An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

España* (Spain) legalizes gay marriage

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Spaniards celebrate their country's decision that all people deserve equal rights.

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

MADRID, Spain - Spain became the third country to legalize gay marriage Thursday in a parliament vote that left gay activists blowing kisses to lawmakers and the powerful Catholic Church issuing veiled calls for defiance.

The new law increases the chances of happiness for "our neighbors, our work colleagues, our friends, our relatives," said Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The 350-seat Congress of Deputies, by a vote of 187-147 with four abstentions, approved the measure to give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual ones, including the right to adopt children.

The Roman Catholic Church, which held much sway over the government just a generation ago when Gen. Francisco Franco** was in power, was left smarting from the vote.

"Marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman, is no longer provided for in our laws," the Spanish Bishops Conference said after the vote, referring both to the gay marriage law and a bill passed Wednesday making it easier for Spaniards to divorce.

"It is necessary to oppose these unfair laws through all legitimate means," a conference statement said, alluding to its hint last month that town hall officials who oppose gay marriage should refuse to preside over such ceremonies.

The bill, which became law immediately, says: "Matrimony shall have the same requirements and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same or different sex."

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two countries that recognize gay marriage nationwide. The Netherlands lets gays adopt children. Belgium is considering the adoption issue.

Canada's House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage by the end of July as long as the Senate also passes the bill, which it is expected to do.

In the United States, Massachusetts is the only state to recognize gay marriage. Vermont and Connecticut have approved same-sex civil unions.
One of the nice benefits of being on the side of progressive politics is that given enough time, our position is always proven correct. Human social evolution has always moved toward more freedom, liberty, and equality for people. In the short run, there are always times of more or less repression, and unfortunately by "short run", I'm talking about spans of a few generations, but overall, in the long run, I believe that denial of gay rights and homophobia will be a reprehensible to future generations as slavery and racism look to most of us today.

You may say I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one...

Speaking of reprehensible, let's check in with the bottom feeder from Lake Freepertonka:

Actual Freeper Quotes™

It was only a 20 vote margin. In other words, if the Spanish hadn't caved to terror [after the 3/11 Madrid bombing] and voted the Socialists in, this never would have happened. Such a measure would have been struck down by 50-75 votes under a Popular government. (It's all a part of a sinister al-Qaeda plot to homofy the West! Because Fundamentalist Muslims just love homosexuality!

Notice how the Socialist platform is all immorality, all the time - loosen abortion laws, make divorce even easier, pro-stem cell research aka create embryos (aka "tiny babies") so as to dismember them, and now "gay" marriage".

Kennedy, Ginsburg and O'Connor now have the "international law" precedent they required to foist this madness upon America.

That's fine.. one more country for America's gays to move to..give them their own freaking country.. just as long as they aren't here.. and they aren't allowed back in. (Hmmm... step 1) convert Ibiza to the independent nation of Homoslavia, step 2) rake in the Olympic gold medals for ice skating, step 3) world domination!)

Yeah, and Spain and Portugal are also asking for ongoing international aid so they can feed themselves. Worse drought in...in...decades. Is there somewhere we can go to protest aid being sent to Spain? (Starve the fag-lovers! There's your Compassionate Conservative for ya...)

One shouldn't be surprised that Spain OKs Gay "marriage". Any "nation" that responds to a terrorist attack by immediate surrender --- must be overrun by girlie-men that would rather pack fudge that defend themselves.... Remember --- the cowardly metrosexuals of the Clinton and Carter administrations did the SAME THING....

There are very few genuine, believing Christians - Catholic or Protestant - in Europe. This is also a good example of why "democracy", taken just by itself, cannot ensure good government. ... The next step down this road will be the withdrawl of state support for the Catholic church for its refusal to perform gay weddings (Mosques will ne exempted from this rule, of course). Once [Muslims] reach sufficient numbers, Spain will be replaced by the Caliphate of Al-Andalus. The sodomites who are celebrating the legalization of their depravity today will ultimately end up impaled upon the point of a jihadi's sword.

[Reponding to headline "Spain defies church to legalise gay marriage"] Should read, "Spain Defies God..."

What is it that Spain's elected officials don't understand about the 10 Commandments? (Did I miss that "thou shalt not be gay" commandment?)

"I keep waiting for the next Calvo Sotelo to arise." Or why not another General Franco to drive the communist hordes out? Democracy is proving to be a morally bankrupt system.

This time, when the war has been won, let Zapatero's execution be a message for all time making him the poster boy for justifiable death penalties and let his followers be burned in garbage dumps, dead or alive, instead of in the Valley of the Dead. Franco tried reconciliation. Obviously, a mere 65 years later, reconciliation has proven impermanent. Sterner and permenent measures are necessary.
*España is the Spanish word for Spain. I've always thought it a little strange that we call countries by names other than what they call themselves. We don't call José Canseco and Juan Valdez "Joe" and "John", do we?

**This just in: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.


16 US servicemen dead, helicopter shot down in Afghanistan


Current Iraq War Casualty statistics. Click for larger image

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

KABUL, Afghanistan - The U.S. military confirmed Thursday that all 16 servicemembers aboard a special forces helicopter died when it crashed into a mountain ravine in eastern Afghanistan earlier this week, apparently after being shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The crash was the deadliest blow yet to American forces in Afghanistan grappling with an escalating insurgency.

The remains of those killed were being recovered at the site in Kunar province where the MH-47 chopper went down Tuesday, the military said in a statement. The helicopter crashed while ferrying reinforcements to a battle against insurgents near the Pakistan border.
With all the focus on Iraq, sometimes we forget that we still have troops in Afghanistan. Well, I don't, because my brother-in-law is there, fixing helicopters. I desperately hope he wasn't aboard this chopper (I doubt he was; he's ground crew.)

According to icasualties.org, we've lost 209 servicemembers in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. The casualty rate there has increased every year since 2001 -- 12, 43, 47, 52, and 57 for the current half-year.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, June 2005 ends as the 9th deadliest for our forces. Half of the months in 2005 rank in the top ten worst for US casualties for the entirety of the war. The current six-month average is 75 casualties per month (almost 2.5/day). The rolling six-month average of casualties, which had been declining since January, is back on the rise (see chart above, click for larger version, more stats available in Excel format.)

Some may consider it crass to calculate and display these morbid statistics. They'd say I'm giving "aid and comfort" to the enemy by fostering negative public opinion of the war, which will weaken our resolve, embolden the enemy, and lead us to withdraw prematurely. I'd counter that I am merely reporting the facts and that the negative public opinion stems from some other sad statistics, like:

0 captured Osama bin Ladens.
0 discovered weapons of mass destruction.
0 proven links between Iraq and 9/11.
~$180,000,000,000 spent so far on the war.
-$1,000,000,000 allocated for the Veterans Administration budget.
80% of troop transport vehicles lacking adequate armor.
250,000 tons of unsecured, missing Iraqi munitions.
92% of Iraqi security forces untrained in any meaningful way.
0 confidence in the Commander-in-Chief.


www.BrandiSwindell.com


Boise anti-women's-rights, pro-government-interference-in-private-medical-deicisons, defender-of-graven-images activist Brandi Swindell

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

I've written tangentially about Boise activist Brandi Swindell. I have one of those six-degrees-of-kevin-bacon-type relationships to her, as I went to high school with someone who (I believe) is her cousin. In this picture, she's standing in a converted baseball diamond off of 27th & State St. in Boise (it's on the way to one of my sisters-in-law's house) where little crosses have been planted to represent the little "womb-babies" that have been aborted this year.

She's the national director of Boise-based Generation Life. She has also made a name for herself by showing up in Florida to protest the whole Terri Schiavo debacle, and lately she's been the leader of Boise's Keep the Commandments Coalition (more on that here.)

You'd think someone that active, that political, and that young would be smart enough to secure her own name in the dot-com domain. You'd think wrong.

(Thanks to House Blender Wayne for the tip!)


If AIDS only infected oil tycoons, Bush would have a cure by now


13,000 people die from AIDS every day in Africa.

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

The global pandemic that is acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) continues to kill people from all walks of life, regardless of nation, social status, or race, but nowhere is the devastation as severe as sub-Saharan Africa. According to Africa AIDS Watch...
"AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa," notes the UN report "is the worst infectious disease catastrophe since the bubonic plague." In a White House publication on the same issue in 1999, a worried writer summarized the impact of AIDS on Africa in these chilling words: "Deaths due to AIDS in the region will soon surpass the 20 million people in Europe who died in the plague of 1347 and the more than 20 million people worldwide who died in the influenza epidemic of 1917. Over the next decade, AIDS will kill more people in sub-Saharan Africa than the total number of casualties lost in all wars of the 20th century combined."
So it goes without saying that President "Sanctity of Life" would put all its scientific and financial might behind alleviating the suffering, preventing new infections, and searching for a cure, right?
(CounterBias.com) Bush Administration AIDS Policies Continue to Fall Short

In his 2003 State of the Union address, Mr. Bush boldly stated, “I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean.” But within a week, his administration was forced to restate its position, announcing that this proposed funding would not go to Africa and the Caribbean only, but rather was the total international budget.

Shortly before the [last World AIDS Conference] was convened, the administration announced it would send only one-quarter as many experts as had been sent the previous year, in an effort to save money. Dozens of scholarly presentations were withdrawn, and meetings to train Third World AIDS researchers and encourage international collaboration were cancelled.

The administration’s policy on international AIDS prevention also misses the mark. A requirement mandates that one-third of the funds spent on prevention programs, approximately $130 million, can only promote abstinence before marriage, and cannot support condom usage. Randall Tobias, U.S. Ambassador for AIDS Coordination, echoed this in a speech he gave before visiting Africa when he said, “Statistics show that condoms really have not been effective.” Given that 2.3 million Africans die annually as a result of AIDS, this was scientifically flawed and morally reprehensible.

The Bush administration has requested $3.2 billion in the 2006 budget for domestic and international AIDS programs. This represents merely 0.14 percent of the total American budget, and equals only seven percent of the budget for the Defense Department.
Well, we can't be giving people condoms! That would send the wrong message... they might, you know, have sex (gasp!). Better to tell them to Just Say No; if it's a good enough policy for heroin addicts and horny teenage girls in Texas, it's good enough for Africans.

Aside from Bush's fantasyland where ultra-poverty-stricken people save their virginity until marriage, his policies also ignore the fact that some of the AIDS problem in Africa is attributable to the second-class status of women in some African cultures and also from rape. Just Say No doesn't work so well against a rapist and it's often difficult to convince him to wear a condom.

Fortunately, the World Health Organization reports on a new weapon in the war on AIDS (wouldn't be nice to hear that phrase more often) is the development of microbicides:
Microbicides are compounds that can be applied inside the vagina or rectum to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. They can be formulated as gels, creams, films, or suppositories. Microbicides may or may not have spermicidal activity (contraceptive effect).

Without a preventive HIV vaccine, microbicides offer an alternative to condoms as the most feasible method for primary prevention of HIV.

Currently available HIV prevention techniques are often not feasible for many women who live in resource poor settings. The availability of microbicides would greatly empower women to protect themselves and their partners. Unlike male or female condoms, microbicides are a potential preventive option that women can easily control and do not require the cooperation, consent or even knowledge of the partner.

A recent cost-benefit analysis conducted at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine indicates that the introduction in 73 lower-income countries of a microbicide which reduced the risk of infection by 40%, at 30% coverage, would avert approximately 6 million HIV infections over 3 years in men, women and children. In addition, this would reduce the health care costs (excluding the cost of antiretroviral therapy) by a staggering 3.2 billion US dollars. This implies that a microbicide with relatively low-effectiveness could have a substantial impact against the global HIV epidemic if it were used by a significant number of women.
There's only one unfortunate catch. This type of microbicide does not currently exist. The scientists are convinced it is close to development, but it needs more reseach and funding.

That's where we come in. We need to raise awareness of this issue and support our elected representatives who are trying to bring more funding and research to the development of an effective HIV microbicide. From the Nation:
...[B]arely two percent of the US budget for HIV/AIDS research (already scandalously low) is spent toward [developing the microbicide]. To remedy this and kick-start work on what will eventually be hailed as a revolutionary medical breakthrough, Reps. Chris Shays (R-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) will introduce the Microbicide Development Act (MDA) in the House this summer. The Global Campaign for Microbicides is organizing support for the bill as well as spearheading other efforts to increasing funding for R&D.

Click here to ask your rep to vote for the MDA, click here to sign a petition for greater investment in microbicides, and click here for info on the medical and political history of microbicides.


Creationism Rears Its Ugly Head in Pennsylvania


PA State Rep. Dennis Leh (R) contradicts Charles Darwin by proving not all living organisms evolve to a higher form.

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

It's 1925 all over again! The radical Christian Right and their wingnut enablers continue to push their pet cause of public school religious indoctrination dressed up in lab coat. It's called Intelligent Design, and it's their latest attempt put lipstick on the pig called Creationism.

First it was the State Board of Education in Kansas holding hearings on whether Intelligent Design deserved to be taught in high school science classrooms alongside evolution as a legitimate alternative scientific theory to the origins of life. Now Pennsylvania State Rep. Dennis Leh is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow local school boards in Pennsylvania to mandate teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolution.
(AgapePress) Proponents of intelligent design, or ID, study objects in nature and consider empirical evidence in an attempt to isolate what they consider to be signs of intelligence -- physical properties that necessitate design. The concept of ID holds that the complexity of the universe is such that it must have been created by an intelligent guiding force.

One of the sponsors of the intelligent design bill, Representative Dennis Leh, feels school children need to be taught an alternative to evolution to ensure they are receiving a balanced science education. School children "need to realize that evolution is only a theory. It's not backed by sound science," he says, "and there are many, many scientists -- [including] bio-scientists and physicists – who do not believe in evolution."

Critics of the legislation claim ID theory is a secular form of Bible-based creationism. Leh admits that he would prefer to see children taught that the universe and everything in it were created and did not evolve out of primordial slime.

"Personally, I am a creationist," the Pennsylvania lawmaker says. "I don't hide that, and I certainly don't apologize for it. I think it takes far more faith to believe in evolution -- that things just appeared out of nothing -- than [to believe] they were created by an intelligent Creator, in the Christian sense."

But although he is personally convinced that all life and nature were created by "the one true God" and that evolution is a false theory, Leh says he and other supporters of the intelligent design bill "believe that these two teachings should be taught at least side by side."
OK, Rep. Leh, I'll type this slowly so you can understand. Science is the search for natural explanations for physical phenomena. Science doesn't claim to have the final answer on everything. When confronted with a mystery, science studies the data, forms hypotheses, tests hypotheses through replicable experimentation, and then defines theories that conform to the results. If new data come on, theories are revised.

When confronted with a mystery, science does not throw up its hands and say "God did it!" Science is concerned with the "how" of nature, not the "why". Discussion of divine origins of the universe are perfectly acceptable in a philosophy or theology class. Science doesn't try to explain why there is evil in the world or how to be a moral person; Theology shouldn't try to explain how planets form, life appears, and veterbrates evolve.

Oh, and Rep. Leh? Evolution is a scientifically-accepted fact. Modern biology, botany, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, zoology, archaeology, and every other "-ology" you can think of that doesn't start with "the-" support and prove the tenets of evolution. There's a name for these bio-scientists and physicists who do not believe in evolution; they're called "quacks".

Plus, you are misunderstanding the word "theory". You think it means "guess". But it really just means "an explanation that fits the evidence". Gravitation is "just a theory", too. No one has been able to prove how gravitation operates, but nobody denies that gravitation is a fact.

Now, lest anyone think my atheism is clouding my judgment here, understand that there are plenty of scientists who are very devout religious people who have no problem reconciling evolution with their belief in a Creator. "God is infinite," one of my Christian friends once told me, "so why can't the Big Bang and plate tectonics and natural selection be the mechanisms by which He creates?"


So THAT'S what you mean by "some", "a larger number", and "the rest"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

In the full text of my post (I only posted the first third here at the Blend, there rest is at the Writ), The Bush Speech Drinking Game, I noted the following glittering generality from All-Hat-No-Cattle:
Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions.... Today Iraqi Security Forces are at different levels of readiness. Some are capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves. A larger number can plan and execute anti-terrorist operations with Coalition support. The rest are forming and not yet ready to participate fully in security operations.
You've got an exact number of 160,000 for us, but you follow it up with "some", "a larger number", and "the rest"? Gee, hypothetically speaking, if "some" was 100, then 200 would be "a larger number", and "the rest" would be 159,700, right? This is why your approval ratings are sinking, Arbusto; we want details, not platitudes.
Well, turns out I was only off by a factor of twenty and forty. This just in from AMERICAblog (go read it all, it's really good):
For example, the training of Iraqis to take over their own security -- the single most important task in that country -- is proceeding at a punishingly slow rate. Bush threw out the number of 160,000 troops and then casually mentioned they fall into three categories: trained and ready to fight on their own, trained and capable of fighting with our help and not ready to fight at all.

After the speech, we're told the truth. How many of those Iraqis are trained and ready to fight on their own? Half? A third? A tenth? Only 2,500 -- less than two percent. (There's your "some".) How many can fight with our help? About 8,900 (Bush didn't lie; that is "a larger number".). In total, only about 8 percent can fight in any way. Almost 150,000 of that 160,000 number he threw out are not trained in any meaningful way (And there's "the rest".). Bush refuses to say what's going wrong, how he'll speed up the training or explain why he is refusing the help of Germany and Italy to train soldiers in their own countries. But let's say he doubles the rate of training to 2,500 a year. Heck, let's say he quadruples the rate of training to 5,000 a year. How long will it take for Bush to actually reach the level of 160,000 troops he implies we have today? More than three decades.
Thirty years before the Iraqis will "stand up" so we can "stand down"? Assuming the current rate of 62 dead American soldiers per month, we're looking at 22,320 more casualties as we "stay in Iraq as long as we are needed - and not a day longer." Forget that I said we need to be "setting up our kindergartners' savings accounts for body armor now", we need to start saving for our grandchildren!


California Supreme Court upholds Domestic Partner Law

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.
(San Francisco, California) Gays and lesbians won a major legal victory Wednesday when the California Supreme Court let stand a new law granting registered domestic partners many of the same rights and protections of heterosexual marriage.

Without comment, the unanimous justices upheld appellate and trial court rulings that the sweeping measure does not conflict with a voter-approved initiative defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who leaves Thursday to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (story), did not vote.

The domestic partner law, which was signed in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis and took effect Jan. 1, represents the nation's most comprehensive recognition of gay and lesbian domestic rights after Vermont's recognition of civil unions. It grants registered couples virtually every spousal right available under state law except the ability to file joint income taxes.
While I still shudder at the idea of "separate-but-equal" marriage laws, I'm glad that progress toward equality is being made.

We've covered this issue up, down, and inside-out before. The point that always leaves me befuddled is the opposition's fetish for the word marriage. In poll after poll, when you ask Americans "do you support gay marriage?", a slim majority of people say "no." But when you ask Americans "do you support civil unions that offer all the legal protections and benefits of marriage?" a larger majority say "yes." It's that word, "marriage", with its historic and religious context, that trips up otherwise rational people.

As a straight married guy who strongly supports gay rights, I have a modest proposal. In these states with civil unions, let's start demanding that the married supporters of civil unions immediately get divorced, then re-hitched under a civil union. Let's encourage engaged straight young couples to take the civil union route, too. And let's definitely push the legislators who make these laws to live by them.

If Oregon's Civil Unions bill passes, the li'l redheaded woman and I will be the first to sign up. Maybe if enough straight couples run the gauntlet of trying to make separate-but-equal protection work, the resulting court cases may wind up at the Supreme Court for a Brown v. Board of Education style decision.

Surprisingly, there's not a whole lot of ruckus over this at the Christian Republic of Freeperstan (yet... it only posted 11 minutes ago). I think they've just given up on Colleefawneeya. Only a little Cornyn-approved love for the judicial branch...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

And this is exactly why civil unions and whatever else must be included in the wording of DOMAs and amendments.

Ammunition manufactured in 2005 will serve well in the coming elections. We should thank the courts this day.

What is this? You vote, it passes, they change it anyway....

No, we don't need a Constitutional Amendment. What we need is to send a loud message to activist judges who regularly give the finger to voters, either by voting them out or....


Ten Commandments fight shifts to Boise



House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

I have worn away my keyboard lettering going rounds on the issue of the Christian Ten Commandments as a publicly-supported display of reverence. So it is interesting to me how the AmTaliban is reacting to the recent decisions on the subject. Lo and behold, my hometown of Boise, Idaho, pops up in the pages of the Washington Post:
Within hours of yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, Christian groups announced a nationwide campaign to install similar displays in 100 cities and towns within a year.

"We see this as an historic opening, and we're going to pursue it aggressively," said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Washington-based Christian Defense Coalition, which organized vigils outside the Florida hospice where Terri Schiavo died this year.

Mahoney announced the campaign on the steps of city hall in Boise, Idaho, a case study in the political and legal complexities of Ten Commandments displays. Last year, the Boise City Council voted to remove a Ten Commandments monument, virtually identical to the Texas one, from a public park. The move sparked a petition drive and lawsuit by citizens demanding its return.

Brandi Swindell, director of the Keep the Commandments Coalition of Idaho, said Boise should immediately restore the monument to the city's Julia Davis Park because, in her view, it is now clearly constitutional.
Now, I should tell you that I have a six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-type relationship to Swindell. I went to high school with one of her cousins and I grew up with many members of the Swindell family back in Nampa (a exurban enclave in Boise's neighboring, more-conservative county... and when you can consider someplace more conservative than Boise, Idaho, that's saying something!)

She's a young, pretty, charismatic leader in the Christian Youth movement. She's made a name for herself fighting against women's right to control their reproductive options, but she's certainly no Constitutional law expert.

Another one of Boise's defenders of the worship of granite graven images funded by taxpayer money and housed on public property is my anti-blogger, Adam Graham. We've developed an interesting relationship. I think of him as the evil "Radical" Russ from the parallel universe, sort of like Spock-with-the-van-Dyke* in Star Trek. He's much younger (24, I think), based in Boise, and is one of those Compassionate Christian Conservatives who thinks Justice Clarence Thomas is the greatest jurist of all time.

He and I do agree on a few things (like Congress has no right to prohibit illicit drugs and Dilbert is so funny because its true), but we disagree on far more. But at least he's smart and can form paragraphs without the need to add !!!!!!!!! and HAHAHAHAHA like most specimens of the species freeperus rightwingia. We've hashed this 10C thing to death here and here as I responded to his participation in the Keep the Commandments Coalition.

(Adam also recently got a nod from Slate's blog review when he declined an invitation from Operation Yellow Elephant to enlist for Iraq, because he is (I paraphrase) "too fat and the Army wouldn't take him... and he has flat feet.")

So how would someone with a firm grasp of politics and law respond to Boise's big stone Ten Commandments standing alone in a public park?
But Mayor David Bieter said in a telephone interview that it would be safer to leave the monument on private property, in front of the Episcopal church where it has rested for the past year.

"Our frustration is, it's very difficult to tell what kind of display would be constitutional" in light of the Supreme Court's split decisions, Bieter said. He noted that a majority of the justices emphasized the context of the displays, upholding the Texas monument because it was one of 38 historical markers and monuments around the state Capitol.

The mayor, a lawyer, said Boise's display had been practically alone in the park. "A single monument where it was -- I think we'd have a tough time arguing that was in line with today's decision," he said.

By all accounts, the Boise monument went virtually unnoticed for decades until it came to the attention of the Rev. Fred Phelps (a.k.a. "The Rotting Cryptkeeper&trade"), a Kansas minister who travels the country inveighing against homosexuality. Phelps argued that if Boise allowed one religious display on its property, it must allow him to erect a monument declaring that Matthew Shepard, a gay man murdered in a hate crime in Wyoming 1998, is "burning in hell."

Bieter said the City Council decided to move the monument so that it could reject Phelps's application without risking a costly lawsuit. Eliot Mincberg, chief counsel for People for the American Way, which opposed the Ten Commandments displays in Texas and Kentucky, said he did not believe that the Supreme Court's decisions would support Phelps's argument.
Is that a supreme irony or what? The Rotting Cryptkeeper's perversion of Scripture forced the city to remove a monument to Scripture.

My former hometown newspaper, The Idaho Statesman, has more to add to the story:
In Boise, the Elks donated the monument to the city and placed it in Julia Davis Park in 1965. Like the Texas monument, said Shaw, the Boise monument was not in a prominent building nor in a prominent location. But it was not grouped among other monuments as was the Texas monument.

"The Boise setting is in between the Texas setting and the Kentucky setting," said Shaw. "It's not prominent, (but neither) is it one among many."

Brandi Swindell, co-chair of Boise's Keep the Commandments Coalition, said the proximity of other monuments in Julia Davis Park -- the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Idaho Black History Museum -- would make a Ten Commandments monument there protected.
It's a fascinating definition of "proximity", considering that the Black History Museum is at 508 W Julia Davis Drive (inside the park, away from the Boise River), the Anne Frank Memorial is at 801 S Capitol Blvd (across the street from the park, near the river), and the Ten Commandments monument was inside the park, near the river, on the opposite side of the park from the Black History Museum. Each of those locations are about 750'-1000' apart. See for yourself.
Swindell said Monday that the coalition wants a publicly displayed Ten Commandments monument, not necessarily the same display that existed before.

"Let's make it constitutional," she said. "It doesn't have to be a free-standing monument."
So, then, the Ten Commandments are so important that you'll get yourself arrested protesting their removal from the park, yet not important enough to warrant a free-standing monument. To "make it Constitutional", it would have to be just one monument, equal in stature, among many that make reference to our historical religious heritage. Kind of like the carvings of Moses, Solomon, Hammurabi, and other lawgivers are represented on the Supreme Court building. Gosh, wouldn't that mean you're endorsing the view that the Ten Commandments are not THE basis of American law? Wasn't that your whole argument for displaying the Ten Commandments in the first place?

It must take years of stretching and natural flexibility to perform such moral contortion.

* That kind of facial hair is properly called a "van Dyke". A "goatee" is just the chin-stubble, a la Shaggy in Scooby Doo.


Stella lost her groove


Angela Bassett & Taye Diggs in How Stella Got Her Groove Back

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.
SAN FRANCISCO - Author Terry McMillan has filed for divorce from the man who inspired the 1996 novel “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” which chronicled the romantic adventures of a 40-something woman who falls for a guy half her age.

In papers filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court, McMillan, 53, says she decided to end her 6½-year marriage to Jonathan Plummer, 30, after learning he is gay.

The revelation led her to conclude Plummer married only to get his U.S. citizenship, she said. McMillan met Plummer at a Jamaican resort a decade ago.
I'm not sure what to think about this. It's wrong to betray someone's trust and fool them into marriage with ulterior motives whether you're gay or straight. But then again, how do you commit to marrying someone without understanding who they truly are? And how do you not recognize your spouse is gay after six years?

I don't have a ton of experience to draw on here; maybe the comments can enlighten me. I should try to gain more from this post than the cheap thrill of ogling a picture of Angela Bassett (mmmmmm...)


Why did the tiger attack Roy Horn? Cuz it's a friggin' tiger!


Roy Horn and Montecore the tiger in happier times

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

From MSNBC.com:
LAS VEGAS - The tiger-was-hungry theory was ruled out. And there was no proof that the animal was deliberately provoked by someone in the audience, or that a terrorist sprayed it with a behavior-altering scent, or that it was unhinged by a woman with a beehive hairdo.

But federal investigators still do not know what led a Bengal tiger to attack illusionist Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy during a performance nearly two years ago.... The case was finally closed late last year with no official determination of what set off the animal, named Montecore.

The 380-pound white tiger sank its teeth into Horn's neck and dragged him off stage in front of a horrified audience Oct. 3, 2003, at the Mirage. The animal damaged an artery carrying oxygen to the magician’s brain and crushed his windpipe.

The mauling that left Horn, 60, partially paralyzed and ended the long-running "Siegfried & Roy" production, one of the most successful shows in Las Vegas history.
My own personal theory is that sometimes wild exotic carnivores kept in cages and forced to perform tricks under hot lights for the amusement of humans occasionally freak out and revert back to their genetic instinct.

In other words, it's a friggin' tiger!

I am, of course, saddened by Roy's plight and offer my sympathies to Roy and Siegfried (and, for that matter, Montecore). On the other hand, I still reserve my right to be disgusted by the unnecessary exploitation of animals. Not as disgusted as I am with bullfighters or cockfight/dogfight promoters, though. Circus animal "trainers" rank somewhere in the disgust scale alongside bullriders and most other rodeo "entertainment". It seems to me that in a 500-channel, PlayStation, extreme sports universe, the entertainment value of circuses and rodeos isn't worth the animal cruelty.

But enough of what I think! Let's see what caring sympathy the denizens of the Republic of Freeposlavia have to offer!

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Even tigers like fruit once in a while.

Because he caught him lion with his boyfriend.

It was his lion eyes.

Date rape.

He caught him with tell-tale signs of having Frosted Flakes for breakfast (Tony the Tiger) ... and Roy said, "who you gonna believe, me or your lion eyes?" -- which of course, enraged the tiger.

Let's rule out some more possible causes. For instance, we can be pretty darned sure that Roy's finger didn't smell like fish...

The tiger probably got darn tired of his ass being caressed in giddy anticipation. Either that, or homos have an invisible shield of warding that only works with evil Republicans.

What is next, a congressional investigation of hate crimes by tigers?
The other thing the Freepi are caterwauling about (sorry, couldn't resist) is how the USDA spent so much time and taxpayer money on the investigation, only to turn up absolutely nothing other than "cuz it's a tiger". Hey, folks, that's the standard operating procedure in such circumstances and without the investigation, you wouldn't have known if there was some other non-natural cause for the mauling. Now, I suppose if Montecore had been lying about receiving oral sex, then they could get behind the investigation...


The Bush Speech Drinking Game


President Chimpy wants to remind us that our War in Iraq is completely based on our justifiable response to a particular event in recent American history... how odd, I can't remember which event that was...

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

Whenever I watch Chimpy giving a speech on television, I like to play a little drinking game*. I'm sure he'd understand, what with all the drinking games he's played in his life (pretzel, anyone?). It also makes me better able to understand his strange diction. (Is it just me, or do y'all hear his wordsh shometimes shounding a little boozy?)

The rules of the game are pretty simple. Whenever Shrub says "9/11" or "September 11th", it's time to do a shot. For "Global War on Terror", it's time to chug a beer. It's a fun game, because after his 96 words of introduction and thanks to the carefully crafted and shamelessly-exploited backdrop assembled soldiers from Fort Bragg, he's not ten words into the opening sentence of his opening paragraph before I'm downing a shot of 100-proof Southern Comfort and chugging a Hefeweizen...
The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us -- and the terrorists we face -- murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression -- by toppling governments, by driving us out of the region, and by exporting terror.
Now, I don't know if you've ever tried to chug a beer while repressing the audible guffaw elicited from such unintended irony of Bush decrying ideologies that "reject tolerance", "despise dissent", and aim for "toppling governments", but it ain't easy.

And of course, terr'ists are terr'ists. Extremists who hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings are exactly the same people who fight back against an occupying force in their own country. Osama = Saddam. Iraq = al Qaeda. I believe they are called "they", as in "they hate us for our freedoms".

By the end of the show, I'd quaffed five shots of bourbon (and took a sip for each glancing reference to 9/11, like "Many terrorists who kill ...[in]... Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania.") and four beers. It's a miracle I can even type today.

My inebriation lowered my inhibitions enough to resort to shouting at the TV when I heard this:
Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory, or misery and humiliation."
I wouldn't have to hear ANY of the words of Osama bin Laden if the m*therf*cker wasn't running around free for four years!

(The drunken ranting continues over at Radical Writ...)


Oregon Civil Unions Bill passes committee, heads to full Senate


Will Oregon's Richard Raymen & Steven Hansen get some measure of legal protection for their marriage? Not if Hillsboro Senator Charles Starr has anything to say about it!

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

In the wake of Oregon's disappointing vote on the Constitutional Amendment to deny Equal Rights to Gay Citizens, many activists and their supporters in state government began working to craft some sort of legal protections for Oregon's gay couples. The good news is that Oregon's Civil Unions bill has passed its committee and is headed to the Democratically-controlled Senate. The bad news is the Republican-controlled House wants to strip it down to something they call "reciprocal benefits". From 365Gay.com:
(Salem, Oregon) A Senate panel passed a bill to create civil unions Tuesday, the latest step in the Legislature's battle over whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to have legally recognized relationships.

The bill to extend the benefits and rights of marriage to gay couples passed on a partisan 3-2 vote, with Democrats in favor.

It will now head to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass, setting up a tug-of-war with the Republican-controlled House, which is currently considering its own bill. That legislation would provide a more limited set of reciprocal rights to any two people over 18, including relatives.

...But Sen. Charles Starr, R-Hillsboro, argued that the bill goes against the will of the voters, who passed a ban on gay marriage last year.

"(This bill) is simply 'gay marriage' by another name," Starr said.

Starr said homosexuality is a choice that should not be supported in state law.

...The civil unions bill is half of the bill Gov. Ted Kulongoski introduced earlier in the session. The full bill would have provided civil unions and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The discrimination portion of the bill has not been voted on yet, and may be shelved for the session.

While a bipartisan group of Senators support the civil unions bill, House Republicans have introduced what they consider a replacement for civil unions — called reciprocal benefits — that would extend about a dozen rights to any two people, including relatives.
Oh, gosh, thanks Oregon House Republicans for these meager crumbs of inequality! Hmm, from "gay marriage" to "civil unions" to "reciprocal benefits", the Republicans keep adding more syllables as they subtract more rights.

And Senator Starr, while it is true that Oregon voters did approve Measure 36 (no gay marriage) in the last election, you're being disingenuous to say that this bill goes against the "will of the voters".
Oregonians demonstrate strong support for the comprehensive protections and legal recognition available through civil unions over the limited protections provided through a reciprocal beneficiary. In fact, polling of Oregon voters conducted in November 2004 by both Hart Research and Decision Research suggests that the Defense of Marriage Coalition, Oregon Family Council and others are wrong when they claim that the creation of civil unions violates the will of Oregon voters who approved Measure 36, therefore reciprocal benefits are the “reasonable compromise.”

