legislatively remove the jurisdiction of the courts over AmTaliban-approved life and death issues like the displays of the Ten Commandments and marriage. What a friggin maniac she is.

In her new book, The Supremacists: The Tyranny of Judges and How to Stop It (Spence, 2004), Phyllis Schlafly says Article III of the Constitution is the answer to judicial activism. She says that is because Article III can help Congress take away federal judges' power to legislate from the bench.

Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum, says a whole list of issues that have been controversially ruled can be put out of the reach of the federal bench. "The first method, if we want to do this," she notes, "is to withdraw jurisdiction from the federal courts over the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments, the definition of marriage, and the Boy Scouts, because we don't trust what they're doing in those areas."

Another part of the strategy the conservative activist recommends is something she calls "starving" the courts; that is, limiting their power by limiting their money. "Now, we can't cut the salaries of the judges," she explains, "but we certainly can cut their budgets and cut off some of these perks, like traveling to foreign conferences where they get a lot of bad ideas about foreign law."

Trek over to Tar Heel Tavern for a spell...

Tar Heel Tavern is a "best-of-Tar Heel-bloggers" carnival, rounding up recent posts by NC bloggers about local and/or national events -- or whatever else comes to mind. I've contributed two pieces I've posted this week, one on the dumb*ss Waynesville, NC church pastor, and one on the new release of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

So grap a cup of House Blend and take a surf over to this week's host, Bora, of Circadiana, and see what North Carolinians are blogging about.

BTW, I will be hosting the Tavern next weekend. The post will be up on Sunday.

Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham

The cast and director, after Saturday's matinee performance (thanks for letting me take the pic).

[As I've been posted over the last day or so, Fred Phelps and his hatemongers were scheduled to descend on my town to intimidate residents and the Durham School of the Arts, which put on The Laramie Project this weekend. Fred didn't show, but a number of his diseased family members came and put on a pathetic display of hate performance art of their own. Enough on the Phelps freaks, though. You can click on that link and see my coverage of that nonsense, and the counter-protest.]

This post is really to thank and congratulate the students of Durham School of the Arts for an incredible staging of The Laramie Project. Kate and I were deeply moved by the depth and range of these young people (ranging from freshmen to seniors). Each and every one did amazing work on stage in what is an emotionally draining piece for all of them, tackling multiple characters, often with diametrically opposing viewpoints.

I spoke wth director Douglas Graves during one of the intermissions, and afterwards, and he noted that a challenge of producing Laramie is that Moises Kaufman's play is an almost completely blank slate, with little direction indicated. What we saw at The Black Box Theatre Saturday afternoon was Doug's (and assistant director, senior Elizabeth French's) wonderful creativity in giving dimension to a series of monologues based on interviews with residents of Laramie by Kaufman and his Tectonic Theatre Project in the year and a half after Matthew Shepard's murder. I'll also mention that the "backstage folks" deserve a big cheer; lighting, sets, costume changes, sound -- all were so impressive.

"I am very proud of these young people before you today and I am encouraged by the outpouring of community support for them. I feel honored that I have been given this golden opportunity to produce such a play with these students. This play has afforded us the opportunity to step into these characters' shoes and voice their diverse opinions. What a wonderful teaching tool this is -- on both sides of the footlights.
-- Douglas Graves, director of the production

Cast: Eliza Bagg, Lucas Campbell, Tulani H-K, Ryan Deal, John Douglas, Carmen Ivey, Max Kaufman, Cristiana Krtalic, Colin Moore, Charlotte Valentine

Assistant Director: Elizabeth French
Stage Manager: Sam Hensen
Technical Director: Daniel Deter
Lighting Design: Ryan Kay
Light Board Operator: Chris Austin
Assistant Light Board Operator: Anni Simpson
Set Design/Powerpoint Design: Douglas Graves
Set Construction: Tech Crew and Production classes
Projector Operators: Bill Blake, Ryan Kay
Costume Coordinator and Prop Mistress: Adrian Boyes

We know that we'll be returning to see more of the productions this school puts on. As I said above, each actor had an incredible challenge, switching characters on a dime, staying on point and delivering a believable performance -- they all succeeded at the highest level. Kate and I were both blown away by the unbelievably gifted performance of junior Max Kaufman, who tackled characters as emotionally wide-ranging as a Laramie police sergeant, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, Fred "Rotting CryptkeeperTM" Phelps and Matthew's father, Dennis Shepard. Those were red meat characters and his work seemed effortless, especially so, given Phelps's nutcase family was screaming nonsense outside the theatre.

The funds from ticket sales will be earmarked to help support the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, and donations for the Matthew Shepard Foundation were collected at the event.

[UPDATE (5/10): I received an email from a DSA student, Matt Criscenzo, who took photos for the school newspaper during the Wednesday dress rehearsal of The Laramie Project. He sent these wonderful shots to me (click to enlarge). Thanks Matt!

More info:
* The Matthew Shepard Foundation, founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard
* site on the HBO film version and action items at

Earlier posts on the hubbub surrounding this:
* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps
* Reminder: Triangle folks please buy tix for "The Laramie Project" to counter-protest Phelps
* My dream come true -- Fred Phelps is coming to Durham!
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC

Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham

I'm not going to spend much time on these losers, except that day two didn't have counter-protestors (or news cameras) around, so the Phelpsians were milling about with not a lot to say. The saddest thing was seeing the little boy above. What on earth does he understand about all of this? You want someone to swoop in and take this poor child out of this hate-filled environment. It's sick.

A supporter from Soulforce was there countering the filth.

The Phelps losers didn't deter folks from having a great time.

Earlier posts on the hubbub surrounding this:
* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps
* Reminder: Triangle folks please buy tix for "The Laramie Project" to counter-protest Phelps
* My dream come true -- Fred Phelps is coming to Durham!
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC

JJ exposes the Pacific Northwest Pedophiles

My colleague JJ over at Big Brass Blog is kicking *ss on the outing and misdeeds of Spokane Mayor Jim West. The latest installment ties West to a cabal of pedophiles. He's there doing local research on this and is getting the scoop. You must go take a look at this. A snippet:
I ventured down to Spokane City Hall Friday afternoon but there was not much going on. They shut and locked the doors around 5:30 with the mayor still inside. The city council called in an outside agency to begin an investigation last night and discovered that Mayor West had in fact used his work computer during business hours to solicit sex on Pretty sure that will be the nail in his coffin as far as employment with the city of Spokane goes.

The sordid history of what I am going to call “The Pacific Northwest Pedophiles” a very exclusive club of politicians, sheriffs, clergy and Scoutmasters. The group got together in the 70s to prey on young at risk youth and is composed of Jim West, sheriff and scout master at the time, his good friend David Hahn, sheriff, George E. Robey, scoutmaster and Reverend Patrick O’Donnell, Catholic priest, liaison to the Boy Scouts AND chaplain to the Spokane Police Department. The Pacific Northwest Pedophiles were all involved with the same scout troop and have ties or have been friends since the 1960s.

The group (ALLEGEDLY) began their rein of terror on Spokane youth in the late 70s. I will leave the victims names out at this point, there are 2 convicted felons who have claimed that Jim West molested them in the 70s however, and these allegations are not substantiated at this time. Since my first report on Thursday at least 5 more men have come forward to make claims against Jim West and/or the Pac NW Pedophiles!

When confronted in 1981 with the allegations of sexually molesting children, David Hahn took a gun and blew his brains out. One of his victims has claimed he witnessed the suicide.

Eight months later, George E. Robey also offed himself with a bullet to the head.
There's a lot more to this, so go read.

Phelps adventures in hate-filled animation

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Jeremy of Good as You pointed me to on of the most heinous animated bits ever, over at I went and watched that filth, linked from the God Hates Fags web site. It was just awful -- one has to hope it was produced by the Phelps crowd because of its raw bigotry, but based on the calibre of low-synapse-firing individuals that came to protest here in Durham, I'd venture a guess that it was contracted out. As Jeremy said:
Have you ever asked yourself, "Self, what if the folks at JibJab made another political cartoon, but before doing so were to remove their souls, morals, intellect, decency, and common sense?"
Well, this looks like something from JibJab, but I doubt they'd want to have any association with this crap. The animated video featuring a gay man falling from the WTC, various political figures burning in hell, and lots of damnation. The reason why it seems Phelpsian is that even "mainstream" religious figures are portrayed as deviants and sex maniacs -- Jerry Falwell (in S*M gear), the (dead) Pope, Billy Graham, etc.

I need some Tums.

Update on the unhinged goings-on at NC's Waynesville Baptist Church

Pastor Chandler said "his duty, according to the word of God, was to root out that he believed to have Democratic tendencies." The brain-dead minister told church member Inman: "if we didn't support George Bush, we would need to resign our position or go to the alter and repent."

It's been all over the national and international news at this point - the shenanigans of the East Waynesville Baptist Church's numnut pastor Chan Chandler, who "excommunicated" members of his church (it was posted on the Blend yesterday). His reason: weeding out "Democratic tendencies" in his flock by telling them that they had to vote for Chimpy of get out, because a vote for Kerry was a vote for abortion and support of homos.

He is looking like the horse's ass, never mind the little matter of the IRS tax-exempt status of his house of worship.

Video from WLOS/AP is here.

Jerry Meek.

The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Chairman Jerry Meek didn't mince words, saying Chandler is jeopardizing his church's tax-free status by openly supporting a candidate for president. "If these reports are true, this minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the law."

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
Chan Chandler, pastor of East Waynesville Baptist, had been exhorting his congregation since October to support his political views or leave, said Selma Morris, a 30-year member of the church.

"He preached a sermon on abortion and homosexuality, then said if anyone there was planning on voting for John Kerry, they should leave," she said. "That's the first time I've ever heard something like that. Ministers are supposed to bring people in." Repeated phone calls to Chandler went unanswered Friday, and he was not available at the church or his home to comment. Those members supposedly voted out also could not be contacted Friday.

Dr. George Bullard, associate executive director-treasurer for Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said if a church's bylaws allow for the pastor to establish who and who cannot be members of the church, the pastor has every right to disallow memberships. "Membership is a local church issue," he said. "It is not something the state convention would enter into." Morris said, according to the church's bylaws, business meetings must be announced from the pulpit at least two weeks before the meeting, and 20 members must be present for a quorum.

"He had a quorum, but this was supposed to be a deacon meeting, not a business meeting," she said. "They're legally not terminated." Morris said the members have a lawyer looking into the situation.

Dr. George Bullard of the NC Baptist State Convention: "Membership is a local church issue." Robert Prince, a pastor at First Baptist in Waynesville, noticed other Baptist ministers in the area were endorsing Bush.

...The Internal Revenue Service exempts certain organizations from taxation including those organized and operated for religious purposes, provided that they do not engage in certain activities including involvement in "any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." Valerie Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service, said she could not comment on the East Waynesville situation, but said "in general if a church engages in partisan politics, it could put their tax-exempt status in jeopardy."

Pastor Robert Prince III of First Baptist Church of Waynesville said he was appalled to hear about the claims but noticed a lot of Southern Baptist ministers endorsing President Bush in November's election. "One rule has been to speak to issues but not to endorse particular candidates," he said. "It's a disturbing development that Baptist pastors are crossing this line and are endorsing specific candidates."
Also, House Blender Robust McManly Pants (love that name), a gay Tar Heel with family ties in that part of the state, posts about why the goings-on at East Waynesville are no surprise at all. I planned to excerpt a chunk, but this is his whole damn piece, because it was so on-target.
How much crap like this can happen in the world before something changes?

Here's my immediate reaction: doesn't he realize the election is over?

Here's my next-most-immediate reaction: guess he's tired of that tax-exempt status, eh?

DailyKos has all kinds of information on how to contact various authorities such as the IRS over just such a point. I plan to call them to lodge a complaint, myself, but being from near there all I can really think is, Um, who is surprised this happened in Waynesville?

It's hard for me to remember not everyone has cousins in Waynesville, though. Ultimately, it's hard for me to get it up to care - not because I don't care but because it's so humiliating to my native region of the state.  It's like seeing a cousin show up on CNN with MULTIPLE HOMICIDES emblazoned under them on the title bar.  I just want to cover my face and hold up a little sign that reads Not My Deal and wait for it to go away.  I mean, jeez, how many times can this kind of thing happen before everyone just assumes we're all completely batshit insane if we're from there?  How many times can someone do something like that before everyone around them starts to hope they just shut up, starts to think that maybe they are crazy, starts to avoid them in the grocery store?  It's also hard to properly emphasize - neither over- nor underplaying it - that extremist churches split up all the time over stupid little shit.  The church my parents go to is hardly extremist (they're both Democrats, and they both gladly voted for Kerry, and they both hate Bush) but just before I was born there was a huge schism within their congregation over, I shit you not, where to put the American flag in the sanctuary.  The question revolved around whether to have it up front, next to the altar, suggesting that (a) religion and politics were inseparable, (b) faith and patriotism were inseparable and/or (c) that the secular state and religious sanctum shared equal importance in worshippers' lives.  The side that advocated keeping it at the back of the sanctuary won out, and from what I later came to understand - all through eavesdropped snippets, mind you, since down here we only talk about bad things when we can pretend no one is listening - that was the side that said neither a, b nor c should be considered church doctrine - but without ever agreeing on what church doctrine should be.  There were people on both ends of the left-right spectrum on that side, people who couldn't have had a civil discussion of politics tied to a chair and loaded on hits of X, who teamed up together because, all issues aside, that simple matter of interior design - a geographical question of less than 100 feet - was enough opportunity for blood to push their otherwise disparate packs together.  In little churches like this, or in any community where there are an abundance of things so minor they're worth killing for, it's far easier to fight over what people should not do than try to establish and agree upon what they should.

Witness the last 30 years of right-wing politics for a taste of this, people.  Getting churched for being a Democrat is just a microcosmic instance of the entire right-wing philosophy: to question is to subvert and disagreement is treason.  If you make fun of Bush, you must hate America.  If you disagree with the war, you must hate America.  If you vote for Kerry, you must hate the church.  If you have gay sex, you must hate families.  The entire right-wing machine runs on the fuel of negative philosophy - that is, they do nothing so much as attack that which they say they are not because it's sure as shit easier than trying to produce that which they say they are.  It's so much easier and cheaper, every time they get bored, to just find a new strawman Other and pronounce them entirely unfit for treatment as a human being, isn't it?

After all, it would get ugly mighty fast if they tried to talk about what they are. Frankly, I'm surprised it took this long to happen.  And I'm shocked that anyone - including myself - is ever shocked anymore.

Surf over and check out Robust's blog for some excellent reading and a good laugh (I highly recommend the entry on Jim West, the outed Spokane mayor).

Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham

My first on-the-scene pictures from yesterday's event are here.

Kate and I will being attending the Durham School of the Arts matinee performance of The Laramie Project today, and I don't know if the hatemonger Phelps clan will be out, but we'll see. I wanted to post some local coverage of yesterday's protests and counter-protests. The Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket Durham-area churches during the day and come back to demonstrate back at the school for this evening's performance.

Video from ABC Durham affiliate, WTVD (link goes to page w/clip) by reporter Don Ross.
The protesters gathered Friday afternoon on Anderson Street in Durham, to demonstrate against the play and gays. "The Bible says, 'Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind,'" said Jonathan Phelps, one of Fred Phelps' sons. "It makes a hero out of a guy that did it." [Anderson St. is in my former neighborhood, Old West Durham, a progressive, gay-friendly neighborhood near the funky shopping district of Ninth Street]

The demonstrators stood on American flag, saying the red strips represented AIDS-tainted blood. The protesters carried signs declaring that Matthew Shepard was burning in Hell, and Pope John Paul II recently joined him because "he told people that God loves everybody." A young follower carried a sign reading, "Thank God for September 11th." The protesters provoke and expect confrontation. "I would just pray for these people that they would change, and I have changed, to realize that gay people are as God made them," said one woman who has a gay son.
Local newspaper coverage, from the Durham Herald-Sun's Mindy B. Hagen:
Locals upstage anti-gay group

With more than 100 Durham residents and college students chanting at them to "get out of our town," a group of 10 protesters from Kansas made good on their promise to picket outside a Durham School of the Arts play Friday night. The protesters are followers and family members of the Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church and one of the nation's most outspoken anti-gay activists. Although Phelps did not make the trip to Durham, his supporters carried his message, holding signs reading "God Hates Fags," "Thank God for 9/11" and "Pope in Hell."

..."You spit in the face of God every time you put on this fag propaganda play," said Sara Phelps, a 24-year-old granddaughter of Fred Phelps. "It's an inappropriate play for anyone to see. We want to serve the Lord our God, and this is our duty in life."

But on the other side of North Duke Street, community members sang hymns, cheered as passing cars honked and emphasized their support for the DSA cast. Holding posters reading "Bravo, DSA" and "Ignorance Breeds Hatred," the counter-protest organizers said they hope to show Phelps' group that their message of hate and intolerance is not welcome in Durham. "I was worried I'd burst into tears as soon as I saw the protesters, but seeing so many counter-protesters here is really powerful," said Duke student Jennifer Gurevich. "People really formed this great feeling of camaraderie."

At times, the dueling groups traded insults across North Duke Street, with one Durham man shouting at the protesters that their "children are the future of the Ku Klux Klan" and another asking, "Do you know the difference between fundamental and insane?"

About six officers from the Durham Police Department stood guard to prevent the shouting from escalating into violence, and both groups remained on separate sides of the street throughout the hourlong protest.

A few minutes before the show began, director Douglas Graves said the cast was aware of the protests outside. Graves, a drama teacher at DSA, was worried weeks ago that the protests would overshadow the performance and his students' hard work. But on Friday night, he said he was "encouraged" to see so many counter-protesters standing up to Phelps' group. "We outnumber them, and that's so positive," Graves said. "It once again proves that performing this show is valid. Our cast feels that tonight's show is so much deeper for them."

...With their protest completed at 7:30 p.m., Sara Phelps said her group has a busy next few days planned in Durham. In addition to protesting outside the play again today, the Kansas activists also plan to make their voices heard outside several Durham churches. The list includes St. Paul Lutheran Church today and Aldersgate United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Our Savior Lutheran Church, and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Sunday morning.

Sara Phelps said the group is targeting churches that "allow this fag propaganda play to be put on in their city." "There's not a real church here in the whole city of Durham," she said. "If there was, they'd be out here every day preaching against these fags." [Ha ha ha ha...I went to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church's school, Immaculata, for K-6; it's one of those progressive churches that Pope Ratz goes apesh*t over.]

But the area's Christian community already has started mobilizing against the protesters. The Rev. Mark Creech, director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina, released a statement saying that "Phelps' message of hate is contrary to the doctrine of the churches represented and most importantly to the teachings of Christ." "Mr. Fred Phelps and his organization do not speak for us," Creech said.
Still laughing that the Cryptkeeper himself didn't show.

Fred Phelps did make a trip to the Triangle back in 2002 to protest a same-sex commitment ceremony in Chapel Hill:

Earlier Pam's House Blend posts on the hubbub surrounding this:
* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps
* Reminder: Triangle folks please buy tix for "The Laramie Project" to counter-protest Phelps
* My dream come true -- Fred Phelps is coming to Durham!
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC

First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC

Friday, May 06, 2005

[UPDATE: I just watched the 11PM news coverage of the protest; the guy in the red poncho screaming about saving the gerbils is Fred's son Jonathon Phelps. We think that the woman holding the 9/11 sign is granddaughter Jael, who was trounced when she ran for an open Topeka City Council seat -- she lost to a lesbian. Ryan Phelps is in the bottom left photo.]

[UPDATE 2: The young woman with the 9/11 sign is actually Sara Phelps, a 24-year-old granddaughter of Fred Phelps, according to the Durham Herald-Sun.]

Guess what? No-show for Fred Phelps at the Durham School of the Arts. The gutless, ball-less Rotting Cryptkeeper wasn't there this evening, but plenty of his supporters and children/grandchildren were there with their filth. Plenty of counter-protesters showed up. There was a ton of drive-by traffic, slowing down for the freakshow. The cops kept the counter-protestors across the street from the Phelps clan, so it was civil. Queer supporters that didn't bring signs were given sheets with "Gay? Fine by me" to hold up in silent protest.

I'll have more pix up later, probably tomorrow after we return to actually attend the play for the matinee. I saw quite a few people I know, including fellow local blogger ae of arse poetica (see her entry here). Kate and I stayed about an hour; I got plenty of good pix, but I was pissed that Fred wasn't there.

I did, however, get completely entertained by this freakshow guy dressed in a red poncho, shouting "Save The Gerbils!" and "Stop the Sh*t-eating Fags" and other random nonsense. He began quoting scripture. It was pathetic.

Earlier posts on the hubbub surrounding this:
* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps
* Reminder: Triangle folks please buy tix for "The Laramie Project" to counter-protest Phelps
* My dream come true -- Fred Phelps is coming to Durham!
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC

Off to see The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps

I'm on my way downtown to see what the Phelps protest and the counter-protest are like. Kate and I will be going back down to the Durham School of the Arts to see The Laramie Project. I'll be taking pix and will return and post. (Herald-Sun):
Jennifer Gurevich, a Duke student helping organize Friday's counter-protest, said she hopes her group's non-violent message will show Phelps that Durham residents do not support his anti-gay rhetoric. "We may not like Rev. Phelps' venomous views, but his visit presents us with the opportunity to draw together as a community and show our support of LGBT people," Gurevich said. "These high schoolers are sending an extremely supportive message to the Durham LGBT community by continuing with their play in the face of hateful responses from Phelps. They need to know we mirror their support right back at them."

... about an hour before the DSA performance begins at 7:30 p.m., celebration participants will move to the area in front of the school at 400 N. Duke St., where they plan to fill the sidewalk and leave no room for Phelps' group to protest. All money raised during the day will be donated to the Lambda Youth Network, a leadership development organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth that focuses on peer heath education and community outreach.

Gurevich said she hopes the community can focus on using Phelps' visit as a way to build support for the Lambda Youth Network, instead of harping on his hateful speech.

"Our very own Durham youths are putting on this production of 'The Laramie Project' and they are being singled out by Rev. Phelps for creating unity and community," she said. "The N.C. Lambda Youth Network's focus is exactly what we want the weekend's focus to be -- not on the hate that Rev. Phelps preaches, but on the kindness, support and community that groups like NCLYN provide."

BREAKING: Microsoft execs cave: will support anti-discrimination law

[UPDATE: Freeper reaction at the end, hahahahaha.]