Of those Oregon voters who supported Measure 36, a majority–57%–agree with allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions, but not marriage. Measure 36 supporters were asked to clarify whether they were more supportive of:

A) Civil unions that provide ALL of the same protections and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples, or
B) A system that provides just SOME of the protections

In response, voters indicated, by a margin of nearly 10 points, that they more strongly support civil unions that provide ALL of the protections and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples.
Learn more about the fight for equal rights in the Great Pacific Northwest from OnwardOregon.


This female Saudi pilot may never get off the runway


Hanadi Z. Al-Hindi, 24, hails from a conservative family in the holy city of Makkah. She recently received a civil aviation license at a ceremony in Amman -- but she cannot even drive in her homeland of Saudi Arabia
"I see the hiring of this female pilot to work on Kingdom Holding's fleet of private jets as a historic move for Saudi ladies. The move transcends the traditional role of Saudi women previously confined to working in the health, education and philanthropic sectors. I am in full support of Saudi ladies working in all fields."
-- Prince Waleed Bin Talal, owner of Kingdom Holding Company, on the hiring of Capt. Hanadi
One last missive before I leave, a followup to my earlier post on the first female Saudi pilot's graduation from flight academy. I'm surprised it took this long for the "outraged religious clerics" stories to surface. Of course they need a fatwa against women flying planes (or even serving as flight attendants) to stop the destruction of Saudi society. The Saudi prince that hired her better watch his back.
Prince Waleed, who employed Captain Hanadi Zakaria to work for his company fleet of private jets, has been putting full-page advertisements in the local papers congratulating her for becoming the first Saudi woman to earn a commercial pilot's licence.

Internet sites run by extremists and conservatives have been attacking plans to allow Saudi women to pilot aircraft, prompting a Saudi cleric to issue a fatwa making it unlawful for any woman to work as pilot. The cleric said this work would require the woman to travel alone without a mahram (male guardian) accompanying her and this would lead to women mixing with men which is not acceptable.

Shaikh Yousuf Al Ahmad, associate professor of Sharia at Imam Mohammad Bin Saud University in Riyadh, said in a statement that the contract signed by the Kingdom Holding Co. is unlawful and that women should never be allowed to work as pilots or air hostesses. He also ruled as unlawful the advertisements by the company.
Some info on the Prince:


Al-Waleed bin Talal grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Saudi state, is emerging on the political scene in Saudi Arabia while continuing to lead his investment company, Kingdom Holding.

Al Waleed is estimated to be the fourth-richest man in the world is the most creative and successful man. His global empire comprises investments in many of world’s large Companies producing world brand goods and services, and estimated to be worth $21.5bn, according to Forbes Magazine.

Al-Waleed a progressive Arab voice in the Middle East has a reputation for intelligence and relentless work. He offered a $10m payment to New York City after September 11, which the then mayor Rudolph Giuliani turned down, but paid a similar sum to the American University in Cairo to support cross-cultural American-Arab studies.


The American Taliban not happy with the SCOTUS Ten Commandments decisions


In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that we needn't eviscerate the 1st Amendment to satisfy the Religious Reich quite yet... the tattered 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Amendments were unavailable for comment.

House Blenders: "Radical" Russ is your barista for the next few days while Pam is on vacation for her anniversary.

The American Taliban was waiting with bated breath over the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the display of The Ten Commandments (the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, not the Cecil B. DeMille movie) in and around courthouses. The cases arose from framed copies of the Ten Commandments displayed inside a Kentucky courthouse and a big stone graven image displayed on the grounds of a Texas courthouse.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court struggled in a pair of 5-4 rulings Monday to define how much blending of church and state is constitutionally permissible, allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed outside the Texas state Capitol but not inside Kentucky courthouses.

In its first rulings on the issue in a quarter-century, the high court said that displays of the Ten Commandments on government property are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it amounts to a governmental promotion of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In effect, the court said it was taking the position that issues of Ten Commandments displays in courthouses should be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

...[F]ramed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held. Those courthouse displays are unconstitutional, the justices said, because their religious content is overemphasized.

In contrast, a 6-foot-granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol -- one of 17 historical displays on the 22-acre lot -- was determined to be a legitimate tribute to the nation's legal and religious history.

"Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious -- they were so viewed at their inception and so remain. The monument therefore has religious significance," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority in the case involving the display outside the state capitol of Texas.

"Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause," he said.
It's interesting how these decisions get made, isn't it? A framed piece of paper with Judeo-Christian scripture is considered to be "overemphasizing" religion, but a six-foot granite monument with Judeo-Christian scripture is... what, subtle?

In my study of this issue, it all seems to come back to the idea of ceremonial deism; the idea that if government endorsement of religion is vague enough to be considered a mere representation of our religious history, then it is okay. And even as a Positive Christian Atheist, I'm somewhat accepting of that. I don't freak out (much) at money that says "In God We Trust" and I don't begrudge anyone's desire to add "under God" to their Pledge of Allegiance.

Of course, our mullahs of the American Taliban aren't as accommodating as I am. Denying the display of the Ten Commandments in courthouses to them is blasphemy! To think that human sinners could come up with a system of morality and laws without the imprimatur of God's Holy Book (and the men in $1500 Armani suits and Lincoln Town Cars to interpret It for us) is outrageous? Here's a sample of their thoughts from AgapePress
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family said by ruling against the display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky courtrooms -- but, in a separate decision, stating a granite monument in Texas depicting the Decalogue is constitutional -- the Supreme Court "tore a hole through the First Amendment."

Dobson sees very little in the seemingly contradictory decisions to be encouraged about. "This was no affirmation of the right of religious expression," he said in reference to the Texas ruling. He then paraphrased what he feels that ruling essentially stated:

"It's okay to keep a Ten Commandments monument on state-owned land, so long as you don't consider what's written on the state tablets to be anything more than empty words from a bygone era that is only worth remembering as a distant point on a timeline." (You mean, as long as it's treated as history, and not the holy words of your religion? What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" don't you get?

He added that the 5-4 vote in the Texas case was "chilling" because it means that four justices sitting on the Supreme Court bench "can't even condone the Commandments under decidedly non-religious circumstances." And if just one of those five justices in the majority had changed their vote, Dobson added, "sandblasters would have had to be taken to just about every government building in Washington, DC -- including the Supreme Court itself." (Because Moses delivering the Ten Commandments is one of the carvings on the Supreme Court walls, as part of a mural of lawgivers throughout history. Sorry, SpongeDob, won't happen. They've been pretty consistent about those displays in an areligious historical context.)

The closeness of both votes motivated Dobson to call upon his listeners to prepare to be involved in the anticipated fray over Supreme Court vacancies. "[T]he next justice must be a strict constructionist, a jurist who understands his or her role is to uphold, not shred, the Constitution," he said. (Litmus test? Who ordered the litmus test?)

"All people of faith ... must be prepared to make their voices heard to make sure that a future Supreme Court lineup doesn't completely eradicate even our rights as individuals to acknowledge God publicly." (Pity the poor marginalized Christians, with their 75% of America's population, churches in every neighborhood, six cable/satellite networks, the only radio station that comes in clearly in the boonies, their holy book in every motel room, religious references inextricably laced throughout our culture, 600-million-dollar movie blockbusters, the all-time best-selling fiction novel series, and a paid day-off federal holiday to worship the birth of their Savior!)

...

Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries in Florida says were it not for the public acknowledgment of God, America would not exist. "Our nation came into being because we acknowledged God," Kennedy says in a press release. "Independence, the Founders said, was something to which they were entitled by 'the laws of nature and of nature's God.'" (Is this the time to bring up that "nature's God" was a reference to the Deist, not Christian, belief system, a system that rejected Christian religious dogma in favor of scientific inquiry and critical thinking?)

As for the rulings, Kennedy is blunt in his assessment. "This is not law," he says. "This is the consequence of the Court's abandonment of the plain text of the Constitution." In effect, he adds, the Supreme Court has amended the Constitution "to make it mean and say something at odds with the text of the Constitution and with American history." Again, what part of "Congress shall make no law..." isn't the "plain text" part?

...

Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families also sees, in the majority decision in the Kentucky case particularly, a continued misinterpretation of the so-called "separation of church and state" argument that detractors often read into the First Amendment. Of Justice David Souter's opinion that the Kentucky case demonstrated an advancement of religion by government instead of neutrality toward religion, Bauer states that Souter "seems to be suggesting that a display of the Ten Commandments may be constitutional so long as it is devoid of any religious significance." (Now you're getting it!)
Of course, no visit to the Blend is complete without the intellectual musings over Lower Freepersborough...

Actual Freeper Quotes™
What do they think our criminal system is based on? (The Code of Hammurabi, English Common Law, the Magna Charta, the Constitution... next question!)

In a further development the SCOTUS has declared The Constitution "a crime against the judiciary..."

So when is the majority going to get out a ladder, climb up and cover the display of the Ten Commandments on their own friggin' building. I'd be glad to hold the ladder for them. Really, I wouldn't be tempted to shake it a little bit with one of them up there. Not at all.

Another step on the road to SOCIALISM.

Next comes the churches which will be taxed out of existence. Lenin wins!

I AM SO PISSED, you have no idea!! WHAT DO WE DO?? I'M SICK OF THOSE BASTARDS ruling against the people in crucial rulings, and siding with the criminals(ACLU)!! Will this be the straw that broke the camels back?? C'MON folk what do we do?

Time to change your tag to "Don't fire until you see the black of their robes."

What else can we expect from the Socialist Court of the United States?

This is no doubt the USSC trying to inflict the death blow to America. It's time for some of them to wilt away into the sunset and for the Senate to invoke the nuke option to assure we can get judges that will not make law.

My fantasy court is seven Thomases and two Scalias. (I once had a fantasy court with seven Heather Thomases and two Jamie-Lynn diScalia's...)

The Supreme Court's display also includes Menes, Hammurabi, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius, Augustus, Justinian, Mohammed, Charlemagne, King John, St. Louis, Hugo Grotius, William Blackstone, John Marshall, and Napoleon. It doesn't promote Christianity any more than it does Napoleanism. All displays of this type have consistently upheld by the Court. It's only when the intent is to promote one faith that the Court smacks it down. (Hey, who let the rational human being in here?

It has to do with the beliefs of the MAJORITY in this country, frequently the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY being negated by a judicial body that they did not elect and which is not accountable to the people. This is what is called in other countries....a dictatorship.

Screw the Iraq Constitution. Our troops need to march home and save ours. Only rebellion saves America now.

I don't expect them to do anything. I did however air out my tent, sleeping bag, refreshed my emergency supply of batteries, and re-loaded about a thousand rounds of ammo over the weekend. I ain't gonna start nothin', but I feel a storm brewing.

I absolutely think that Texas, or any other state for that matter, should just openly defy these bastards. The hell with the Supreme Court. Their rulings are obviously based on socialist ideology (especially the devastating ED ruling) which the majority of people, the overwhelming majority of people, in this country disagree with. Let's defy the Supreme Court by all means.

The Supreme Court has once again affirmed by their action that the Judeo-Christian religion is the ONLY TRUE RELIGION. That is why quoting from the Bible is illegal, because the court has determined that the Bible is a TRUE religion, while other books and artifacts are not a "real religion" so they aren't covered by the 1st amendment.

A good point. I doubt these people would have been okay with these displays if they involved passages from the Koran, rather than the Bible.

"Turn your eyes away if it's such a big deal to you," Scalia chided during an oral argument at the high court March 2. Scalia's fellow justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, had a similar thought. "This is the classic 'avert your eyes,'" he insisted. "If an atheist walked by, he can avert his eyes, he can think about something else."

Go into business making Ten Commandments replicas and put them on our lawns. When they come to take them away, we can shoot at them.

Terry [sic] is dead, nothing was done, the ten commandments are gone, nothing was done, house seizure's are ok now, nothing is done, in fact everything the liberals ever wanted has been put in place, and tied in a pretty bow with new police powers by a President who claims to be a Christian, but votes so left of center that he is pushing the borders of the Right.

So now the SCOTUS has said that having the basic rules given to mankind are VERBOTEN if it seems as though they are displayed in a serious manner. But it is just fine to put condoms on cucumbers in schools (also government facilities) and teach kids about every perverted method of sexual gratification.... The basic laws so that humans can be human are essentially the same in every monotheist religion. They are not sectarian. They are the foundation of all civilizations that rise above bestiality. They were given to mankind for our benefit. To reject them is to reject the good God Who gave them to us.
Ugh. Time to wash my keyboard (well, maybe just the CTRL+C and CTRL+V keys...)


Who let this guy stir the coffee?


American. Male. Straight. Lily-White. Opinionated. Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community.

Some of you are probably waking up for your first caffeinated rush of Pam's House Blend. "Zoinks!" you exclaim, "why is Jeff Gannon's bald head peering at me?" After shaking your head and refocusing, you realize "that's not Jeff Gannon... this guy looks too straight!" Finally your eyes read that "Radical" Russ part and your mind beings to piece it together. "Isn't that the guy who keeps leaving mini-novels in the comments?"

Yes, yes, it is that guy.

Permit me to introduce myself. I'm "Radical" Russ and I'm here blogsitting for Pam as she and her lovely wife take a much-deserved vacation to celebrate their anniversary. In the last e-mail I got from Pam she told me she'd only be gone through July 3rd, so never fear, devout Blenders, my time here will be but five short days.

I must admit it is an honor to be here guest-hosting. Pam's blog is one of my favorites and I'm really quite stunned to be asked to guest host. At first I thought I was far too different from Pam to be guest-hosting the Blend. But then I realized we're not too different after all:
I don't expect to be able to fill Pam's shoes (or match her prolific posting!), but I hope I can provide all the readers out there some insightful posts and opinionated perspective. I'd really appreciate any scoops anyone can offer (e-mail me at letters<AT>radicalruss.net). I know LGBT issues, Repugnican hypocrisy, progressive politics, the Religious Reich, and race issues are often covered here; if y'all can help out with the first one and the last one, I'll tackle the middle three.

Now, where did Pam put the industrial-strength latex gloves and gas mask she uses for wandering through Freeperville, AgapePress, and Westboro Baptist Church?... Dark Wraith, what are you doing with that cane... yeeowtch!


Guess who's tending the Blend for a few days

Kate and I are off tomorrow AM to celebrate our anniversary for a few days. We'll be back Sunday, but until then, there's going to be a guest host knocking around behind the coffee bar...why it's 'Radical' Russ Belville, of Radical Writ!



Russ has done a kick-*ss revamp of the Conservative Values Monitor over at his pad. Check it out. The icons describing the transgressions of Repug hypocrites, criminals, bigots, draft dodgers, sex maniacs (and more) are hilarious.

The witty and off-kilter Russ will be brewing fresh Blend and I hope readers will keep him on his toes. I already know that The Dark Wraith will be monitoring the situation; he's apparently got a taser cane available should things get too wild around here. I don't want to mop up spilled lattes or a mess of tea bags when I return. :)


Cheers to Canada! We hope to be back soon!


Freeper reaction to Canada's passage of gay marriage

It didn't take long for the slime to start over in Freeperland...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Amidst the mourning, there is a silver lining. The Moral Majority in Canada have awakened. We cannot roll over and play dead now and let it go. We need to work extra hard to defeat those 158 MP's, especially those outside of Quebec and urban cores."

"Gee..... wouldn't it be grand if the gays in the lower 48 streamed north like draft dodgers in the 60s and early 70s?"

"to what end? no offense, is this a done deal? it seems liberal canada surrendered and nobody cared. What are those four holdouts going to do? seceed? I doubt very much they have the will."

"Sad country indeed. I awoke one day and found my country no more. It is a barren wasteland. A sad day indeed!"

"Hot damn. Maybe the queer activists will swim over the northern border now. Right."

"How utterly sad. Once again, I am completely ashamed of this country. I fly the Canadian flag AND Old Glory....guess which one I will be taking down."

""Gee..... wouldn't it be grand if the gays in the lower 48 streamed north like draft dodgers in the 60s and early 70s?"

"Gee..... wouldn't be grand if supposedly moral people thought about the ethics of dumping still more of the human equivalent of toxic waste into their neighbor's back yard? Canadian conservatives have already had more than our fill of the dregs of American society in the form of the afore mentioned draft dodging scum and military turncoat cowards - but, hey thanks for your 'unselfish' offer, eh."

"Solution: Lets Gay Marry up Canadian and USA gay-lesbo couples and all their liberal supporters and let them settle in Quebec. Then let the rest of Canada secede and hook up with the USA. Let them in Quebec all create a Gay Utopian society and leave the rest of us alone in USA/Canada who want to lead normal conservative healthy lifestyles."

"What a stunning few days this has been for conservatives. First those insane decisions by the SCOTUS, now this. What next...? :-("

"Canada will be signing its own death warrant. The Liberals want the country to be trendy so its OK to throw the family on the trash heap of history."

"It would help of the Canadian Conservatives didn't have perpetual foot-in-mouth disease, such as Stephen Harper proclaiming that this same-sex marriage vote won't be legitimate because of its support by the Bloc Quebecois."

"Why not? It already recognizes civil unions between Canadians and farm animals..."

"I guess a nation running short of men and women, has to accept what it can get....Leftist liberalism running amok in Canada.....a failed experiment....I fully expect secession of several provinces in my lifetime, and I'm an old man."

"The fact is that until Bubba signed a law just a few years ago, there was no federal law in the US that prohibited gay marriage. And even that law doesn't really prohibit gay marriage, as evidenced by the fact that they have gay marriage in MA. And if you really want to get down and dirty, the reality is that we now have gay marriage in every state. All you've got to do is go to MA and get married, and then the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires each of the other 49 states to recognize the validity of that marriage."

"Of course, I understand that the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on that issue since MA legalized gay marriage, but there are Supreme Court cases on record which state that the full faith and credit clause requires every state to recognize the validity of marriages performed in the other states. So it would surprise at least me if they were to now say otherwise."

"What's going on here is actually quite simple. The media wants you to think that the US law on gay marriage is ultra-right wing, while the rest of the world is moving toward permitting gay marriage. In fact, the US position on gay marriage is one of the most liberal in the world, and is getting more liberal all the time."

"It’s not much of stretch from chasing the shit train to humping a rabbit."


These young f*cking Repug quotes say it all


Chimpy's lackluster, unconvincing, even surrealistic "stay the course" speech this evening from Fort Bragg, featured a plea for more warm bodies to dodge IEDs in Iraq that was loud and clear (and desperate):
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves.
If you're a young Repug, however, maybe they are hearing a different calling than the one above.
By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."
-- from Max Blumenthal's piece, "Generation Chickenhawk," in The Nation, interviewing Young College Republicans about why they aren't enlisting.
But wait, there's more...
And besides, being a College Republican is so much more fun than counterinsurgency warfare. Bray recounted the pride he and his buddies had felt walking through the center of campus last fall waving a giant American flag, wearing cowboy boots and hats with the letters B-U-S-H painted on their bare chests. "We're the big guys," he said. "We're the ones who stand up for what we believe in. The College Democrats just sit around talking about how much they hate Bush. We actually do shit."

When 25-year-old candidate Mike Davidson emerged in the center of the room, the party fell to a hush. "Does everybody know why we're here today?" Davidson asked his supporters, who had huddled around him.

"Beer!" someone shouted. The crowd exploded with laughter.
Can I hurl now?


Gay channel LOGO launches Thursday and it's got advertisers

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Expect the Reich to come down hard not only on Subaru, but also on LOGO's other inaugural sponsors Miller Lite, Motorola, Tylenol PM, Lions Gate Films, and Showtime, all lined up for the channel, as it launches -- and available in 10 million homes. Unfortunately, my area isn't going to be part of the launch, but we've got people calling in to ask for it. Logo will be offered on basic cable systems, so unlike other pay-gay channels, there will be restrictions on language and sexual explicitness, something that will not deter the AmTaliban from foaming at the mouth and calling for boycotts.


MTV Networks' Logo has signed on a raft of new charter advertisers in advance of its Thursday launch.

...Miller Lite will serve up the very first commercial spot on Logo, as the beer brand will stand as the exclusive sponsor of the net's inaugural telecast (The Evolution Will Be Televised, June 30, 9:00-10:30 p.m.).

Motorola will be a presenting sponsor of Logo's coverage of the 16th Annual GLAAD Awards, while Tylenol PM has bought spots in the telecast as well. Lions Gate will use the network to promote its upcoming feature film Happy Endings, which opens in theaters nationwide July 15.

Exercising a little in-house corporate synergy, Showtime will turn to the newcomer to pump up the series finale of Queer as Folk, as well as the series premiere of Weeds. In addition to tune-in messages for the departing series, Logo will present a 30-minute one-off titled VH1 Goes Inside Queer as Folk, and will run a number of tune-in spots driving viewers to the special.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about my effort to call Time Warner Cable to ask for LOGO, the target number of requests that must be reached to add a channel to your local roster is arbitrary.

A Spanish-language channel was recently added to the roster here after only 1200 requests, and was added only 3 weeks later. However, the customer rep for TWC doesn't know what the threshold might be for LOGO - it's based on whatever formula TWC deems will make it profitable to add the channel (contact TWC (call 1-866-4TWCNOW).

NYT article on the channel: Logo, a New Gay Channel, Looks 'Beyond Sexuality'

Miller Brewing Company
Consumer Response Center at 1-800-MILLER 6.
Press release on LOGO sponsorship

Motorola
Webform
feedback@motorola.com
Jennifer Weyrauch - Director, Corporate Communications
847-435-5320
jennifer.weyrauch@motorola.com

Tylenol PM
Webform
1-877-895-3665

Lions Gate Films
Web site
(310) 449-9200

Showtime
(212) 708-1600
Joan Ziff, +1-212-708-1590
joan.ziff@showtime.net

Also, a reminder that Adelphia customers should give the company a pat on the back, it's dropping two Christian channels and picking up LOGO.

Paul Jacobson , VP of Corporate Communications
5619 DTC Parkway
Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Email: paul.jacobson@adelphia.com
Phone: 303-268-6426

Erica Stull , Director of External Communications
5619 DTC Parkway
Greenwood Village , CO 80111
Email: erica.stull@adelphia.com
Phone: 303-268-6502


Eat it, Stephen Harper - gay marriage to be a reality across the Great White North



Same-sex marriage passes in Canada's House. House Blender Cat has been on top of this, throughout the turmoil and ups and downs, and passed this headline along. It's going country-wide in short order, and the wingnuts are in freak-out mode. Conservative Stephen Harper vows to revisit the issue if he comes to power.
The Liberals' controversial same-sex marriage legislation has passed final reading the House of Commons, sailing through with a vote of 158 for and 133 against. Supported by most members of the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP, the legislation passed easily, making Canada only the third country in the world, after the Netherlands and Belgium, to officially recognize same-sex unions.

But the passage of Bill C-38, once again, came with a political price tag for the government. Joe Comuzzi, resigned from the cabinet so he could vote against the bill - an open rebuke of the government legislation. Comuzzi was the minister responsible for Northern Ontario.

Although he was the only cabinet minister to break ranks with Prime Minister Paul Martin over the controversial plan to legalize the marriage of gays and lesbians, it highlighted the divisions within Canada and the within the Liberal party, pitting supporters of equality rights against those who are defending religious freedoms. For Comuzzi, the decision to resign meant putting principles ahead of the privileges of cabinet. "In 2004, during the election, I promised faithfully to the people of Thunder Bay-Superior North, that I would defend the definition of marriage," he said, explaining his move.

The prime minister said he regretted the decision of a man he called an "old friend," but accepts it because the government must speak with one voice on same-sex marriage.

The "vote is about the Charter of Rights," said Martin. "We're a nation of minorities and in a nation of minorities you don't cherry-pick rights."

The government has moved over the last few months to appease critics both within Liberal ranks and among Canadians at large. Amendments were introduced to ensure no religious group or charitable organization is forced to accept same-sex marriage. But in spite of those amendments some groups remain unconvinced.

Same-sex marriage remains one of the most difficult issues ever to confront Canadian politicians. In large part passage of the bill is the reason the parliamentary session was extended for the first time in 17 years.
What wonderful news, as Kate and I celebrate our anniversary (we married in Vancouver) in a couple of days.



Homo-hating homo Dave Dreier hires Tony Blair's son


Tony Blair's son will be working for outed wingnut Congressman Dave Dreier (Repug-CA)

The Congressman's made a new intern hire, and one has to wonder whether Tony Blair is aware that Dave Dreier is one of Washington's notorious closet cases with an anti-gay voting record. BlogActive is raising a ruckus on this one, with "Save Tony Blair's son from the clutch of America's closets." The new report about the hire, at 365gay.com:
Euan Blair beat out about 100,000 hopefuls for a slot as an intern on the Hill. The graduate of Bristol University will work for Congressman David Dreier (R-Calif.). A longtime opponent of LGBT civil rights legislation and a supporter of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Dreier was outed by gay rights activist Michael Rogers on his site BlogActive last year - part of a campaign to expose Republicans who were secretly gay but voted to deny gays and lesbians civil rights.

Dreier who has refused to comment on the reports allegedly lives with his male chief of staff. Last year Dreier was named a "True Blue" advocate by the Family Research Council - the preeminent anti-gay lobby organization.

In 1996 Dreier voted for the Defense of Marriage Act which bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples. The legislation passed and was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. In 1999 he voted to ban gay adoptions in the District of Columbia. That bill was narrowly defeated.
It's open season on Dreier again, who benefited from what was a complete media blackout on his outing, which included an expose in Hustler as well as Mike Rogers' work. From BlogActive:
As I was saying about a year ago, this is a long term investment project. And today, we hit paydirt. All over the United Kingdom in the major papers, there's GOP Representative David Dreier being exposed for the gay homophobe he is.

Most fun of all is the see Freepers (for those of you who don't know what a Freeper is, think one part Ann Coulter and one part Lou Sheldon and you're pretty much there) battling out whether or not David Drier is gay or not....a RINO (Republican in name only -- as if people were dying to lie their way into the party)....and more. (Warning: Right wing site, homophobic posts are allwed there -- and there are plenty of them.


Chimperor Tar Heel photo-op could be a PR meltdown


Wassup, troops?

Some North Carolinian voices, as Bush prepares another oratory snow job, back with the troops at Fort Bragg.
"And I don't know that [peace] will ever take place, to be honest. It's just a difficult place over there."
-- Leslie Brady, 47, a Republican from Raleigh

"I think Iraq has turned into another Vietnam. We ought to go over there and clean it up and get out."
-- Emily Tew, 79, a Republican from Raleigh

"I hate that so many of our kids are getting killed, but we can't pull out. Not now. That's what the idiots who are bombing everything want to hear."
-- Roddey Eaves, 72, a Republican from North Raleigh

"A lot of it has to do with people thinking this is dragging on and on and on and on. I think most folks thought it would be a quicker resolution."
-- Al Argroves, 58, a Democrat from Hillsborough
The Raleigh News & Observer has a poll that isn't going to make Chimpy very happy as he does his little drop-in this evening. He's having trouble continuing to marshal support in our state; that's big trouble.
The statewide survey, conducted over the weekend for The News & Observer and WRAL-TV, found that 42 percent of active voters agree the war has been worth it, but 49 percent say it has not.

That's a sharp erosion in support for the war since January 2004, when Bush defended the invasion of Iraq in a State of the Union address that kicked off his re-election campaign.

...In all, 43 percent of the respondents said they approve of establishing timetables for bringing troops home. Forty-four percent disapprove of setting a timetable, with 13 percent not sure.


Oh, and The Empty Wig, remarkably pulled Senator Liddy Dole (and figurehead of the NRSC), stands firm behind the Chimperor, even as Rep. Walter Jones has joined Democrats in calling for the prez to set a timetable for troop withdrawals.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole on Monday attacked a political action committee that is planning TV and newspaper ads to run today calling on U.S. leaders to bring troops home.

Dole, in a statement, called the ad campaign "poisonous."

"To politicize the war in Iraq at this critical juncture emboldens the enemy," Dole said.
Chris Kromm, over at Facing South/Institute for Southern Studies, points out that military Tar Heels are sacrificing their lives at a disproportionate rate in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush is going to need to do more than spin to convince/brainwash these hurting families why this brain-dead foreign policy is not the disaster that they are experiencing first-hand.
* Of the over 1,930 U.S. troops that have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 230 have been based in North Carolina – over 12% of the nation's war fatalities, or nearly one out of eight U.S. soldiers killed overseas.

* Over 100 Army soldiers and 120 Marines from North Carolina bases have died in the two conflicts. Thirty-five of the troops that have died in Iraq were born in North Carolina.



* Over 2,200 of the Army’s 82nd Airborne, based at Fort Bragg, are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The division has seen over 40 soldiers killed and 450 injured in the two wars.

* North Carolina has sent one of the largest detachments of National Guard troops to Iraq: deployment peaked at 6,000 in January 2005, the largest mobilization for the state since World War II. With the recent return of the National Guard’s 30th Heavy Separate Brigade, the deployment now stands at 2,700.


Religious Reich calling for boycott of Allstate

Monday, June 27, 2005


Nathan Tabor, and Matt Barber (r), Barber is suing Allstate for religious discrimination and has retained Terri Schiavo’s former attorney.

Nathan Tabor, the Kernersville, NC-based "conservative political activist" and contributing editor of politically off-the-charts Right web site The Conservative Voice, is on a campaign to bring down Allstate Insurance Company for its allegedly anti-Christian and illegal discriminatory actions, as well as its "indoctrination" of its employees to accept the homo agenda. The founder of the Voice, J. Matt Barber was allegedly fired from Allstate "for his Christian beliefs."

Barber wrote and published an op-editorial on his opposition to same-sex marriage (on his own time), basing his argument on "the negative aspects of both same-sex marriage, and the homosexual lifestyle – views that he says are deeply rooted in his religious beliefs, and supported by clear biblical principles," according to Tabor.

To boot, Barber's retained David Gibbs III, Terri Schiavo’s former attorney to take on this case, which is guaranteed to make this another Left-Right media freakshow, based on the premise that Allstate's actions are a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Barber may have a case, given the findings so far:
The State of Illinois (Department of Employment Security) has conducted a thorough investigation into Allstate’s actions and has ruled, without equivocation, in favor of Mr. Barber. With respect to his case, the investigation determined: “The claimant was discharged from Allstate Insurance Company because an outside organization had complained about an article he had written while on his own time.” The State’s investigation further concluded that Allstate intentionally chose to terminate Barber’s employment for writing the article in spite of the fact that he engaged in absolutely no misconduct whatsoever: “The term misconduct means the deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy of the employer…In this case, the claimant’s action which resulted in his discharge was not deliberate and willful.”
Allstate may, in fact, have overstepped its bounds in Barber's case (unless it has some severely restrictive policies for employees on in its guidelines -- why isn't this being tried on free-speech grounds, hmmm?). The whole point is to make this case about religious intolerance (see "More boo-hoos: Gary Bauer and the 'persecuted Christians'").The call for a boycott goes deeper than this one case; it's a crack in the door that the Right has been looking for to attack corporate tolerance policies and outreach to the gay community.
So a new question for America to debate over coming weeks and months is whether an extremely powerful organization like Allstate Insurance Company has the legal and/or moral right to attempt to indoctrinate its employees into accepting the homosexual lifestyle in conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs.
The framing is crystal clear. The AmTaliban in this case are looking to model this after the Ford boycott by the American Family Association, which, amusingly, fell like a house of cards earlier this month.
In recent years Allstate has aligned itself with several of the most activist homosexual organizations in America. In addition to contributing huge sums of money to the most militant of these organizations, to include LAMBDA (http://www.lambda.org) and GLAAD (http://www.glaad.org), Allstate forces all employees to undergo “diversity training” in promotion of the homosexual lifestyle. Within the work environment, it prohibits any vocalized opposition of either homosexuality, or “same-sex marriage.” Furthermore, it offers “domestic partnership benefits,” essentially treating homosexual employees and their “partners” as married couples.
Hope it's as successful as Ford.

Well, we can ensure their efforts are matched. Nathan posted some action items for his Freepi readership; so there's no reason that we cannot do the same, slightly edited, of course:

• Telephone Allstate CEO Ed Liddy’s office at 1-847-402-5000 or contact the company at 1-800-Allstate (1-800-255-7828) and thank Mr. Liddy for its progressive policies and outreach to the gay community. You can also e-mail Allstate here.

• Contact the Allstate agents in your area (simply click on this link for contact information: http://agent.allstate.com/) and let them know that you appreciate their services to the gay community.

• Please forward this article to friends and family. [Sure!]

• Here's information on Allstate’s "pro-homo agenda," Nathan kindly supplied some other links:

Allstate advertising targets homosexuals

Allstate gives to GLAAD

Allstate promotes “tolerance,” “inclusion,” and “diversity”

Allstate large donor for LAMBDA

Allstate insures same sex couples as married

Allstate marketing toward gays

***
An earlier post on Nathan Tabor and The Conservative Voice is here.


Frist's *ss is in the fire over FEC loan violations



Ah, feel the pain, Cat Killer Frist. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Senate Majority Leader and it's a sleazy deal. Oops. Pious Bill is going to have a hard time explaining this one since he personally signed off on the transactions.
The complaint alleges that the Frist 2000, Inc. failed to disclose a $1.44 million loan taken out jointly by Frist 2000, Inc. and by Frist's 1994 campaign committee, Bill Frist for Senate, Inc., making it appear that Frist 2000, Inc. had significantly more money that it actually had.

In June 2000, Senator Frist took $1 million of the money that had been contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and the 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms.

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires full disclosure of any loans taken out by campaign committees. Yet only the 1994 campaign committee, which had been largely dormant, disclosed the loan. The loan papers, which are attached to CREW's complaint, are signed by Senator Frist personally on behalf of each of the campaign committees.
Aren't you getting tired of these sleazebag Repugs claiming to take the high road on just about any political issue, accusing Dems of moral bankruptcy when the list of GOP hypocrites, liars, bigots, closeted self-loathers and dumbf*cks is a mile long and they swim in a cesspool of deceit that stinks to high heaven? Damn. It takes balls to do this, but you know what? As long as they can convince the sheeple and Freepi to fall in line at ballot time, they have the upper hand. The damn Dems should be able to beat these clowns cold.