[UPDATE 2: I've been asked why the "powered by bigotry" logo is still being used above; it will come off the House Blend sidebar after today; MS still has to answer some questions about why Ralph Reed was and is being engaged by the company. If what Ballmer says is true, then those kind of AmTaliban services are no longer required.]

Putting the heat on Microsoft had an effect, my friends. I wonder what it felt like for Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates to be on the receiving end of all the criticism that was deservedly dished out after it was discovered that Microsoft withdrew support for anti-discrimination legislation in WA and that the company had fundy lobbyist Ralph Reed on the payroll to the tune of $20K/month. The bigots at Microsoft needed to see our solidarity against its slimy suckup to the Religious Reich. Here's his email to staff, also posted on the MS web site. It's my emphasis below:
REDMOND, Wash. -- May 6, 2005 -- In response to widespread public interest in the company's position on anti-discrimination legislation, Microsoft Corp. today released the following text of an e-mail sent today from Steve Ballmer, CEO, to all Microsoft employees in the United States:

Date: May 6, 2005

To: All Employees of Microsoft in Puget Sound; All Employees of Microsoft in MSUS

Subject: Microsoft's principles for public policy engagement

During the past two weeks I've heard from many of you with a wide range of views on the recent anti-discrimination bill in Washington State, and the larger issue of what is the appropriate role of a public corporation in public policy discussions. This input has reminded me again of what makes our company unique and why I care about it so much.

One point really stood out in all the e-mails you sent me. Regardless of where people came down on the issues, everyone expressed strong support for the company's commitment to diversity. To me, that's so critical. Our success depends on having a workforce that is as diverse as our customers - and on working together in a way that taps all of that diversity.

I don't want to rehash the events that resulted in Microsoft taking a neutral position on the anti-discrimination bill in Washington State. There was a lot of confusion and miscommunication, and we are taking steps to improve our processes going forward.

To me, this situation underscores the importance of having clearly-defined principles on which we base our actions. It all boils down to trust. Even when people disagree with something that we do, they need to have confidence that we based our action on thoughtful principles, because that is how we run our business.

I said in my April 22 e-mail that we were wrestling with the question of how and when the company should engage on issues that go beyond the software industry. After thinking about this for the past two weeks, I want to share my decision with you and lay out the principles that will guide us going forward.

First and foremost, we will continue to focus our public policy activities on issues that most directly affect our business, such as Internet safety, intellectual property rights, free trade, digital inclusion and a healthy business climate.

After looking at the question from all sides, I've concluded that diversity in the workplace is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda. Since our beginning nearly 30 years ago, Microsoft has had a strong business interest in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest and most diverse workforce possible. I'm proud of Microsoft's commitment to non-discrimination in our internal policies and benefits, but our policies can't cover the range of housing, education, financial and similar services that our people and their partners and families need. Therefore, it's appropriate for the company to support legislation that will promote and protect diversity in the workplace.

Accordingly, Microsoft will continue to join other leading companies in supporting federal legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation -- adding sexual orientation to the existing law that already covers race, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability. Given the importance of diversity to our business, it is appropriate for the company to endorse legislation that prohibits employment discrimination on all of these grounds. Obviously, the Washington State legislative session has concluded for this year, but if legislation similar to HB 1515 is introduced in future sessions, we will support it.

I also want to be clear about some limits to this approach. Many other countries have different political traditions for public advocacy by corporations, and I'm not prepared to involve the company in debates outside the US in such circumstances. And, based on the principles I've just outlined, the company should not and will not take a position on most other public policy issues, either in the US or internationally.

I respect that there will be different viewpoints. But as CEO, I am doing what I believe is right for our company as a whole.

This situation has also made me stop and think about how well we are living our values. I'm deeply encouraged by how many employees have sent me passionate e-mails about the broad respect for diversity they experience every day at Microsoft. I also heard from some employees who underscored the importance of feeling that their personal values or religious beliefs are respected by others. I'm adamant that we must do an even better job of pursuing diversity and mutual respect within Microsoft. I expect everyone at this company -- particularly managers -- to take a hard look at their personal commitment to diversity, and redouble that commitment.

The questions raised by these issues are important. At the same time, we have a lot of other important work to do. Over the next 18 months we'll release a broader, more advanced and more exciting set of products than at any time in the company's history. Let's all recommit to the job ahead, using our diversity as a strength to work together creatively and with respect for each other.


You knew I had to take the pulse of the Freepi...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"if their resolve to make a better product is as firm as their resolve over the gay agenda, then we're in for trouble...."

"Too bad they're a monopoly -- we can't effectively boycott."

"So, MS has a fair share of dumb-as-stumps employees? Ohh not THAT KIND of diversity...."

"Microsoft has had a strong business interest in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest and most diverse workforce possible. One wonders if they ever sacrificed either of the former two in order to advance the third..."

"goodness knows managers have NEVER sacrificed the best and the brightest to hire the whitest."

"what a bunch of doublespeak BS."

"Recreational sex has no place on a corprations bottom line."

"Homosexuality is a negative to the bottom line of MS and thus a negative to the shareholders. What next, will MS have its sweedish branches have a "bring you animal sex partner to work" day? That would be "diverse"."

"I use microsoft product and can attest they never put quality programing over politically correct publicity. To me diversity = poor productivity."

"This is not really from Steve B. - this is a fake mail generated by a virus."

""And, based on the principles I’ve just outlined, the company should not and will not take a position on most other public policy issues,...""

"Why not, Steve? You've opened the barn door. Be prepared to be inundated with employee e-mails on other public policy issues. (And "principles"? What principles?) I'm sure most of the employees who support MS getting involved in politics are the same ones who dissed the Vatican for cautioning Catholic politicians on the implications of their actions.

Forbes Magazine: Raleigh-Durham #2 "Best Place for Business and Careers"

This area of NC is a great place to live and work, and, in a mostly Red state, it's a decent place to be queer -- Durham especially so. The two cities are usually referred to as "Raleigh-Durham", but they are distinct cities with very different appeals. I'm partial toward my hometown's more laid back flavor.

Durham's mayor was a neighbor of mine back in the day (when I was a little kid). :) He has endorsed, attended, and spoken at the state's annual NC Pride event, which is held here.
"We are excited and pleased to be ranked so highly by such a prestigious publication," said William V. "Bill" Bell, Durham's mayor. "Durham is a great place to live and work, and this number two ranking further illustrates that good things are happening in Durham."

The magazine's seventh annual ranking of "Best Places for Business and Careers" relies on, the West Chester, Pa. research firm, which helped the publication weigh business costs (labor, energy, tax, and office space expenses) and living costs (housing, transportation, food, and other household expenditures). also helped Forbes assess the education levels of the work force, as well as job and income growth and migration patterns over the past five years. For quality-of-life issues, the magazine examined crime rates and used a culture-and-leisure index developed by Bertrand Sperling, a consultant in Portland, Ore. who keeps track of museums, theaters, golf courses, sports teams and so forth.

"This distinguished honor illustrates the great things our City is doing to attract businesses, and subsequently great jobs, to Durham," said Patrick W. Baker, Durham's city manager. "A large part of our success in this area is due to the hard work of our Office of Economic and Employment Development. They are making significant strides in creating good jobs and developing a skilled workforce to fill them."
Forbes Magazine Top 10 Best Metros

1. Boise, Idaho
2. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
3. Austin, Texas
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Albuquerque, N.M.
6. Huntsville, Ala.
7. Fayetteville, Ark.
8. Norfolk, Va.
9. Atlanta, Ga.
10. Madison, Wis.

To read the complete article, visit the Forbes Magazine website.

Check out the 2005 NC Pride site.

This is the woman U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood was boinking

Don Sherwood's "backrub" was actually a chokehold, according to Cynthia Ore.

(via Attytood). Did she have to fit the stereotype of a D.C. blow-up doll/girl for hire? Geez, these politicians are really pathetic, mid-life crisis droids. No, that would be insulting a droid. Sherwood, from PA, was boinking this Rockville, Md. woman. She was told by the sleazebag the old saw that he would leave his wife of 33 years for her. Yes, and as we noted earlier that he voted for the Marriage Protection Act. (PA Times Leader):
The Maryland woman who told authorities U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood choked her in his Washington apartment has hired a law firm and says police have refused to give her a copy of her 911 call.

...In an interview Wednesday, Ore said she believes Washington, D.C., police were more concerned about the welfare of Sherwood, a Republican from Tunkhannock, when they responded to his apartment at 1 p.m. Sept. 15. “Who would you help, a young girl or a member of Congress?” asked Ore, who said she has lived in fear since the incident. “He lives in the Hill House so they knew. It’s mostly congressmen and also senators.”

Late on De-lurking Week at the Blend!

[UPDATE: just moving this back up to the top to encourage folks to de-lurk, lol. Enjoy.]

Elise at After School Snack has declared this to be commenter De-Lurking Week. Those of you that enjoy surfing to the Blend to read the content are encouraged to finally take that next step and start commenting.

The House Blend has a growing and loyal readership. Depending on which stats you view (SiteMeter or Webalizer), I average 800-1300 unique visits a day to the blog. Thank you folks for continuing to speak your mind and spur conversation. It's odd, based on those stats,that more of you don't jump in to comment. We love comments here. Thankfully, the troll factor is almost non-existent at the Blend, so you're guaranteed to actually engage in discussion, rather than wade through dozens of meaningless comments or personal insults.

For commenting newbies ready to take the plunge:

* You can be anonymous. I have no need or desire to harvest or sell emails and spam anyone. There's no need to put in an email address or in the Haloscan fields, just put in some sort of name so folks can respond directly to your comments.

* Share what you know. I learn stuff every day from readers, so share experiences and news you've come across while surfing. I may post fairly frequently (given the amount of actual free time I have, I still don't know how I do it!), but I don't have nearly enough time to read all the sh*t hitting the fan.

* Blogwhoring is A-OK at the Blend. If you've got a blog and have a great post or topic that you want to let people know about, post a link in the comments. I occasionally post Open Threads that don't have a specific topic, which is a great venue to post something, but generally I don't because more of you don't de-lurk! I will do more if there is a demand. Therefore, feel free to indicate you're posting something off-topic (OT) in a comment thread by saying something like "OT: I heard Freepers think Jim West is a perv, here's a link."

* Personal insults not OK. It's fine to disagree on a topic or comment here; after all, this is a highly political blog. Even if most that surf here agree with me on many topics, I'm certain that others visit with different political perspectives that can challenge and inform everyone. I encourage folks to provide a good counter-argument, but personal insults to or about other commenters will get your ass will get banned if I see a pattern. For me, tossing personal virtual molotov cocktails at others in my space is not about community building, intellectual debate, or political strategizing. Trolls, there are plenty of blogs out there to get your rocks off abusing fellow commenters -- don't do it here. I want the Blend to be a pleasant place to stop, relax and take a break from the mundane and engage in civil discussions.

And finally, have fun, be irreverent. I do this because I enjoy discussing politics with people from around the world here on the Blend. It's great to hear from people that enjoy my insane sensibilities.

A scandalous threesome: Chimpy, DeLay and Abramoff

Raw Story breaks this story wide open, and the stench is foul.
There’s a backstory that lurks behind Bush’s decision to stand by DeLay. It involves Greenberg Traurig, the firm that employed the powerful lobbyist who paid for palatial DeLay junkets, and Abramoff staffers, who were footsoldiers in the Florida recount. Greenberg Traurig has yet to receive more than $314,000 in legal fees charged to a Bush committee during the 2000 Florida recount, RAW STORY can confirm.

As a corporation, Greenberg’s unpaid tab represents a massive in-kind campaign contribution, far larger than anything that went unreported by DeLay. But it appears to be legal: corporations are allowed to donate any amount to the nebulous type of committee employed during the recount. It would, however, violate the committee's self-imposed $5,000 contribution limit from individual donors.

...Bush has largely ducked the scandals surrounding Abramoff, but he was certainly a beneficiary of the lobbyist’s fundraising: Abramoff was a Bush Pioneer, raising more than $120,000 for the 2004 presidential campaign. He had the largest lobbyist accounts of any Pioneer, at $26 million.

Jack Abramoff, right, listens to his attorney Abbe Lowell on Capitol Hill (AP)

In his Greenberg Traurig biography, which has since been stripped, the firm wrote, “Jack is directly involved in the Republican party and conservative movement leadership structures and is one of the leading fund raisers for the party and its congressional candidates.”

Those close to Abramoff—including his partner Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay press secretary who is also being investigated for lobbying deals—bragged about their access to the president. "Jack has a relationship with the President," Scanlon told the New Times Broward-Palm Beach in February 2001. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one."
The AP reports that Abramoff had over 200 contacts with the Bush admin (at least as many as Gannon, eh?) lobbying for friendly hires at federal agencies and sought to keep the Northern Mariana Islands exempt from the minimum wage and other laws. Isn't that special?
Money also flowed from the Marianas to Bush's re-election campaign: It took in at least $36,000 from island donors, much of it from members of the Tan family, whose clothing factories were a routine stop for lawmakers and their aides visiting the islands on Abramoff-organized trips.

Two Tan family companies gave $25,000 each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2002 elections. Greenberg Traurig, too, was a big GOP giver. Its donations included $20,000 to the Republican National Committee for the 2000 elections and $25,000 each to the GOP's House and Senate fundraising committees in 2000 and again in 2002.

Well, well...what will RNC head Ken Mehlman have to say about this -- or the bat phone?

This is scandalous, and, even more damning because the information is documented.

Do any of you think the mainstream media is going to pick this up? Hmm?

Tip from Shakes Sis.

Waynesville, NC church pastor: vote Repug or be excommunicated

Just amazing. Doug over at Reality Stick pointed me to a NC story about redneck AmTalibanism that sounds just about right for that part of my state - a little church in the mountains. Parishioners were forced to vote for Bush or face ex-communication, because of the pastor's views on abortion and homosexuality. Nine members were excommunicated and 40 other members of the 405-member church resigned.This little bumf*ck church needs its tax-exempt status revoked.
Religion and Politics Clash
Religion and politics clash over a local church's declaration that Democrats are not welcome.

East Waynesville Baptist asked nine members to leave. Now 40 more have left the church in protest. Former members say Pastor Chan Chandler gave them the ultimatum, saying if they didn't support George Bush, they should resign or repent. The minister declined an interview with News 13. But he did say "the actions were not politically motivated." There are questions about whether the bi-laws were followed when the members were thrown out.
There is news video here. To add irony icing to the cake, WLOS, the station covering this story, is a Sinclair Broadcast Group station -- the group infamous for ordering its 62 stations to air an anti-Kerry documentary, "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal", during the 2004 campaign. This proposal caused a groundswell of boycotts, letters and lefty activism, and what eventually aired was a watered down clips/discussion event.

UPDATE: It's become a big thread on DKos, with some action items from Georgia10:
To that end, I urge all to take the following action:
1.    Contact the IRS.
 Let's make a paper trail.

2.    Contact the ACLU in North Carolina at this address:
3.    Write a letter to the local newspaper.

4.    Contact North Carolina Senators Burr and Dole and urge them to denounce this discrimination:
Richard Burr (R-NC)
(202) 224-3154
online contact form

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
(202) 224-6342
online contact form

5.    Contact Minority Leader Harry Reid. He should know about this.

Harry Reid (D - NV
(202) 224-3542)
online contact form

6.    Contact your local media and the national media as well:

7.    Contact the East Waynesville Baptist Church itself. Let's be polite, but let's tell them how wrong their action is:
175 Woodland Drive
Waynesville, NC

Kiss any hopes of queer dollars for 2008 goodbye, Kerry

Dear John Kerry,

Good luck raising any money from the homos if you run your slack ass again in 2008.

Pam's House Blend


A Boston Globe poll found that 71 percent of Democrats believe that same-sex marriage should be allowed, with 35 percent support for same-sex marriage among Republicans, 53 percent support among independents, and a 56 percent approval rating overall. Wouldn't you think that it would require fairly small cojones to endorse adding a plank supporting gay marriage in your party's state platform?

Not lame-ass John Kerry.
Kerry, who opposes same-sex marriage but supports civil unions, said in an interview with the Globe that he would prefer that the party not mention gay marriage in its platform, because Democrats continue to disagree on how to handle the issue.

''I'm opposed to it being in a platform. I think it's a mistake," Kerry said shortly after hosting a forum on his universal children's healthcare bill in Baton Rouge. ''I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."

Some analysts believe that the same-sex marriage issue contributed to Kerry's loss to President Bush in last year's presidential campaign. Kerry's position puts him at odds with the state Democratic Party chairman and his fellow Bay State senator, Edward M. Kennedy, who is scheduled to address the party convention next weekend.

Kerry said he does not plan to attend this year's state Democratic convention or to lobby against the same-sex marriage plank. He said he has not been closely monitoring debate over the state party platform.

The state party chairman, Philip W. Johnston, said Kerry's opposition will not affect the party's decision to support of same-sex marriage. When the party meets next Saturday in Lowell, he said, the platform is on track to be approved as it stands.

''I have great affection and respect for John, but I disagree on this issue," Johnston said. ''It is important that the state Democratic Party support civil rights. We need to take a stand."

Kennedy said through a spokeswoman that he backs inclusion of a statement in support of same-sex marriage in the platform. Kennedy is up for reelection next year and has strongly supported same-sex marriage, which has been legal in Massachusetts since May 2004, after a Supreme Judicial Court ruling.
Yeah, Dems can't agree on the issue because they are too busy running away from it. You can't strategize or re-frame if you're too busy saying 'yes massa' to the Dobsons, Falwells, etc. and caving on "values" issues because they scare you. What you end up is the GOP actually able to siphon off some of the black religious vote because the Dems are too busy wringing their hands. It's f*cking pathetic.

Kerry can't have his "civil unions OK/gay marriage bad" cake and eat it too, unless he's willing to have the platform state definitively that Dems strive for true civil marriage equivalence locally and at the Federal level. If he doesn't, then he's really advocating a separate and unequal designation, falling into the political trap and frame set by the GOP -- conflating civil and religious marriage -- instead of stepping out front with this topic as a true civil rights issue.

I can't tell you how many times I've come across the tired centrist sentiment that Dems need to just focus on getting a Dem in office and then worry about issues like gay rights and women's reproductive freedom issues. This is bullsh*t.

Clinton gave us Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA, and even told Kerry to toss gays overboard to get the win in 2004. When we compromise and bite the bullet for the centrist Dem (after a condescending pat on the head to be quiet), we don't get a return on the investment -- and they definitely needed those queer dollars in the till. Kerry clearly had discomfort on the issue, and studiously avoided it as a true civil rights dilemma. He really wanted it to go away. Now we know that this is not a civil rights fight for him, but just another political football. Screw him.

(via AmericaBlog and Patrick O'Neill)

More on the secret life of outed gay homo-bigot Jim West

Oh, it gets sleazier.

Over at Big Brass Blog, JJ continues his coverage with The Dirty Little Secret Life Of Mayor Jim West. It elaborates on his extensive cruising on at night, while shooting down gay anti-discrimination legislation by day. Sick. A snippet:
Keep in mind that Mayor West has admitted to visiting chat rooms and owning a profile on In this chat Jim West allegedly posed under the profile of “Therightbi-guy” the name of the person he was chatting with has been changed to “dannyboy”. This chat was not with the investigator, instead, was allegedly with a young member of the community that the mayor had already hooked up with. From the Spokesman Review, chat occurred 11/30/04: (some of the trivial drivel has been edited out by JJ)

dannyboy: is this jimmy?
therightbi-guy: jimmy?
therightbi-guy: don't go by one ever calls me that.
dannyboy: jim?
dannyboy: is that better?
dannyboy: or james
dannyboy: or Mr. W.
therightbi-guy: yes
dannyboy: like the prez
dannyboy: i think I need to go j/o
dannyboy: then go tobed
therightbi-guy: i'd love to help
therightbi-guy: did i ever tell you that you kiss really well.
dannyboy: so... are you a full time man lover?
therightbi-guy: no
dannyboy: why not?
therightbi-guy: because i also like women.
dannyboy: hmm
therightbi-guy: just like men once in awhile.
Yeah right! JJ

therightbi-guy: can you believe that?
dannyboy: are you more into younger guys like me?
dannyboy: not really
therightbi-guy: it's true
therightbi-guy: i like youth
Bleh. But there's more, and good, thoughtful commentary by JJ over at B3. Recommended.

Freepers react to Jim West outing

Earth to Jim-bo West of Spokane...your conservative Freepi are flushing you down the commode right now. Hope you see that the folks you bed down with politically have no use for you. The knuckle-draggers that you sucked up to for votes are ready to string you up.

Note to the Log Cabin Republicans -- get thee to a shrink. I cannot fathom how you are going to ever reclaim this party between the closeted, deviants like West that are total head cases, and the hate-filled Am Taliban that wants gays dead.

Actual Freeper Quotes™
"The perp is a "Republican". Claims he's not gay, might be bi, says he's "confused". More evidence -- if any more was needed -- that the Log Cabin sickos should be banned from any Republican Party functions. Of course CPAC welcomed them with open arms ...."

"I feel like I need a shower after reading that."

"This guy is probly in the NAMBLA upper echelon."

"The homo pedophiles always go where the children are. Schools, Boy Scouts, church, recreation centers etc. Never trust these adults alone with your kids."

"Purge the gene pool."

"Bet it was damn few girls and a lot of little boys!"

"Can anyone say RECALL!!!!!"

"Sweet Jesus....I'm originally from Spokane, and this shocks me. Spokane is a conservative town, and this is going to go over like a fart in church. A recall? Abso-stinkin-lutely, followed by his getting run outta town on a rail, tarred & feathered."

"This cretan ought to be executed."

"Find the nearest closet and stuff this pervert in it."

"There's been a lot of controversy lately about gentrifying part of downtown Spokane into an upscale "gaycentric" area. I see why, now."

"Wasn't the perp in question anti-gay, pro family values and so forth advocate? Makes him doubly wierd in my books if he was."

""I can't tell you why I go there, ( to tell you the truth … curiosity, confused, whatever, I don't know," the mayor said."

"I can: he's a pervert."
[PS, we don't want West on our team either.]

This week's I'm not sh*tting you post

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Brass balls award.

Who said the following uplifting, heartfelt statements on this National Day of Prayer? (Ahem...)

"No man or woman of any faith or of no faith can truly love, truly serve, truly persevere, truly dare mighty deeds, truly hope for the future or truly honor the past, without a humble heart."

"So it is for humility...I ask for your prayers today. Because the only way we can serve well is to serve humbly, as servants both to God and our nation."