Animal Groups Praise Sen. Rick Santorum

I almost fell out of my chair laughing at this headline.



"To me, it's part of a society that's caring, sensitive to life," Santorum said in a recent interview. "Obviously, the life of animals is fundamentally different than the life of a human being. But to me, we have a responsibility to God's creatures to treat them humanely, and the government's laws should reflect that."
-- Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum
The story is actually about protection of animals from puppy mills and the like, but given the history of the gay-baiting Pennsylvania Senator equating homos with bestiality, well...maybe it's just that I'm tired, but it was hysterical. He thinks more about dogs and sex acts than your average joe. Way more.

"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be."
-- Rick "Puppy Love" Santorum


KKKillen denied a new trial, BTK confesses


Examples of moral values in their communities - Baptist pastor Killen and church deacon/Scoutmaster Rader.

Two sick bastards in the news today...
Ex-Klansman's Request for New Trial Denied. A judge on Monday denied a new trial for one time Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, convicted last week of manslaughter for the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. [Circuit Judge Marcus] Gordon turned down the defense request, and Killen's lawyers have said they raise the same issue on appeal. A request for an appeal bond, which will allow Killen to be free while his appeal runs its course, would be filed later, McIntyre said. ...Killen, who has been using a wheelchair, would undergo medical and psychological evaluations to determine his prisoner classification and where he would be housed, either at the Rankin facility or the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Kansas serial killer details 10 murders. A serial killer calmly and clinically described in a Kansas courtroom on Monday how he murdered 10 people, calling his victims "projects" he lined up in advance to satiate sexual fantasies.

Dennis Rader, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of murder and waived his right to a jury trial, chillingly recounted how he gave one woman a glass of water after she threw up, then strangled her with a rope as her children, locked in a nearby bathroom, screamed. In another case he hung an 11-year-old girl in the basement of her home and masturbated by her body, after killing her parents and a 9-year-old brother upstairs.

In answers to questions from the judge, the details of an 18-year killing spree by the man who called himself "bind, torture and kill" in taunting notes to police spilled out of the bespectacled, balding Rader.

In cold, detached fashion he described the phases of serial killing -- from "trolling" to find victims and then "stalking."

"I had project numbers," he said. "If one didn't work, I'd move on to another." He carried a "hit kit," a briefcase with rope and other items, he said, and dressed in "hit clothes" for the occasions.


No Ten Commandments for you, Roy Moore


Daddy Dobson's probably angry right now.

"The Court's second-guessing of the hidden purposes of the Kentucky commissioners smacks of judicial tyranny. The Court has tightened its grip on every aspect of our lives. These five unelected people in black robes are not declaring law; they are arbitrarily setting social policy for the entire country."
-- Stephen M. Crampton, Chief Counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law and Policy

"Religion and non-religion are on equal footing -- and that's dangerous."
-- Pat Trueman, Family Research Council

"The one case, in Texas, saying the display was okay; but in the other case showing a growing hostility -- not neutrality, but hostility -- toward religion, in particular Christianity."
-- FRC president Tony Perkins

"The founders would be outraged that we are even debating the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments. That the Ten Commandments would be deemed unconstitutional is an insult to the Constitution."
-- Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver
The Right and Talabama former judge Roy Moore are going to freak out on this one. Dobson, Falwell, Schlafly, et. al. are probably foaming at the mouth. (N&O):
In a narrowly drawn ruling, the Supreme Court struck down Ten Commandments displays in courthouses Monday, holding that two exhibits in Kentucky crossed the line between separation of church and state because they promoted a religious message.

The 5-4 decision, first of two seeking to mediate the bitter culture war over religion's place in public life, took a case-by-case approach to this vexing issue. In the decision, the court declined to prohibit all displays in court buildings or on government property.

The justices left themselves legal wiggle room on this issue, however, saying that some displays - like their own courtroom frieze - would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held.

"The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the majority.

"When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment clause value of official religious neutrality," he said.

Souter was joined in his opinion by other members of the liberal bloc - Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, as well as Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor, who provided the swing vote.

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that Ten Commandments displays are a legitimate tribute to the nation's religious and legal history.

Government officials may have had a religious purpose when they originally posted the Ten Commandments display by itself in 1999. But their efforts to dilute the religious message since then by hanging other historical documents in the courthouses made it constitutionally adequate, Scalia said.

He was joined in his opinion by Chief William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justice Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

"In the court's view , the impermissible motive was apparent from the initial displays of the Ten Commandments all by themselves: When that occurs: the Court says, a religious object is unmistakable," he wrote. "Surely that cannot be."

"The Commandments have a proper place in our civil history," Scalia wrote.


The Triangle is an oasis of tolerance


My good friends Denise Barbour Dunn (L), Corye Barbour Dunn (center), and friend William Palmer (R) at Mad Hatter’s in Durham. We all love living here in the Triangle area, particularly Durham, because it is so gay-friendly.

I want to give a shout-out to our local progressive paper, the Independent Weekly, for its fantastic piece this week, "The gay life" which tells you all you need to know why I love my hometown and my area of the state of NC. It's an oasis of tolerance that folks, particularly Yankees from outside of the state, don't really believe exists. It does, despite the outrage of the cross-burnings a few weeks back -- that shocked everyone here. As the Indy's Jim Baxter, author of the piece says, "Gays and lesbians like the Triangle because of its tolerance and politics--and all the things about living here that straight people like, too."



I was glad to see that he interviewed two of my good friends, Dee and Corye for the article. They had a holy union last year in Raleigh; I was the "official wedding photographer" - :).

But back to the Indy article...
Despite the considerable conservative population around us, the Triangle has become a surprisingly attractive place for gay men and lesbians. In part, it's the tolerance created by three major universities with active student groups. Research Triangle Park attracting large corporations with liberal employment policies certainly helped. The large influx of people from urban areas helped, too.

Add in the political climate as another factor. "Of the places to live in North Carolina, I think this is one of the hubs of liberal thought and politics," Lamazares says.

And gays and lesbians like it here for all the same reasons straight people do. Some move here for jobs, some for a less hectic way of life, some for a lower cost of living. Some grew up here and never left, of course. Some are moving back, years after running to a big city to come out, to be close to aging family members.

... In Durham, Mad Hatter's Café and Bakery is one of many places where gay folk hang out.

"Great local places to hang out with other gay people, in my opinion?" Denise Dunn, 36, easily lists a couple dozen one right after the other, and those are just in Durham. They are pretty much the same places that straight people like to hang out.

"Although I frequented those places a lot more when I was single," she says, "my partner and I will still visit those places alone from time to time and with our other lesbian friends. And when we have children (which will be within the year), we will definitely feel comfortable going to those same places."

There's a feeling of relative safety; there's no need to keep looking over your shoulder for potential danger. When there is an attack--as there was earlier this year in Chapel Hill--we are surprised and shocked. And swift to take action. That's quite a change from 30 years ago, when I first moved to the area.
The main obstacle to the Triangle being a true gay mecca is the lack of an official gay district since we're talking about Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, all miles apart with sizeable suburban areas, and Baxter notes this.
Building a thriving community here hasn't been easy, and not just because some people are still in the closet, and not just because of the conservatives all around us. North Carolina is unusual in that is doesn't have a single urban center that predominates, the way Chicago does in Illinois or Atlanta does in Georgia. There's safety in numbers, and an out, viable gay and lesbian community needs a certain critical mass.

The problem is compounded in the Triangle since, despite astounding growth, we're still living in three different cities (with satellite suburbs). That's made it impossible, for example, to establish a physical community center. Wherever you put it, it will only be a center for that city, and not the Triangle. So, even as the community grows, it's still hard to make connections.
One way to facilitate socializing that helped start up a few years ago, is an online community. TriangleGrrrls, was created to help newcomers to the area meet and go out to dinners and social events, as opposed to the old saw bars and clubs. It was actually through one of the events, Java Jolt (board games at a local coffee house after work) that I met my future wife, Kate. [BTW, our anniversary -- we were married in Vancouver last year -- is coming up on July 1, so we'll be off to celebrate!]


Serve your country? Not those Young Repugs

The Green Knight, over a Big Brass Blog, put up a great photo essay. Here's just a taste. Let's just say that young Bush supporters are proud of their cowardice.

"If there was a need presented, I would go," said Chris Cusmano, a 21-year-old member of the College Republicans organization from Rocky Point, N.Y. But he said he hasn't really considered volunteering.



"I physically probably couldn't do a whole lot" in Iraq, said Tiffanee Hokel, 18, of Webster City, Iowa, who called the war a moral imperative. She knows people posted in Iraq, but she didn't flinch when asked why she wouldn't go. "I think I could do more here," Hokel said, adding that she's focusing on political action that supports the war and the troops.
And for more entertainment on this matter, by way of Jesus' General, is the Operation Yellow Elephant movement.


Crooks and Liars attempted to buy a full page ad in the Official Program of the Young Republican National Convention. The ad text:
Our nation is at War!

We are in a desperate struggle for all we believe in.
Our military is suffering a manpower crisis.
Why are you here when your country needs you in Iraq?
Talk is cheap. America needs more from you.
College, family, and careers can wait.
Heed your nation's call and enlist in the infantry today.
What kind of response do you think this patriotic plea received from our aspiring chickenhawk leaders of tomorrow? Wait no more...
We are sorry but we must regretfully reject this advertisment. We feel that the tone of the message is too negative.
Measure that with the quotes above from the adults of tomorrow, supporting the cause for the Chimperor. Mighty fine citizens.


Big Brass Alliance/Downing Street update

First off, the Big Brass Alliance Forums are back online (we got hacked late last week). Special thanks to web guru Charlie Kilian for getting it back up on Sunday!

On to the big story that you should be reading/blogging about:

The Sunday Times – Britain: General admits to secret air war
As even more evidence piles on that the Chimpster-in-Chief and his buddy Tony Blair cooked up reasons to go to war in Iraq, you have to wonder when the sheeple are going to wake up.
The American general who commanded allied air forces during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the invasion began.

Addressing a briefing on lessons learnt from the Iraq war Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley said that in 2002 and early 2003 allied aircraft flew 21,736 sorties, dropping more than 600 bombs on 391 “carefully selected targets” before the war officially started. The nine months of allied raids “laid the foundations” for the allied victory, Moseley said. They ensured that allied forces did not have to start the war with a protracted bombardment of Iraqi positions.

If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally.

Moseley’s remarks have emerged after reports in The Sunday Times that showed an increase in allied bombing in southern Iraq was described in leaked minutes of a meeting of the war cabinet as “spikes of activity to put pressure on the regime”.
Here are other headlines to catch you up on the latest Downing Street news:

* The Sunday Times – Britain: How the leaked documents questioning war emerged from 'Britain's Deep Throat'

* Fort Wayne News Sentinel: Americans inching closer to a reckoning
http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/news/editorial/11965588.htm

* Delaware Online: Honesty and progress are vital for Americans to stay behind war

Also, check out The Heretik's MONSTER POLICY PART TWO. A snippet:

The Downing Street Memos predict what happens when people who believe themselves so right go so wrong. The Bush foreign policy is built upon seeming divine sense of what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil. To be so completely right from the start means there can be no wrong turns ahead and no turning back. Nowhere is this seen more than in the continuing presence of Donald Rumsfeld and in in his influence in the Bush Administration. Rumsfeld gave us a war with too few soldiers at its start and a war with too many soldiers dying after the end of major combat operations now.

Rumsfeld is the cursed creature of a desert policy, the mummy once given life, now dead, that yet haunts the living. His bungle through Iraq, his evil acts undead and still alive in abominations like Guantanamo, go not unnoticed in the Middle East and other places where human hearts still beat. That the monstrous mummy of Bush policy still stalk the world tells the people of the desert country and beyond that something is seriously wrong with the country that claims always to be right, that those who claim to see the good are blind to at least one man’s evil. Wrong policy only makes a wrong turn when it continues on straight ahead for politics and can’t turn back.


Court Allows Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade


Pay up, Uri.

Looks like the religious homo-bigots in the Holy Land that wanted to ban the annual Pride parade (that had been held peacefully in previous years) just to make a point get to eat it -- AND the mayor gets to cough up cash for his bigotry, hahahahahaha.
An Israeli court ruled Sunday that Jerusalem's gay pride parade could proceed as planned this week and ordered the city's mayor to pay $6,500 out of his own pocket for trying to stop it.

In rare cooperation, the ultra Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities in the holy city had tried to prevent the parade, scheduled for June 30, saying it would infringe on their religious sensitivities. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, said he would not allow the events to take place on public property. The city said that it received many phone calls from local residents opposed to the public parade.

About half of Jerusalem's majority Jewish residents are Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox, a much higher percentage than the national average. A third of the city's 700,000 people are Muslims. Both Orthodox Judaism and Islam regard homosexuality as an abomination. Representatives of Jerusalem's Muslim community have threatened to stage a protest opposing the parade, saying that it harms Muslim heritage and traditions.

The judge, however, ruled that the city had no right to prevent such public events based solely on the sexual orientation of its organizers. "The harming of the sensitivities of one community or another is not enough to prevent another community from fulfilling its rights to equality, respect and freedom of expression," Jerusalem District Court Judge Musya Arad wrote.

The city must pay Jerusalem's gay community $13,000, with half coming from the mayor's own funds, the judge ruled.

"The court decision today is a victory not just for the lesbian and gay community in Jerusalem, but a triumph for freedom of speech," said Hagai El-Ad, director of Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a gay rights group.
The poor Freepi, play a tiny violin for them, Actually, there are a few in Freeperland that actually agree with the ruling, if you can believe it...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"It looks like Israel is having to deal with thier own judicial activism."

"Simply sad."

"They could have a little problem with the Islamists stone them."

"Liberalism shows its corrosive, nihilistic face everywhere in the Western world, including Israel. If the jihadis had half a brain, they'd just quietly sit back, take advantage of liberal welfare and racial preferences, produce zillions of offspring, and bide their time. The west would fall into their hands like an over-ripe plum, courtesy of western liberals."

"Oh, I dunno. I kind of like the idea of making an official responsible for the costs his abuse of office inflicts. We can quibble about the immediate case but the principle seems sound."

"In this case the mayor was acting in the good faith of his constituency and is being punished by a special interest minority. This has nothing to do with making an elected official responsible for abuse of office, otherwise Sharon would be paying for the entire disengagement out of his own personal purse."

"Apparently, from this article, the parade has been a yearly event for several years. The mayor tried to pull a last minute trick, when he thought the march organizers wouldn't have enough time to respond. Sounds like the mayor tried to play a last-minute dirty trick and got his a$$ handed to him. Good for the court."

"How do you say "this sucks" in Hebrew."

"Nothing like the Mayor having to pay the queers for the screwing he got from the court."

"Invite islamists to the parade."

"Wouldn't it be nice to have the exclusive stone concession for the parade route? That would be a rare case of Arab youths and orthodox Jews in the same line at the same time. The judges in the free world need to thoroughly examined on their ability to tell right from wrong."

"There is no such thing as a "dirty trick" where this gang is concerned. This is something the residents of the city do not want, and which is being shoved down their throats by the queers and liberal-agenda activist court."

"America's judicial activism, although for the most part conducted by the Socialist Internationalist's identical ideological clones -- and whose 'End Times' are intended to be also identical -- is but child's play when compared to that under whose manifestation the Israelis "Labour!""

"In the U.S., the group would have a right to peacefully march within the guidelines set for groups in general, whether the people of the city approved of them or not. I don't know how rights are protected in Israel with regard to political marches. In any case, the mayor knew this march was scheduled and waited for the last minute to do anything about it. I'd call it a dirty trick. At the very least, it was pretty stupid strategically."

"Awful beyond intelligent comprehension. Relativism-Hell-on-Earth which, given its head, would absolutely abdicate Zionism and hand all of Israel and every Israeli Jew [And every Mid-East Christian] over to the islamofascists."

"There is no precedent in the history of the civilized world of "celebrating" those who practice same sex sodomy. To force the Mayor to pay for this outrage out of his own pocket is such a miscarriage of justice that it is sickening. I hope the Mayor has a higher court to appeal to. And the (deleted adjective) judge who made this terrible decision will, at some point, have to plead her case before a higher court, and the decision will not be in her favor."
Thanks to House Blender Cat for the pointer.


Can anyone take this clown seriously?

Sunday, June 26, 2005


U.S. President George W. Bush reacts to a reporter's question during a joint news conference with Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (L) in the East Room of the White House. Bush told al-Jaafari on Friday that he will set no timetables for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and acknowledged that the road ahead will not be easy. [That's a f*cking understatement.] Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

Oh yes, and by the way Chimpy, while you and Rummy spin...
Iraq rocked by bomb attacks


Iraq bombings kill 25 as Rumsfeld confirms insurgent contacts

Bush hones Iraq message as war support wanes. Sorry to say, the Chimperor is going to soil my state by bringing his roadshow of lies and fantasies to Fort Bragg.
As part of a newly honed White House focus on Iraq, Bush will travel to an army base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Tuesday to deliver what his aides are billing as a major speech on the conflict. The speech comes on the anniversary of the handover of sovereignty and the president finds himself on the defensive about Iraq amid lawmaker complaints and polls showing American discontent.

..."The bad news from Iraq still trumps his message," said Carroll Doherty, editor at the Pew Research Center. "It's going to take stability rather than his statements or speeches to turn this around." Bush is likely to cite progress on the political front such as Iraq's January election and the formation of a committee to write a new constitution by a mid-August deadline.

...The U.S. death toll in Iraq has climbed above 1,700 and mounted further last week, when the deaths of six Americans in a bomb attack in Falluja cast a shadow over Jaafari's visit to the White House.

Nearly six in 10 Americans oppose the war, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll taken June 16-19. Just three months ago, the public was split and a survey taken in 2003, a month after the war began, showed seven in 10 favoured the war.


The Black Commentator: The Leasing of the Black Church

Saturday, June 25, 2005

President Bush, white conservatives, and their black flunkies have bastardized the faith-based (which is not just Christian) movement to control particularly black churches and create a white-controlled, fundamentalist Christian "New World Order."
-- Reverend Reynard N. Blake, Jr., in his essay, "The Black Church: Now, More Than Ever"
Damn. And he's just getting started. The Black Commentator, a blog that is a helluva read is worth a regular surf stop. Up front now is this incredible piece by Rev. Blake. He rips both the Dems and Bush new ones over their respective dysfunctional, manipulative relationships with the black faith community.

For the Dems, it's the condescending, show-up-at-the-last-minute-for-your vote treatment that has been the hallmark of national elections for decades. As I noted in my post "Congressman Mel Watt: framing gay rights for the black community", what Democratic leadership has failed to see, even as they try to shave votes from the political center, is that the GOP has successfully done the same thing. It's dangerous to think that black voters are blindly loyal to the Democratic party because "they have no other place to go." Yeah they do, and they can also make their displeasure known by sitting out election day.
Progressive and black voices within the party are being pushed aside in order to make the Party a light version of the Republican Party by directing its energies to win the votes of those in the "Red States," "Soccer Moms," and "NASCAR Dads," which are code words for white lower-or middle-class voters. The Democratic Party has so much disrespect for black communities they believe if they make some cursory or last-minute visit to churches, the NAACP, Urban League, or black neighborhoods, blacks will come out in large numbers and vote for their candidates. Historically, African-Americans have responded to these weak overtures; but according to the May 25 edition of the Diversity.com newsletter, Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, Howard Dean feels a rising tide of black resentment:
Black voters are upset with the Democratic Party for coming around just weeks before elections seeking their votes, party chairman Howard Dean said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.
Taking black voters for granted is a long-standing problem for the party that dates to the 1960s, said Dean, who promised changes in strategy even as he cited diversity at the top of the Democratic National Committee.
"Blacks are annoyed with the Democratic Party because we ask them for their votes four weeks before the election instead of being in the community now and that's a mistake I'm trying to fix," he said. "There's a new generation of African-American leaders and a new generation of African Americans. We can't go out and say could you vote for us because we were so helpful during the civil-rights era."
As condescending as this is, the most distressing behavior by the Democrats is the brain-dead, asleep-at-the-wheel attitude as Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman cultivate, with our tax dollars for faith-based initiatives, relationships with black churches. These pastors have no problem bellying up to the bar either. It's disgusting, and Blake goes off on it (my emphasis below).
In terms of politics, some black churches are being rented via faith-based grants to help them develop or maintain programs. On the surface, this looks like normal, everyday resource development for nonprofit corporations (many churches have the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] designation 501 (c) 3). However, when the Bush administration uses these ministers as "photo-ops" and these ministers sing Bush's praises because they got grant money or because he resonates their concerns regarding gay rights issues or abortion, it creates a number of illusions: that significant numbers of black people support him and that George Bush cares about nonwhite and/or poor people. Conversely, these illusions are far from the truth, especially since he does not support any raises in the minimum wage and believes in a new type of "voodoo economics" (a term used by Ronald Reagan criticizing George Herbert Walker Bush's ["Dubya's" father] approach to address the nation's economy during the 1980 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination) to craft a budget with deep cuts to social programs while making the budget to fund the occupation of Iraq a separate document.
This is red meat -- why have the Dems not called these pastors out, by showing them how the church is being used? (Oh, they're scared of the PC backlash, right? Folks, sometimes you have to grow a pair and call it like you see it). These pious pigs-at-the-trough are too busy shuffling and taking the handout and thanking Massa Bush for fighting for the sanctity of marriage and the "culture of life" that they have taken leave of their senses, or more charitably, decided they want to play ball with the party in power. Yes, the illusion is that they are best buddies with Bush and Co. How wrong they are, notes Blake.
Essentially, Bush, et al have become self-appointed, Koran-desecrating, Christian prophets and begun a religious/social/cultural Armageddon with the premise that "our (Christian, conservative, white) God is better than your God (insert your choice here)." Some black ministers are pawns in this war and are allowing a new sort of blasphemy to surface. Nevertheless, this does not mean that black faith-based organizations should not seek government grant money because it is our tax money; it is just that this money should be sought and accepted with extreme caution. Any mistakes in the use of this money make have serious consequences for our black religious leaders, especially if they are unafraid to challenge the president's policies. And for those black conservative leaders that, in addition to getting government grant money, believe that they also have access and influence with the president remember this: just because you can walk through the front door of the White House does not mean you are IN the White House!
Go read the rest of this lengthy "amen" piece. [House Blenders know that this topic has been covered in many posts before.]


Facing South's newsletter: news and views from around the region

My friends at Durham-based Facing South feature some great tidbits in the latest e-newsletter, published by the Institute for Southern Studies and Southern Exposure magazine. The predatory payday loan business is completely amoral in its profiteering off of people in the most vulnerable financial position in society -- the working class and poor. The fact is doubly painful and sickening because families of soldiers are among those caught in the web of debt-cycling with these sharks.
INSTITUTE INDEX -- Loan Sharking the Troops

* Typical annual salary of a private first class soldier in the U.S. Army: $16,884
* In a study of 150 counties near military bases in 20 states, number of "payday loan" companies operating: 4,765
* Of 8 North Carolina counties with most payday loan companies, number near military bases: 4
* Of 5 Kentucky counties with the most payday lenders, number near military bases: 4
* Percent of military personnel that have used payday loans: 26%
* Average interest charged on payday loans, according to one study: 474%
* Amount low-income consumers lose from excess charges on payday loans each year: $3.4 billion

DATELINE: THE SOUTH -- News and Trends Around the Region

MISSISSIPPI VERDICT MET BY GENERATION GAP: This week's guilty verdict against Edgar Ray Killen for manslaughter in the 1964 slayings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner was praised by survivors and former activists, who called it "just the beginning." How do younger generations view the verdict and similar trials? (Christian Science Monitor, June 23)

WAR HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IN NORTH CAROLINA: Conservative Congressman Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has surprised many with his growing opposition to the Iraq war. But it's happened before: during the Vietnam war, Army veterans and conservative Senators Sam Ervin and Everett Jordan -- after backing the war in 1964 -- famously turned against a conflict they believed they were "hoodwinked into supporting." (Charlotte Observer, June 19)

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS END DISNEY BOYCOTT: After waging a high-profile but futile campaign against what they called Disney World's "orgy of depravity" for supporting gay rights, the Southern Baptist Convention ended an eight-year boycott of the company this week. Earlier this year, the American Family Association also ended its nine-year boycott of Disney, admitting the effort "had failed to cause Disney to alter its gay-friendly policies." (Facing South, June 22)

MERCURY RISING IN ALABAMA: As debate rages over the Bush Administration's plan to increase allowable mercury levels, an in-depth series in the Mobile Register reveals the growing problem of Alabama's "Chemical Alley." In 2002, state investigators caught what's believed to be the most mercury-saturated fish ever found in North America, a bass with mercury levels 28 times higher than EPA's safe limit. (Facing South, June 20)

PROPOSED AMTRAK CUTS WOULD DERAIL RURAL TRANSIT: Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill eliminating subsidies to cross-country Amtrak lines going through Mississippi and other hubs. The mayor for Meridian, MS said "The scenario for Mississippi would be identical to that really everywhere in the country - all Amtrak passenger rail would cease." (Clarion-Ledger, June 16)

HIV HITTING SOUTHERN WOMEN HARDEST: A Center for Disease Control study finds a dramatic rise of HIV infections among Southern women. HIV infection rates are four times higher among Latinas and 18 times higher among African-American women than white women. And one of the fastest-growing groups in the South is girls aged 13-19. (USA Today, June 14)

ETHNIC MEDIA A "GIANT HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT": A new study finds that 45% of all African-American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and Arab American adults prefer ethnic television, radio or newspapers to their mainstream counterparts. Ethnic media reaches 51 million adults, or one fourth of the U.S. population. (Center for American Progress, June 7)
For more great coverage of the region, check out Facing South: http://www.southernstudies.org/facingsouth. You can also support its award-winning investigative reporting, unique progressive analysis, and resources for activism by contributing here.


Dick Cheney's ticker's acting up, Chimpy must be sweating



Arianna Huffington was in Vail yesterday when Dick Cheney was wheeled into the hospital, allegedly for his bum knee, but was serviced in the cardiac unit...hmmm. Managed care is getting mighty confusing, huh?
Why is the White House still insisting that the only health issue Vice President Cheney dealt with today is an old football injury to his knee, visiting renowned orthopedist Dr. Richard Steadman? At the Vail Valley Institute dinner tonight, I kept asking what those in the know here knew. Little by little, here is the story I pieced together: After the Secret Service secured the Vail Valley Medical Center, including the parking lot, the Vice President arrived under his own power and checked in at the orthopedic center under the name “Dr. Hoffman”. He was immediately whisked to the adjacent cardiac unit, suffering from what was described to me as “an angina attack”. The security was so high that a Secret Service agent wouldn’t let an ER nurse out of the bathroom that she had gone into just before the Veep arrived. “Get back in there,” the agent told her. Confounded, she called her husband on her cell phone, telling him “something big” was going on. And indeed it was… but you wouldn’t know it from the White House. It appears that not only doesn’t the public deserve to know what is really going on in Iraq (“last throes”?) we don’t deserve to know what is going on with our Vice President’s health.

For more on the long history of the the administration's obfuscation regarding Cheney's heart condition, read my March 7, 2001 column.


Gay civil marriage updates

From the wires...


* Gay voters in Houston rally against marriage amendment. Texas already has a law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And a 2003 law prohibits the recognition of same-sex unions. But Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, who sponsored the amendment measure during this year's regular session, said he doesn't think that's enough. The constitutional amendment on November's ballot defines marriage as the union of one man with one woman, and prohibits the state or any political subdivision from creating or recognizing "any legal status identical or similar to marriage." Supporters of the amendment say it's needed because Texas laws regarding same-sex marriage could be challenged in state court if the language is not placed in the constitution.

Turnout historically is light for constitutional amendment votes. Houston often has disproportionate influence because of its population and because it is the only major city that holds municipal and school elections on the odd-year November Election Day when amendments typically go to the voters. Houston also has a large and politically sophisticated gay community that can be expected to turn out against the amendment. The Houston Equal Rights Alliance, a coalition of organizations, is attempting to build alliances, create a concise message, identify supportive voters and mobilize turnout. Wallace and others hope to use the next five months to educate the public about the lives of gay people and their families. City Controller Annise Parker, the highest-ranking openly gay officeholder in Harris County, said she thinks the amendment is being pushed for political reasons by supporters aiming to gain capital with conservatives. "For us, it's about our lives," she said. "They do it to identify voters, raise money and influence local races." Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, a socially conservative women's group that pushed for the amendment, downplayed the importance of the opponents' urban strategy. "I don't think that just targeting an urban area is going to profit them with a margin that is going to be successful," she said.


* Spain Senate rejects same-sex marriage bill. Spain's plans to introduce marriage rights to lesbian and gay couples have been rejected in the country's upper house of parliament. The Spanish Senate voted Wednesday against the government's contentious bill. The final vote was 131-119. It was blocked when the Catalan Christian Democrat Party decided to form a voting coalition with the Popular Party (PP), the Reuters news agency reports. Along with the Catholic Church, the PP has been one of the most vociferous opponents of the bill, which will give full marriage and adoption access to same-sex couples. The PP also invited a senior psychologist to testify on the issue but was forced to distance itself from his comments after he said homosexuality was a "pathology." In a bid to reassure gay voters, the PP said the comments were not reflective of the party. The Advocate notes that the Socialist government must now return the bill to the congress, where it will be able to force through the legislation. That final vote is expected next week in the last session before the legislature breaks for the summer recess. Passage is expected, and Spain would thus become the third European country to legalize same-sex marriage, after Belgium and the Netherlands. Spanish gay couples would also be allowed to adopt children.


* New Brunswick court rules same-sex marriage legal in that province of Canada. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Judith Clendening ruled that common-law marriage was the union of "two persons" -- not a man and a woman. The ruling came in the way of a June 15 application before her by lawyer Alison Menard, who was acting on behalf of four same-sex couples. "People will be recognized, the ones that were married out of the province, and people can now go out and get married legally in this province. And to me, that's worth all the fight and agony that we went through." Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island are now the only jurisdictions where same-sex marriages aren't the law. If the federal government manages to get Bill C-38 passed this summer, same-sex marriage will be become the law all across the country.



* In related news, some Canadian Talibannery: Parish priest in Martin's riding prays PM will be ousted over same-sex marriage. A parish priest in Paul Martin's riding says he's praying the prime minister will lose his seat in the next federal election because he's doing the devil's bidding on same-sex marriage. Father Francis Geremia delivered his message in a fiery sermon during a Roman Catholic wedding mass over the weekend in Montreal. In a telephone interview Monday with The Canadian Press, the priest described himself as a former Liberal who has shifted his political allegiance in spectacular fashion. He's now working against Martin's party - and seeking help from a celestial ally. "He has to be very careful because he might even lose his riding," Geremia said from Montreal. "I pray that he will lose his riding. Because you cannot have two faces: either you serve God or you serve the devil."


* Calif. gay marriage bill may return soon. California's six gay and lesbian state lawmakers are resorting to an unusual approach in an effort to legalize same-sex marriage in their state. They will try to pass a same-sex marriage bill through a parliamentary move called "gut and amend," the Associated Press (AP) reported on Monday. The process requires them to strip the contents of another bill that has already passed the state Assembly and insert the language of AB 19. AB 19, the same-sex marriage bill, failed by just four votes in California' Assembly after two successive votes on June 2 -- the closest success any legislative effort has seen in the attempts to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. "My hope is that we will have a bill amended by the end of this week or the beginning of next," said Assemblyman Mark Leno in an AP interview. Randy Thomasson, president of the conservative Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), had a warning for Mark Leno. "Be careful what you wish for," he said. "The Democrat politicians' addiction to homosexual 'marriage' guarantees that a constitutional marriage amendment protecting marriage rights for a man and a woman will qualify and pass on next year's ballot."


* New Jersey Gay Marriage Suit Headed for State's Highest Court. Seven same-sex couples plan to appeal this week's decision by a lower court that said New Jersey's constitution doesn't allow gay couples to wed, according to David Buckel, senior counsel for Lamda Legal, which is representing the plaintiffs. Buckel's group is pressing the issue in New Jersey because the state is one of five that offers legal rights such as joint tax status to gay couples. New Jersey courts ``have shown they know how to apply equal- rights provisions to gay people,'' said Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Rutgers Law School in Newark who filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs. ``Marriage has never been religious in the state.''


A plug-in Prius could get 100+ miles per gallon



A friend of ours was car shopping a couple of months ago, and managed to get her hands on a Toyota Prius that someone else was trading in, and she loves it. It looks so high-tech, and runs beautifully. The cars get about 45-55 miles per gallon, but a company in California is rigging the current Prius with kits to make them home plug-ins, enabling them to get 100-150 miles per gallon -- and Congress is taking note.
"We want to get people thinking of [plug-ins] as a real alternative" in the country's long-term energy plan, said Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars.org, an advocacy group in Palo Alto.

The idea of plug-in hybrids is generating a lot of buzz in energy circles because of the work of a start-up Monrovia firm, Energy Control Systems Engineering. The firm bought a Prius and converted it with its own system. Co-owner Greg Hanssen now tools around Southern California in the bright blue plug-in Prius prototype. The car can deliver 150 to 180 mpg for up to 35 miles of low-speed, around-town driving and can average 70 to 100 mpg on longer trips at higher speeds.

...In a standard Prius, a battery pack is charged by the vehicle's own gasoline engine and with electricity produced by the brakes. The car's all-electric mode is fairly limited because the Prius uses its gas engine except at very low speeds. Most owners get 45 to 55 mpg.

However, Energy Control Systems' design tricks the Prius' computer into thinking its batteries are always fully charged, so it uses the electric motor to try to drain them before switching on the gas engine. Hanssen can drive his Prius in an all-electric mode for 35 miles at up to 35 mph. And when the gas engine does kick in, it burns far less fuel than a standard Prius because the system, with its extra batteries, has more electric power to draw on. By babying the accelerator, Hanssen said, he can often run in electric mode on the freeway at 55 mph.

The new batteries in the prototype add 180 pounds to the vehicle's weight, and they use up most of the storage space under the rear cargo area - so there is no room for a spare tire. Next year Energy Control Systems and its marketing partner, Clean-Tech of Los Angeles, hope to begin converting customers' stock Prius hybrids to plug-ins. The initial cost will be about $12,000, Hanssen said. There are plenty of problems to overcome, though, before plug-in hybrids show up at dealerships. Automakers worry about the extra battery weight and extra cost from the super-size batteries and express doubts that owners would bother to charge the vehicles every night. [Is this the lamest excuse ever? The motivation of saving a wallet full of cash will make it easy for drivers to remember.]

Toyota, which expects to sell 110,000 Priuses in the United States this year, warned that an after-market conversion to a plug-in system would void its warranty. Still, Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said, "We are watching [plug-in designs] with interest. It is probably within the range of solutions we would consider" eventually as an alternative power plant design.

The nascent plug-in hybrid movement is also gaining traction in Congress. This month several senators introduced the topic amid a national debate over foreign oil dependency and soaring gasoline prices. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said high-mileage plug-ins provided "extraordinary hope" to reduce the nation's insatiable appetite for oil.

In May, Energy Control Systems entered its Prius in the Tour del Sol fuel economy rally in New York. The car won its class by averaging 102 mpg over the 150-mile course. Hanssen said it cost $1 to charge the batteries the night before the race and about $4 for the gas it consumed.

If hybrid makers added plug-in, Hanssen said, mass production could get the extra cost down to about $3,000 over that of a regular hybrid model.
When my Focus wagon dies, I hope that they'll have more of a selection of kinds of cars -- station wagons, mini-vans that are hybrids.


How's this for a defense -- the aliens made me do it


Scott Krause is accused of crashing into a UPS truck and killing driver Drew Reynolds in 2004.

I really thought I had found the "I'm not sh*tting you" story for the week with the Christian analysis of Land of the Dead, but this news item challenges for top position. A California meth addict's defense for killing a UPS driver when he rammed into the truck is something out of Law and Order. This dude has to be suffering from mental illness, but the fact he was smoking meth at least twice a day is the height of inappropriate self-medication. Plus, his mile-long rap sheet sounds like he should have been locked up/in a facility long ago.
Scott Krause's defense will argue that the defendant believed he was trying to escape man-eating subterranean beings when he ran into Drew Reynolds' truck on Jan. 6, 2004. Krause has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to five felony counts, including first-degree murder, carjacking, and burglary, stemming from a string of alleged criminal activities leading up to the fatal highway crash.

In three court-ordered evaluations, the defendant stated he was fleeing subterranean beings he called "hemadrones" when he carjacked a commercial vehicle near a Nevada City, Calif., gas station and then crashed into Reynolds' service vehicle. "Everything had to do with his escape from the hemadrones," said Nevada County District Attorney Michael Ferguson. "According to the defendant, he was afraid they were going to put him in cargo and ship him to China to be eaten."

Calls to public defender Gary Gordon went unanswered.

The evidentiary burden will fall on the defense to prove that Krause, a known methamphetamine addict with a history of drug-related arrests, was suffering from a pre-existing mental condition that either prevented him from understanding the consequences of his actions or knowing the difference between right or wrong. A psychologist testified in a preliminary hearing that when he examined Krause in 2002, the divorced father of two displayed signs of delusions and paranoid schizophrenia. He also testified that for at least two years before the incident, Krause was using methamphetamine at least twice a day.

"This is purely a case about mental state," Ferguson said. "Were his actions methamphetamine-induced or was he suffering from a pre-offense illness?" Of Krause's lengthy rap sheet, Grass Valley police chief John Foster simply said, "We're aware of him," in an interview with the local newspaper, The Union.

When the accident occurred, Krause was already on misdemeanor probation after pleading to charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance, possessing controlled substance paraphernalia and resisting a peace officer in August 2003. That arrest occurred four days before he was to begin drug counseling for a previous arrest for possessing a hypodermic needle. Earlier in 2003, he was arrested for attempted vehicle theft, removing car parts and damaging property while attempting to hot-wire a neighbor's car.
I think my vote still stays with the AmTaliban Zombie movie review, only because the author of that essay was probably stone cold sober when he wrote it.


The new faces of hate

Friday, June 24, 2005



Men Accused Of Beating Lesbian Teens With Sledgehammer. These bigoted losers would make Edgar Ray "KKKonvicted" Killen proud.
A man with ties to white supremacist Matt Hale has been charged with attacking two teenagers after they told him they were lesbians, prosecutors said Friday. Patrick Langballe, 29, of Winnetka, Ill., was charged along with Aaron Rush, 20, of Green Bay, Wis., with a hate crime, armed robbery, aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon in the June 16 attack against the teens, ages 17 and 18, at Illinois Beach State Park near Zion.

In last week's attack, the girls, who are from the Milwaukee area, told investigators they met Langballe and Rush near a bus stop in Milwaukee. They had mutual friends and decided to camp at the park with friends of the men, Chancey said. About 3 p.m., Rush made a sexual advance toward one of the girls, who told him she was in a lesbian relationship with the other girl and they "did not like men in a romantic way," according to a news release from the sheriff.

Langballe and Rush told the girls that they were members of the Nazi nation and that "gays and lesbians were no better than Jews and blacks," Chancey said.

Langballe and Rush took some of the girls' clothes from their car and burned them, authorities said. The girls got scared and left, but returned five minutes later when they realized they had some items that belonged to the men, authorities said.

Langballe and Rush beat the girls and threatened them with a sledgehammer and a knife as they stole money, credit cards, a camera and cell phones, Chancey said. Rush pulled out the knife and threatened to kill one of the girls, authorities said.


U.S.: 'Yeah, we tortured prisoners - but they were guilty'



"They said it was a question of isolated cases, that there was nothing systematic and that the guilty were in the process of being punished."

The Heretik reports that the U.S. government is admitting that torture went on at Guantanamo Bay.
Washington has for the first time acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.

The acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, said a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on on condition of anonymity.

"They are no longer trying to duck this, and have respected their obligation to inform the UN," the Committee member told AFP. "They they will have to explain themselves (to the Committee). Nothing should be kept in the dark."

UN sources said it was the first time the world body has received such a frank statement on torture from US authorities.
And The Heretik is justifiably pissed...
The moral darkness of the Bush Administration in its actions at Guantanamo is matched by the cynicism it employs to silence those who tell the truth. We will hear it was just subordinates who engaged in torture. Reality tells us otherwise. The Bush Administration has subordinated decency to its dark vision that all the world will soon see.


Sexist fool compares women to appliances


Danica Patrick came in fourth at the Indy 500; president and CEO of Formula One, billionaire Bernie Ecclestone (center) attempted to pay her a compliment, but he needs to use some of his pocket change to buy a brain.

The caveman-of-the-week is Formula One head Bernie Ecclestone, digs himself into a giant hole of the dumb*ss variety. Ecclestone's chauvinist nonsense to Danica Patrick, who he was allegedly congratulating on her performance at the Indianapolis 500:
Among the comments Ecclestone made in the interview and to Patrick was: "Women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances."

Said Patrick: "I just didn't make sense of it. I was surprised."

Ecclestone offered a clarification, blaming his English sense of humor.

"What I was trying to say was that I've been completely wrong about women race-car drivers," Ecclestone said. "I was so impressed with the way she had driven, because I always thought women couldn't drive and should be in the kitchen with the other domestic appliances. I was surprised at the job she did and I was happy for her."
Ecclestone's in good company, since the dark hole of ignorance as a couple of other noteworthy tenants of the sports variety, sportscaster Jimmy the Greek and former Dodger exec Al Campanis, two guys that famously said, on the air, unbelievable comments that they proceeded to compound with even more mind-blowing defenses in the same breath.
"(Blacks) may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager."
-- former Dodger general manager Al Campanis in 1987 on ABC's "Nightline"
I was watching Nightline when Campanis had his live meltdown. Poor Ted Koppel tried asking him eight different ways to get out of the hole, but it got worse each time. I was embarrassed for the guy.

I didn't see Jimmy the Greek's infamous comments live (his faux pas came about year after Campanis's), but I saw plenty of replays of it; here's a good summary -- it takes my breath away all over again:
Jimmy 'the Greek' Snyder remarked that black athletes already hold an advantage as basketball players because they have longer thighs than white athletes, their ancestors having been deliberately bred that way during slavery. 'This goes all the way to the Civil War,' Jimmy the Greek explained, 'when during the slave trading. . .the owner, the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so he could have a big black kid, you see.' Astonishing though it may seem, Snyder intended his remark as a compliment to black athletes. If black men became coaches, he said, there would be nothing left for white men to do in basketball at all. Embarrassed by such rank and open expression of racism in the most ignorant form, the network fired Jimmy the Greek from his job. Any fool, the network must have decided, should know that such things may be spoken in the privacy of the locker-room in an all-white club, but not into a microphone and before a camera.


Surprise: Gov't not ready for flu outbreak

After last winter's debacle with flu vaccine, you'd think our government might be stepping up to prevent the problem next time. OK, you probably figured they are f*cking around up there in DC. Yep.
Half a million Americans could die and more than 2 million could end up in the hospital with serious complications if an even moderately severe strain of a pandemic flu hits, a report predicted on Friday.

But the United States only has 965,256 staffed hospital beds, said the report from the Trust for America's Health.

..."The U.S. has not adequately planned for the disruption a flu pandemic could cause to the economy, daily life, food and supply distributions, or homeland security," the Trust's report reads.

"The U.S. lags in pandemic preparations compared to Great Britain and Canada based on an examination of leadership, vaccine development, vaccine and antiviral planning, health care system surge capacity planning, coordination between public and private sectors, and emergency communications planning."

Health officials are aware of the warnings and say they are developing a plan. The heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and Health and Human Services Department are regularly called to hearings before Congress on the issue.

The Trust said more could be done to prepare now, including setting up plans to track an outbreak, stockpile antiviral drugs and other medical supplies and set up communications.


From the "I'm not sh*tting you" files



I think we have reached the peak of AmTaliban wingnuttery here at the Blend. This is about the most unhinged thing I've ever seen on AgapePress - a Christian analysis of George Romero's new zombie flick Land of the Dead. Let's sit for a spell with MovieMinistry.com's film critic, Dr. Marc T. Newman, as he connects the dots in his essay "What Christians Have to Say About Zombie Movies."
The first question that might arise from simply looking at the title of this article might be, "Why would Christians even watch zombie movies must less want to have anything to say about them?" In response I need to emphasize that MovieMinistry's role is not that of the film critic, but of the cultural critic. We do not recommend or promote films, we explain them so that Christians can see inside the driving cultural forces underlying the stories movies are telling us to see if we can use them to explore the gospel. And, believe it or not, horror films are ripe with myths and analogies that can be used to our advantage.

And that is what drove me to the cinema at midnight on Thursday to view the latest installment of George Romero's Living Dead franchise...Fear of death is not the sole province of the zombie film -- death on the battlefield in war films frightens us as well. The fear of death is heightened in Romero's films by the fear of decay. As zombies shamble about in Romero's films, they have a hard time literally holding themselves together. It is disquieting to see the human body profaned.

In the Old Testament, Numbers 19:11-22, God explains to the children of Israel that dead bodies are a source of uncleanness. He commands ritual washing and purifying of anyone and anything that comes into contact with a dead body. Those who touch one are unclean for a minimum of an entire week.

Because death is unnatural, decay is as well. God did not intend for our bodies to perish -- they were designed to last forever. The Bible tells us that Jesus' body did not suffer decay (Ps. 16:10), and those in Christ are promised that their own corruptible bodies will put on incorruption (1 Cor. 15:53).

...Zombies are the living dead -- animated decaying corpses that feed on human flesh. Their appetites are insatiable. The films warn that zombies will not stop until they run out of food -- which means that by then, everyone will be dead.

Even though by this fourth film, Romero has his zombies evolve into beings with low-level thinking and organization, what they have not developed is a morality. They are walking hunger that cannot be sated. Zombies represent primal lust -- and they will kill anything that stands in their way.

...The Bible speaks of the universality of sin (Rm. 3:23) and its lethal outcome -- sin breeds death (James 1:15). The same people that might cheer zombies -- because they recognize that the death is not real and the gore is created with special effects -- are horrified by atrocities such as those we witnessed in Rwanda, where men, women, and children were hacked to death by machetes -- some while seeking refuge in church. The problem of zombies is that they are everywhere and their desire to do evil cannot be quenched -- a world remarkably like our own, without the special effects.

...Without Christ, all human beings are the living dead. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes how humans are dead in their sins, enslaved to their lusts, and (as a result) are objects of wrath. Like the humans in Romero's films, we cannot create a trustworthy way of escape -- the living death is always nipping at our heels and will eventually overcome us. It is interesting that there is a minor character in Land of the Dead who calls for the inhabitants of the human city to repent and turn to Jesus. In John's gospel, Jesus says that those who believe in Him have eternal life and have "passed out of death into life" (John 5:24). If we are to escape the death promised by sin, we cannot hope in guns and vices; we need to turn to Christ.
This one is begging for comments, people.


Will Rove apologize? Nah.


Saving Karl's Privates, from Mike Tidmus.

"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Rove said Wednesday night. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."
-- Karl "POS" Rove

Will this piece of slime resign? Nah. Why on earth would Chimpy remove his brain? KKKarl is going nowhere, even though he is an unforgivable sick prick.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan came to Rove's defense, saying the president's chief political adviser was ``simply pointing out the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

"Of course not," McClellan said when asked by reporters whether President Bush will ask Rove to apologize.
The petition to sign to boot Karl is here.


Update on the Tennessee teen held at Love In Action's "ex-gay" camp


Protesters in front of Love in Action.

This is a long post, but well-worth it. House Blenders Paul B. and Stephanie pointed me to an update on the Love In Action "ex-gay" camp that's currently holding Zach, a Tennessee teen against his will. My earlier Blend post is here. (Southern Voice):
The state of Tennessee has begun an investigation in response to allegations of child abuse at Love in Action, a Memphis facility that advertises homosexual conversion therapy for adolescents, according to the state department of health.

K. Daniele Edwards, a spokesperson for Child Services at the Tennessee Department of Health, confirmed an investigation is underway but declined to comment on the details. She noted that she presumes the Love in Action program would require licensing by the state.

Gay activists protested outside an unlicensed 'ex-gay' facility run by Love In Action, which Tennessee officials are investigating to see if teens are being mistreated.

Love in Action is not licensed by the Tennessee Departments of Health, Mental Health, Human Services, Child Services or Education, according to Rachel Lassiter of Gov. Phil Bredesen's communications office.
House Blender Paul Chirumbolo, a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, contacted me a little over a week ago, indicating that he had filed a Child Abuse report to Tennessee authorities on Friday morning, June 10, reporting suspected willful cruelty, child endangerment, and "suicidal ideation" of a minor. It looks likt this paid off. I am printing excerpts from what he reported in an email to WMC-TV in Memphis, which contacted him to follow up on the Child Abuse report filed.
...I have highlighted those warning signs which exist at the Love In Action facility. You can read the full Love In Action protocols on the online blog posted by the minor in question at prior to his having been forcibly placed in the Love In Action facility.

  1. The facility is not licensed. Unknown [Now confirmed in the above story - P.]
  2. Verbal and/or written communication between the child and his parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. is prohibited, restricted, or monitored on any level.
  3. The facility requires that the parents and/or child sign a form releasing the program of liability in the event of injury to the child. Unknown
  4. The program requests/demands/recommends that they have legal custody of children. Unknown
  5. The program requires that children live in foster or "host" homes instead of allowing them to reside with their parents. Unknown
  6. The child or parent or forbidden from discussing the daily happenings at the facility. Often this policy is called "confidentiality."
  7. The child is denied access to a telephone.
  8. Phone calls between children and parents are monitored.
  9. The program uses confrontational therapy.
  10. Parents must fulfill requirements of the facility before being permitted to visit their own children. Unknown
  11. The facility is located outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
  12. Children are restrained or otherwise physically prevented from leaving the facility. Unknown
  13. The staff includes former students/clients of the facility. Reported by past detainees.
  14. Staff members claim that self-injury or cutting/carving on ones body is normal behavior for a child in treatment.
  15. Parents are not allowed to remain with their child during the entire intake/entry process. Unknown
  16. The program inflicts physical punishments on children such as exercising for extended periods of time, bizarre cleaning rituals (ie scrubbing floors with a toothbrush) or food restrictions. Unknown
  17. The program uses humiliation to "break them down." Love In Action calls them shaming sessions, as reported by former detainees.
  18. The program forces children to remain in solitary confinement/isolation/time-out for an unspecified amount of time.For a start, for the first 3 days in detention.
  19. The facility considers homosexuality to be a behavioral problem.
  20. The facility claims to be able to "treat" homosexuality.
  21. Reading materials are prohibited or severely limited.
  22. The facility does not have a clearly visible sign outside the building or descriptions of their location are vague.
  23. The facility claims to modify behavior, yet has no licensed therapists on staff.
  24. A licensed doctor or registered nurse is not present at any time during normal operating hours. Unknown
  25. Current clients/students participate in the intake/entry process. Unknown
  26. Staff members offer to help parents obtain a court order forcing the child into, or keeping the child in, the facility. Unknown
  27. Children are observed while bathing, dressing, or using the toilet on any level of the program.
  28. The facility claims to treat drug abuse, but does not conduct a drug screen prior to entry.
  29. The facility does not allow children to follow their religion of choice.
  30. Staff members must "approve" family members, siblings, friends, or employment. Suggested in the Love In Action protocols
  31. Children are not afforded an education in accordance with state requirements.
  32. Medication is recommended, prescribed, approved, or dispensed by anyone other than a medical doctor (MD). Unknown
  33. Children are denied medications that have been prescribed by an MD. Unknown
  34. Staff members, admissions personnel, referrers, etc. make statements indicating that "your child will die without" the program. Love In Action Director has made statements condoning suicide if the "gay to straight" conversion is unsuccessful
  35. Children escort/supervise other children. Unknown
  36. Children have to "earn" the "right" to speak during group/therapy sessions.
  37. Children are denied outside activities on any level/phase.
  38. Staff members must approve the withdrawal of children from the facility. Unknown
  39. The facility expects total and unquestioned support of parents. Suggested
  40. Children on any level/phase are forbidden to speak to other children in the facility.

As I noted, my reports were made by phone.

I imagine that Child Protective Services holds such reports as confidential.

As the minor has stated suicidal ideation in a public forum, and as Love In Action holds no privilege in this matter, I am not bound to matters of confidentiality.

My purpose is the safety of the minor.

No evidence exists that core sexual orientation can be modified through such techniques.

Sexual reorientation ministries, such as Love In Action attempt to treat a disorder which doesn't exist using unethical therapeutic techniques which don't work while simply ignoring the damage they do to the majority of people who fail to change—people who are judged to be resistant , morally corrupt, unrepentant, or simply weak.


FDA approves first racially targeted drug

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Sickle cell anemia (L), Tay-Sachs (R; conditions that are commonly known to occur more frequently in certain racial/ethnic groups, and are recognized as such.

Clearly this drug is effective in a group of people that share similar traits, but I'm sorry, this is a slippery slope of medical confusion. How in the hell can you target a medicine at an artificial construct? How "black" do you have to be to benefit from the drug? What if you are biracial? What if you are black, but light-skinned/have facial features that allow you to "pass" - will you still get the drug? Will a doctor's biases get in the way of prescribing the appropriate medication for the patient?

This ruling by the FDA opens a Pandora's box of problems.
The heart failure drug BiDil was approved Thursday by government regulators for use by blacks. It will be the first medication marketed for a specific racial group. The Food and Drug Administration called the approval a step toward "the promise of personalized medicine."

Studies showed that blacks benefited from the drug while the general population did not. The drug is marketed by NitroMed Inc. of Lexington, Mass.

"The information presented to the FDA clearly showed that blacks suffering from heart failure will now have an additional safe and effective option for treating their condition," said Dr. Robert Temple, the agency's associate director of medical policy. "In the future, we hope to discover characteristics that identify people of any race who might be helped by BiDil."

A study indicated that the drug led to a 43 percent reduction in deaths from heart failure among the blacks who took it. Research was stopped early after scientist realized the benefits of the drug so the data could be presented for the drug's approval.

BiDil is a combination of two older drugs, hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate, neither approved for heart failure. Some common side effects with the drug are headache and dizziness.

Temple said the success of the drug in blacks was a "striking example of how a treatment can help some patients even if it does not help all patients."

In addition to the reduction in deaths, the FDA cited a 39 percent decrease in hospitalizations for those who took the drug compared with those who took a placebo.

While the favorable results of the study is good news for blacks, some health care experts said the company won't have financial incentive to do larger trials for the general population now that they have a product patented for blacks only. While, others worry that blacks will automatically be prescribed the pill based on their skin color, even if it may not be the best choice.
I blogged about this topic back in November, when the clinical trials were stopped because of the disparity in results with blacks:
My racial/ethnic background is extremely varied, but I do know, for instance, that type II diabetes exists on both sides of my family, for at least two generations, and I am one of the few in my family on either side to receive the kinky hair gene. My gene pool represents the multi-culti phenomenon that is part of the colorful history of the United States. It's nearly impossible to easily pigeonhole someone like me into any clear category, though I do, when I feel like it, check the African-American box to make someone else comfortable with clerical matters. The truth is that checking the box denies all the pieces of genetic history that makes me who I am -- I have white American, West Indian (Barbados), white European, American Indian (Shinnecock, Lumbee), and possibly Chinese ancestors in my family tree. It's harder for people in my boat to trace things like this back too far, but there are folks on both sides of my family trying to do so. What does that make me (other than a proud "mutt" -- and a white supremacist's embodiment of what is wrong with America)?


Paul the Spud kicks Karl Rove's ass

A must-read at Shakes Sis. You have to surf and enjoy the whole post by contributor Paul the Spud, but here's a taste...
Just when you think Karl Rove can't morph into an even larger asshole, he goes and opens his yapper.
NEW YORK - Speaking in a ballroom just a few miles north of ground zero, Karl Rove said the Democratic party did not understand the consequences of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Rove said Wednesday night. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

Karl, you ignorant slut.

In case you forgot, even though you were standing in the frigging city just a few miles away from the site of the tragedy, 9/11 occured in one of the most liberal cities and states in America, if not *the* most liberal. New York City is Democrat. Always has been; always will be.

You were NOT there on 9/11. I was. I was standing in the street watching when the towers went down. I inhaled those buildings and those dead people for weeks afterwards.

I have never, ever felt the strength of the American people like I did that day, and the weeks following. We pulled together as a community. We fought back in the best way we could: By offering support and compassion to our fellow New Yorkers. I was goddamned proud to be an American.

And what did you do? I'm not exactly sure, you didn't show your weasely face anywhere that day, but I'm willing to bet you hid under the frigging bed and wet your fatass dockers.
Oh, what a good laugh that was.


Supremes: cities can seize your house

Eminent Domain is A-OK, says the Supreme Court. What developer paid off these Justices?
A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.

The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
The people that will suffer are the working poor who have homes and no political clout as cities mow down those areas for profit. Also caught in the crossfire will be anyone that doesn't look at a city's planning and zoning maps before buying a house. You may be moving in right in the path of the next road extension to be built several years down the road, or worse, a Super Wal-Mart. If anyone thinks cities know best and will act solely on behalf of the public good, they are smoking some strong stuff.
Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

...Stevens was joined in his opinion by other members of the court's liberal wing — David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The bloc typically has favored greater deference to cities, which historically have used the takings power for urban renewal projects that benefit the lower and middle class.
Here in Durham, thriving black and working class neighborhoods (Hayti, Brookstown, Erwin Park, Hickstown and Crest Street communities) were demolished in 1965 to make way for a freeway, "urban renewal" as it were.


Durham's Biltmore Hotel and the Regal Theater on Hayti's Pettigrew Street in the 1940s. Hayti was a bustling black business district south of the tracks from downtown Durham. Hayti's demise came at the expense of "progress" -- the Durham Expressway. There were many homes, and over one hundred businesses, including movie theaters, drugstores, the Biltmore, restaurants, barber and beauty shops, cleaners, funeral homes, service stations...gone. (source: Marshall Thompson via Old West Durham web site)

From a feature in the Independent Weekly on St. Joseph's Historic Foundation/Hayti Heritage Center, which helps preserves the history of the community:
As more and more blacks acquired land in the area extending south and west from the corner of Pettigrew and Fayetteville streets, and a thriving business district and residential neighborhood grew up around it, the church's membership expanded as well. The congregation quickly outgrew two frame structures before building the brick edifice that still stands today at the crest of Fayetteville Street, overlooking the Durham Freeway.

That it still presides over the southeastern entrance to the city is somewhat of a miracle, for much of Hayti was destroyed in the "urban renewal" of the early 1970s. Gone are the hotels, restaurants, theaters, small businesses and barber shops. Gone, the pool halls and juke joints where Durham's own brand of the blues rang out day and night. Gone, the equally important original White Rock Baptist Church. Gone, homes large and small--all replaced with "public housing" and a river of concrete, at a social cost still being reckoned.


Killen will die in prison



The killer Klansman got 60 years, the maximum.
Saying "each life has value," a judge on Thursday sentenced former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen to the maximum 60 years in prison for masterminding the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers.

The frail, 80-year-old Killen, sitting in a wheelchair and dressed in a yellow jail jumpsuit, sat impassively and stared straight ahead as Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon sentenced him to 20-year terms on each of three counts of manslaughter. Gordon said the terms will run consecutively.

...Killen will be taken to state prison, where his status will evaluated and he will be held in solitary confinement, Attorney General Jim Hood said. Hood said Killen has expressed no remorse.

...Killen had been convicted in 1975 of threatening a woman over the telephone, a case that Gordon himself had prosecuted. Killen served five months in prison on the charge.


Nancy Goldstein celebrates marriage and Pride month

Nancy Goldstein, as usual, has a great column up at Raw Story (syndicated by PageOneQ). This week she has an interview with Hillary and Julie Goodridge, who in addition to being the plaintiffs in the case were the first same-sex couple to be legally wed in the state. It's a must-read.

As Nancy points out, over 6,000 same-sex couples have married in the state and $150 million has poured into the Massachusetts economy because of it. And in case you're wondering, all of the state legislators that supported marriage equality were re-elected. Take that, you paranoid homophobes.


Hillary and Julie Goodridge (with their daughter Annie), the lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health. Their case established the right of same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts in late 2003.


Jerusalem bans Pride parade

Paranoia in the Holy Land over a gay pride celebration is out of control. So what has changed since last year's parade, which occurred without incident?
Jerusalem officials said Thursday they will ban the annual gay pride parade set for next week, claiming the march would offend many of the holy city's residents. Organizers of the parade appealed to Israel's Supreme Court to repeal the ruling, saying the decision was a violation of the homosexual community's freedom of expression.

The city council, including the mayor, decided "it is not right to allow the march or other planned activities to take place in the streets of Jerusalem, fearing that it will create an uproar, offend a wide sector of city residents and out of fear of public disturbances," Eitan Meir, director general of City Hall, said in a letter to organizers.

...The march, scheduled for June 30, was to be the fourth annual parade. The three previous parades have passed peacefully, attended by several thousand people and with only minor incidents of vandalism and protest.

...The city decision comes just weeks after the Jerusalem Open House postponed WorldPride 2005, a 10-day gathering that includes street parties, workshops and a gay film festival, until August 2006.
The fight over WorldPride, in particular, has been ugly. In an unprecendented display of religious unity, homo-bigots of three faiths got together to protest the festival back in March. (NYT):

From left: Sheik Abed es- Salem Menasra, deputy mufti of Jerusalem; the Rev. Michel Sabbagh, the Latin patriarch; the Rev. Aris Shirvanian, the Armenian patriarch; Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi; and Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi. The man at right was not identified. (European Pressphoto Agency)

"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable. It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."
-- Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi


"We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."
-- Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik


[It's] "the spiritual rape of the Holy City. This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land."
-- Rev. Leo Giovinetti, an evangelical pastor from San Diego's Mission Valley Christian Fellowship, author of the petition against the festival, "Homosexuals to Desecrate Jerusalem"


Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.


Look at what our Canadian friends have to put up with



Canuck 'nut Brian Rushfeldt: the move to adopt country-wide gay civil marriage is "the ultimate attack on this sacred institution."

Canadian wingnuts railing on about same-sex civil marriage are just as strident as our AmTaliban.
A pro-family advocate is outraged over Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's vow to keep Parliament in session throughout the summer, if necessary, to pass a proposed controversial and divisive same-sex "marriage" law.

The Globe and Mail newspaper has reported that the Prime Minister believes he has enough support to pass the bill known as C-38, which would give homosexuals across the country the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.

However, Brian Rushfeldt of the Canada Family Action Coalition says his research suggests that only about 3,000 homosexual couples would actually take advantage of the law, a number that represents only a small percentage of the nation's 34 million people. "It's less than 0.05 [percent]," he notes. "Of course, they don't want those figures to come out publicly because it is so minute that people are going to [ask] 'Why did we go through all of this for that few Canadians?' There's something wrong with the system that allows that."

According to Rushfeldt, it has become obvious that the people of Canada no longer live in a democracy. "Even the suggestion that we extend Parliament to try and ram through a piece of legislation, such as the Marriage Amendment Act, is nothing short of socialist, dictatorship-style leadership -- in fact, it's not leadership at all; it is dictatorship."

Also, the activist points out, keeping the government running all summer will cost Canadian taxpayers millions. Yet it seems to be a cost the Prime Minister is willing to impose on the citizens of his country in order to see marriage redefined. Martin's efforts, along with those of some liberal Members of Parliament, are part of what Rushfeldt calls "the ultimate attack on this sacred institution."


Rev. TinkyWinky joins the Kraft boycott



The wingnuts at the American Family Association already started a war on Kraft for sponsoring the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago (see earlier Blend post), but the Rev. Jerry Falwell is not one to miss out on an opportunity for publicity whoring, so he's jumped into the fray.
In his monthly National Liberty Journal, Falwell wrote, "Multiple millions of Americans who loyally purchase Kraft products have a right to express their opinion on the company's decision to link itself with the Gay Games. These people have a right to say, 'If Kraft insists on sponsoring the Gay Games, I will be compelled to seek alternative brands at the grocery store.'"

Falwell added, "Please considerately express ... your desire that Kraft Foods withdraw its corporate sponsorship of Gay Games VII."
The best part is that Kraft is standing firm and folks in Chicago are laughing at the AmTaliban.
...Kevin Boyer, spokesman for Chicago Games Inc., the host organization for the Gay Games, said, "How bad must the right-wing extremists hate gay people to not want us to play softball? Despite their claims, their views of the Gay Games and the Kraft sponsorship are not shared by the vast majority of people -- gay or straight. Political, business and religious leaders from Chicago, Illinois and the world have already responded with their voices of support for Chicago 2006, Kraft Foods and all of our sponsors."

Boyer pointed out that the Illinois State House of Representatives adopted a resolution on May 31 in support of the 2006 Chicago Gay Games.

State Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, who sponsored the resolution, told reporters, "The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] communities of Illinois contribute so much to the economy and culture of this state. The Gay Games has already created jobs and revenue for the businesses of Chicago. In July 2006, Gay Games VII will have an impact on par with some of the city's largest conventions and sports events. It makes good business sense to support this kind of positive economic activity, and we're delighted to welcome the world to Chicago next year."

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Daily Herald published editorials supporting the Gay Games and chastising the religious right for its intolerance.

"If the 'family' group wants to take on the gay community, it should do so on the diamond at the Gay Games," wrote Burt Constable in the June 11 edition of the Daily Herald. "A softball game between 'The Switch-hitters' and 'The Straight Shooters' would be more entertaining than anything the Olympics could offer."
Kraft has gotten a ton of support, but each contact is meaningful:

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
Web Form


The Pentagon's "teen snatching" database



The WaPo reports that the Pentagon needs fresh meat so badly that it's collecting boatloads of data on 16-18 year olds so that they can cherry-pick for "extra freshness." The ability to do this was slipped into "No Child Left Behind." Puts a fresh new spin on that term, huh? By letting private firms manage the data, the military was trying to avoid scrutiny of these tactics.
The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service," according to the official notice of the program.

Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.

..."Using multiple sources allows the compilation of a more complete list of eligible candidates to join the military," according to written statements provided by Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke in response to questions. "This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts."
Also, considering the increasing and alarming breaches of security by private companies (Citibank, Mastercard, etc.) that hold personal data that could be used for identity theft, do you really trust Uncle Sam to effectively vet this contractor?
Chris Jay Hoofnagle, West Coast director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the system "an audacious plan to target-market kids, as young as 16, for military solicitation."

He added that collecting Social Security numbers was not only unnecessary but posed a needless risk of identity fraud. Theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information from data brokers, government agencies, financial institutions and other companies is rampant.

"What's ironic is that the private sector has ways of uniquely identifying individuals without using Social Security numbers for marketing," he said.

The Pentagon statements said the military is "acutely aware of the substantial security required to protect personal data," and that Social Security numbers will be used only to "provide a higher degree of accuracy in matching duplicate data records."

The Pentagon said it routinely monitors its vendors to ensure compliance with its security standards.
That statement really reassures me.


Hey, nice place you got here...

Hello, House Blenders. It's "Radical" Russ. I'm just performing a test to let Pam know I'm here. She'll tell you why later, I suppose.

We now return you to your House Blend, already in progress.


Christian Alliance for Progress takes on Religious Reich

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

You knew that the behavior of the AmTaliban would eventually stir the sleeping religious Left. A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll last November found that 63 percent of people who attend services more than once a week vote Republican, while 37 percent of regular attendees vote Democrat. That's a big gulf and it's worthwhile to examine how to close that gap without sacrificing principles, the separation of church and state, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. (AFP):
Christians dismayed by the political power of America's "religious right" on issues like gay marriage and abortion launched a new grassroots movement to reclaim their faith.

"We are here because we can no longer stand by and watch people speak hatred, division, war and greed in the name of our faith," said Patrick Mrotek, founder of the Christian Alliance for Progress.

The movement, which aims to work as a catalyst for progressive Christians in US churches, seeks to balance the influence of conservative religious leaders on hot-button social issues like abortion and stem cell research. "We are here because Christianity is being used by some leaders on the religious right to marginalize gay and lesbian people, to criminalize desperate pregnant women," said Mrotek. "We are here because the language spoken by the religious right is Christian -- this requires a uniquely Christian response."