"And while all these gifts carry with them unprecedented temptations toward pride, so do they carry unprecedented opportunities for humble service - here in Congress, across America, and around the world in the hearts of all people of all faiths."

"Here in Washington, the seat of the most powerful nation in history, these days pose unique challenges and offer unique opportunities. For however dangerous, these days we live are the envy of all times and men."

"Think of what we could accomplish if we checked our pride at the door, if collectively we all spent less time taking credit and more time deserving it. If we spent less time ducking responsibility and more time welcoming it. If we spent less time on our soapboxes and more time on our knees."

The Lone Star Exterminator and ethics stink bomb Tom DeLay

More caving to the AmTaliban: We Are Family Foundation drops gay tolerance content

Donald Wildmon thought SpongeBob and Clifford, were being hijacked to help out the gay cabal. He won.

Last November, the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) announced the production of a new music video for children using the 70s Sister Sledge disco tune, "We Are Family." Voices and images of over 100 characters from children's television, including Barney, Clifford and SpongeBob were included. A DVD version of the music video was created to promote tolerance and diversity; it also included three passing references to same-sex parents. The latter caused an uproar and a flooding of complaints by wingnut Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association after a January smear campaign riled up the fundatmentalist crowd.

In yet another example of ball-lessness, before the guide was sent out by WAFF to 61,000 public and private elementary schools in March, the DVD's companion teacher's guide underwent some "editing" and the references to same-sex parents are now nowhere to be found. Even so, Wildmon was still not happy with the revised guide's encouragement to ask children to share ideas about what constitutes a "family."
"I believe their primary reason for expanding the definition of family beyond the traditional model is to include homosexual couples."

...Wildmon said activists and others sympathetic to the homosexual agenda should leave elementary schools out of it. "We will continue to vehemently oppose that effort," he said. "While homosexuals can certainly love children as deeply as heterosexuals, we believe that the ideal setting for growing children includes both a mother and a father."
This is incredible backpedaling by WAFF. It's not as if exposing children to diverse families (multiracial, same-sex, interfaith, etc.) is going to destroy children. Exposing kids to a book about two mommies or two daddies is about acknowledging the reality that these families exist, not about exposure to sex, sexuality or anything else in the sick, perverted minds of the Right.

In the end, this is yet another example of the Reich wanting to re-closet and re-attach shame to being gay and lesbian. What is most distressing is that instead of taking a truly moral stand, we're seeing easy capitulation by mainstream organizations to right-wing pressure that recalls the mountain of animosity toward interracial relationships and integration. The mainstream continues to run scared.

The feedback form for the AFA is here.
WAFF's email:

'Ex-gay' mentality seeps into the U.S. District Court

Dumb*ss U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams agrees with the 'ex-gay' whack jobs on Montgomery County's new health curriculum -- it got deep-sixed because it urges tolerance toward gays and lesbians.

The discredited 'ex-gay' movement scores a win in Baltimore at the expense of teaching facts and tolerance. Man, this evening's news surfing is depressing. (
A federal judge Thursday issued a restraining order blocking Montgomery County public schools from instituting a new health curriculum that seeks to provide positive information for LGBT students.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays filed suit earlier this week, accusing the school district of "denigrating" so-called former gays in the materials to be used in the course. The suit accused the school board of "an irrational phobia of the ex-gay community,” and "urges censorship of ex-gay materials in our schools."

The group also claimed that because the course listed gay-positive churches and religious groups but not conservative churches opposed to homosexuality the school district was favoring some religions over others.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams agreed, saying that the program depicts some Christian sects, notably Baptists, as unenlightened and Biblically misguided. "The court is extremely troubled by the willingness of the defendants to venture, or perhaps more correctly, bound, into the crossroads of controversy where religion, morality and homosexuality converge," Williams said.
House Blenders will recall the post on P-FOX's ludicrous "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Club initiative. One of P-FOX's leaders, Richard Cohen, was even expelled from the American Counseling Association for unethical behavior. This is the group Judge Williams sided with. Sickening.

Gays To Be Banned As Sperm Donors

WTF!? Our government is declaring war on homos on all fronts, tossing science and logic overboard. (AP):
The Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.

The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.

"Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years," said Leland Traiman, director of a clinic in Alameda, Calif., that seeks gay sperm donors
Shakes Sis goes on a good rant over at her pad on this.

Another sleazy Repug gay hypocrite outed

Jim-boy admits trolling for sexual partners on, and "used the trappings of the mayor's office to entice and influence young men he met on a gay Web site."

The Mayor of Spokane, Repug Jim West, has been outed and it's not pretty. JJ over at Big Brass Blog lives in Spokane, and he's got the goods on this bastard.
West abmits to soliciting men on GAY.Com. He also made headlines as early as last week for threatening to veto the newly passed domestic partnership benefits for Spokane City employees.

Apparently the guy has been living a dual life for years and bitches about sex nazis.
Yeah, well he needs to be added to the new and improved Conservative Values Monitor (right, Russ!). The Spokesman Review gets to the depths of this homophobe's unconscionable legislative behavior:
West and 14 other Republicans reacted strongly to Gov. Booth Gardner’s Christmas Eve 1985 executive order banning discrimination in state hiring based on sexual orientation.

Their 1986 bill, which failed, would have barred gay men and lesbians from working in schools, day-care centers and some state agencies. It called for screening prospective employees for sexual orientation and firing employees whose homosexuality became known.

The bill prompted a Spokesman-Review op-ed column by Jeannette Loehr, spokeswoman for the Spokane Gay Leadership Coalition.

West’s bill is “police-state” legislation that stirs up “the fears of the ignorant and the hatred of the bigoted,” Loehr wrote.

In 1986, West voted to bar the state from distributing pamphlets telling people how to protect themselves from AIDS during sex. He said such instruction “is something people go buy at dirty bookstores.”

West became chairman of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee in 1990, a key post for legislation involving medicine and public health issues. That year, the Washington State Medical Association named him legislator of the year.

During a 1990 hearing on AIDS education, West proposed that teen sex be criminalized.

Can they just keep him once he arrives?

Workers fix a giant poster announcing the forthcoming visit of President George W. Bush to Georgia. The potholed streets, cracking facades and busy street trade of the capital of ex-Soviet Georgia could be called 'colorful', but authorities here are giving the word a new meaning as they scramble to spruce up the city ahead of a visit. (AFP)

Could the DeLay mess slime all the way to the WH?

Looks like BradBlog is about to break a big story that takes Tom DeLay's fundraising scandal right up to Chimpy and Darth's door. Keep an eye out.


Also, two Repugs, Lamar Smith of Texas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, just stepped aside from service on the DeLay investigation panel because of a conflict of interest - they made contributions to the slimeball majority leader's defense funds. (AP):
Smith contributed $5,000 last year to help DeLay defend himself in the ethics probe, a potential problem because one of the matters under investigation was deferred. That issue, involving corporate contributions in Texas to a political committee started by DeLay, could be revived after Texas authorities conclude a criminal investigation.

Smith also contributed $5,000 in 2000 to help DeLay's defense against a civil lawsuit. Cole donated $5,000 last year, during the ethics committee's investigation.

Smith, a former ethics committee chairman, said in a statement, "I continue to believe that I could judge this matter fairly and I remain committed to judging other matters that come before the committee fairly.

"However, any decision of the committee on any matter relating to Mr. DeLay will come under intense scrutiny. To ensure that any decision is final and not subject to any question, I believe it will be in the best interests of all concerned to recuse myself in such a situation."
No sh*t.

Howie Fineman: clueless on Dobson


Sometimes Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman makes astute political observations, but other times it feels like he's so out of touch and clueless. Take the influence the Religious Right, for example. In his MSNBC web-only commentary, Daddy Dobson, Fineman flies out to the Focus on the Family headquarters to find what makes Dobson tick.
When I flew to Colorado Springs recently to interview Dr. James Dobson, he had an urgent matter to interview ME about: why, he wondered, did Don Imus think that he (Dobson) was a nut? He was anything but, Dobson said.
James Dobson may be a child psychologist and have a Ph.D. from the USC, but he's a still a freaking nut and danger to society. His AmTaliban credentials are outstanding, after all:

* Dobson has opined that "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage," and "It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth."

* He, along with his fellow wingnuts of the Arlington Group, threatened Bush's kneecaps on Social Security if Chimpy didn't bend to their social agenda.

* FOF's head landed on Time's 25 Most Influential Evangelicals list.

* The organization is notorious for its promotion of pathetic "ex-gay" conferences, called Love Won Out.

Also, did Howie not pay attention to a recent little event called Justice Sunday? Guess not; read this...
I asked him what his top priority was in public life, and was astonished to hear him answer: ending the filibuster rule. Any Republicans who stray from the party line on that issue can expect the full weight of Dobson to come down on them.

Beneath the placid demeanor I sensed an urgency and intensity—a man close to the boiling point at what he sees as the iniquities of political leadership. Are members of Congress unruly children needing discipline from the "Dare to Discipline" author? Maybe so, but we don’t know how they will respond to Daddy Dobson. And we don't know how Dobson himself will react if they defy him. He's kept his cool so far, but that would be the ultimate test.

Totally tasteless but hey, it's late: Doing a Lynndie

I came across this UK site, Bad Gas, that has a gallery called Doing a Lynndie, featuring people aping Lynndie England, whose guilty plea was tossed out by the judge and a mistrial declared. The site also includes P'shopped versions of the now-iconic pose, such as the ones above. From Bad Gas:
Who can forget the iconic image of Lynndie England, the ugly she-man, grinning and pointing at an Iraqi prisoner-of-war's cock?

The image has shocked, sickened and outraged people. But more importantly, it has captured the imagination of young men and women all around the world who don't give much of a shit about anything. The result is a new craze called "doing a Lynndie". If you aren't "doing a Lynndie" now, you soon will be.

So what does doing a Lynndie involve? Here are the basic instructions:

1. Find a victim who deserves to be "Lynndied".

2. Make sure you have a friend nearby with a camera ready to capture the "Lynndie".

3. Stick a cigarette (or pen) in your mouth and allow it to hang slightly below the horizontal.

4. Face the camera, tilt your upper body slightly forward but lean back on your right leg.

5. Make a hitchhiking gesture with your right hand and extend your right arm so that it's in roughly the same position as if you were holding a rifle.

6. Keeping your left arm slightly bent, point in the direction of the victim and smile.

Ideally, you should refrain from telling the victim what you're about to do. Victims who are unaware, bemused or angry make for a Lynddie that is more in keeping with the original.

If you've "done a Lynndie" and would like it to appear in the gallery, send the picture to Nobody ( along with details of where it was taken.

New edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" to be released

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The new edition and the 1971 edition that I read.

It's been 35 years since this groundbreaking book by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective debuted. I remember reading my older cousin's tattered copy. This is the book that made Rev. Tinkywinky go apesh*t, calling it "obscene trash."

The latest update of the bold, graphic and educational book contains information that didn't exist in the last edition; you can read up on hormone therapy, stem-cell research, Medicare prescription-drug coverage and informed medical consent. What has been toned down, ironically (and predictably, given today's times), is the strong feminist origin of the first release. Here are interesting comparisons between the old and new editions: (Seattle Times):
"Women and Their Bodies" first appeared in 1970, and the 193-page stapled booklet, with its confrontational language, launched the women's health movement. The first commercial edition of the book was published in 1973 under the new title, "Our Bodies, Ourselves." The 2005 updated edition is 832 pages, with half of them featuring revised or new material. Excerpts below demonstrate the difference in tone.

From "Women and Their Bodies" (1970): "We as women are redefining competence: A doctor who behaves in a male chauvinist way is not competent, even if he has medical skills. We have decided that health can no longer be defined by an elite group of white, upper-middle-class men. It must be defined by us."

From "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (2005): "Our medical culture also puts a premium on high-tech equipment and testing, along with surgical procedures and expensive prescription drugs. While many of these are necessary and useful, treatments that may be less expensive in the long run, including preventive and some alternative health practices and care by nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, are often dismissed or overlooked."
There is an excellent sidebar comparison of the approach of OBO versus a mainstream guide like the The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health.
Body image

"Our Bodies": "Learning to accept and love ourselves in our bodies is an important ongoing struggle and a political statement. It can take time to embrace our own beauty, or even to recognize it. The self-loathing that many of us live with each day eats away at our well-being."

"Harvard Guide": "Study after study indicates that American women tend to be dissatisfied with their looks, rating themselves too ugly, too plain, too old, too pimply, too fat, too hairy, too tall, and so on. By contrast, men in general tend to be much more satisfied with their bodies, even when objective measurements indicate that they might not meet certain standards of perfection."

Sexual Orientation

"Our Bodies": "Letting other people know that we identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or trans can be one of the most challenging and life-changing decisions we face. Each of us must decide for ourselves to what extent we want our family, friends, and acquaintances to know about our sexuality and gender identity."

"Harvard Guide": "Not only do many teenagers experiment with both heterosexual and homosexual behavior before learning what is most natural to them, but also women in particular (many of them married, with children) are apt to discover a lesbian leaning well into life, only when they have enough time, confidence, and experience for that self-awareness."

Sources: "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (2005, Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), "The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health" (By Karen J. Carlson, M.D., et. al. The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Copyrighted)
Given the American Taliban's desire to control the womb, you'd think the Boston Women's Health Book Collective would more strongly address the political shift in this nation that threatens women's access to contraception and reproductive health services.

Hear that flushing sound as billions of taxpayer dollars swirl down the drain?

Just think of what could we do with all that money if some folks with brains and ethics were in charge. (Reuters):
The United States has carelessly, and possibly fraudulently, handled some Iraqi money meant for rebuilding and poorly managed billions of dollars of U.S.-funded contracts, said U.S. audits released on Wednesday.

In one area of Iraq alone, nearly $100 million in cash used for rebuilding was unaccounted for. Incompetence by U.S. procurement staff ranged from contractors being paid twice to files being misplaced.

Two audits by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found flaws in how U.S. government and military officials ran contracts paid for by the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi money entrusted to the United States after the 2003 invasion.

A third audit looked at a small sample of U.S.-funded projects paid for with $18.4 billion appropriated by Congress to rebuild Iraq and found sloppy and disorganized administration of some of those deals.

"There was no assurance that fraud, waste and abuse did not occur," all three audits said.

...Examples of sloppiness included 645 transfers of more than $23 million in cash using the wrong form; one contractor being paid twice for the same work, and 10 payments amounting to $324,500 were submitted for canceled contracts.

Pictures from Mel White's Soulforce protesting Focus on the Family

RawStoryQ/RawPrint has pictures of Soulforce's over 700 protesters that rallied against James Dobson and Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, CO. The protests took place Sunday and Monday of this week. Go take a look.

More MS sh*t hitting fan

John over at AMERICABlog has more updates to check out on Microsoft's shafting of the gay community:

* NEW Microsoft Scandal: General counsel accused of killing support for gay marriage. Gay-run DC office also opposed gays initially.

* Video of Microsoft accepting 2001 LA Gay & Lesbian Center award. The video includes statements that boggle the mind given they withdrew support for Washington State's anti-discrimination bill.

* Key gay employee quits Microsoft, says General Counsel Brad Smith LIED about anti-gay brouhaha.

Another Mike Tidmus laff-a-thon with Chimpy

He's at it again with P'shop. Chimpy says: "take my wife...please."

Mike Tidmus is always sending some really great stuff to the Blend. Look what he's done to the Reuters collage of Chimpy that I posted earlier this week. His copy is equally funny:
Roving reporter Jim-Jeff-Joe-Bob Gannon-Guckert has seen Dubbie’s stage act seventeen times, and he still walks away from each show with a shit-eatin’ grin on his face. Now semi-retired, Gannon-Guckert reveals, “Ken Mehlman, Scottie McClellan and I watched Dubbie rehearse his act in the Lincoln Bedroom dozens of times until his timing and delivery were absolutely pitch-perfect. The man has talent to spare and then some! He can belt out a show tune like nobody’s business, and his Ethel Merman impression is to die for! Genuine talent like Dubbie’s certainly explains his loyal following among 23% of the gays.”

Check out yet another GOP hypocrite...


Jon over at Pensito Review has a piece on Pennsylvania Rep. Don Sherwood. It turns out that this loser, while in a long-term extramarital affair voted for the Marriage Protection Act. He's also the cretin that choked her. Lovely sack of sh*t.

MLB pitcher comes out about his lesbian moms

Joe Valentine told his teammates that he had two moms and the sport didn't crumble; when rumors swirled around Mike Piazza, he had to hold a press conference to assure all of baseball (and its fans) that he wasn't gay.

It wasn't that long ago in baseball that former Atlanta Braves bigot pitcher John Rocker got away with making fun of gays and people with AIDS, and the sport press grilled NY Met Mike Piazza about rumors that he might be gay, so this is a refreshing story of openness and acceptance in Major League Baseball. (OutSports):
In what some community leaders hail as progress against pro baseball's anti-gay image, a pitcher who is open about his two lesbian mothers has reported that they are a non-issue among his teammates.

"I haven't heard much," Cincinnati Reds pitcher Joe Valentine told the Chicago Tribune. "I thought it was going to be a little bit bigger deal, but I wasn't doing it because I wanted it to be a big deal. It was something I tried to do for my parents and for the gay community. They're a huge part of the population."

Valentine told Newsday reporter Jeff Pearlman about his biological mother Deb Valentine, and his other mother, Doreen Price, who raised him since his birth in Las Vegas in 1979. The couple has been together for 30 years.

"I've gotten good feedback [from teammates]," Valentine said. "A lot of guys said, 'That's pretty cool. That's a pretty awesome thing.' That's really it."

Brian Osler, director of the Gay and Lesbian Athletes Association, said he was pleased to hear about how the team has handled the news. "Professional baseball is more homophobic than most places, but I'm glad to see there's no reaction."
Note, there's a long way to go as there are no "out" pro baseball players that I'm aware of.

'Former lesbian' mouthpiece for Dobson offers 'options' for homos

"Gender Issues Analyst" Melissa Fryear endorses counseling "options" for homosexuals such as "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International.

Professional heterosexual and "former lesbian" Melissa Fryrear of Focus on the Family makes me ill. She's another one of those zealots that attempts to lure self-loathing homosexuals into "ex-gay" programs through Focus on the Family's Love Won Out sham. They drag her sorry (and willing) *ss out to speak for homo-bigot Dobson. (AgapePress):
Two parents and their homosexual son have been arrested for trespassing in a second day of protests at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs. When police warned Phil Reitan of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, not to cross a barricade, he said, "I'm an attorney, I'm a Christian, I'm a father, I love my family and my family is assaulted every day by Dr. Dobson." Focus on the Family spokeswoman Melissa Fryrear denies that the ministry led by Dr. James Dobson teaches parents to reject their homosexual children. In her words, "We tell parents to love their children unconditionally, and then we lay out options." Fryrear, a former lesbian, says Focus offers a program that shows how homosexuality can be treated or prevented.

No more TX rump-shaking cheerleaders?

State Rep. Al Edwards was outraged by the way cheerleaders are "shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down."

Remember my post in March, Buffy in Texas better not bump and grind on the football field about a proposed law to put an end to "sexually suggestive" performances by cheerleaders at athletic events in the Lone Star State?

It passed in the House.
After an alternately comic and fiery debate — punctuated by several lawmakers waving pompons — the state House on Tuesday approved a bill to restrict "overtly sexually suggestive" cheerleading to more ladylike performances.

The bill would give the state education commissioner authority to request that school districts review high school performances.

"Girls can get out and do all of these overly sexually performances and we applaud them, and that's not right," said Democratic Rep. Al Edwards, who filed the legislation. Edwards argued bawdy performances are a distraction for students resulting in pregnancies, dropouts and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Ribald performances are not defined in the bill. "Any adult that's been involved with sex in their lives, they know it when they see it," he said.

The bill passed on a 65-56 vote. It still must be approved by the Senate and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Updates from Equality NC

In North Carolina, the organization working for gay rights at the grassroots level is Equality NC. I wanted to post the latest news from the organization, so House Blenders can see what's going on in my part of the Red State woods...

1. Davidson County Commissioners reject anti-gay resolution

Last week the County Commissioners in conservative Davidson County voted 4-3 in opposition to a resolution calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to approve an anti-gay, anti-marriage constitutional amendment. The Board's only Democrat was joined by three Republicans, including the Chairman Don Truell, in opposing the measure.

Equality NC applauds the efforts of our members Donnel Griffin and Lori Mancuso for their leadership, and thanks all of the LGBT and allied citizens who stood up against this divisive proposal.

2. Catawba County Dept. of Social Services to allow LGBT foster parents

Equality NC applauds the Catawba County Department of Social Services for changing their policy to make sure that the needs of children can be met by loving families, regardless of sexual orientation. The department announced last week that it will no longer discriminate against unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, who are otherwise eligible to serve as foster parents. We recognize the outstanding efforts of local organizers in securing this victory.

You can show your support by voting in the Hickory Daily Record's online poll on this issue:

3. Join Equality NC at Charlotte Pride May 7, 11 AM-6 PM

Stop by and visit Equality NC at our table at the Charlotte Pride Festival Saturday in Marshall Park. We'll be spreading the word about our work and getting pride participants to send an important postcard to their legislators. For more info, visit

4. Workplace Equality Community Forum in Durham May 18, 7 PM

Lambda Legal in collaboration with Equality North Carolina is presenting a community forum on LGBT workplace equality in Durham, NC.

Too often across the country workers are fired or harassed just for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or HIV positive. Learn what you can do to fight for your rights and help others in their time of need. You can help make the difference at the local, state, and national levels. Please join us on Wednesday May 18, 2005 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (4907 Garrett Rd., Durham).

Special guests include:

Hector Vargas, Lambda Legal Southern Regional Director Ian Palmquist, Equality North Carolina Executive Director-Programs A current Lambda Legal client who will share their story

This event is free and open to the public. Please help us spread the word.

Community Partners for this event are PFLAG Triangle, NC Gay and Lesbian Attorneys, and the HRC NC Steering Committee.

5. Charlotte Fundraising Reception with NC's "Unambiguously Gay Duo" May 20, 6:00-8:00 PM

Join Special Guests Mayor Mike Nelson of Carrboro and Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, whom Al Franken has dubbed NC's "unambiguously gay duo," for a reception to benefit Equality NC at the home of Ken Wittenauer and Russ Leciejewski in Uptown Charlotte.

Tickets are $50. Sponsorships available. Purchase tickets online at

Army recruiters tell HS student to lie out of his *ss to get signed up

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

High school student journalist David McSwane on the shameful, illegal tactics used to recruit: "I was shocked. I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect,' and he is telling me to lie."