The religious "left" movement was galvanized by polls which suggested that "values voters" may have swung last year's presidential election to George W. Bush over his challenger John Kerry. Leaders were also alarmed by polls which suggest that a majority of people who regularly worship in the churches of America tend to vote Republican.

President George W. Bush is accused by opponents of pandering to the religious right on issues like gay marriage and stem cell research, to appease the conservative voters who form a key part of his political base. "The religious right has been extremely successful in taking control of the language of our faith and using it to promote an extreme and divisive political agenda," said the Reverend Timothy Simpson, director of religious affairs at the Christian Alliance for Progress.

"We think that most Americans, especially people of faith, are ready to hear from Christians who are tolerant, and who understand the many ways that our faiths impact our views of public life," he said.
The Alliance has a blog.


Wouldn't you know if you've been shot in the mouth?



WTF kind of painkillers or booze was this Florida man on?
Police say a Jacksonville man woke-up Monday with a serious headache and a bullet lodged in his tongue. Police say 47-year-old Wendell Coleman walked 12 blocks to a hospital after waking up with a very bad headache. His lip was swollen, he appeared to have powder burns and he had trouble speaking.

...Coleman told police that a woman stuck a gun barrel in his mouth during a dispute around 2:30 Monday morning. He told police that he heard the gun go off. Police say Coleman then went home to sleep.


A sunny Rotting CryptKeeperTM pic from a reader

House Blender Jason sent this one along...



His next "Love Crusade," according to Fred Phelps's godhatesfags website (of the Westboro Baptist Church), is scheduled for Flushing Meadows in Queens, NY on June 24-26 (oh, near my aunts! Better give them a call).
WBC to picket the arch-heretic, traitor and rebel against the Great King of Glory - Billy Graham - at another of his "final" crusades - June 24-26 at Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y. - in religious protest & warning: "God is not mocked!" God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Billy Graham and will ere long cast him into Hell and torment him with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. Rev. 14:10,11.


Mormon leader Hinckley's turning 95


Hinckley on homos: "We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem."

And you thought the JPII hung around too long...this coot's pushing 100. Just wanted to share an excerpt of one of my Best of the Blend posts in honor of Mormon spiritual leader Gordon B. Hinckley's 95th birthday, which the Salt Lake Tribune reports is coming up. That SLT link is to a puff piece on the guy.

The Mormons endorse "reparative aversion therapy" to rid folks of their homo tendencies. Though the church says it is not directly affiliated with organizations responsible for the mental and emotional torture of vulnerable gays and lesbians (like Exodus, Love in Action, Regeneration, etc.), gay Mormons are threatened with rejection by both their church and their families if they do not submit to "treatment." A snippet from one young man's story:
He is sitting in an office on the campus of BYU, where his counselor has attached electrodes to his hands, arms, torso and genitals. His Mormon Bishop gave him a referral to the counselor. Jayce is shown pornographic images of men having sexual encounters. Then, ZAP! His body tingles, then aches from the electrical shock administered by his trusted counselor. He is scheduled for twice-weekly sessions for four months. "Toward the end of the program I could press a button and it would stop the shock and then a picture of a woman would come on."

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

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


More wingnuttery at the Southern Baptist Convention

Bible-thumping propaganda web site AgapePress has some entertaining dispatches from the Southern Baptist Convention, which is where Boob-in-Chief did his little anti-gay marriage tap dance the other day. First up is the knee-slapping funny "ex-gay" advocate Richard Land.

This dude, with the worst rug imaginable, favors a ban on female pastors too.

A well-known Southern Baptist leader has offered his views on homosexuality, including his belief that the sinful lifestyle is actually a symptom of other influences. Dr. Richard Land heads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. During a speech to the denomination's convention in Nashville on Tuesday, he urged the audience to come to an understanding about the nature of homosexuality. "Homosexuality is not just something that people do. Homosexuals are convinced that their homosexuality is part of who they are," Land stated. "We must come to the place where we understand that homosexuality is a symptom of deeper influences." During the speech, Land also referred to people being "trapped" in the homosexual lifestyle. "Those of you here who may be struggling with same-sex attractions or who are already trapped in a homosexual lifestyle, in love we urge you to reach out to God and a trusted Christian family member or a friend, and to begin to reclaim God's plan for your life," he said. "Walk toward Jesus."
Convention delegates were also busy passing a resolution to investigate the public schools, because, of course, they are crawling with homosexuals pushing their agenda.
The resolution that made it to the floor in Nashville did not call for the withdrawal of children from public schools, but for parents to make that decision. During debate, Florida messenger Robert Dreyfuss said overall, public schools cannot provide a biblical foundation for children. "If we continue doing things as we've been doing them, I think we're going to look very much like Europe now looks," the delegate said. "Public schools are a mission field -- but they're a killing field to our children." The co-author of the resolution says he is satisfied the SBC has finally taken a stand on the issue.


[Closet queen] Bruce Shortt says when churches discover how far-reaching homosexual influence is in public schools, action will be taken. "I think in many cases when our pastors discover that the local school district is betraying the community's trust by collaborating with homosexual activists in the ways that I've described, they'll know what to do."
And how can we leave out our favorite defrocked Alabama judge, Roy Moore, who came to Nashville to speechify on the Ten Commandments.


The former chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court says Christians in America have been deceived by a government forbidding the acknowledgment of God. During his speech to the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference, Judge Roy Moore said preachers must be sure their congregations are educated about the role of God in the foundation of the nation. Moore gave thousands of pastors a brief history lesson to show how the country's founding fathers recognized God's sovereignty and God's law. He reminded pastors he was removed from Alabama's high court not because of a Ten Commandments monument, but because of his acknowledgment of God. "Without the acknowledgment of God, there would not be a First Amendment," Moore exclaimed.


Bumf*ck Tar Heel judge denies use of Quran for oath


News & Record file photo
"Everybody understands what the holy scriptures are. If they don't, we're in a mess."
-- Guilford County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright, dissing the Quran as a substitute for taking the oath on a bible.
Ah, here's today's mind-expanding NC story, from the Greensboro News and Record. NC state law allows people to swear to tell the truth instead of using a bible, and that is treated the same by law. Apparently using the Quran was just too much for this Tar Heel judge to handle.
The decision by local court officials to deny the use of the Quran for oaths has garnered national media attention and the scrutiny of a Washington-based Islamic civil rights group. Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Tuesday that statements by Guilford County's top judge seem to endorse a particular religion and could be a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Guilford Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright told the News & Record last week that an oath taken on the Quran is not a lawful oath under state law. The law refers to laying one's hand on the "Holy Scriptures."

...Arsalan Iftikhar, the council's legal director, said Tuesday that his organization sees those statements as a possible state endorsement of religion and thus perhaps a violation of the establishment clause in the First Amendment. The clause says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that any local, state or federal law that seems to place a preference on Christianity above any other religion would probably violate the establishment clause, he said. If someone brought a lawsuit to challenge the policy, "It very well could make its way up the federal legal ladder," he said.

Albright was attending a judicial conference in Asheville Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Thanks to Ms. Julien for the pointer.


Can the VA bible-beating bigots be stopped?


These homo-haters in Virginia have launched a new PR campaign.

Virginia is already leading the way in terms of legislated discrimination against homos. It's not enough for the AmTaliban. A local TV station, WAVY, reports that a new web site was launched yesterday to pump up support for a state amendment to ban gay marriage. The organization is called va4marriage.org. It's the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" bullsh*t.
va4marriage.org's position regarding homosexuality is founded on traditional worldviews from the basic concepts of Western Civilization. We are committed to the time-tested, common-sense parameters for sexual relationships as monogamous, lifelong, heterosexual unions. Any expressed concern about homosexuality is aimed at behavior, which is harmful to the individuals involved and to Virginia. Our organization is not opposed to the people involved, just the cause. [WTF ever.]

Virginia does have a clear ban on same-sex marriage included its Code, and in 2004 passed, with a bipartisan, two-thirds majority, a ban on "civil unions," which are just stepping stones to marriage.
Let's meet the lovely folks behind this ignorance:


Victoria Cobb and Chris Freund of The Family Foundation, Helen Blackwell of the Virginia Eagle Forum, Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference, Dr. Jack Stagman of the Virginia Church Alliance.

The link features bios of these nuts; all of these folks are available as speakers for the cause in the state, so they'll likely be spewing the bible-beating crap across the airwaves like this:
While our elected officials may feel uncomfortable dealing with issues of homosexuality, like same-sex marriage and adoption, domestic partner benefits, etc., the aggressiveness of homosexual activists to work their will though the courts leaves legislators no choice. The General Assembly must take these issues on and take a stand.

Consequently, to maintain what we have in Virginia regarding marriage and to protect it from further attacks, we must change the highest legal document by which we abide. By amending the Virginia Constitution to define marriage and ban any of its counterfeits, va4marriage.org is advancing the will of Virginians that marriage is and ought to be the lifelong union of only one man and one woman.
Here is the official list of "coalition members" that have working to pass the amendment or have indicated their support of VA for Marriage:

The Family Foundation
Catholic Diocese of Arlington
Catholic Conference
Home School Legal Defense Association
Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays [Oh, here they are again...]
Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia
Tidewater Pastor's Council
Virginia Catholic Conference
Virginia Concerned Women for America
Virginia Eagle Forum

***
va4marriage.org
Post Office Box 921
Richmond, Virginia 23218
1-866-ONE-UNION
E-mail: info@va4marriage.org


Abstinent wingnuts, please head to your local recruiting office

Robert N. Conley of Chandlersville, OH sent in a slamming letter to his local paper, the Zanesville Times-Recorder, "Religious right should aid recruiting." I was laughing out loud.
Army recruiting quotas are not being met. Now, in this time of need, the nation's focus should rightfully focus on the clerics of the religious right: Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, Parsley, etc. Can they focus? Can they refocus? Can they get the job done? Perhaps many of these clerics are hesitant to focus on military recruiting because they are former unfocused draft-dodgers. They need to get past their unfocused youthful follies. They need to refocus their focus on military recruiting.

According to religious-right reports (not propaganda), at least two to three million potential recruits have attended taxpayer-funded meetings, where they have "signed" one of the most important of all pledges: No sex before marriage. These are ideal military recruits. Certainly, the clerics can make changes where the lady pledges can focus on appropriate gender-specific tasks under the focus of their natural masters. This clerical focus should focus exclusively on the Army and Marine Corps, where all the killing is focused. Let those other people (you know who I mean) populate the Navy and the Air Force.

Yes, it is important to get everyone in the world to admit that the entire universe is 6006 (some silly heretics say 6022, others 6044) years old. And, yes, it is very important to do away with all science, and all of its complications, by just letting our all-knowing clerics explain everything to us by using the simplistic, catch-all concept of "intelligent" design. And, of course, it is important to replace all judges with robots by Robertson.

But, right now, the focus needs to be on military recruiting. Our country needs to come first. It's time for our religious right clerics to focus on military recruiting. In brief, it's time to refocus the focus.


Feel the pain - Bush backs down on Social Security accounts


Doofus-in-Chief's support of Sen. Bob Bennett's proposal shows he knows his Social Security destruction plan is dead in the water.

The Chimperor has no clothes, and his booty has been kicked till it hurts. Has this story gotten much play? I haven't heard a peep on any newschannels about it this AM. Maybe his pathetic, staged road shows will finally come to an end, now that he is backing a bill that doesn't include his private investment accounts. The people have spoken you bastard. What it also says is that the Dems, when they actually stick to a opposition game plan, can actually accomplish something.
President Bush encouraged a Republican senator on Tuesday to offer Social Security legislation that would not include private investment accounts. The White House said the president still was committed to allowing workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes.

Bush's nod to Utah Sen. Bob Bennett's plan comes as public polls show that most Americans do not support the president's handling of the Social Security issue. Congress has been deadlocked on it.

..."He indicated that I should go forward and do that," Bennett said. "And I'm grateful to have him do that even though his own preference would be to have personal accounts included."



..."This in no way should be interpreted to mean that the president is backing off of personal accounts," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. "He is not." [Translation: "I f*cked up."]

Since the beginning of his second term, Bush has been pushing to allow younger workers to create voluntary personal accounts funded out of their Social Security payroll taxes. Democrats accuse the White House of seeking to privatize the Depression-era program and have been unified in opposition to the idea.

...Bennett said some Democrats have told him privately that they would support such a bill, but he is not sure how many will be on board publicly now that he's introducing the legislation. He said he is looking for Democrats to co-sponsor the bill, but he didn't have any to announce Tuesday.

"We've had a lot of interest," he said. "We have a lot of hope that we can use this bill to break the logjam and move forward on Social Security. We'll find out in the weeks to come."

Bennett said when he told Bush of his plans, "He just said, 'I like your bill.' Period."
The Freepi are writhing in pain right now, hahahahahaha...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I give up. I just give up....."

"It would appear that he's backing down. I'll wait for more details before I get too upset, but this looks like a loss for us."

"Might be better to just give up on 'reform' entirely until the next election, rather than have some RINOs and Dems hijack it to raise taxes without personal accounts."

"This Bush list of downsides just keeps growing. A President with a MANDATE, a majority in the House and Senate, and he gives away the store -- WHY? -- just so he can say he 'passed a SS bill'???? Is the legacy all that America is about now?"

"It would appear that we're entering the "lipstick on the pig" phase of Mr. Bush's vaunted SS reform. Another collapse."

"What a sissy. I see the Presidential spine and testicle removal operation was a success."

"Looks like a train wreck is about to happen!!"

"I see the bluest of the blue blood conservatives(i.e malcontents) are licking up the liberal media spin. I give up, you all are hopeless."

"Hey, while I like the guy, W has been very disappointing at times as a leader. He obviously can't get what he wants out of his own Republican Congress. Somebody buy this man a veto pen. Maybe if someone believed he would actually veto a bill, he might have more bargaining power."

"Will you people show some stones once in a while - This is called moving the pendulum slowly in our direction. And we will have private accounts (of 2%) by the time GWB leaves office in 2008 - And in the end game that is the bottom line. GWB wants private accounts before he leaves office."

"This has to be a record for lame duck status. 5 months? Amazing...."

"Somebody buy this man a veto pen. There are too many domestic issues he is failing on. It is a crappy situation when the House and Senate are so closely divided. The RINOs should be hung and replaced -- blackball their butts. Unity of purpose is a BIG problem the GOP has."

"Is it just me, or does it feel like the Democrats are in charge?"

"Bush will sign anything to make it look like he's doing something, when in fact, he's doing nothing."

"He's no Ronald Reagan who did more with a RAT enabled Congress. I hope people stop the comparisons now."

"Unity of purpose is a BIG problem the GOP has. This always happens to the party in power. They get fat and happy and feel free to spin off on their own personal tangents. I'm a bit surprised to see it happen to the Republicans quite so quickly, however."

"Hopefully he'll fold on his Mexican amnesty plan as fast as he folded on this."


NYT: Social Security opened its files for FBI


Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY): The government's new policy has "real civil liberties implications for abuse."

More Big Brother crap -- your privacy rights slip away silently for homeland security's sake.
The Social Security Administration has relaxed its privacy restrictions and searched thousands of its files at the request of the F.B.I. as part of terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, newly disclosed records and interviews show.

The privacy policy typically bans the sharing of such confidential information, which includes home addresses, medical information and other personal data. But senior officials at the Social Security agency agreed to an "ad hoc" policy that authorized the release of information to the bureau for investigations related to Sept. 11 because officials saw a "life-threatening" emergency, internal memorandums say.

The Internal Revenue Service also worked with the bureau and the Social Security agency to provide income and taxpayer information in terror inquiries, law enforcement officials said. Officials said the I.R.S. information was limited because legal restrictions prevented the sharing of taxpayer information except by court order or in cases of "imminent danger" or other exemptions. The tax agency refused to comment. [Let's see, so what does that broad statement NOT cover?!]

The Social Security memorandums were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group here. Copies were provided to The New York Times.

Social Security and law enforcement officials said that they were sensitive to privacy concerns and had put safeguards in place, but that they believed that the information gave investigators a valuable tool.

"We ran thousands of Social Security numbers," said a former senior F.B.I. official who insisted on anonymity because the files involved internal cases.

"We got very useful information, that's for sure," the former official said. "We recognized the value of having that information to track leads, and, to their credit, so did the Social Security Administration."

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who has sought information from the Social Security agency on the issue, said the new policy had "real civil liberties implications for abuse." Ms. Maloney questioned whether Congress was adequately informed.

"If we don't know when the Social Security Administration decides to change its rules to disclose personal information," she said, "I think Americans have a right to be skeptical about their privacy."


Sinking in the polls? Time to bash the homos

Tuesday, June 21, 2005



It's like a f*cking broken record, isn't it? You'd think by now that Chimpy's pious, brain-dead following would wake up and smell the giant pile of cowdung that their Dear Leader is shoveling at them. But alas, no. They stand and cheer because the resurgence of the bash-the-homos theme gives them all hard-ons. For the Chimperor, it's one of his only cards to play now that:

* DSM is blowing up in his face
* his poll numbers are plummeting
* his Social Security plan is going nowhere
* the polls show people in favor of stem cell research
* soldiers are shipping out to Iraq no armor or adequate supplies
* the body count continues to rise as IEDs and bombs go off at will
* the Pentagon is scraping the bottom of the recruiting barrel
* folks in his party are now bucking his policies (Iraq, Patriot Act)

What a lame-*ss loser -- he has to go kick some homo butt so he can feel better. And will he stop this "culture of life" sh*t? Who is still buying this godawful hokum? After the Schiavo fiasco, you'd think he'd tone this crap down. Hopeless.
Reviving a major plank of his re-election campaign, President Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Tuesday.

The president’s address to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention — the fourth year in a row he has spoken to the conservative evangelical gathering — was crafted to rally the social religious conservatives who make up a crucial part of Bush’s governing coalition. He restated his commitment to issues dear to conservatives’ hearts, notably his opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion and research on human embryonic stem cells — a stance he calls the “culture of life.”

....Bush’s remarks were similar to those he made last year, when he said he would work to uphold marriage as he sought to solidify his religious conservative base ahead of the November election. He thanked the 11,077 “messengers” who made the trek to Nashville this year for defending “the values that carry a moral society, for ... defending the family and the sacred institution of marriage.”

...In a nod to polling data that suggest Americans strongly support embryonic stem cell research, Bush sought to focus the debate on theoretical pitfalls should such science be perfected. Not once did he use the words “stem cell” or “embryos.” Instead, the president cast his position as standing in the way of “cloning” — which some scientists say could be a realistic result of the research — and “the creation of life only to destroy it.”

The Southern Baptist Convention strongly condemns homosexuality, and the president’s remarks were greeted with sustained applause. Gay rights activists were organizing a rally for Wednesday morning at the Nashville Public Library to protest the convention's preaching on gays and lesbians.


Bipartisan bill would ensure gay bi-national couples equal treatment


Jerrold Nadler and Pat Leahy better get ready for the AmTaliban smear campaign.

Big, good news (365gay.com).
Legislation was introduced in Congress Tuesday that would treat same-sex couples the same as opposite sex-couples for the purposes of immigration.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House and Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt) in the Senate, has a large number of bipartisan cosponsors in both chambers. The Uniting American Families Act was previously named the Permanent Partners Immigration Act which died when the last session of Congress ended.

Nadler said he expected the new measure to fare better because it has broader support. The move was hailed by LGBT civil rights groups.

"Our nation should bring families together, not tear them apart," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

...At least 16 countries recognize same-sex couples for the purposes of immigration including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


Guilty -- and "peaceful" to the end



Looks like Edgar Ray Killen, "a man of character" and member of that "peaceful organization," the KKK, is going to the clink. If this bastard ends up in gen pop, he's going to be someone's wrinkled b*tch in short order...if he lives that long.
Forty-one years to the day three civil rights workers were ambushed and killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob, a jury found former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen guilty of all three counts of manslaughter Tuesday.

The "Freedom Summer" killings of James Chaney, 21, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, galvanized the civil rights movement. The jury of nine whites and three blacks reached the decision after several hours of deliberations.

Killen showed no emotion as the verdicts were read.

But as he was being escorted from the courthouse under heavy guard, the wheelchair-bound man took swipes at reporters' microphones and cameras. One of the reporters was black, as was a cameraman.
Thanks to House Blender Holly for the pointer.


Perv trooper makes couple strip during traffic stop

It must get boring out there working the speedtraps in Cook County. Nothing like spicing up a midnight shift by pulling people over and making them strip to the skivvies for your entertainment. The kicker to the story is that the cop never called in the alleged violation, so he's just your garden variety sicko.
When the man in the uniform told them to strip to their underwear, the young couple thought they'd surely encountered someone impersonating a cop. But the man involved in a traffic stop near Northbrook was in fact Illinois State Trooper Jeremy Dozier, Cook County prosecutors allege. Dozier, a 10-year veteran trooper, was charged Friday with four counts of official misconduct. Bond set at $50,000

Dozier, driving an unmarked squad car, came upon the couple while their car was parked along Interstate 94 near Northbrook about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, prosecutors said.

Dozier gave the 22-year-old man and 18-year-old woman a Breathalyzer test, prosecutors said. Dozier told the woman she had failed the test and then asked her what he should do, Jensen said. The woman suggested Dozier write a ticket. But Dozier allegedly said he didn't want to put her "in the system."

Dozier then ordered the couple to strip down to their underwear, which they did, Jensen said. At some point, Dozier stepped back, and the couple were able to jump into their car and get away, Jensen said.

"They couldn't believe it was a real cop," said Tom Bilyk, supervisor of the Cook County state's attorney's public corruption and financial crimes unit, which is handling the case. Dozier had never called in the original traffic stop and so the dispatcher was apparently unaware Dozier might be involved, Jensen said.


TSA illegally collects passenger info


Cat Stevens got the heavo-ho when he mistakenly landed on TSA's watchlist. But only after he was in flight. But fear not, TSA has his and probably your personal data illegally stored away.

They have your personal info, but the f*cktards at the Transportation Security Administration still can't keep people who are on the terrorist watchlist off the planes before they take off. Boy, that's the best of both freaking, corrupt incompetent worlds. Oh, and the airlines willingly gave up that personal info.
The federal agency in charge of aviation security collected extensive personal information about airline passengers even though Congress forbade it and officials said they wouldn't do it, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The Transportation Security Administration bought and is storing details about U.S. citizens who flew on commercial airlines in June 2004 as part of a test of a terrorist screening program called Secure Flight, the documents indicate.

"TSA is losing the public's trust," said Tim Sparapani, a privacy lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. "They have a repeated, consistent problem with doing one thing and then saying they did another."

Secure Flight and its predecessor, CAPPS II, have been criticized for secretly obtaining personal information about airline passengers and failing to do enough to protect it.

The TSA and several airlines were embarrassed last year when it was revealed that airlines gave personal information on 12 million passengers to the government without the travelers' permission or knowledge. An inspector general's report found TSA misled the public about its role in acquiring the data.

Class-action lawsuits have been brought against airlines and government contractors for sharing their passengers' information. As a result, airlines agreed to turn over passenger data for testing only after they were ordered to do so by the government in November.

According to the documents, which will be published in the Federal Register this week, the TSA gave the data, known as passenger name records, to its contractor, Virginia-based EagleForce Associates. Passenger name records can include a variety of information, including name, address, phone number and credit card information.

EagleForce then compared the passenger name records with commercial data from three contractors that included first, last and middle names, home address and phone number, birth date, name suffix, second surname, spouse first name, gender, second address, third address, ZIP code and latitude and longitude of address. The reason for the comparison was to find out if the passenger name record data was accurate, according to the TSA.

EagleForce then produced CD-ROMs containing the information — except for latitude and longitude and spouse's first name — "and provided those CD-ROMs to TSA for use in watch list match testing," the documents said. TSA now stores that data.

According to previous official notices, TSA had said it would not store commercial data about airline passengers.

The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping a secret database. It also requires agencies to make official statements on the impact of their record keeping on privacy.


How low can reality TV go? Don't ask.

Monday, June 20, 2005



How's this for a premise -- feature three fundy Christian families and let them figure out which minority family they find the least repellent to live next to. Film then as they freely exhibit all their bigotry out into the open for Nielsen ratings. Gotcha yet? Must-see-TV for ya! What a barrel of laughs!
A new reality series in which three white, self-described "Christian" families get to pick their new neighbors from among a group of minority families is already drawing fire. And it hasn't even aired yet.

The show is called "Welcome to the Neighborhood" and it's coming to ABC July 10.

"I will not tolerate a homosexual couple coming into this neighborhood," one of the neighbors, Jim Stewart, says on the show about one of the candidate families — a gay couple with an adopted baby. "I want a family similar to what we are," asserts another neighbor, John Bellamy, in a statement that would seem to dismiss at least six out of the seven candidate families.

The diverse group includes African-American, Caucasian, Korean, Latino and gay families, plus one family in which husband and wife are heavily tattooed, and another in which mom and dad are devoted to the practice of Wicca, sometimes known as witchcraft or paganism.

The show's first two episodes are filled with statements such as those above. Along with the show's premise, in which neighbors get to choose who will move into a vacant house on their cul-de-sac, the attitude reflected in the judging families' statements is raising hackles among fair-housing and gay anti-defamation activists — sometimes sight-unseen.

"The show perpetuates the problems of housing discrimination, segregation and racism in America, and it undermines the fair-housing rights of a person's ability to go buy a house without any approval or judgment from a neighbor," says Shanna Smith, president of the Washington-based National Fair Housing Alliance. She hasn't seen the show yet, but is basing her conclusions mainly on reading ABC's press materials promoting the show. She is already talking about launching an advertiser boycott.

Meanwhile, from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation comes this reaction: "Watching three privileged couples vote to get rid of disenfranchised families they don't like is really disturbing," says Damon Romine, Los Angeles-based entertainment media director for GLAAD. Romine watched the first two episodes of the show last week. "Welcome to the Neighborhood" was filmed over a four-week period last winter in a suburban housing development in Austin, Texas.

The winning family gets a four-bedroom, three-bath home, plus furnishings, upgrades and two years' worth of property taxes paid for them — a prize worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $900,000, estimates two of the show's executive producers, Jay Blumenfield and Tony Marsh. [Would you want to live next to these bible-beating bigots?]

In an interview last week, they said the show does not violate fair-housing laws, according to what they were told by ABC's lawyers. "This isn't like [the judging families] were renting an apartment to somebody or actually the sellers of a home. This is a prize, so in that realm, those discrimination laws and all that stuff are not part of this process," Marsh said.
According to ABC's carefully crafted promo, we are going to be treated to a "learning experience...
But with every encounter with these families, the opinionated neighbors' pre-conceived assumptions and prejudices are also chipped away, and they learn that, while on the outside we may appear different, deep inside we share many common bonds. The judges find themselves learning to see people, not stereotypes.
I have no doubt that intelligent discussion could be generated by this kind of show, but the people that need to see it won't tune in, and my initial reaction to reading about this is that I'd find watching the bigotry too almost too painful to take.

If ABC really wants to put forth a substantive effort on addressing prejudice, it would make this more than entertainment. Have a studio audience and a discussion of the show after each episode, with a sociologist or someone qualified to moderate a discussion on this volatile issue, and analyze the reactions and motivations of the principals involved. Assuming the sheeple will come away with a greater understanding of what lies behind prejudice or questioning their own biases is asking a lot.

My guess is that the Korean couple or the tattooed folks get the thumbs up. Any bets?

ABC, Inc.
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521-4551
Phone number: (818) 460-7477
Audience Relations Department at netaudr@abc.com


Wingnut: Canada has a pansy military



What a dumb*ss. Elaine Donnelly is like a bad penny, she always turns up with her backward opinions on military issues regarding gays, women and anyone else she deems unqualified to serve. The problem is, the military is running out of reasons to exclude gays from serving openly and women out of combat roles, with recruitment dropping through the floor.
A conservative military watchdog says there's a huge difference between the American and the Canadian militaries -- and that is why she doesn't think the U.S. is close to seeing what occurred at a base in Nova Scotia last month: the first same-sex "wedding" performed by the Canadian military. Two men exchanged vows in a small ceremony at the base chapel. Associated Press reports that Canada's military chaplains are under orders to treat a same-sex couple the same as a man and a woman who wish to marry. Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness says Canada is more concerned with social experimentation than it is with fighting wars. "Canada is not a world power," she explains. "It's value system is very different -- in Canada they put so-called 'equal opportunity' considerations ahead of the needs of the military; but then again, in Canada the Canadian forces are not a combat force." But Donnelly says the U.S. military is different. "We do take warfare seriously. We are a world power," she says. "We don't use our military for social experimentation, or to advance career considerations. That's the difference between the American military and the Canadian military." Donnelly says Americans should take a lesson from what happened in Canada and should advocate that the law regarding homosexuals in the military be maintained and strengthened.
I guess when Truman desegregated the military, he was not engaging in social experimentation, eh?

Earlier post featuring Donnelly: Is RAND consulting the Bush admin on how to avoid the draft?, with the priceless quote about the dangers of women in combat: "Predictable problems include far higher rates of medical leave and evacuations, primarily due to pregnancy, which Army officials refuse to reveal or discuss. Making the mix even more volatile will be sexual attractions, personal misconduct, and accusations of same."


DSM covered on Hardball tonight


Promo: Does the "Downing Street Memo" prove America was misled about the need for war in Iraq? Join Chris for a Hardball special report.

Chris Matthews is going to talk about the Downing Street documents on Hardball tonight. Crooks and Liars will probably have the video up later if you can't catch it.

Check out the latest blogswarming on DSM at Big Brass Alliance, and discussion on the BBA Forums.


OMFG: Former mayor defends ex-Klansman, KKK


Former Philadephia, MS mayor, cracker Harlan Majure (l) got on the stand and testified that Edgar Ray Killen (r) had a "good" reputation and was a man of character, and that the Klan "is a peaceful organization."

What must it be like to sit and listen to the cracker voices of the old South, still uttering sickness and hate. Oh wait...we can do that by talking to the Pro-Lynching Southern Six in our Senate. But I digress...

Gary over at Facing South points to a real jaw-dropper at the trial of former Ku Klux Klanman Edgar Ray Killen, who is charged in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.

Before the defense rested today, the former mayor of Philadephia opened his trap with this foulitude: (AP):
Harlan Majure, who was mayor of this rural Mississippi town in the 1990s, said Edgar Ray Killen was a good man and that the part-time preacher's Klan membership would not change his opinion.

Majur said the Klan "did a lot of good up here" and said he was not personally aware of the organization's bloody past.

"As far as I know it's a peaceful organization," Majure said. His comment was met with murmurs in the packed courtroom.
Guess Old Harlan must be a fan of the Southern Six.


Six more weeks in 'ex-gay' camp for TN teen


LIA continues its inhumane treatment of a Tennessee teen.

Over 1,000 people have commented at the blog of a gay teen that came out to his parents and was sent to the "ex-gay" hellhole of Love In Action's Refuge program.

The problem has now escalated -- he's been ordered to stay another six weeks at the facility for "reparative treatment" in an attempt to rid him of his homosexuality. He had been slated to be released today. (UKGayNews via PageOneQ):
After having his mobile (cell) phone taken away and his access to the internet denied, very little has been heard of the teen. In one of his last "blogs" on June 3, he wrote: "I don’t know how long I’m going to be on, because if they wake up, I’m screwed. The program starts June 6."

According to someone who claims to be a friend of Zach’s, the teen is staying another six weeks at the LIA refuge because his parents find it "necessary and effective."

Love in Action International Inc. claims to be able to "cure" gays in most cases. But "…sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be altered. Groups who try to change the sexual orientation of people through so-called conversion therapy are misguided and run the risk of causing a great deal of psychological harm…" says Dr. Raymond Fowler PhD along with the vast majority of contemporary American – and world-wide – psychological opinion

The refuge’s website gives details of reparative treatment:
Two-Week Intensive: The adolescent will attend meetings at the designated facility Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Participants in Refuge will be offered individual counseling sessions as scheduled by staff, recreational opportunities with other clients, as well as an atmosphere of accountability and support. The cost is $2,000.

Six-Week Extension: The adolescent will attend meetings at the designated facility Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Participants in Refuge will be offered individual counseling sessions as scheduled by staff, recreational opportunities with other clients, as well as an atmosphere of accountability and support. The six-week duration of this option promotes more time for healing and working on underlying issues that may not be covered during the two-week Refuge program. The cost is $4,500.
As we posted before, Refuge is an 'ex-gay' brainwashing program led by "former homosexual" John Smid of Love In Action (LIA). Smid has been quoted as saying: "I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery."

The Queer Action Coalition has just wrapped up nine days of protests at the LIA facility, and the story has been covered in local media.


The Congressional Pro-Lynching crew speaks out

Sunday, June 19, 2005

(via Raw Story) . Capitol Buzz reports that in an article in tomorrow's issue of Roll Call, "Senators Defend Lynching Absences," that some of the Senators are going to "come clean" on the reasons why they couldn't sponsor the measure for an apology for the Senate failing to approve legislation outlawing lynching. Read and watch your bullsh*t detector go off the charts.
These statements were provided by the Senators’ offices or culled from the Congressional Record. Some of the offices could not provide explanations by press time Friday.

Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) “I also condemn lynching. … But, rather than begin to catalog and apologize for all those times that some Americans have failed to reach our goals, I prefer to look ahead. I prefer to look to correct current injustices rather than to look to the past.”


Bob Bennett (Utah) “I come from a State that does not have a history of lynchings, but that does not mean I should be absolved from the concern that all Americans should have over the lynchings that have occurred. I note that it was the filibuster that made it possible for the Senate to be the body that blocked this legislation in the past. I would hope that in the future, we would all realize that the filibuster should be used for more beneficial purposes than that.”

Thad Cochran (Miss.) “I don’t feel I should apologize for the passage of or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate. But I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and that those committing them were not punished.”

John Cornyn (Texas) “There are different ways to acknowledge those times when Americans have failed to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.”

Mike Enzi (Wyo.) “Sen. Enzi believes the lynchings that took place were tragic and that they never should have occurred. The legislation was passed by voice vote. Sen. Enzi agreed to that. He did not object.”

Judd Gregg (N.H.) “The fact that this amendment passed unanimously showed the depth of the support this resolution rightfully received, and Sen. Gregg was pleased to offer his support.”

Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) “You don’t have to co-sponsor everything that you are in favor of. She abhors lynching and thinks it is a horrific part of American history.”

Jon Kyl (Ariz.) No response.


Trent Lott (Miss.) No response.

Richard Shelby (Ala.) “There are many instances where Sen. Shelby supports legislation and resolutions without being a co-sponsor.”

Gordon Smith (Ore.) “Sen. Smith strongly supports the resolution. He has a long record protecting civil rights.”

John Sununu (N.H.) “Sen. Sununu supported the resolution, and was on the Senate floor Monday evening when the resolution passed unanimously by a voice vote.”

Craig Thomas (Wyo.) “The Senator was working on the energy bill and CAFTA when that came around. ... If it passed by unanimous consent, that means everyone supported it. I don’t see the news value.”


Guess Chimpy might as well yuk it up...



...as he explains how he's going to screw seniors over on prescription coverage. This time it was Saturday at Maple Grove Community Center in Maple Grove, Minn. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


Our MSM: not all missing persons are equal - admit it


This picture of Tamika Houston, a woman who disappeared under suspicious circumstances from her home in Spartanburg, SC, hasn't been splashed across the headlines and 24/7 news outlets like Natalee Holloway's, who disappeared in Aruba recently.

Kate and I have discussed, as this endless coverage of Natalee Holloway continues, that the issues of race and class in the choices made by the media on what to cover. It's like watching the stories of Jennifer "Runaway Bride" Wilbanks, Laci Peterson and Lori Hacking, and Elizabeth Smart all over again. Ms. Holloway, who hails from Kate's neighborhood in Alabama of Mountain Brook, is white, blonde and from a well-to-do family. Perfect formula for 24/7 media coverage.

On the other hand, Tamika Houston's family has not been able to get the media to pay attention to her disappearance, despite a web site, TamikaHouston.com and her aunt (a PR professional), pushing the media hard for coverage. Her story is finally getting some media attention, in this case by CBS:
A year ago this week, a 24-year-old African-American woman named Tamika Huston of Spartanburg, S.C., was reported missing by her family. Most who know all about Holloway, probably haven't heard of Huston, although her family has tried everything it could to get national media attention. According to FBI statistics, African-Americans and other minorities make up a larger portion of missing victims than the media represents. However, cases like Huston's often get little attention.


Huston's aunt, Rebkah Howard, who is a public relations professional, tried to develop national concern by having her family distribute fliers, hold a press conference, and create a Web site to get mass media attention, but the story was primarily ignored...Howard tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm she doesn't believe executive producers and newsroom staff consciously exclude persons of color, but notes it is important for the media to take a critical look at which cases they cover.

"What I believe is happening," Howard says, "is that networks have found a formula that has worked for them. And they tend to be about young, white attractive, middle- to upper-class women. And they continue to follow those stories. As one is resolved, they'll move on to the next one. I was met with a lot of resistance when I tried to get national attention for this case. It has been unfortunate."

Just recall the stories of Jennifer Wilbanks, the missing bride, the young woman from Salt Lake City. They were all white, young, attractive, middle-class, American women.
Howard Kurtz also covered the issue in his Friday WaPo column.
I've fulminated on this subject before, but I've got to say, when you look at which missing-persons stories get heavily covered (female, white, usually middle class) and those that don't, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that selective news judgment is at work.

If there's a logical explanation for this, I've yet to hear it. And after JonBenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Elizabeth Smart, Jennifer Wilbanks, Natalee Holloway, etc., the pattern is unmistakable. In fact, I tried to look for stories about Holloway for the past month and Nexis interrupted my search, saying it would return more than 1,000 documents.

...But: "'To be blunt, blond white chicks who go missing get covered and poor, black, Hispanic or other people of color who go missing do not get covered,' said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism. 'You're more likely to get coverage if you're attractive than if you're not.' "
Memo to ugly people: Be extra careful.

WashPost columnist Gene Robinson has been deluged with e-mail since writing this piece on missing-women stories:
"A damsel must be white. This requirement is nonnegotiable. It helps if her frame is of dimensions that breathless cable television reporters can credibly describe as 'petite,' and it also helps if she's the kind of woman who wouldn't really mind being called 'petite,' a woman with a good deal of princess in her personality. She must be attractive -- also nonnegotiable. Her economic status should be middle class or higher, but an exception can be made in the case of wartime (see: Jessica Lynch). Put all this together, and you get 24-7 coverage."
An aside, one of the more frustrating aspects about the Holloway media attention is that it almost completely useless in examining some troubling facts, which of course, would not fit neatly in the damsel-in-distress storyline:
* this well-traveled young woman got into a car alone with three strange men, why would she do this?
* were drugs or alcohol involved, compromising her judgment?
* there seemed to be no buddy system in place -- how could her group not notice she was missing until it was time to board the plane?
* the Aruban government and law enforcement officials are going to do everything possible to close this case ASAP, regardless of whether they get the right people because it is so dependent on tourism. Why is no one covering that angle?

The media coverage even has some Freepers convinced there's a stench of racism/classism in the air...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I think it's more about having an interesting story. Not many young women disappear from Aruba. I personally would like to see the media do more in more of these cases, as it might help get them found. But, if it's not an interesting story the public can get interested in, they will soon drop it. I just don't think it's a race issue. I don't see them covering stories of missing young men on any color. Is it a gender bias as well? [Well, yes there is...]"

"I think the lady has answered her own question. It's supposedly such an unfortunate common ocurrence in certain communities that it doesn't become a big story. Plus, if Holloway had disappeared from a college campus there would have been a spike in the news, then silence. Anyone remember the college girls disappearing in the midwest recently? I think in Wisconsin or Minnesota - see, I don't know much about them because I haven't seen it in the national news much."

"I recommend forced quotas on the media for reporting missing minorities."

"Once again people need to learn the meme, there's a reason it's called "TV News", the TV comes first. Photogenic people are more likely to wind up on TV when something interesting (bad or good) happens to them than non-photogenic people. Another big factor that plays into things is what else is going on in the world, nobody who wound up missing during the invasion of Iraq was going to wind up on TV unless it could be tied to the war in less than 6 seconds of TV time, this June has been a pretty slow news month, one of those months when the TV clowns are desperate to fill their air time (which doesn't change no matter how much or little is going on in the world) and a photogenic missing person is just what the TV ordered."

"Pretty girls, especially blondes, will always more media exposure."

"Exactly. The media CHOOSE what they will report. Apparently our oh-so-PC media CHOOSES to select out white middle-class women. I guess it beats reporting on the majority of missing people in this country - males."

"I disagree. The media is quite racist. Remember that when innocent victims were killed in botched drive-by gang shootings, it was never news until a non-black victim (an Oriental coed) was killed in such a manner. (This was in the mid-90's.) Then it suddenly became a national media sensation, and there was much hand-wringing. Not before, however."

"If this had been a black American tourist that disappeared, it would be just as big a story. Plus, Jessie Jackson would be on site, milking it for all its' worth. Jessie would walk away with a multimillion dollar beach home courtesy of the Aruban government just to get him to shut up."

"They don't like it when the media shows blacks have a lot more missing fathers. Why the two face?"

"Another factor to consider is the family and loved ones. The press are inherently some of the laziest people on earth, they don't like to go looking for stories they like stories to call them. What that means in the case of a missing person is holding a press conference, it's pretty rare to see the press covering anything that doesn't have press conferences."

"Anyone complaining about media coverage on missing persons is in effect complaining about what the public wants to hear. Put on a story about someone old, ugly, stupid, and fat who's missing and see how many viewers lunge for their remotes. It's the same as for coverage of plane crashes and mass slaughters in foreign lands; if there's no Americans involved, nobody in the US cares. We want to know about people either like us or like we aspire to be, not some vanished snaggletoothed slattern."

"Funny thing is, I saw a photo of this girl and she was a cutie. I don't know what it is but we do know the left is racist to the bone."

"She's as photogenic as they come. I can only presume the MSM is racist for not giving her case as much coverage."

"She's very pretty. WHY wasn't she given attention by the liberal media? A tad racist, are they?"

"YES. And they think that because the larger segment of their audience is white, that they aren't interested in hearing about stories unless the victim is white. YES, they are racist."

"I think the media probably IS racist, but I suspect there is something about the circumstances that prevented Tamika from getting her due. Natalee will continue to dominate the cycle until something big comes along and pushes her out. What that might be, I don't know. If something happened simultaneously with Tamikas disappearance, she would have been crowded out."

"It's not just the media. Do you think that the FBI sent eight agents to look for this girl?"

"I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but the MSM news business is just that, a business. And as a business, they report the news that will attract the most viewers, because the more viewers/readers they have, the more they can charge their advertisers. The majority of viewers who watch news programs and read news papers are white, so a story about a missing white woman will attract viewers/readers and a story about a missing minority woman will not. Personally, it offends me that more Americans seem to be interested in the soap opera like lives of spoiled white women who are eventually found in Grey Hound bus stations in Albuquerque than they are in the lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are currently in harms way. But that’s just my opinion, and I could be wrong."


Dumb*ss of the week: woman torches her home trying to get rid of snakes



Sorry to say, it's another brain-dead citizen story out of North Carolina, this time in Mecklenburg County (near Charlotte). The couch-on-the-porch factor adds color to the story:
A woman accidentally set fire to her own home Tuesday while trying to kill snakes on her front porch, according to investigators. She said she found a nest of snakes in a couch on her porch and doused the snakes with lighter fluid. When she threw a match on them, the couch burned and so did her house.

Howard Phifer, who lives up the street, said there are a lot of snakes in this area. "I've been in this area 45 years," Phifer said, "and that's' the most snakes I've seen since I've been here." After the woman set the couch on fire she realized the flames were spreading, so she ran inside to call for help. The fire then engulfed the home and she had to jump out of a window.

The woman is okay and so is her dog. Phifer said he has an idea why snakes are slithering into his neighborhood. "Building houses and running them out of the woods or what not," said Phifer. "All I know is they're around."


Women, bodies and self-esteem - one company has a conscience


Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty wants to help widen the definition of beauty -- to celebrate real women with real curves.

I'm flipping through my guilty pleasure US Weekly today, and there's this pullout section, sandwiched between the many photos of celebrated waifs/anorexic Hollywood types, featuring unretouched photographs of lovely, shapely women for a line of Dove skin products. They are not professional models, just attractive, real women, the type you aren't going to see in Playboy, in the a porno flick, in any fashion magazine, or as the lead in a Hollywood flick (that isn't a target of jokes). You know, women with real boobies, full thighs and actual hips.

Dove has started a Campaign for Real Beauty, first launched in the U.K. to great feedback and success. What's remarkable is that this isn't just a lame PR effort for Dove; they commissioned a global study to find The Truth About Beauty, and have established a Dove Self-Esteem fund, acknowledging that beauty pressures affect women, young and old, but especially in teens, who have fallen hook line and sinker for our culture's obsession with unrealisitic images of beauty. Consider some of the results from the company's study* of 3,200 women worldwide, aged 18 to 64 (PDF):

* Only 2% of these women describe themselves as "beautiful"
* About 3/4 of them rate their beauty as "average"
* Almost 1/2 of them think their weight is "too high" -- This is particularly the case in the U.S. (60%), Great Britain (57%) and Canada (54%).
* Italian and Argentinean women are most likely to say their weight is "just right."

On the social cues about beauty that emerge from the mass media and popular culture -- it became apparent that - when women report on the messages they get from popular culture and the media - the idea of "beauty" and the idea of "physical attractiveness" are treated as largely synonymous. Furthermore, both are seen as highly valued by society, but, at the same time, rendered almost impossible to attain. The study reveals that women see beauty and physical attractiveness as increasingly socially mandated and rewarded, with almost two-thirds strongly agreeing that:

* "Women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother's generation was" (63%); and,
* "Society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness" (60%).
* 45% of all women strongly agree that "women who are more beautiful have greater opportunities in life."
* More than half of women (59%) strongly agree that "physically attractive women are more valued by men."
* More than two-thirds (68%) of women strongly agree that "the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can't ever achieve." Women over 30 tend to believe this more strongly than women 18 to 29.

Women around the world would like to see the media change in the way it represents beauty, with the majority strongly agreeing that they wished that:
* Female beauty was portrayed in the media as being made up of more than just physical attractiveness (76%).
* The media did a better job of portraying women of diverse physical attractiveness - age, shape and size (75%).
* Younger women 18-29 and 30-44 are more interested in seeing women of various body weights and shapes, where older women are more likely to have an interest in seeing women of different ages as well as various body weights and shapes.

What about cosmetic surgery? With all the botoxing, pulling, nipping and tucking, both in Hollywood, and increasingly the average public (see the popularity of Extreme Makeover), these results were interesting:
* Women who are less satisfied with their beauty are significantly more likely than those who are more satisfied to report considering cosmetic surgery.
* Half of all women in Brazil have considered having cosmetic surgery, with 7% reporting having some kind of cosmetic surgery completed - the highest of all countries surveyed.
* Women from Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands are the least likely to consider having cosmetic surgery. While only a quarter of women have ever considered having cosmetic surgery, this number increases to almost four in ten women if the procedures were safe and free. This is particularly true in Brazil, Argentina and the U.S.
* However, only 24% of women who are satisfied with their beauty would consider cosmetic surgery even if the procedures were safe and free.

Along with the study, Dove's decided to put its money where its mouth is by:
* Creation of a forum for women to participate in a dialogue and debate about the definition and standards of beauty in society
* Advertising that inspires women and society to think differently about what is defined as beautiful
* Fundraising initiatives (sponsored by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund) to help young girls with low body-related self esteem
* Self-esteem workshops with young girls in schools to help them foster a healthy relationship with and confidence in their bodies and their looks
* Establishment of the Program for Aesthetics and Well-Being at Harvard University, through a grant from Dove, which will continue to examine the way we think and talk about beauty in popular culture and the effect that this has on women's well-being
* Creation of a Million Faces of Beauty feature on its site, where you can submit photos of women you know and love that you consider beautiful.

I don't hold out hope that Hollywood is going to get the message -- look at poor Lindsay Lohan, she has disappeared before our eyes, and ever worse, had her boobies digitally downsized for her next flick -- because of "the children" -- protecting us from possible tittilation.


Before. After. See FeedLindsay.com

That said, you can give feedback to Dove/Unilever below; encouraging corporations that take the high road goes a long way:

The Campaign for Real Beauty
www.campaignforrealbeauty.com
* Web form
* Phone: 1-800-761-DOVE (3683).

See? US Weekly isn't completely useless trash...

* The study was by Dr. Nancy Etcoff - Harvard University, Dr. Susie Orbach - London School of Economics, Dr. Jennifer Scott - StrategyOne, Heidi D'Agostino - StrategyOne and commissioned by Dove (a Unilever Beauty Brand).




Almost no more baseboard scrubbing...

Where have I been this weekend? Well, as I posted on Friday, Kate and I are still cleaning up from the hardwoods installation and painting, so the house was all torn up for the last couple of weeks. Since it was already chaos, we decided to do a real spring cleaning, emptying closets and file cabinets and redoing all of it. Insane.

Let's just say if we don't have to scrub baseboards, the kitchen floor or the bathrooms by hand again any time soon, I will be a happy person. Dust and remnants of sanding. I guess what is satisfying is that our manic purge of crap that never gets used and the cleaning has made the house a better, more organized place. Part of the cleanup involved several trips to Goodwill and the dumpster.

We had to reorganize the kitchen because we can no longer keep foodstuffs on the counter that are not in airtight containers. Tonka will surf the counter while we're out. Apparently his theft target of choice is scones. Foster's Market scones.



The first time he lifted one was a bold, ballsy maneuver. I was sitting on the sofa blogging and Kate had a scone on a plate by the sofa on a table, Tonka was asleep on the other sofa (or at least we thought he was). I was typing away and I sort of heard some rustling. When I looked up, he had absconded the scone and was already heading back to his place on the sofa, wolfing it down. I burst out with laughter in amazement. Kate walked back in the room just as he was lifting it, hahahahaha.

Once I stupidly left a leftover scone on the counter in a non airtight bag. I forgot about it, we went out, and when we returned, the plastic bag was neatly on the floor in the kitchen. Tonka was snoozing away, happy as a clam. The funniest incident (and last time before we got wise and moved food higher) was a bread theft. Kate was about to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and laid out two slices of bread. The doorbell rang, and Tonka went to the door with her. She let her friends in, and turned around and the bread had vanished. How did he do it?! How did he get back to the kitchen in time to snatch the bread and come back to the door licking his chops, innocent as can be? Perhaps he levitated the bread; we have no clue.

Anyway, now the kitchen is Tonka-proof, we just have one more closet and a couple of more baseboards to go.

Back to politics tomorrow (or later today after catching a nap and reading email!).


Pam's cleaning hell product endorsement: I highly recommend Costco's Kirkland Signature Household Surface Wipes. They smell great, clean well and don't disintegrate. Better by far than name-brand stuff. And Costco is a Buy Blue company (Costco executives contributed heavily to Democratic candidates for Congress and some in high-profile Senate races, and treats its employees well).


Downing Street update/Alliance action items

Updates and legwork kudos go to Shakes Sis. Here's what's been going on.

* Big Brass Alliance mentioned on MSNBC. That Colored Fella emailed me to say BBA had been mentioned on MSNBC. Shakes says Matt of Tattered Coat noted that One Woman Wrecking Crew had a report on the mention:

"His smile of satisfaction was unmistakable as Ron Reagan Jr. covered the “Downing Street Minutes” and the Conyers hearing on the popular MSNBC show Connected. The Big Brass Alliance blogs were also credited for bringing the DSM to the attention of the mainstream media by Tony’s Tab, the noted blog analyst. The DSM blog swarm was represented with an impressive chart, that went, well, off the charts! The Big Brass Alliance website was also displayed." Tony’s Tabs reports:

On May 30, a blogswarm was formed. For those of you who might be less techie hip that means that many blogs got together on an issue and formed a new blog called "Big Brass Alliance."Their icon is a big set of brass balls.Funny.This blog is a conglomerate of almost 500 other blogs and collectively they support the After Downing Street Alliance in their efforts to get MSM attention for the Memo, as well as a congressional inquiry.Their ultimate goal is impeachment proceedings for President Bush.It has since gotten an increasing amount of play in the press, and as of yesterday Rep. John Conyers has a forum underway on the Hill, a begin to the process of discovery on the issue. Again, this is my cobbled together history, but I think it is relatively accurate.More than the nuts and bolts of dates and specific blogs, it illustrates the powerful potential of the Internet to expose the stories MSM has missed, ignored, or simply gotten wrong. And I want to stress my feeling that, coupled with the Rathergate scandal, this shows interesting potential for a checks and balances system that calls crap what it is, whether it's blue or red.”
* Here are recent AP stories on the Downing Street documents:
Memos Show British Concern Over Iraq Plans

Memos: Postwar Iraq a Concern in Britain
U.S. War Plans Much-Discussed in Memos
2002 Memos Undercut British WMD Claims
Redford Says He Linked Deep Throat to FBI. (This includes Redford’s comments on the Downing Street Memo.)

* Shakes Sis's latest post ("The Useless Press") really gets to heart of the frustration level with the MSM defenses over its lack of coverage on DSM up till now.
Now, I’m admittedly driven to the brink of a meltdown with disseminating information on this subject (and it’s not because I hate Bush; it’s because I don’t want my country behaving this way, irrespective of who’s running it), but it’s probably safe to assume that most members of the alliance haven’t written quite so much on the topic (although I’m sure there are some who have written more than I). So let’s assume that the average Big Brass Alliance member has, in the past month, written 20 posts about the Downing Street Memos. There are now 528 member blogs. That’s 10,560 posts.

And that doesn’t count the bloggers who aren’t members of the alliance, which includes most of the biggest lefty blogs. How many dKos diaries alone have been written about it? The Awaken the Mainstream Media campaign issues at least one post a day, and is affiliated with DowningStreetMemo.com, which has also been pushing the story.

The American media ought to be ashamed of itself.

I have a full-time job already. So do most of the bloggers who are regularly writing about this story. I’m sure we’d all appreciate it if we didn’t have to spend our free time doing your jobs for you, too.
Shakes Sis contributor Paul the Spud has also posted on FAIR’s coverage of the media’s attempt to justify their lack of coverage on the Downing Street Memo.

Contact your local media. It's obviously starting to make a difference.

OTHER BBA ACTION ITEMS

1. Monday blogswarm. BBA folks, the plan is to post on this Independent piece, which reveals that the US has used napalm-type firebombs during the Iraq War and lied about it to the British government. A cautionary note from Shakes Sis, on the framing of this and the semantics smokescreen that the Right will use to defuse the impact:
(The use of such weaponry was reported earlier here. Please note that care should be used in reporting on this weaponry. The actual bombs used are known as MK-77s, and they are napalm canister munitions. They evolved from the napalm bombs which we associate with the Korean and Vietnam wars. This is an extremely important issue, and we don’t want to end up giving our opponents the opportunity to discredit our reporting because of a quibble over the definition of the weaponry. Both The Heretik and Freiheit und Wissen have excellent posts up already on this topic.You can find more information on MK-77s here.
2. If you haven’t already, make sure to post on Friday’s hearings. I posted that Shakes Sis liveblogged them. Crooks and Liars has a video highlights here.

And here's an unforgettable image from that day. Congressman John Conyers with his letter with over 500K signatures of citizens looking for answers on the DSM being turned away at the White House, courtesy of The Alternate Brain:



3. Contact your representatives and Senators (even if you’ve done it before) and encourage them to address the evidence of a possible conspiracy to defraud both Congress and the American people by manipulating intelligence, as presented at the hearing, by supporting a formal inquiry.


Called Time Warner about getting LOGO in my area

Friday, June 17, 2005

Kate and I are off today doing the final housecleaning left from the heinous hardwood floors project. It's 92 degrees here, so it's too hot to do much outside until later. Going to clip the hedges and work in the garage eventually.

House Blender Robust McManly Pants, who is also in Durham, mentioned in the comments that he called Time Warner Cable to request the new gay/lesbian cable channel LOGO, which launches at the end of this month (earlier post here).

I just got off of the phone with a really nice TWC rep, who's added my request to the tally. I learned some interesting things about the process for adding channels.

* First, the target number of requests that must be reached is arbitrary. For instance, a Spanish-language channel was recently added to the roster (the growth of the Hispanic population here in NC is astronomical) after only 1200 requests, and was added only 3 weeks later. However, she doesn't know what the threshold might be for LOGO - it's based on whatever formula TWC deems will make it profitable to add the channel.

* This rep hadn't received any calls for LOGO before mine; I told her that I knew others had. She said it sounded great, asked for the LOGO web site. She said that a gay channel would do well in our area (ha ha ha, boy wouldn't it!).

* Finding 1200 gay folks in the Triangle to call is NOT going to be hard. I'm about to email a bunch of my friends info on how to contact TWC (call 1-866-4TWCNOW).

I've found the TWC folks to be really easy to work with in this area (I can't speak for other parts of the state). When Kate and I moved in and went in to merge our accounts into a joint one, the customer service person was extremely friendly, and even gave us a bunch of free coupons for InDemand (pay per view, first-run-after-release) movies.

Hopefully we'll see LOGO; we still don't have Bravo.


Mitt Romney is an ass, part II


Part I was about Mitt's spewing that "gay marriage will destroy the international rep of the US." Now it's time to get down to business at home.

After his road show against gay marriage, the Massachusetts governor has now decided to campaign for a state amendment to remove civil marriage for gays from the books. Gay folks in Massachusetts, what is the chance that this is going to pass?
The Legislature was already working on a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage but also would allow Vermont-style civil unions. The new proposal drops the civil union language, meaning such unions would remain illegal in the state.

If the new proposal passes procedural hurdles, it could appear on the statewide ballot as soon as November 2008.

Romney said the original proposed amendment — narrowly passed last year by state lawmakers and awaiting a second round of voting later this year — is "muddied" because it includes both the gay marriage and civil union issues. He said voters should be able to decide on gay marriage with a "clean, straightforward, unambiguous amendment" that does not include civil unions.

"I believe it's superior to the amendment which is currently pending before the state Legislature, and hope that this amendment will ultimately be the one which the citizens have the opportunity to vote upon," Romney said.

"It is really sad that (Romney) is playing politics with gay and lesbian families and their children, and that's all that is," said Mark Solomon, political director of MassEquality.

The new proposed amendment will take the form of a citizen's initiative. That means the state attorney general's office must sign off on the proposal language, supporters must collect 65,825 voters' signatures and one-quarter of lawmakers in the Legislature must vote twice to approve it. Only if it passes those hurdles would the state's voters have their say.


New gay network freaks out the AmTaliban

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Tim Wildmon: "We will hold accountable companies who sponsor this type of offensive heavy-duty homosexual content."

I'm contacting my cable company, Time Warner Cable, to see if it is going to carry LOGO, the new gay-themed network. With a sizeable queer population here in the Triangle, it would do well. I won't be here upon launch, which is slated for June 30 in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta. LOGO is a creation of MTV Networks (also the brainchild behind VH1, MTV, TV Land and SpikeTV). The programming will include documentaries, original series, movies, according to its site.

What is also interesting is that it will partner with CBS News to cover LGBT stories. And you thought the Right was mad at Dan Rather? They'll surely unleash the Freepi on the network shortly -- the sex-infatuated wingnuts of the Right are already planning to throw a hissy fit, making it sound like it's going to be a 24/7 porn channel. Here's Tim Wildmon.
"I don't think most parents want their children flipping channels on their way to the Cartoon Network and running across a scene of two men kissing in bed on the LOGO network," said American Family Association president Tim Wildmon. "Most of us have enough to explain to our children nowadays."

Wildmon also sees potential for late-night programming on the networks to turn pornographic in nature. "The very nature of homosexuality is based on eroticism and infatuation with sex," Wildmon said. "This programming will be targeted to a group of people who define themselves by their sexual behavior, and one can expect the gay networks to follow the trend in offensive late-night programming such as we saw with NYPD Blue, only in a more deviant homosexual context.

"The gay and lesbian networks are geared toward mainstream homosexuals who view sexuality and define pornography very differently from the majority of mainstream Americans."

The New York Times reported that Viacom's LOGO network already has access to 10 million homes and is supported in advertising by Orbitz, Subaru and Paramount Pictures. [Uh, oh, Subaru is on the wingnut sh*t list -- but the automaker doesn't care, hahahahaha.]

"We will hold accountable companies who sponsor this type of offensive heavy-duty homosexual content," Wildmon said. "This type of programming invading cable reinforces the need for a la carte choices instead of forcing people to pay for a 24-hour homosexual network."


Wingnut coddles a member of the Pro-Lynching Southern Six


I don't know who is the bigger bigot, Thad Cochran or the author of this article, Matt Friedeman.

Mississippi Senator (and member of the Pro-Lynching Southern Six) Thad Cochran can apologize to the Japanese-Americans sent off to internment camps during WWII, the Native Americans for the shoddy treatment received by the white man, but it goes too far in his book to apologize for the historic practice stringing up mostly black men up in trees in his part of the woods for knee-slapping fun.
"I don't feel that I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate." He declined, he said, because he felt he could not say sorry for "something I did not do."

Cochran's words were followed carefully because, of the states in which lynchings occurred, his was the worst offender. Mississippi could claim 581 of the 4,700 lynchings that took place between 1882 and 1968. Eyebrows were raised when Mississippi's statewide daily newspaper noted that Cochran had co-sponsored other apology bills, most notably the one in 1988 that apologized to Americans of Japanese descent who were rounded up in World War II and called for $20,000 to go to each of the survivors of the Japanese internment camps. And this year, he was a co-sponsor of a resolution to acknowledge sorry dealings with Indian tribes and "Native Peoples on behalf of the United States."
In the jaw-dropping essay at wingnut web rag AgapePress, Matt Friedeman asks that you give Thad a break. He also, as I've seen on the Freeper boards, assumes that with an apology, comes the call for financial restitution. I personally don't think giving money is going to solve the problem, but one has to ask why Friedeman (and the rest of them) didn't have a problem with doing so for the Japanese? Well, if Friedeman did, he doesn't state it. It's painful to read, because the intellectual dishonesty with which this guy mounts his position is mind-blowing, insulting and nauseating.
Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe what Cochran was questioning this time around were all the corporate apologies being made these days, by Congress and congregations and denominations, wherein we all say "Aye!" then move quickly on. Such apologies cost little and assuage guilt poorly.

Since Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) co-sponsored the lynching resolution, let's talk about what might have happened had they wished to show real leadership on this issue of lynching and, more to the point, racism.

Allen might have held a press conference and invited several black clergy to participate. He could have started by saying that, when all is said and done, congressional resolutions and apologies are rather cheap. "So, I am here today to confess my personal sins regarding this issue of racism. Indeed, I have sinned in my past, and here is how."

His statement would rivet the nation's attention if he detailed precisely the sins of his life concerning people of color. He could tell what he has both done and not done. Show remorse. Plead forgiveness. Ask for mercy. If his apology was delivered well, most white Americans could probably relate.
He goes on at length, so I won't waste more space on him. He has balls-out contempt toward the idea of the power of an apology, and a need to fix institutionalized racism -- a sickness that enabled human beings to lynch other human beings for sport or revenge. All I can say is, we have a long way to go if this is what we're up against.
Matt Friedeman (mfriedeman@wbs.edu) is a professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary. Respond to this column at his blog at "In the Fight."


Live blogging of DSM hearings

Head over to Shakes Sis's pad for some live blogging of the DSM hearings. I'm not able to listen at work today (and dammit, I'm snowed under a ton of day job stuff). :(


Killer Klansman Killen lands in the hospital


Edgar Ray Killen, left, at his trial on Thursday, and right, pictured as a thirty-eight-year-old, when he was allegedly the point man in the conspiracy to murder three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Mississippi on June 21, 1964.

How can you muster up sympathy for this bigot (who is, by the way an ordained Baptist minister)? The sad thing is, I saw some unfortunate redneck Mississippi woman interviewed this AM on CNN basically saying "what's past is past" and why people can't just get over it. Well, hon, as long as this f*cker is breathing, he's going to get his chance to go to the slammer.
Edgar Ray Killen was taken away in an ambulance just before the widow of one of the victims led the jury through the events that sent her husband to Mississippi during the "Freedom Summer" of 1964. A few in the courtroom wiped away tears during the testimony.

Rita Schwerner Bender, 63, recalled the moment she learned that authorities had found the blue station wagon that her husband, Michael Schwerner, and the two other men were in when they disappeared. The burned car was abandoned in a swamp.

"I think it hit me for the first time that they were dead, that there was really no realistic possibility that they were alive," the Seattle woman said, occasionally looking as though she was fighting back tears. Killen was listed in stable condition. The part-time preacher and sawmill operator has been attending court in a wheelchair while he recovers from broken legs suffered in a woodcutting accident. A nurse sits nearby in court.



Killen is on trial in the killings of James Chaney, a black Mississippian, and Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, white New Yorkers, who were in the town to investigate the burning of a black church. They were stopped for speeding, jailed for a few hours, then released, after which they were ambushed by a gang of Klansmen.

...Killen's name has been associated with the slayings from the outset, and he stood trial on federal charges in 1967, but the all-white jury could not reach a verdict. One juror reportedly said she could not convict a preacher.
Someone should track down good old boy Trent Lott for a comment, seeing he's one of the Pro-Lynching Southern Six.


Rita Schwerner Bender (L), widow of Michael Schwerner, greets Barbara Chaney Dailey, as her brother Ben Chaney (C), both siblings of James Chaney, leans forward, during a recess in the murder trial of Edgar Ray Killen. REUTERS/Rogelio Solis/Pool


First female Saudi pilot graduates - but can't drive a car at home


Hanadi Z. Al-Hindi receives the civil aviation license at a ceremony in Amman. (AN photo by Abdul Jalil Mustafa)

OK. While Saudis are proud of this woman, why can't she drive in her country?
The Kingdom’s first woman pilot, Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi, graduated yesterday from the Middle East Academy for Commercial Aviation in Jordan. “It is a source of pride for us,” said Muhammad Audeh, chairman of the academy’s board of directors, at a graduation ceremony where she received her civil aviation license.

For her part, Al-Hindi expressed joy at graduating and said she would return to Saudi Arabia to work on a private plane owned by Prince Al-Waleed ibn Talal who paid the costs of her studies in Jordan.
Folks went apesh*t when Consultative Council member Mohammad al-Zulfa recently proposed lifting the driving ban. The Arab Freepi cited all the evil that would become of women that dared to get behind the wheel of a car.
Some say it will present her with opportunities to violate Islamic law, such as exposing her eyes while driving or interacting with strange men, like police officers or mechanics.

"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."
Well if women can fly, then they can get their asses out of the country and taste a little freedom for a change.


122 House members sign on to Conyers DSM letter

Momentum is building...
A total of 122 members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have now signed on to Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) letter to George W. Bush requesting a response to several questions in relation to the Downing Street Minutes.

The original letter, sent several weeks ago by the Ranking Minority Member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee along with 88 congressional Democrats, was recently recirculated after several more members requested signing on. The original letter has so far gone unresponded to.

As well, The BRAD BLOG has learned that a total of 553,996 signatures by citizens have been collected for the letter by Conyers' and MoveOn.org over the past two weeks, and those will be delivered today to the White House shortly after today's scheduled hearings on the Downing Street matter.

That hearing is scheduled for 2:30pm ET today, to be followed by a rally in front of the White House and the delivery of the letter by Conyers and several others at 5pm ET.
The hearings will be on CSPAN3.


Bill Frist's no Sanjay Gupta

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo (above), is owed an apology from Frist, her parents and all the wailing wingnuts.
"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office," he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
-- Senate Majority Leader, and ESP enthusiast Bill Frist, diagnosing the viability of Terri Schiavo's brain
The autopsy doesn't lie. Guess lynch-loving Frist doesn't have a promising career as a ponificating mainstream media medical "expert", based on that lousy, biblically-based diagnosis.
Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who died in March after a fierce right-to-die battle that went all the way to the White House, was massively and irreversibly brain-damaged, pathologists announcing the results of an autopsy said on Wednesday. The results supported clinical findings and the contention of her husband that Schiavo had been in a "persistent vegetative state" since collapsing 15 years earlier from a cardiac arrest that deprived her brain of oxygen, said Dr. Stephen Nelson, a forensic pathologist who assisted in the autopsy.