What about honor when serving your country? The Army is so desperate to try and make recruiting goals that it's willing to ask unqualified young people to fake diplomas and work around drug tests to become rocket grenade targets over in Iraq. (CBS):
Seventeen-year-old high school journalist and honor student David McSwane is just what Army recruiters are looking for, but he suspected they might be lowering their standards, reports Rick Sallinger of CBS News Denver affiliate KCNC.

"I wanted to see how far the army would go during a war to get one more soldier," McSwane said. So he showed up at a Golden Colorado recruiting office saying he was a dropout.

No problem, the recruiter said - and told McSwane in a phone call he recorded - to create a fake diploma from a non-existent school. "It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or something - whatever you choose," the recruiter said.

So McSwane went on-line, got a phony grade transcript and a diploma with the name of the school the recruiter suggested and turned it in.

...Then the high school senior told the recruiter: "I have a problem with drugs. I can't kick the habit - just marijuana."

The recruiter suggested purchasing a detoxification kit.
"The two times I had the guys use it - it's worked both times. We didn't have to worry about anything," the recruiter said.

...Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Brodeur who heads Army recruiting for the Colorado region did not defend the recruiters.

"Let me tell you something sir. I'm a soldier and have been a soldier for 20 years," Broderu said. "This violates trust, it violates integrity, it violates honor, and it violates duty."
The whole thing begs the question - what the hell kind of pressures are these recruiters under from superiors that would make them take these extreme, dumb*ss measures to fatten the sign up roster? Maybe these losers got their diplomas online too.

Durham makes the news: smash and grab at the Costco

Normally, our town doesn't make the news, but this report turned up on CNN, ha ha ha; saw it when I came home and flipped on the news. The Costco that we shop/tank up over in Northern Durham got knocked over, in an audacious smash-and-grab after-hours. A pickup smashed through the metal door, and the thugs got out and raided what they could and pulled away. Video is here. (NBC17):
The robbery began shortly after 10 a.m., when a man backed a stolen Toyota pickup truck through the doors of the business and stopped next to the jewelry counter, police said. Then, a passenger jumped out of the truck, smashed a jewelry case with a hammer and stole an undisclosed amount of jewelry. The robbers drove out of the store and abandoned the truck a few blocks away, police said.

Officers combing the area for the robbers attempted to stop one man walking in the area. The man fled, however, running into a nearby apartment in the 1000 block of Leon Street. Authorities were eventually able to get the man to come out of the apartment after a few hours. The man was subsequently released and no charges were filed against him, police said.

The robber who smashed the store's jewelry case is described as a man about 5 feet 7 inches tall wearing a gray sweat jacket, dark pants and a black ski mask, according to police.

Happy Birthday, Katie!

My sweet love said she's not counting the years any more, hahaha.

Light posting for me today, of course -- a good, loving wife has better things to do!

Take that, Cryptkeeper!

Reuters having fun with Chimpy

You can have fun captioning this, but I think the funniest editorial bit is that Reuters put together the above collage with the following caption (my emphasis):
U.S. President George W. Bush is pictured in various states pushing his plan for restructuring Social Security at an event in Falls Church, Virginia April 29, 2005. President Bush attempted to break a political deadlock on overhauling Social Security with a proposal to limit the growth in future benefits for wealthier Americans and protect the benefits of low-income workers. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Why is ABC taking money from Focus on the Family?

Remember, it was only a few short months ago that NBC and CBS refused to run a "tolerance" ad welcoming gays to worship by the United Church of Christ? The preposterous reason was that it somehow endorsed same-sex marriage during an election year, and was deemed an "advocacy ad." It did nothing of the sort. The spot said nothing about gay marriage, and nothing specifically about homosexuals at all. Even Jerry Falwell thought it was dumb not to allow it to run. (You can see the latest iteration of the campaign in the ad at right).

Well it looks like ABC has no problem taking money from religious zealot and homo-bigot James Dobson and Focus on the Family. It's an outrage. (NYT):
The ad is the first national television spot purchased by the group and is part of an effort to bring its faith-based advice on parenting and relationships to younger families, said Jim Daly, the group's president and CEO.

Daly said the program about a nanny teaching harried parents how to lay down boundaries for their children is very close to the message taught by Focus founder James Dobson, a child psychologist.
Nanny show:

How do I contact the ABC Television Network?
ABC, Inc.
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551
Phone number: (818) 460-7477

Today in history...

Monday, May 02, 2005

In 1972, extreme closet queen, control freak and homophobic former head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover died. He left the bulk of his estate to Clyde Tolson, his assistant and "companion" of over 40 years. They rode to and from work at the Bureau together, ate meals and traveled on vacations together...well, you get the idea. Just like a whole bunch of the Repug establishment closet cases today. Not much has changed, huh?

Pat Robertson's brain has turned to mush and Freepers agree

The looney fundamentalist thinks federal judges are a more serious threat to the U.S. than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists. (NY Daily News):
"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

"I think we have controlled Al Qaeda," the 700 Club host said, but warned of "erosion at home" and said judges were creating a "tyranny of oligarchy." Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.

"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."
I had to visit Freeperland to see what they were thinking about this latest bible-beater eruption. They are not happy...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"As much as i like the guy comments like these are over the line. I think the judiciary is a threat, but saying that a bunch of unelected judges are worse than terrorists who want to blow us up is silly. Robertson really should take back what he said."

"Man oh man..this is SURE to raise the credibility of the Republican Party and conservatives in general. Get a grip, Pat."

"I'm no fan of Robertson, but the basic hypothesis has some good arguments for it. AQ killed 3000 Americans, judges have killed 40,000,000 and counting."

"What a stupid thing to say! This will of course be used against the cause of stopping judicial activism. With friends like this, who needs enemies? It's as bad as the abortionist killers or the Phelps "God hates f**s" people for harming the cause of decency, pro-life, pro-family and judicial restraint."

"Everyone please pray for Pat!"

"What a stupid thing to say, especially after the Delay fracas. He's senile and should be replaced."

"Only difference between Pat Roberts and someone like Paul Crouch is better clothes and smoother delivery. In his heart, he is a bitter little snake-oil salesman, nothing more."

"He may not have worded it correctly, but I think his premise is not so off. Judges have the potential to take down the country more effectively than the terrorists. Particularly now that Al Queda has been checked. Not to mention that judges have allowed millions of babies to be killed through judicial activism. That is pretty serious stuff."

"While the general idea is somewhat true(that judges have been screwing with us) to run off and say things like this only hurt our cause. How often have we seen democrats not condem their politicans for saying ridiculous things and those of us here on freerepublic get mad at them for not doing it. When robertson says something like this it doesn't help our cause and you know libs will just throw it back in our face."

"Someone show Pat a picture of the Jet hitting the tower and then ask him how judges are worse than that."

"I have no use for judges, but that comment was dumb."

"Pat Robertson was also a blame America first type from what I remember."

"His statement is incendiary and self-defeating. Nothing positive comes from rhetoric like this. It does nothing more than feed the agenda of the Left."

"When Pat retired as head of CC, he should have retired for good. He's getting that disease so many old guys get.....weak mindedness."

"There are good judges and bad judges. There are no good Al-Qeada. Judges are integral to running a society governed by law. Terrorists are not. We may need to replace some judges, but do we really need to replace Al-Qeada?"

"Now, now, don't let facts get in the way of the bashing of a decent man."

"I think he is going to regret making that remark."

"6 million babies shredded or poisoned or strangled to death every year in the womb is the fault of judges, so he has a point."

"With friends like these, who needs enemies? This is not the first time that Pat Robertson was talking in front of reporters and said something that almost anyone would have known was a barking, moonbat remark. The loony left will trumpet this remark and claim that Robertson is "driving the Republicans." The Republicans will play turtle, and fail to condemn Robertson as a moonbat, because they want to retain the votes even of Robertson's small hard core of fellow moonbats. And therefore, the Democrat charge will stick with a few members of the public, and God help us if it sticks with a few Senators."

"So, this is a classic example of a fringe player in politics using an available platform to say something really stupid that HURTS rather than helps the legitimate cause that he supports."

"Hey, Pat, should we round up the judges and bring them to justice? Kill a few thousand of them? They're worse than al-Qaida you say."

"What a freakin' moron. I hope the federal judge living next door to him sells to an al-Qaida terrorist. He'll feel safer. Dang, he's an idiot."

"Pat Robertson is an effin' idiot, and he and Jerry Falwall have done more to discredit Christianity than anyone since Jim Bakker."

"As long as we're putting his comments into perspective let's put abortion into perspective, it might be Roe Vs Wade that allows it but it's people who are choosing to get them. For every life prematurely ended that's a choice someone made. Those are two separate things that need to be tackled, it isn't enough to go after the judges."

"Pat Robertson is hereby promoted from "Idiot First Class" to "Supreme Moron." He and his faculty teach this crapola at that aslyum for dull normals they call a law school."

Bill James is a piece of work

Not only is the redneck Mecklenburg County Commissioner racist and homophobic (and thinks constantly about sh*t-eating), he also tried to stifle the vote in 2004. According to Billionaires for Bush...

Catch this great Raw Story interview

Rep. Jim Moran knows fawning when he sees it.

You have to read this piece by John Byrne at Raw Story, "Democrat says Bush Social Security plan won't help; Dubs Cheney 'ass kisser'". The title says it all. He interviews Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), and Moran doesn't mince words about what goes on in the White House:
Raw Story: Do you really think the president is sheltered from those he’s pitching his plan to?

Moran: The only actual news that he reads is the sports section. All the national news, all the opinions that he gets have been filtered, and it goes to his daily briefing that has already been pre-screened to give him what he wants to read. He doesn’t read any books, and he doesn’t talk with people that don’t already agree with him. He’s surrounded himself with ideological sycophants. And the biggest ass-kisser of all is Dick Cheney.

Ridiculous 'ex-gay' propaganda video from American Family Association

Donald Wildmon: "Does the media not care that this is a self-destructive lifestyle that cuts short the lives of homosexual men?"

Look at the latest bullsh*t from wingnut "news service" AgapePress.
Families, churches, individuals and activist groups across the nation and in at least one European country are apparently renewing their efforts to get the truth out about the high personal cost of homosexuality.

Produced by the American Family Association, the video -- titled It's Not Gay -- is selling at its fastest pace since it was introduced in 2000. AFA has spent no money promoting the video, according to AFA chairman Don Wildmon. "Word of mouth is the only explanation we can give as to why the video has started selling again, " says Wildmon.

The 25-minute video is an uncompromising yet compassionate look at the tragic consequences of the homosexual lifestyle. It features former homosexuals telling their own stories. The video has now been shown in over 10,000 churches.

...It's Not Gay is an unscripted, documentary-style presentation. Medical and mental health professionals appear, as well as those who have left the homosexual lifestyle. "These are real people telling their real stories of how they struggled to overcome the homosexual lifestyle," Wildmon says.

"With same-sex marriage in the news regularly, churches and other activists are finally realizing that homosexuality is a critical cultural issue," he adds. "There is a recognition that the issue isn't going away and that Christians need to be educated about the political movement, as well as the devastating impact on individual lives."

More on homo-bigot Ken Hutcherson

Bill Gates's bedmate, Rev. Ken Hutcherson, speaks to his Antioch Bible Church congregation yesterday in the Lake Washington High School gymnasium, where the church meets. The non-denominational church has more than 3,500 members.