"She would not have been able to form any cognitive thought," said Nelson, speaking with Pinellas County Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin at a news conference. "There was a massive loss of brain tissue."

During a long and bitter family feud over Schiavo's fate, courts consistently ruled in support of Schiavo's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, that Schiavo would not have wanted to live in such a state. A persistent vegetative state meant she was unable to think, feel or interact with her environment. The autopsy found no amount of therapy would have helped to regenerate Schiavo's brain, and determined she was blind, belying videotapes that appeared to show her eyes following objects. The videos were cited by her parents' supporters as proof she should be kept alive.

Schiavo's brain weighed about half of what a healthy human brain would, Thogmartin said. "Her brain was profoundly atrophied ... This damage was irreversible."
[UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive, Ms. Julien...Here are the comments from Freeperland. They are turning on one another over this one. And bonus points! They raise the corpses of Ron Brown and Vince Foster for good measure.]

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Remember the lost Xrays of foster? Until we see the xrays of her entire body on the internet, I say the fix is in."



"They made 247 images. Which ones do you need?"

"Manner of death: Murdered by husband and judge." Insert THAT on the death certificate."

"Hmmmm...all this time I thought her "manner of death" was dehydration and starvation."

"Well, duh! Michael Schiavo needed to legalize his wife's murder & Judge Greer needed to legitimize Michael Schiavo's murder of his wife. Both accomplished their goals."

"This official autopsy is so Orwellian. Why didn't they just examine her and try to feed her BEFORE they killed her? It's obvious this was meant to obstruct any wrongful death lawsuit against the state."

"What doesn't change is that her parents wanted to care for her and keep her alive, whatever her state, while her husband wanted her to die. Why Schiavo was so intent on letting her die, is what was, and remains, suspect. Just plain meanness, perhaps."

"No surprises after all this time . The fix was in .. ... .."

"I doubt it's common practice for a medical examiner to take x-rays of an entire body in most cases, let alone to release them to the general public."

"Meanness? Absolutely. But the real motive is greed. There's money involved and Michael Schiavo wanted plus to legitimize his children. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that ole Mikey was going out on Terri, playing a Scott Peterson act, before Terri "collapsed"."
"Why didn't they just examine her and try to feed her BEFORE they killed her?"

"Do you mean the medical examiner? He generally doesn't perform autopsies before the patient is declared dead."

"It's obvious this was meant to obstruct any wrongful death lawsuit against the state."

"Fix is in?...Why would a Coroner (DR) jeopardize everything to make a false report...you conspiracy theorists amaze me He would have everything to lose. Granted the Schiavo case stinks, but it's over."

"Apparently, there was enough evidence to show that Terri didn't want to live in a vegetative state forever. Her wishes were deemed more important than those of her parents."

"I should point out that Bill Pryor was one of the 11th circuit judges who refused to hear the case, and he's certainly no euthanasia activist."

"The case is over, but the many questions, both ethical and legal that it raised remain worthy of discussion. One hopes adults can discuss these issues without setting their hair on fire or spewing venom."

"I seem to recall that the examiner was going to have an "observer" in on the autopsy, but at the last minute forbade any observation. It is not unusual to have bystanders and witnesses at an autopsy--and if an examiner wants to cover his rear for any reason, it's a real good idea for him to have witnesses. If I had been the examiner, I would have wanted a roomful for this contentious case."

"The Medical Examiner convinced me that I got this one wrong. Live and learn."

"Newsflash...You can do now medical exams on people while they're alive. You do them in places called "hospitals." Starving and dehydrating her to examine her is about as smart as the middle ages pracice of bleeding a person to death to heal them. But it makes sense to your stunted mind I'm sure."

"What the ME has accomplished in this case by refusing to have an independent observer in the room, is to simply leave the case perpetually open. Nothing has been changed or accomplished by the autopsy. Even if he is correct in his findings, he is not credible because Pinellas County has been so rife with corruption even before the Schiavo case."

""Where did those xrays of broken bones we were told about go to?""

"They did not exist. What was flaunted so obscenely here was a bone *scan* (showing what the MI told y'all today) and an edited deposition by one of the radiologists. We'd been trying to tell y'all these things for months, but we were shunned for bringing up those supposedly irrelevant (but actually just pesky) *facts*, so they could feed you blatant lies without contradiction. Speaks volumes about the integrity of the bone scammers, IMO."

"She was examined many, many times by medical doctors while alive, but you seem to be unaware of that fact. If it makes you feel better about your ignorance to call me names in the manner of a 10-year-old child, have at it."

"It's over? Not by a long shot. The managed care/ long term care insurance companies need to speed up the dying process a la Schiavo or they will go bankrupt. Too many old folks on the horizon. The baby boomers will sink them if they can't find a way to get rid of them. With the help of the Florida legislature and courts they found a very good way."



"You bet. I would like to see analyze these Xrays like many freepers did with Ron Brown. That was some good analysis back in the day. Any old timers remember?"

"Actually it sounds to me that the ME did a good job, and an unbiased 1. I could be wrong, but it seems so.


Crazy NC 'pizza lady' gets two days in the clink



That must be a damn good slice of pizza to get into this kind of trouble. The Smoking Gun has the mug shot of the 86-year-old NC woman that went nutzo. I posted about this a couple of weeks ago.
Meet Dorothy Densmore. The 86-year-old North Carolina woman was locked up in the Mecklenburg County jail for two days in connection with a bizarre pizza delivery incident. According to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department report, the octogenarian called 911 over 20 times in less than a half hour on Sunday. A police spokeswoman told TSG that Densmore's emergency was that a pizza place refused to deliver a single slice to her Charlotte apartment, and as if that wasn't upsetting enough, she wanted the person who answered the phone at the pizza joint arrested for calling her a "crazy old coot." Instead, it was the 5-foot, 98-pound woman who ended up posing for a mug shot after she allegedly scratched, kicked, and bit the hand of the cop who showed up at her home in response to all the calls. Densmore is charged with misusing the emergency telephone system and resisting arrest.


Big Brass Alliance updates



UPDATE (9:15): Chat is blown out by too many visitors! But we had about a 1/2 hour of it before that occurred.

Good news: C-SPAN will carry the 'Downing Street' hearings live on C-SPAN 3 tomorrow.

I'm heading out the door, so I'm posting BBA updates straight from Shakes Sis below...Hope to see you all tonight in the BBA chat room!
1. The hearings on the Downing Street Memo have been moved to 2:30 at the U.S. Capitol (still tomorrow). In the interim, please contact your Congress Members and Senators to support the hearings. You can find a list of talking points for lobbying Congress here.

2. Also very important - CONTACT THE MEDIA and politely request that they cover the hearings. Specifically, look for the Washington Bureau Chiefs of the networks, cable news stations, major newspapers, and wires. (My home internet went down again so I've been having trouble doing research - if someone has this information available and can send it to me, I will distribute.)

3. Don't forget about the Live Chat tonight at 8:30 EST at the BBA main page. (Click on Live Chat.)

4. Other important links to check out if you haven't already:

Raw Story's list of the new Downing Street Documents with links to pdfs, players, dates, and key points.

A wiki set up by BBA member Kevin Baas. Very useful information and a good resource. Kevin is very active on the BBA Forums and will no doubt be happy to answer questions concerning the wiki.

And make sure to check in with the Alliance News Thread often at the Forums - Misty is doing a great job of posting current info there. And thanks to Pam for changing the Forum to be accessible by registered users only - we lasted quite awhile without a troll infestation, but nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.

Thank you all for the amazing work you're doing. Keep it up, keep pushing, keep swarming, and keep the faith.

(And keep sending your posts to The Heretik and Freiheit und Wissen for inclusion in the round-ups!)


Rove turns the key in Chimpy's back



Someone, probably Karl Rove, turned the wingnut key in Bumf*ck's back last night so he could pacify his sheeple base with tired, stock statements. It's a pathetic attempt to shore up his conservative cred as his admin sinks in the polls. (AgapePress):
President Bush is accusing Democrats of obstruction while reaffirming his positions on abortion, homosexual "marriage," and government support for religious charities. Addressing Republicans Tuesday night at a Washington fundraiser, Bush said the GOP will "continue to promote a culture of life" [*ping*] and "will defend the institution of marriage from being redefined forever by activist judges."[*ping*] The president added that Republicans "will continue to support the faith-based and community groups that bring hope to harsh places." [*ping*] Accusing Democrats of pursuing an "agenda of the roadblock," Bush said that "if they have no ideas or policies except obstruction, they should step aside and let others lead."
In another attempt to find someone, anyone that might be willing to listen to his bullsh*t on "Social Security Reform", our dear leader is courting teenagers. Yes, and they aren't listening to the flaming turd pile either.
''I've come here today to tell you that there are some of us in Washington, D.C., who do not want to leave you saddled with a retirement system that's going broke," Bush said, speaking to a convention of the Pennsylvania FFA, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, at Pennsylvania State University.

He encouraged the students to call members of Congress to encourage them to support his plan...Bush said he wants to ''make sure the system is a better deal for younger workers," and the president assured older people in the audience that they would continue to get their promised benefits.

The students would receive the same benefits seniors today get, Bush said, without delving into the effect that increases in the cost of living will have over the next 50 years.

Several students in the crowd said they haven't followed the Social Security debate or spent any time thinking about whether the program will be around for them when they retire.

''I'll wait until I'm older," said Daniel Snook, 16, from Mifflinburg, Pa.


Rush is over the top -- and running scared


LarryFlynt.com

"Hillbilly heroin" addict, GOP mouthpiece/talk show host Rush Limbaugh is now joining the chorus of desperate voices on the Right, the hand-wringers that don't know what to say or do about Bush's completely failed policy in Iraq. Along with the Gary Bauer tack of the media is killing morale (instead of IEDs, blowing our troops and Iraqis apart), he's saying that it's time to blame the messenger. But El Rushbo shared a bright idea with his Dittoheads/Freepi:

A 90-day cease-fire in Iraq -- of negative media coverage. Hahahahahahahaha. More wingnut flopsweat on parade :
I call on the New York Times to lay down their arms. I call on the Democrats in Congress to stop the assaults. I call on weak-kneed Republicans to lower the temperature for 90 days, three measly months.

Lebanon is in the middle of a crucial election sequence. Iran is about to have an even more crucial election. Syrian and Saudi terror backers are losing for signs.

So for 90 days, no attacks on our war effort. Somewhere, deep inside, there has to be something -- a memory of patriotism, a stirring of some national pride -- some remaining sense of right and wrong. [OMG, my sides are splitting from laughing...]

...Positive news, upbeat spirit, a seemingly united United States would send a warning to our enemies, a rallying cry to our allies and a signal to those nations shirking responsibility.

Just a 90-day cease-fire. There's no downside to this. You still have a full-year plus to return to playing politics, to bashing the president, to bashing the administration, bashing the Republican Party, to even bashing America if you want. So much to gain and so little to risk from a 90-day cease-fire. [A sure sign that support is flagging...waah, waah.]

After all, it could take two years or two decades for the wisdom our Middle East policy to bear fruit. Is it too much to ask you on the left to give unity a chance for just 90 days?

No, my friends, I'm not living in a dream world. I know it won't happen but I wanted to put it out there. [And now, his most outrageous statement...]

I know it won't happen because the left in this country considers Christians to be a greater enemy than militant Islamist terrorists.
I think he's still popping that Oxy.


Black folks cozying to GOP: Frist killed on-record lynch vote


Protecting his bigoted brethren from having to go on the record. How's that 2008 presidential bid shaping up for you, Bill?

(via Raw Story)

All you pious black pastors shuffling and jiving for Chimpy, Ken Mehlman, and sucking up to the rest of the AmTaliban, how does it feel to find out that equally pious Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist repeatedly refused to have an on-the-record vote on the apology for the Senate failing to pass anti-lynching laws?

Even worse, in a typical butt-covering manuever, his staff tried to blame the SPONSORS, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), claiming they only wanted a voice vote, which they deny. [They have no reason to lie about this, so it really makes Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, look like a dumb*ss.]

What a pack of f*cking liars you get in bed with, my bought-off colored men of the cloth, all cozy and happy with the Reich these days because you hate the homos. If I were you, I'd stay away from ropes and trees when you're hanging with this crowd...look who's sleeping with the enemy --


Televangelist Frederick K.C. Price of L.A.'s Crenshaw Christian Center backs Bush and is took part in a 100-minister summit opposing same-sex civil marriage; Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. (Mr. Contract w/Black America) has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman.


Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values;" homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the Bush American Taliban agenda.


* Philadelphia's Rev. Herb Lusk, pastor of the Greater Exodus Baptist Church has had his coffers filled with a cool million to run faith-based initiatives by the Administration; and last (and most disappointing), Walter Fauntroy, key lieutenant to Martin Luther King and pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church, who held a much-covered press conference with Bill Frist and Rick Santorum in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

See a recent entry on Frist and these fools: F*cking shameless - Frist tap dances to get black pastor support.

Plus, here's a sampling of prior Blend posts on the Right sucking up to and buying off the black religious vote.


Chimpy channeling his inner dictator?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


"REUTERS RUNS BUSH 'HITLER SALUTE' ON WIRE..." is the screaming Drudge headline.

Bonus Drudge head -- "SHOCK: Suspended Kansas abortionist accused of eating fetuses... Developing... "

And the Michael Jackson trial wasn't enough for him?


Power-mad Sensenbrenner: prick boots Conyers hearings from Capitol Hill



The vidictive bastard first shuts down Patriot Act hearings and cuts off the mics in the middle of testimony. Now he's making sure John Conyers doesn't have space to hold his Downing Street Minutes hearings.
In December, ranking Democrat John Conyers (Mich.) began holding “forums” — gatherings with all the trappings of official hearings — after Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) refused to hold hearings on topics Conyers requested. The forums have been held in smaller committee rooms, often with C-SPAN coverage and formal witness lists.

In a sign of how far relationships on the committee have soured, majority staff recently announced a new policy to deny any request from a committee Democrat for the use of a committee hearing room. Majority spokesman Jeff Lungren said the Republicans have given Democrats three opportunities to make clear that the forums are not official committee business. Nevertheless, Lungren said, in at least one case, members were addressing Conyers as “Mr. Chairman.”

“They were unwilling or unable to make those changes,” Lungren said. “At this point, if they want to hold these forums, they’ll have to find some other place to do it.” Sean McLaughlin, deputy chief of staff for Sensenbrenner, recently wrote to a minority staffer in more pointed language.

I’m sitting here watching your ‘forum’ on C-SPAN,” McLaughlin wrote. “Just to let you know, it was your last. Don’t bother asking [for a room] again.”
AfterDowningStreet.org reports the Conyers hearings will be now held at the DNC.
On Thursday June 16, 2005, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Wasserman Room (of the DNC) at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C., Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Congress Members will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence of efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

The hearings are being held at the Democratic National Committee because the Republicans controlling the House Judiciary Committee refused to permit the ranking Democratic Member to use a room on the Hill. http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/UndertheDome/index.html Nonetheless, Republicans are welcome to attend.

Later on the same day at 5:00 p.m. ET in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House, a large rally will support Congressman Conyers who plans to deliver to the White House a letter addressed to President Bush and signed by over 500,000 Americans and at least 94 Congress Members. The letter asks the President to respond to questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes.


Roy Moore, the future of the GOP (and that bothers them)


Rense.com

House Blender oddjob posted a link to a great Boston Globe article on the wingnuttery of Alabama's Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore and a wary GOP. Good ol' Roy is sitting pretty as a primary opponent against sitting duck Gov. Bob Riley.
Riley angered conservatives by signing the largest tax increase in Alabama history in an effort to get the state's fiscal house in order and make the tax code more progressive. ''There's enough people in Alabama clamoring for him [Moore] to run that I don't see that he has much choice," said Baptist minister Rick Scarborough, who chairs the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration [WTF is that?!].
Unfortunately for Chimpy, the religious Reich is on a roll in the Deep South. A marriage amendment breezed through the state house and will be put before the voters soon. As most House Blenders know, Alabama is the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America, and it earned its title with great gusto. Look at this, from Bob Moser's Sweet Homo Alabama article:
Moore, best known for installing a washing machine–size Ten Commandments monument in the entrance to the state’s judicial building, tacked a 14-page “special concurrence” onto a decision denying a lesbian mother custody of her children. In it, Alabama’s highest judicial officer declared homosexuality “abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature.” Gay sex, he wrote, is “an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it,” an “inherent evil” that “should never be tolerated.” And if homo-bamians continued to insist on fornicating? The state might have to use force, Moore wrote, wielding a biblical “power of the sword” to root out this evil once and for all.
Evangelicals like Roy Moore have gained almost insurmountable political strength there, and it's not going to look pretty if the GOP has to deal with the bigoted, narrow, and intolerant faction in its midst.

Roy with his "slab-o-ten-commandments". Here's Roy with buddy and AmTaliban weirdo Michael Marcavage of Repent America, who says "We must go out into the world and declare the word of God in front of the abortuaries and sexually perverse establishments, and at the homosexual parades and other sin celebrations and call them to repentance."

If Moore wins, some party strategists speculate, he could defy a federal court order again by erecting a religious monument outside the Alabama state Capitol building. With the 2008 presidential race looming, President Bush would then face a no-win decision: either call out the National Guard to enforce a court order against a religious display on state grounds or allow a fellow born-again Christian to defy the courts.

The pitched political warfare over the direction of the nation's courts has energized many GOP voters, but it has also produced a restless Christian right movement that contends Bush has been too moderate on issues ranging from gay marriage to judicial nominations to the Terri Schiavo case. These conservatives want Moore to run for president as a platform for their cause.
He's a real winner for the GOP. I say, Run Roy Run.


This and that gay news

Some items I came across today...

* Look at the list of the "usual suspects" on this one...AFL-CIO Urged to Halt Support of 'Proud Union Queers'. Leaders of more than three dozen family-oriented organizations have sent a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, urging him and his federation to rescind its support of same-sex marriage and stop using members' dues to advance the agendas of homosexual and transgender activists, including one group that calls its members "proud union queers."



Among the letter's signatories were such conservative leaders as Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Larry Cirignano of Catholic Citizenship, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, Rev. Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority Coalition and Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for America. Also signing the letter was former union negotiator Phil Burress [of the porn-free CleanHotels.com], who serves as president of Citizens for Community Values in Cincinnati and chaired a successful campaign to pass a constitutional amendment supporting traditional marriage in the battleground state of Ohio during the 2004 election.

* Sanity. Military has first gay wedding in Nova Scotia. The Canadian military is marking its first gay wedding. Two men, who do not want to be identified, exchanged vows in a small ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Greenwood in western Nova Scotia. ...The two men, one a sergeant, the other a warrant officer, were married last month by a United Church minister because the base chaplain is Anglican and couldn't officiate. But, Lt-Cmdr. David Greenwood helped arrange the service and preached at it. He says it might encourage other gays and lesbians in the military to come forward and make their vows official.

* Spain: Conservative gays threaten to 'out' party members. Gay members of the PP who continue to oppose gay marriage run the risk of being "outed" -- or forced out the closet -- by the party's Gay Platform, the platform's president told state radio on Tuesday. "We are willing to say, you, so-and-so, are a hypocrite ... because you are voting to impede a law that we believe is just and will mean more democracy, more equality, more tolerance and more greatness for the Kingdom of Spain," Carlos Biendicho said.

* NJ Constitution does not recognize gay marriage. Gay marriage is not protected by New Jersey's Constitution and will not be recognized in the Garden State unless legislators change the law, a state appeals panel ruled Tuesday. The issue will now go to the state Supreme Court because gay marriage proponents plan to appeal the 2-1 decision, and the high court must accept cases from split appellate panels. The ruling, rejecting the efforts of seven same-sex couples to marry, said legislators will have to act before such couples can marry in New Jersey.

* WTF? Catholic School Bans Gay Parents From Functions. A Catholic school that angered some parents by allowing a gay couple to enroll their two boys has drafted a policy that would forbid the men to appear as a couple at school functions, it was reported Tuesday. In January, officials at Costa Mesa's St. John the Baptist School adopted new admission guidelines requiring from parents "appropriate conduct, in order to support the school's mission and provide positive role models to our students." A May 6 memo distributed to teachers adds: "Practically speaking this means: The children adopted by a same-sex couple" may enroll "on the condition that the same-sex couple agree not to present themselves as a couple at school functions." The memo was obtained by the Los Angeles Times from a parent at the school, according to the newspaper.


Catholic Church goes after Scotland on gay adoption


Cardinal Keith O'Brien: "Such a measure would distort the understanding of the family, cause harm to children and promote the status of homosexual relationships."

Shakes Sis noted the other day that Scotland has plans to allow lesbian and gay couples to adopt children. You knew it wouldn't take long for the homo-bigot brigade in the Catholic church to blast that ruling.
The Archbishop of Edinburgh and leader of Scotland's Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, said the plans, introduced by the government late last week, were "gravely immoral."

The proposals would update laws north of the border to the same level as across England and Wales, and would bring adoption policies in line with the forthcoming Civil Partnership Act (CPA). Previously, a lesbian or gay man in Scotland could adopt a child, but not as part of a couple.

Adoption agencies say the update will help ease the current backlog of children needing homes.

Scotland's deputy Education Minister Euan Robson, said the proposals would address the "confusing legal position." He said the changes would be made in the best interests of the child, something disputed by Cardinal O'Brien, who accused lesbian and gay people of having "fragile" relationships.

...He also claimed the changes were an "open contradiction" to the U.N. Convention on the rights of the child, comments the Scottish Executive is set to reject.
What's fragile is the Church's control over its coverup regarding the pedophile priests in its midst. The settlement figures are at $1B and counting...


Condi-plomacy: not sure if Kim Jong-il is sane


What was she thinking?

We know the guy's a whack job, but is this kind of official public comment that will make the nuke-ready North Korean dictator come back to talks about his WMDs? Perhaps this is the foreshadowing of the kind of diplomacy someone like John Bolton would bring to the administration.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday she did not know whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was sane, a remark that could anger Pyongyang's unpredictable ruler.

Asked if she thought Kim was sane during an interview with MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Rice replied: "I don't know. I've never met the man."


Gary Bauer: it's the media's fault that military recruiting is tanking


Whining Bauer: "But all we see on the news are stories highlighting the inevitable mistakes, blunders and setbacks of war."

Give me a f*cking break. A couple of weeks ago I pulled out the tiny violin for Gary Bauer and his rant that he's "concerned about the possibility of real persecution in the United States toward conservative Christians." Now, wingnut web rag AgapePress reports that Little Gary's whining that the recent news of plummeting military recruitment figs are the fault of the media. The flop sweat is all over these quotes.
...the mainstream media "can barely hide their glee" that the U.S. military is having trouble filling its ranks. "If you are an 18-year-old American watching the news, you seldom, if ever, hear about a heroic U.S. soldier who rescues a wounded comrade, captures a terrorist thug or saves the lives of civilians -- even though those things are happening every day," Bauer observes.

"On the other hand, every young American has seen countless hours of coverage of Abu Ghraib prison guards on their way to jail, and demonstrators calling U.S. soldiers war criminals," he says.

Bauer points out that U.S. armed forces have liberated the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq -- and that as a result, millions of people in those countries have had the first opportunity of their lives to vote for their own leaders.

"But all we see on the news are stories highlighting the inevitable mistakes, blunders and setbacks of war," he laments, adding that the liberal media views the recruitment difficulties as just "one more piece of evidence" that the war in Iraq is "illegitimate and a failure."

"The amazing thing isn't that there is a recruitment shortfall," Bauer concludes. "The amazing thing is that with such a hostile media culture and the universal disdain of our elites, the American military, as it always has, is getting the job done."
Desperation. I'd hardly call wingnut NC Rep Walter Jones -- who is calling for a timetable for withdrawal because of Chimpy's failed policies -- part of the media OR the elite that Bauer mewls about.


The Pro-Lynching Southern Six


What year is it, people?

Jon over at the Pensito Review let me snare this picture of the Southern Six that couldn't bring themselves to sign on to the apology for the Senate's past inaction against lynching, which passed yesterday.

Are any of these folks going to step up and say why they couldn't sign? Have their constituents with white sheets neatly pressed and hanging in the closet given them a call saying they won't contribute to their next campaign effort if the Senators signed on?


Proud perpetrator posing for this photo postcard sent through the mail in Trent Lott's state of Mississippi in the early 1900s

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) - (202) 224-4944
Web Form: alexander.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home

Thad Cochran (R-MS) - (202) 224-5054
Web Form: cochran.senate.gov/contact.htm

John Cornyn (R-TX) - (202) 224-2934
Web Form: cornyn.senate.gov/contact/index.html

Hutchison, Kay- (R - TX) - (202) 224-5922
Web Form: hutchison.senate.gov/e-mail.htm

Trent Lott (R-MS) - (202) 224-6253
E-mail: senatorlott@lott.senate.gov

Richard Shelby (R-AL) - (202) 224-5744
E-mail: senator@shelby.senate.gov

The non-Southern losers also on the list of shame:
Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Craig Thomas (R-WY)
George Voinovich (R-OH)


Freeway Blogger on DSM


Free speech, one sign at a time. (via David @ Supreme Irony)

Visit The Heretik's roundup of the latest blogswarm posts on the Downing Street Minutes.
453 Blogs have joined the Big Brass Alliance
89 Congressional Leaders have signed John Conyers' Letter
450,978+ Citizens have demanded an investigation
Join the Big Brass Alliance.


The Phelps clan's day job



Check out how Fred Phelps and his crew pays for their hate-filled excursions around the country: Phelps-Chartered, Attorneys-At-Law. You must check out the site to see the pic of Fred and his wife from the 1960s(!).
Phelps-Chartered was founded in 1964 by Fred W. Phelps, Sr. as a general practice law firm. Today, four of his children (Shirley, Jonathan, Rachel, and Rebekah) continue his legacy of providing outstanding, responsive services to every client at a reasonable cost.
Here's Jonathan during his leisure time, at the Durham picketing of The Laramie Project in May....


Some of his more amusing catcalls: "Save The Gerbils!" and "Stop the Sh*t-eating Fags".

Thanks to House Blender Cam for the pointer.


The Reich will surely ignore these stats

Syphilis Rates Drop in Countries with Gay Marriage Laws. While the AmTaliban continually quotes outragous statistics from discredited goon "scientists" like Paul Cameron about gays dying 20 years earlier than the average person, I'm sure they will ignore this story since it doesn't go with the anti-homo program.
Data from Europe suggests that national recognition of same-sex partnerships leads to significant reductions in syphilis rates, according to a new study by a Swarthmore College economist.

“The evidence shows these laws could dramatically reduce risky sexual behavior and the social costs of some sexually transmitted infections,” says Thomas Dee, an assistant professor of economics. “However, the results may be even more important because of what they suggest are the likely effects of gay marriage on the degree of personal commitment in same-sex relationships.”

Dee studied data from Europe, where 12 countries have introduced national recognition of same-sex partnerships between 1989 and 2003. While these “gay marriage laws” reduced syphilis rates by 24 percent, their effects on the prevalence of gonorrhea and HIV were smaller and insignificant. Dee’s study was published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research.


U.S. Senate apologizes for shame of lynchings

It's never too late to apologize. This is a shameful, evil practice that is part of our history, like it or not. It's especially painful because Southern Democrats were the ones that continually held up passage of anti-lynching laws proposed by Congress. I highly recommend James Allen's Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. This was the book that spurred Senators. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA) to put forth this measure that passed today.
The Senate on Monday formally apologized for having rejected decades of pleas to make lynching a federal crime as scores victims' descendants watched from the chamber's gallery. On a voice vote and without opposition, the Senate passed a resolution expressing its regrets to the relatives as well as to the nearly 5,000 Americans -- mostly black males -- who were documented as having been lynched from 1880 to 1960.

These deaths occurred without trials, mostly in the South, often with the knowledge of local officials who allowed mob lynchings to become picture-taking, public spectacles. During this period, nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, three of which passed the House of Representatives.

But despite the support of the legislation by seven U.S. presidents, the measures died in the Senate with much of the opposition coming from southern lawmakers who raised procedural roadblocks. Such legislation would have made lynching a federal crime and allowed the U.S. government to prosecute those responsible, including local law enforcement officers.
It should be noted that, even in 2005, 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support of the measure shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor. Who are these people? Maybe they need a reminder of what we're talking about here.

[UPDATE, from Gary at Facing South.]:
Just before the resolution passed on Monday, 18 more senators signed on, bringing to 79 the total of sponsors and cosponsors (THOMAS lists Allen as a cosponsor, though some sources name him a sponsor along with Landrieu). Nine of these procrastinators were from Southern states:

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
John Warner (R-VA)
Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

These are the bigots who refused to sign on to cosponsor a freaking apology:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Kay Hutchinson (R-TX)
Trent Lott (R-MS)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
From The Cultural Function of Lynching Photography:
A particularly poignant and singularly horrific illustration of this as a primarily white working and sharecropping phenomenon can be seen in figures thirteen- fifteen, a series of postcards of The Lynching of Jesse Washington from Waco, TX in 1916. The first postcard shows the mob, reportedly 15,000 strong, clamoring for a better view (note the man being held up by a friend, center right). The next postcard shows the horribly burnt body of Jesse Washington, a seventeen year old retarded boy accused of raping and murdering a white woman. According to news reports and eyewitness accounts:



. . . Washington was beaten with shovels and bricks. . .[he] was castrated, and his ears were cut off. A tree supported the iron chain that lifted him above the fire. . . Wailing, the boy attempted to climb up the skillet hot chain. For this, the men cut off his fingers. (Allen, 174)

As if this were not enough, the back of the postcard (fig. 15) reads: “This is the barbeque we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.” (The cross is now an ink smudge.) Joe has been identified as Joe Myers, an “oiler” at car factory in Waco (Allen 174).
What was I thinking though. Of course there are Americans who have a problem with a simple apology for this legislative moral black hole in the past. Look at these Freeper comments.


Actual Freeper Quotes™ and more here:

"Beg pardon, wasn't that illegal at the time *already*? This is an endorsement for the idea that Uncle Sammo has to create some special law for every thing that can go wrong. Then we wonder why we get things like a petty thief charged with 10 different crimes for the same act."

"It's seems to me that this lady [Doria Johnson, whose great-great grandfather was lynched in South Carolina], as well as the rest of us, should be more concerned about the days we live in, rather than dwelling on stuff that happened 150 yrs ago."

"That same Senate that is going to "apologize" is busy everyday trying to figure out ways to tax us more, and impinge more on our liberty."

"The apology pisses me off on so many levels. All the people who are mentioned in this past event are dead. There were laws against murder in 1916 so the senate did not need to have a special lynch law. Do not apologize for me because I refuse to acknowledge it. The senate is speaking on behalf of the American people because that is what they do. I was not hear nor was even one of my ancestors. Do not speak of apologies to anyone unless you are the one perpetrating the event."

"I suggest we all write letters to our senators decrying our outrage on this issue. I will write my two pinko's even though I know I will be pissing in the wind."

"She is a serial liar like all the rest of these race hustlers. She was brought up to hate white people. I thought only white people could be bigots."

"Lynching is murder...it is already illegal and, IMHO, there is no need to apologize for not creating redundant laws that would further clog up our legal system."

"These Senators are so self-absorbed and worried about their image and the PC left that they have forgotten what their job under the constitution is IMHO."

"This burns my ass so badly I cannot see straight."

"This is getting to be ridiculous. NOW they'll want money. Maybe I should dig around the family background and ask them to apologize for wrongs and right them with money too. They've opened the door for that."

"Why was it necessary for the whole Senate to apologize? I can only think of one Senator who could have possibly committed a lynching. Wouldn't it have been enough for Robert Byrd (D-KKK) to say he was sorry?"


The Lynching of Lige Daniels (1920)

"They haven't apologised for mugging and raping yet. The Senate never lynched anyone. Most people never lynched anyone. This is ridiculous and insulting to african americans."

"Oh come on! It's just an apologize and they deserve to get at least that."

"Yes it is ridiculous. It is ridiculous that white men today have deveoped such thin skins over losing a little bit of control over the US, that they can not admitt to being wrong even when it is so obvious to God and mankind."

"While it is true that it is murder to lynch someone, it was considerd ok in southern states from the civil war until the 1960s. It is good that we are telling it like it is and apologizing for a very corrupt time in history. However, I think they should have made it evident that the democrats were the ones who lynched people and not republicans. The republicans however share the blame because they did not speak out and try to stop these atrocities."

"This is a really tough issue for me. I believe in limited government, especially at the federal level. But when states refused to prosecute these murders, it corrodes or destroys the idea that states should be allowed substantial powers to run their own affairs. Unpunished lynchings were so shocking to the conscience of the nation that they've helped upset our whole federalist system of government -- and I can't be completely unhappy about that."

"Isn't "whites killing minorities" very rare these days? Isn't "minorities killing whites" very common these days? This is why it's so important to dwell on the past, so that it can blind us of the present."

"If everyone will notice...it was only the senate...not the house, nor the president. There are lots of reasons why the senate is a total waste and worthless to the American people. This all goes back to 1776 and the fact that small states wanted equal power and representation of larger states. As for being sorry for lynchings...there are another 1,000 things to be sorry about concerning the last 100 years of American history...I'm curious if we will have weekly sessions or perhaps a committee of sorrow...to help speed through these sorrows."


I swear, these guys are suffering from PMS

Prehistoric Man Syndrome.

Boy, this is rich (in more ways than one). Where to begin? I was reading all the slamming posts by enraged girlfriend bloggers today, weighing in on the Kos "Pie Fight ad-and-his-dumbass dismissive reply to feminists" -- and checking out the subsequent dustup that has popped up around the blogosphere. The "crowd who dares not shave their legs" (thanks, the unfortunate Mr. Balloon Juice) have had plenty to say on this -- just a sampling:

Some Guys Really Know How to Give a Girl the Giggles
Pop Quiz, Asshole
Why, I do declare!
Dear Ladies
Write Your Own Caption - Markos Moulitsas Zúniga Edition
Stuff This Wherever You Keep Your "Important Shit"
Pen-Elayne
Female Problems
Real Woman's Issues
Ironically
Sensing Humor

Which brain are these blogger guys thinking with?