Rev. Ken Hutcherson, who planned a boycott of $30+ billion dollar Microsoft if it supported an anti-discrimination bill in Washington State, has an interesting background. He earns bonus points for being from my wife's home state (the bigot is from PCB-contaminated Anniston, AL.

Interestingly, the dumb*ss quips that the toxic dump is the reason "he acts differently." Well, that's an understatement. He has perfect wingnut credentials. (SeattlePI):
He was labeled a bigot a year ago yesterday for organizing Mayday for Marriage, a rally at Safeco Field meant to uphold marriage as a God-designed union between a man and a woman. The event drew more than 20,000 people. Five months later, he spearheaded a similar gathering that brought more than 100,000 to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Hutcherson said Christians who disagreed with him were "evangelly-fish" because they lacked a "spiritual backbone." When people find out what the Bible really says, he said, "they start a new denomination because (they) want God to fit them, instead of them fitting God."

...Hutcherson said he's just following the Bible and "God's definition of marriage" -- one man, one woman. Homosexuals can know and love Jesus, he said, "but they're being disobedient to him."

His allies include the Rev. Joe Fuiten of Cedar Park Assembly in Bothell, president of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government, a Christian lobbying group.

"We pretty much see eye to eye, though I do not follow the same strategy," Fuiten said. "He's probably more in-your-face than any pastor on the Eastside and probably in Seattle."

Fuiten said he holds a high opinion of Hutcherson because of his passion, loyalty, fearlessness and "clear sense of morality."

...His mentors included Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" series of novels about those left behind at the rapture. Hutcherson has written two books of his own, including "Before All Hell Breaks Loose," intended as a wake-up call to every church and believer.

...His office is filled with photos, jerseys -- one autographed by his good friend Rush Limbaugh -- stuffed animals, a carved eagle, bottles of hot sauce and other gifts from the past 30 years.
Thanks to House Blender Gary for the pointer.

Lynndie England pleads guilty, and surprise - top brass get away

U.S. Army PFC Lynndie England, who was pictured holding a naked Iraqi on a leash in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, pleaded guilty to seven charges of abuse. (Photo by Jeff Mitchell/Reuters). Charles Graner, seen here in 2004, who is serving a 10-year jail term for beating and sexually humiliating prisoners, engaging in sex acts (AFP/Getty Images/File).

It's notable that two women take the fall, as pleaded guilty. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, commander of the military police unit accused of the abuse, received nonjudicial punishment, and was relieved of her command and reprimanded. It doesn't excuse the heinous atrocious behavior, but who else is paying the price? You won't see any top brass or Rummy on this list, just the grunts, who clearly just came up with these torture ideas on their own as they partied along in the prison. The senior US military commander in Iraq when the scandal broke, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, and three other high-ranking officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by a US military probe.
The others previously convicted:

_ Charles Graner Jr., 36, of Uniontown, Pa., is the only defendant to go to trial. Prosecutors described Graner, who is said to be England's ex-boyfriend, as the ringleader of a group of Abu Ghraib guards who mistreated Iraqi detainees. He was photographed giving the thumbs-up sign behind a pile of naked detainees and ordering them to masturbate. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after he was found guilty in January.

Last month he married Megan Ambuhl, 30, of Centreville, Va., a former Abu Ghraib guard who pleaded guilty to failing to prevent or report maltreatment of prisoners. She was accused of watching prisoners being abused and helped set up the photograph of England holding a naked prisoner by a leash. Ambuhl was discharged from the Army without serving prison time.

_ Ivan Frederick, 38, of Buckingham, Va., was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in October after pleading guilty to conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act. Frederick admitted he helped place wires on a detainee's hands and told him he would be electrocuted if he fell off a box. He was a staff sergeant, making him the highest-ranking soldier to serve prison time in the case.

_ Jeremy Sivits, 25, of Hyndman, Pa., pleaded guilty last May to four counts for taking pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners being humiliated, including some of the photographs that triggered the scandal. The former guard was sentenced to a year in prison.

_ Roman Krol, 23, of Randolph, Mass., admitted pouring water on naked detainees and forcing them to crawl around the floor at Abu Ghraib, and throwing a foam football at them while they were handcuffed. After pleading guilty, Krol was sentenced in February to 10 months in prison.

_ Armin Cruz, 24, of Plano, Texas, was sentenced to eight months in September after pleading guilty to conspiracy and mistreating prisoners. Cruz was accused of forcing naked prisoners to crawl along the floor and handcuffing men together.

_ Javal Davis, 27, of Roselle, N.J., received a six-month sentence after pleading guilty in February to assault, dereliction of duty and lying to Army investigators. Davis admitted stepping on the hands and feet of handcuffed detainees and falling with his full weight on top of them.

The Dark Wraith speaks on the Repug Social Security sham

Surf over to Big Brass Blog to read another of The Dark Wraith's excellent policy pieces, "First Impugn Honor; All Else Will Then Perish." This time he gives the Bush Admin a whipping for their completely unethical (and illogical) reasoning behind its plan to unravel Social Security.
To pose that the Social Security system must somehow be fundamentally redesigned because of the normal course by which deficit-riddled, tax-averse Administrations generate funds is to demand that the lender be punished for the irresponsibility of the borrower. It does not occur to Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush that their constant refrain of low taxes has put the government in the position of being forced to constantly refinance debt with further debt. It occurs to them only to evicerate a social insurance program that is ideologically at odds with their vision of the way the federal government should interact with its citizens.

Reminder: Triangle folks please buy tix for "The Laramie Project" to counter-protest Phelps

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Durham School of the Arts photo by James Jirtle & Elizabeth Tencer

"It is a tacky, substandard, cheap and banal effort to glamorize what is essentially a sinful boy's life," Phelps said. "That boy lived in sin and died in sin and is in Hell now. Fags use the play as a propaganda tool to recruit young Americans to emulate Matt Shepard."
-- Rev. Fred "The Rotting CryptkeeperTM" Phelps

This week, on May 6 and 7 our friend, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, will be picketing "the fag-infested Durham School of the Arts and The Laramie Project fag propaganda play" at the 7:30 shows.

The local paper, the Durham Herald-Sun, reported on April 9 that Phelps does personally plan to attend the Durham demonstration, along with 12 to 15 family members and supporters. It wasn't clear that he would turn up, since he often just sends some of his many grandchildren to events all over the place. Of course he also hopes to bring out the local bigots, but he's not likely to find much support here.
But Ian Palmquist, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said Phelps' visits sometimes served to help the gay community. Heterosexuals, Palmquist said, often are appalled by Phelps' message and decide to help support gay causes.

"Most North Carolinians will be shocked to see this sort of hateful language that Fred Phelps and his supporters use, regardless of what those citizens feel about gay rights issues," Palmquist said. "The Phelps family has really made a career out of traveling the country with their message of hatred, but surprisingly, it does the gay community more good than bad."

...One student said the cast had no plans to change the date of the performance. In fact, Phelps' visit has motivated the cast to put on a successful show, the student said. "What Phelps says speaks for itself, and what we are saying with our play speaks for itself," said Elizabeth French, the show's assistant director and a senior at DSA. "We are now compelled to make this the best play we can make it. Our theater department does really compelling, interesting and mind-opening plays, and we are not afraid to put our thoughts out there for the plays we choose to do."
I've been in touch today with the director of the upcoming production, Doug Graves. [Doug's also a former neighbor of mine; small world, isn't it?] He updated me on the goings-on regarding Fred Phelps and his hate machine's intention to picket the event. Doug passed on this request to local House Blenders:
We have had such a tremendous outpouring from the community in light of this press. A majority of folks actually buy a ticket - but some just call to find out when he will be there so they can come and "counter protest", and they hang up without buying a ticket. We have sold A LOT of tickets (we're sold out Friday and Saturday night) - but we have TONS of tickets available for Thursday night and Saturday Mat.

I truly feel that the BEST "counter protest" is buy a ticket to see the show and don't engage with Rev. ***hole. Inside that theatre are incredibly talented and brave students doing their best to teach their audiences lessons in tolerance. It will be very disappointing to play to empty seats - when Phelps drew a full house AND a sidewalk full of folks wanting to get a look at some hate-monger from half-way across the country.

We should take our cue from the play (as Romaine Patterson so courageously did) and stand with our backs to him and stand in silence - engaging him in banter would be disruptive to our play. PLEASE encourage people to BUY A TICKET to the show - Thursday at 7:30 and Saturday at 3:00 - and support these kids. Our GSA group will be there and we will be taking donations for the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
The Durham School of the Arts Box Office is (919) 560-3926 ext. 23252. Kate and I plan to attend the Saturday matinee, and will be around to document the protest and counterprotest activities. We will bring our signs left over from the pathetic Straight Pride parade in Chapel Hill last year:

Thoughts from the Charlotte area on homo-bigot/psycho Bill James

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James: "You really think that a pool of people (homosexuals) where 45% of them eat feces from the rear end of another male is "normal"? If you do, you are frankly nuts. A lifestyle where one of their past times is buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching?"

I received an email from a supporter of the county commissioners that seek to extend Mecklenburg County's anti-discrimination laws to gays and lesbians and to add domestic partner benefits. I updated her today about all the blogosphere chatter on bigot Commissioner Bill James and his interesting views on homosexuality and sexual behavior over the last couple of days.
Hey Pam,

I was out of town all weekend and did not have internet access. Oh My Gods and Goddesses! The Bill James Shit has really hit the fan hasn't it!!! I was reading an article in the Abingdon Virginia newspaper this morning about the Rovian strategy of bringing up homosexual issues in order to divert, divide and conquer.

I wonder how many towns like mine have a Rove wannabe in their midst? Many, I would venture to guess. I am sure I have created a firestorm here in town by our expose of James and I have not yet had the time to answer my messages. I just feel sad and sick and want to take a psychological/spiritual shower. I think I have the answer to my questions: "How did Bush win?", How Gonzales, How Rice, How Bolton, ad nauseum.

The district James represents is Edenic in its physical beauty, marked by wealth and abundance beyond description. There are McMansions galore, an upcoming PGA tournament, exclusive enclaves and gated communities, shopping opportunities beyond the pale -- every symbol of wealth and privilege. One would think, if John Calvin's theology were to hold any water, that this would be the site of the Fountain of Agape.

Sadly, I live in a paradoxical universe where those with much only want more: more money, more power, more control, more homogeneity of the populace. They are like the man in the Sufi tale who endlessly chases the sun around the world, never catching it and furious with the world for its failure to give him what he so desires.

In Charlotte's case, the Jamesian chase only produces pure poison. And I grieve for Bill, for poison comes from pain. Please urge your readers to respond with the love that heals for he is truly a deeply wounded animal. Nothing can be gained by merely calling him names - it feeds the Beast that keeps him in a position to influence policy and opinion. It is the firestorm that Rove wants, expects and needs that we should deny him.

Denny's lawsuit document is online

I have been sent a copy of the lawsuit filed by the men of Middle Eastern descent against Denny's; I need to step out for a while, but folks take a look at it.

Gardening Sunday

Beautiful day out here, in low 70s, a nice breeze. Planted some petunias and vinca, did the yard maintenance thing. Those photos are not of the stuff we planted. I'll take some pix of our work once they fill in a bit.

Any news or wingnuttery to report? [I'm still collecting letters to and from felching-fixated County Commissioner Bill James. That post is getting l-o-n-g.]