And why are they afraid to discuss thorny gender issues with women that might have a different perspective? The insecurity continued around the blogosphere -- Dems won't win as long as women/wimmen/womyn/man-vessels/walking wombs/monthly-cycling p*ssies have the gall to think that political issues that have direct impact on their lives might be important. We're just all about hormones. I'm waiting for a "baking cookies" remark right about now.

For A-List male bloggers, the organ below the belt is apparently in control when it comes to these issues. It's truly disturbing that these guys just can't seem to get it through their thick, juicy heads that it's not the Real Gilligan's Island faux lesbo ad, it's Kos's demeaning attitude toward what he terms the "sanctimonious women's studies set" that rankled. He didn't take these women seriously.

Look, I love boobies, and do shave my legs, so I don't know where that places me on the Kos continuum of pesky women that actually think and may disagree from time to time with those of the "testicular fortitude set." What emerged in his response appears to reflect some deep-seated insecurities on the part of Kos and the top-tier male blog kingmakers that came to his defense...

Bag-man Gilliard for Kos: 'It's all about his Benjamins'

I didn't think it would get to this juvenile, brain-dead level so quickly, but Kos apologist/attack dog Steve Gilliard actually brought it down to the bottom line, exactly where I predicted the discourse would end up when no one could come up with a real defense for Kos's vitriol -- it's all about the money. I mentioned this in the comments of my original post:
I think Kos has a blind spot, a big one (due to his need to make money from ads) when it comes to what some in his community might find offensive. That's his call, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't get flak for it when he makes the choice.
He could have replied in a civil manner, but his knee-jerk response exposed a sexist streak -- and he needed a few lessons in reader response etiquette. If he's going to be a Big Boy BloggerTM of influence, then perhaps he needs to set up a standard reader response form in lieu of the etiquette lessons when this sort of thing occurs.

But on to Gillard...what a bootlicker. Let me drag the f*cking tiny violin out again..:

Look, this isn't a game. You don't get to make your little points for free. If he did what you said, he loses a couple of grand up front and possibly five figures down the road. Have you ever asked how he would make up that money? He isn't running a charity. He runs a business which you get to use for free. I would think that would be a consideration before you start to lecture him on your personal offense. If he loses money, you lose access. Simple as that. He isn't running a dotcom, he has to make a profit toi keep the site running.

It's how he feeds his kid and pays his rent. So no wonder he told you to piss off. It's only a matter of minor offense for you. It's food for him. It's bandwidth for him. It's a new server for him. You're talking about feeling offended. Offense doesn't pay the bills. He can afford to offend you a lot easier than TBS or other people who pay for his site. Think about his content. Think how hard it was for the guy at TBS to first, sell advertising on blogs, then advertising on Kos. That was no small deal, trust me. If Kos had pulled that ad, I think any TW company would have a hard time dealing with him again.
Waah, waah, get some Huggies or Pampers out and a pacifier while you're at it. Yawn. Here we are at the crossroads -- it's about DKos as a business. Thank you. Now we all know what it's all about; just like the MSM, or any other business venture, it means accepting any ads that pay the bills. After all, Kos ran the homo-baiting Metrospy ad back in April, either:


"Metrospy is a designer and marketer of politically conservative apparel, gifts and accessories. The company"s target consumers are the growing number of young Republican conservatives ages 18 - 35." Not exactly Kos's audience, eh? Yeah, rip off buxxx from conservatives his loyal Kossacks said. But that's not the problem -- it's the gay-baiting message in the ad itself - did Kos see anything wrong with this? Nope.

But back to Steve's stimulating defense of his Main Man against the scary, hairy women. He's particularly offensive here, because he feels the need to "school" those that are too dim to see the "greater goal" of supporting DKos as the shining beacon of progressive community, and that we should suck it up. Ah, DKos is sounding more and more like the lame-ass, corporate slug MSM that we complain about. Cue the violin once more, with feeling:

If you want Kos to run, you have to cut him a little slack, you need to cut all of us a little slack. He needs the money. So do we all. The people to complain to are the people who made the ad, not the people who run it. What is the greater goal? Having a successful site or making sure everyone isn't offended. And save the lectuires on commerce. You cannot run his site for free or by asking people to kick in. He needs steady income. It's a business and he makes business decisions like everyone else does.

This is about survival. Making sure Kos is profitable is critical for the rest of us to succeed. I think if TBS wants to pay for liberal activism, even with a cheesy ad, let them. If you don't like the ad, tell them. But don't get into a debating circle when you think your issue is the only one, and when in reality it is not. This is not about the exploitation of women, but keeping the site running. And unless you have a new blogads client for him, I don't think your concerns and lectures are going to pay his bills.
I guess the Benjamins are what Kos refers to when he says, "Me, I'll focus on the important shit."


Hallelujah headline of the day



Filthy rich, skank-ho Paris Hilton Plans to Give Up Public Life. Unfortunately she's going to grace us with her public presence for two more years before "retiring" to shoot out babies with her soon-to-be husband, Paris Latsis.


Falwell's legal lackey wants to intervene in NY marriage case

Monday, June 13, 2005


Falwell's legal bootlicker is Matthew Staver of Liberty Counsel. Its motto is "Restoring the Culture One Case at a Time by Advancing Religious Freedom, the Sanctity of Human Life and the Traditional Family."

Wingnut web rag AgapePress says that Falwell's legal arm, Liberty Counsel, is trying to weasel its way into presenting oral arguments against a same-sex marriage case that is pending before a NY court.
Last year, homosexual activists sued to overturn marriage laws in New York state. Since then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come out in favor of same-sex marriage, making public statements to that effect. Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, has filed a motion to intervene in the pending legal matter. "It's very clear that the City of New York is not vigorously defending this case," he says.

"If any case begs for intervention by independent parties to defend the marriage laws, it's this case," Staver asserts, "and so we're asking the court now to grant us actual party status to take over part of this defense to preserve the laws in New York regarding marriage."

The Liberty Counsel spokesman does not feel Mayor Bloomberg can or will mount an adequate defense of traditional marriage laws in New York, considering his publicly stated position. "It's just the most unjust situation," he contends, "when you have the mayor and his staff, [who are] supposed to be defending the laws of marriage in New York ... and they've come out with a statement that says they support same-sex marriage."

Traditional marriage statutes are based on laws that "have been known for millennia of human history," Staver insists, and yet it would appear that Bloomberg and his people have aligned their thinking with the radical, pro-homosexual movement. "Obviously, we can't be very confident that they're going to give a strong defense, and that's why we need to be there at the table," Staver says.


From the "you've got to be sh*tting me" files


Rev. Bill & Penny Banuchi, founders of "Marriage and Family Savers Ministries". Bill, head of the Christian Coalition in NY wants to tag the fags and dykes.
"We put warning labels on cigarette packs because we know that smoking takes one to two years off the average life span, yet we 'celebrate' a lifestyle that we know spreads every kind of sexually transmitted disease and takes at least 20 years off the average life span according to the 2005 issue of the revered scientific journal Psychological Reports."
-- Rev. Bill Banuchi

Christian Coalition: Gays Should Wear Warning Labels. Yes, guess the exec director of the New York Christian Coalition has been reading up on Nazi history. So he decides to do a little flamethrowing based on bogus research.
The journal [Psychological Reports] regularly publishes articles described by many mainstream psychologists as misleading and faulty. The homosexuality morbidity study was conducted by the conservative anti-gay Family Research Institute.

Banuchi called LGBT Pride celebrations held in New Paltz, north of New York City, and other areas of the country on the weekend "sad". He called on people to "pray for those who are deceived by the lies of popular culture, who are caught up in a destructive lifestyle, and for the children who are being zealously evangelized by radical homosexuals."

It is not the first time gays have been told they should wear labels. In Nazi Germany gays were forced to wear the pink triangle to differentiate them from other internees at concentration camps.

BTW, you can sign the reverend's Christian Coalition guestbook here.

Hat tip to Ms. Julien.


What's going on at the Big Brass Alliance



We'll be hosting a live chat over at Big Brass Alliance on Wednesday to discuss the next steps to take, now that hearings will be held on the Downing Street Minutes. Join us!

Also, check out the redesigned Alliance web page. You can contribute excerpts and links to your blog entries there on DSM-related news as well.

Don't forget to visit the busy BBA Forum, where discussion on the next steps has already started.

Big thanks to Charlie Kilian (a new member of the Big Brass Blog team) for his work on the page.


NC Rep Walter "freedom fries" Jones wants troops out of Iraq, Freepers erupt

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"When I look at the number of men and women who have been killed - it's almost 1,700 now, in addition to close to 12,000 have been severely wounded - and I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there."
-- Congressman Walter Jones, (R-NC)
This is getting interesting; the reliably wingnut congressman had the light bulb come on about the complete disaster that is the U.S. military effort in Iraq. He appeared on ABC's "This Week" and said he will introduce legislation this week calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq. Freepers are taking a piece of Walter Jones's hide below. Feel the defensiveness and fear along with the anger.


Actual Freeper Quotes™

"This guy represents a district that consists of Camp Lejeune. What do the Marines think of him?"

"Of course .. why don't we shut down Gitmo, turn all the terrorists loose and tell the terrorists when we're leaving Iraq. Wow!!"

"HOW IN HELL DID THESE IDIOTS EVER GET ELECTED - THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DEFEND AND PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES - NOT DEFEND AND PROTECT THE TERRORISTS!! Yes .. I'm screaming!!! I'm sick of this crap."

"Makes me ashamed to be in NC."

"Jones was a Democrat for most of his political career. He ran for Congress in 1992 as a Dem, and lost. He saw which way the wind was blowing, so switched parties, and won as a Republican."

"He isn't a Republican now either."

"It sounds like his problem is more with himself than with the mission. He should resign."

"Here little Muslim. Here little Muslim. Just wait until all the good guys are gone then you and Walter Jones can go in and start killing people again, without any opposition."

"Sorry it should be Over or Out. I was in WW II when the Commander in Chief and the military came up with a plan to win against two major well-armed enemies. It was done in less time that the present conflict against an enemy using car bombs and IEDs. President Bush should do a Lincoln and fire this hopeless military leadership from Rumsfeld on down and replace them with leaders who are able to come up with a plan to win this war soon and not cop out about how difficult it is and how long it will take. Patton wouldn't take those excuses. I say again Over or Out. Get it Over or get us Out. We still have China to worry about."

"This is what I'd like to know... why have a military if we aren't willing to risk them giving their lives?"

"Is this Jones character another member in good standing of the Jim Jeffords Scarlet Letter Club?"

"Times are getting tougher. I have a feeling that 2006 may be a difficult election cycle, and the conservative movement is going to find out who its true friends are. But we may lose a few hangers-on."

"What an idiot."

"I have to tell you that we live close to Ft Hood. Soldiers coming back from Iraq with the 1st Cavalry are becoming quite vocal about their opposition to the war. Many of those eligible for getting out are doing so. Many in the 4th Infantry will be returning for the second time after just coming back a year ago are also saying the same thing. I have been kind of surprised to see even officers speaking out. My son-in-law will be going in November and the toll it is taking on the families is really bad and I think has something to do with alot of their decisions. I think the prospect of going back every other year for decades is not very appealing any more."

"He obviously is emotionally disturbed and that is affecting his job. He should resign."

"Agreed! I've already sent him a fax to let him know how one voter feels!"

"HOW IN HELL DID THESE IDIOTS EVER GET ELECTED
Unfortunately the peeples voted them in. Congress is a Perfect Example Of Where You Will NOT Find The Best And Brightest Of The USA."

"Frankly, I'm sick of politicians sending people to die, then turning around and not letting them do their job/win. Either fight 100%, or don't fight at all."

"Dear Congressman Jones,

I'd like to thank you for giving us a timetable for pulling your troops out of Iraq. By setting a timetable for the war to end, rather than actually trying to win it, you have given us renewed hope and the knowledge that the great satan has been beaten by us, and that all we need to do is wait you out.

I can't begin to tell you how we will dance in the streets as we chase you out of the middle east, and we will know that the great satan in nothing more than a paper tiger.

And once you're gone, we will then come to your homes and kill you. And there will be rejoicing in the streets as america comes under the rule of sharia law.

Thanks for all your assistance! Osama"
Other posts on Jones:
* NC wingnut Walter Jones wants political endorsements from the pulpit to shove through FMA

* NC AmTaliban Rep. Walter Jones pushes for backdoor book ban


Separated at birth?


1. Runaway Bride. 2. Extraterrestrial Heaven's Gate castrati Maurice Applewhite. 3. Bloody chainsaw U.S. "tourist" Gregory Despres.


Military recruiting: F*cked.

Can you feel the draft? WaPo has some sobering stats from the military. It needs a huge summer recruitment push to stop the hemorraghing. The Army is going to pull 500 seasoned noncommissioned officers to serve as additional recruiters from its active-duty units this summer to hijack needed warm bodies. Parents, protect your kids, these folks are going to be predatory and take 'em as young as they possibly can.
The Army missed its May active-duty recruiting goal of 6,700 by 1,661 recruits, pushing the shortfall for fiscal 2005 to 8,321 -- or more than a month's worth of recruits. The shortfall would have been 37 percent if the Army had not lowered its May goal. Overall, the Army has sent 40,964 enlistees to boot camp, and has four months to nearly double that figure to reach the 80,000 goal for this fiscal year.
Here is more pathetic info:

* A nationwide initiative launched last month to allow people to serve 15-month terms, not including training, has so far drawn only 44 additional recruits. [That's got to be a kick in the nads to the military - it's flipping embarrassing.]

* The Army is taking a harder look at keeping first-term soldiers in the force who might otherwise have been kicked out for problems such as drug abuse, poor conduct, or for failure to meet fitness or body-fat standards. [Great Caesar's ghost, there's nothing like having a doped-up, loose-screw, unfit colleague in the tank or on the line with you.]

* A equally hard look at raising the age limit for active-duty Army recruits from 35 to 40 is under way. This was changed for the reserve elements in March, but increasing it for the active-duty force requires congressional approval; the Army also wants the signing bonus upped from $20K to $40K. [Hey, that should make a whole bunch of those dirtbag DC politicians queasy, especially those up for re-election.]. I love the spin on the proposed change by Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, head of recruiting command (don't laugh; just imagine the flop sweat of a sound bite of this guy):
...the change would bring in soldiers with greater experience and maturity, while making little difference in terms of physical abilities -- saying that today's 40-year-olds are in better physical shape than they were when the law was written.
I was watching All Quiet on the Western Front this AM. The 1930 Academy Award-winning film (Best Picture and Best Director) should be required viewing for any young person that encounters one of these recruiters or is contemplating enlisting. There's also a decent 1979 version with Richard Thomas in the Lew Ayers role as well. The acting in the 1930, early sound-era film is a bit dated, but Erich Maria Remarque's anti-war message and director Lewis Milestone's battle scenes are wonderfully rendered and still powerful.


"Our bodies are earth and our thoughts are clay and we sleep and eat with death."


The effectiveness of the film lies in the portrayal of the "selling" of the war (WWI) to draft-age German schoolboys, glamorizing service, honor and duty and later showing the senselessness and violence of war and its impact on each of them. It resonates in light of the similar spin control and appeal of the ads we're seeing for the Army today. The latest campaign is a naked appeal to parents' patriotism, and so far, I've seen ones featuring white, black and Latino families, each with young people (men and women) talking to their parent about "making a commitment" or "doing something to make a difference in the world" -- all soft-sell stuff -- the punch line is the Army logo up onscreen. Nothing changes.

Earlier Blend posts:

* LAN parties -- the new recruiting tool for the Army

* Army to miss recruiting targets, sibling combat policy on the table


Downing Street Minutes update from BBA

Oh boy, another leaked British document, this time confirming that it was "necessary to create the conditions" for the legality of the Iraq War. Think Chimpy will ever respond without a lie? The memo can be read here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1648758_1,00.html.

More updates from Shakes Sis:

* The Times' coverage of it can be read here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1650822,00.html

* Shakes Sis' entry on it is here: http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2005/06/hot-damn.html

* Check out The Heretik, who has a round-up of those already writing about this development here: http://theheretik.typepad.com/the_heretik/2005/06/downing_street__3.html

* Freiheit und Wissen's round-up is here: http://cntodd.blogspot.com/2005/06/second-leak-second-memo.html

* Email The Heretik if you have DSM posts that you want to share: (joe.ivory.mattingly@gmail.com) and CNTodd @ F&W (cntodd@gmail.com) to send them your link so you can be added.

Also, there's a great editorial in the St. Petersburg Times here that you might find useful (and hopeful): http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/12/Columns/The_American_people_h.shtml

And Billmon has good advise regarding actions to take in tandem with contacting the media here: http://www.thismodernworld.com/weblog/mtarchives/week_2005_06_05.html#002236


Phelps now picketing war dead

Saturday, June 11, 2005



Really, I don't know what the f*ck Fred "The Rotting CryptkeeperTM" Phelps is talking about this time. Somehow, it's a good thing that our troops are getting blown away by insurgents. Who doesn't this sick bastard hate?

In the latest Phelps picket news, he's headed to New York this month, to NYC to protest a Billy Graham crusade, and Plattsburgh, to spread hate at the 2005 Mayor's Cup Festival & Regatta. Regarding the latter, a web site has been set up, Plattsburgh for Peace, a non-profit, non-political, nondenominational committee of volunteer members in the Plattsburgh, NY community is holding a pledge drive to charities that support tolerance. You can learn more at its web site.


Follow-up to Love in Action's 'ex-gay' re-education camp


Refuge, an 'ex-gay' brainwashing program led by "former homosexual" John Smid, is being picketed by protestors; Zach, a young blogger, was sent to this place by his fundamentalist parents after coming out to them.

"I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery."
--The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In Action (LIA)

After a reading a quote like that, you want to hurl; what kind of sickness has taken over in this country? How can this be the word of someone that calls himself Christian? At least he doesn't hold back; as wifey Kate told me -- he's only saying bluntly what many in the AmTaliban community dance around. You can read Smid's f*cking bullsh*t "testimonial" here (PDF); my earlier post is here.

The good news is that Zach's story is making its way around the blogosphere, and into local media. A blog has been set up, Queer Action Coalition, that is chronicling the protests at Love in Action, the discredited 'ex-gay' ministry that has set up a program called Refuge, that allows parents to commit children, like 16-year-old Zach into a lock-down facility in order to get the homo "religiously cleansed" out of him.

The local station in Memphis, WMCTV, covered the story. Video is here. The station asked for viewer comments; here are some of them from its web site:
Being Gay is NOT a choice! This program is ridiculous. It's like asking someone born with blue eyes, to cut them out and replace them with eyes that aren't their own, just because someone else tells you to. If these people believe in God's will and way, then why would they think he's made a mistake by creating gay people and animals. So are we saying that worms (which are asexual) a mistake? Why don't we give worms sex change operations. That's how ridiculous this is.




I wonder how long it will be before the religious fascists begin their torchlight parades and rallies at the zeppelin field. Anyone not displaying enough Christian fanaticism will need to be interned for re-training. Rationality, if thou still have voice, SPEAK OUT!




The practice of sending gay teens to 'rehab' for a cure absolutely heinous. Their parents should be prosecuted for child abuse. I must admit this is the most peculiar place I've ever lived, and I grew up here. The mind set of that group of people was considered a fringe element 40 years ago, but now it's flourishing. I cannot understand why. It is a real shame.

As a well-educated and openly lesbian Christian, I think it is not only futile but harmful to use fear to turn gay youth straight. Homosexuality is not a choice, and the American Psychiatric Association has said for years that it is not a disorder. Moreover, it is hypocritical for Christian leaders to act as if God only loves certain types of people. The acceptance and love he teaches is unconditional.




I just saw the news story "scared straight". What are these parents thinking?? Please do not do this to your children. This is the worst thing you can do! I am a straight married female who has lots of gay friends as well as a gay daughter. Being gay is not a disease or a lifestyle choice. We are born with predetermined (by God) sexual preference. It is not something you can "cleanse" or make it go away. These parents that are trying to change their children are so misinformed. What your gay teen needs is your support and your love. He/she does not need to be told that there is something wrong with them or that they are going to hell. I have seen first hand what has happened to people submitted to these kind of programs or abandoned & shamed by their parents. They either commit suicide or are very messed up. But the children that are accepted for what they are, love & nourished grow up to be happy well adjusted adults. For the parents that can't accept this...you are the ones that need help.




This is a response to your "Scared Straight" story. As a 47 year old man, I can still recall the painful experience I had at age 13 when I had my first homosexual attraction. I was afraid because I had been raised in a loving Christian home were homosexuality was considered a sin. I feared discussing any of my feelings with my priest, my parents, my teachers or my siblings. I retreated to the infamous gay closet and stayed there until after college. I am grateful that more and more "gay kids" have the courage in today's world to discuss their sexuality with their parents, teachers and friends. Unfortunately, homosexuality still cannot be discussed with fundamentalist Christian ministers because they refuse to approach the subject with any sense of open-mindedness. Christian fundamentalists (in spite of the vast amount of psychological data, scientific research in sexuality and updated theological research) refuse to view homosexuality as anything but sin. They can only respond by attempting to scare gay kids into heterosexuality. This approach has been attempted by every generation and the bottom line is that it has not worked. In the long run a person's sexuality is with them for life. The only thing these ministers are doing is insuring that some gay kids will be scared into marriages which will lead to devastating divorces and broken families years from now. It amazes me that we refuse to learn from our past mistakes.



Love in Action is a good program at its core. Teaching fundamental Christian values and beliefs is laudable, but teaching that homosexuality is deviant and sinful is not only disparaging, but wrong in the views of many Christians. Christianity teaches tolerance, and Biblical verses can be twisted and misconveyed to distort the Bible's true message. It's sad when there's not enough religion to love, but plenty enough to hate. The Bible should be taught for what it truly stands for: Christ's love to all individuals, and the chance of redemption through Him.




I would like to comment on your story tonight about the effort of certain churches to "convert" gay people, now especially gay teenagers to being straight. These so called "christians" (I use a small c, I feel capital C is for true Christians who believe that God loves all his people) need to understand that being gay is not a choice or really a life style. We cannot "convert". This is who we are. We feel that God made us this way, and since according to these same people God doesn't make mistakes, then He must have wanted us to be this way. If people would be more accepting, then teens and others would not have to feel so badly about what they are. I have been in a committed relationship for over 15 years. We are happy, healthy, and luckily are both accepted by our families and in our respective careers for are "lifestyle".

If these people need some cause to take on, how about all the abused children in Memphis. The kids that come to school hungry, dressed in rags, and cannot afford to participate in fieldtrips, etc.?




Regarding Scared Straight….Does the Reverend John Smid think Vice President Cheney and his wife raised their lesbian daughter Mary wrong? The rev states that parents are accountable as they see fit…..are the Cheney's not fit parents? Did he vote Republican in '04, if so why if the Cheney's are immoral?




I just watched your story on gay teen's being scared straight by religious folk. As a gay man who tried for 15 years of marriage to subdue my homosexuality, I cannot tell you how much the actions of these misguided people anger me. Let me put the shoe on the other foot and ask you how you would feel if someone tried to convince you that your heterosexuality was an abomination and God wanted you to change. It is the same for a homosexual. I have lived throught growing up trying to deny who I was. I know that God made me the way I am. How can these so called "christians" think they know the will of God? Do they propose that God made a mistake by making people homsexual? They are the abomination. They who tout their "culture of life" are the cause of many a young gay person's suicide. And shame on you for not holding them in the contempt that thinking people of this nation should. They have become America's Taliban. If they have their way, they would install a theocracy in our nation. They scare me - tremendously - but will never scare me straight.




It was with some dismay and frustration that I saw your report on Mr. Smid and his "Loving in Action" ministry. As a native of the Midwest and someone who struggled for years to reconcile his identity with his spirituality, it concerns me greatly that every message that gets put out there sends a signal to people about what is acceptable and what is not. And, unbeknownst to you or me, many young people get those signals and are hurt or emboldened as a result. Specific to your report, I would only say that it appeared to give undue legitimacy to a type of ministry that has existed for decades and has a conspicuous record, at best. A little bit of history of these sorts of ministries might have enlightened your reporting some to show that they may have the best of intentions but few results to show for it. And for good reason - the more we learn about gay people, the more we realize that the idea of "choosing" their behavior is an inaccurate portrayal. To report on this ministry and the current matter without some background on these sorts of ministries and the emerging scientific body of evidence to show that biology plays a factor, thus debunking the notion of choice, is a disservice to your viewers, and I would encourage you and others in your position to be more thoughtful and scrupulous in your future work.




In response to the story "Scared Straight":

I am greatly concerned over the ideas of legal discrimination, religiously approved prejudice, and the political endorsement of hate which is beginning to spread in the US. This disease is not unlike those of the past in which women, blacks, jews, and immigrants were targeted as being inferior, evil, "wrong", or dangerous. Have we so soon forgotten that discrimination against ANY group endangers ALL, even those who are the perpetrators of this hatred and fear? Have we forgotten that Germany's legal discrimination of jewish people, black people, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsys, and others, began with legal discrimination of homosexuals? Have we forgotten that the Nuremburg laws of Germany which forbade marriage between Jews and Germans were based on the laws of the United States in which marriage between whites and blacks was illegal? Are we forgetting the lessons of the civil rights movement in which we were supposed to have learned that it is NOT ALRIGHT to discriminate against those which we believe to be different from us?

Why do we continue to repeat mistakes of the past by simply choosing a new group to be harassed and hated? Is it that we haven't learned from history and are therefore destined to repeat it? Is it that we refuse to face history and ourselves and admit that we are fearful of those who are unlike us?

It appears that homosexuals are now the targeted group. Will this country eventually require gays to were pink triangles as the Germans did, so that identification and legal discrimination can be perpetrated? What next? Will we then require Muslims to wear a symbol? How about instituting a constitutional ban on adulterers, liars, fornicators? Aren't these groups spoken about much more harshly in the Bible than homosexuals? Why weren't homosexuals told they would not enter the kingdom of heaven as the other groups were? Why does the "christian" community lobby against a group that WAS NOT condemned by Jesus, but allows the other to infiltrate their ranks? When will we allow white christians to teach their children they are sinning if they love blacks? Oh wait! We have already done that in our not so distant past. That would be wrong, wouldn't it? So why is it ok to teach children they should not love someone of their own gender? I suppose for the same reasons the black/white issue existed in the past. So when will we be able to lynch a woman if she flirts with your wife, or a boy if he happens to make a pass at your son?

Let's call it like it is. We are either perpetrators of hatred such as the Nazi's, by hiding behind supposed heaven-ordained condemnation, we are victims of that hate by being refused the constitutional guarantee of "Liberty and Justice for ALL" and the right to " Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" because we happen to love someone of the same sex, or we are bystanders that allow the "Nazi's" to start small with denial of rights, then move on to punishment for being of a certain group.

I am reminded of a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller, who was sent to a concentration camp because he dared to oppose Adolf Hitler. He wrote:

'First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.'

Who will be the next group? Yours?
TerranceDC has a DKos diary up on this. You can email the protestors as well.


Out washing the queermobiles...and check out Shakes Sis today


The Subaru Outback and Ford Focus wagons.

No blogging yet today. Will be on later. Right now Kate and I are out washing the cars -- we haven't done this since before winter and they are just nasty. All the winter crap, plus the spring pollen. It's disgusting.

Anyway, here's are earlier Blend posts about cars, since we own a Subaru Outback and a Ford Focus, both queer-friendly automakers...

* We own a Subaru Outback (and a Ford Focus) -- nah, nah Concerned Women for America

* Subaru's response to a House Blend reader on diversity

* American Family Association now boycotting Ford

* Looks like the AFA suspended its Ford boycott



Bonus post, since my family owned a 1973 Ford Pinto wagon:

* The exploding Ford Pinto



***

I haven't had time to post on this today, but I've IMed/emailed Shakes Sis about this a bit earlier, please go read her entry, "Democrats Can't Win Because of Me." It's infuriating. The schism on the Left between the male powers that be (both elected and self-appointed big dogs in the blogosphere) and lefty women political bloggers is widening, and it is beginning to generate discussion all over. There will be a lot more here and elsewhere about this topic...Sis's post:
Democrats Can't Win Because of Me
Or so I'm told. Me and the rest of "the crowd who dares not shave their legs."

During the last election, the "Sex and the City" vote was all the rage, with both Dems and the GOP trying their best to woo single women. (Remember W is for Women?) During the run-up to the election, BusinessWeek Online noted:
They're America's 46 million unmarried women -- a group that ranges from never-marrieds just out of college to single mothers, middle-aged divorcées, and widows. Despite their differences, these women have two things in common: deep economic insecurity and a tendency to turn out for Democrats when they vote -- by a 30-percentage-point margin in some polls.

The prospect of shaping Sideline Singles into a voting bloc has liberal activist groups in a lather. After all, says Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, if unmarried women had voted in the same proportions as their wedded sisters in 2000, some 6 million more voters would have gone to the polls -- and most would have punched the chad for Al Gore…

"One of the reasons we keep hearing for not voting is 'politicians don't listen to people like me,"' says NOW President Kim Gandy. "But if we get enough of this demographic to vote, politicians will have to listen. It's about achieving critical mass."
Just a thought, but perhaps a bigger part of the reason Democrats can’t win elections is because they, and a certain contingent of Dem bloggers, continue to show contempt for women.

Especially the ones who suggest they ought to stop.
Go join the discussion.




Friday night news follies

Friday, June 10, 2005

Yes, these are real...



Yellow is green - Sheep urine cuts pollution. A British bus company is testing a new secret weapon to reduce polluting emissions - sheep urine. Stagecoach has fitted a bus in Winchester with a tank containing the waste, reports the Guardian. The urine is sprayed into exhaust fumes to reduce emissions of harmful nitrous oxides. Andrew Dyer, managing director of Stagecoach South, said: "It is a novel way of reducing pollution but we believe it will work. "This is the latest in green technology and we believe it will help make our cities better places to be for the public." ...The urine is collected by the fertiliser industry from farmyard waste and refined into pure urea, which is then sold on to be used in the green engine technology. Ammonia from the urea reacts with nitrous oxides in the exhaust fumes and converts them to nitrogen gas and water, which is released as steam.

96-year-old driver fights to keep licence after 20mph police chase. One of Scotland's oldest motorists was convicted of careless driving yesterday after he swerved on to a grass verge to avoid police, after a 20mph "chase" along a busy A-road. Herbert Street, 96, was trying to get his F-reg Fiat Punto to a garage after its engine started to overheat. But, halfway there, there was so much steam coming from under the bonnet that he slowed right down as he drove along the A75 Gretna to Stranraer Euroroute. Another motorist alerted police, and when officers tried to stop Mr Street's car - which he calls Maggie Jane after his late wife - he mounted the verge in an attempt to get past. He was eventually stopped, breathalysed and had his car impounded...Of the incident in January, he explained: "The police said I was driving to get away from them, but it was just that I couldn't see very well because of all the steam coming out of the engine - I wanted to be as safe as possible.



'Killer cow' arrested in Nigeria. Police in Nigeria have detained a cow after it killed a bus driver. The stray animal attacked the man from behind as he was urinating on a motorway near the country's commercial city of Lagos, a police spokesman said. "As the man fell down, the cow repeatedly hit him with its hooves and horns until he died," spokesman Olubode Ojajuni told the AFP news agency. Mr Ojajuni said police were now seeking the cow's owner who would be charged for failing to control the animal.


Repug House Judiciary chair shuts down Patriot Act hearing, walks out


Sensenbrenner: what a prick.

Democracy lite. The BradBlog reports that Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. lost his f*cking mind and cut off mics in the middle of testimony. That's right -- he unilaterally deep-sixed committee hearings on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act without comment or issuing any kind of statement. Brad:
Apparently, they inappropriately called witnesses to testify today from whom the Republicans did not wish to hear...Today's hearings were called under the archane provision of House Rule 11, which, we are told, allows the Minority to call for an additional day of hearings and to choose their own witnesses if they are unsatisfied with the hearings as held by the Majority. The U.S. House Judiciary Democrats have been unable to do that previously on issues like Election 2004 and Media Bias because the Majority hadn't called a hearing at all on those matters, and thus, they were forced to call their own hearings.
This is an abuse of power that we're getting used to seeing from Repugs, even brassy enough to do it live on C-SPAN. Of course it was purposely scheduled for Friday so it would die in the MSM. From the AP report:
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the panel, abruptly gaveled the meeting to an end and walked out, followed by other Republicans. Sensenbrenner declared that much of the testimony, which veered into debate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, was irrelevant.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., protested, raising his voice as his microphone went off, came back on, and went off again. "We are not besmirching the honor of the United States, we are trying to uphold it," he said.


Chimpy: "Letting those provisions expire would leave law enforcement in the dark."

Democrats asked for the hearing, the 11th the committee has held on the act since April, saying past hearings had been too slanted toward witnesses who supported the law. The four witnesses were from groups, including Amnesty International USA and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, that have questioned the constitutionality of some aspects of the act, which allows law enforcement greater authority to investigate suspected terrorists.

Nadler said Sensenbrenner, one of the authors of the Patriot Act, was "rather rude, cutting everybody off in mid-sentence with an attitude of total hostility."

WaPo graphs show a majority of the sheeple generally don't mind their rights violated, but are getting queasy. The public strongly backs the Bush position, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said the act should be renewed, while 39 percent said it should not. Support turned to opposition, however, when people were asked whether the FBI should be permitted to demand records without first getting the approval of a judge or prosecutor, which Bush and some lawmakers favor. Sixty-eight percent said they oppose this idea. Even Republicans, who overwhelmingly support the USA Patriot Act, are concerned about this, with 58 percent opposing it.



Interesting "warming trend" facts from Facing South

Chris Kromm over at Facing South, the blog of the Durham-based Institute for Southern Studies shares some global warming factoids:
INSTITUTE INDEX - Fiddling While the World Burns

Square miles of Southern coasts at risk of "tidal inundation" in the next century due to rising sea levels from global warming: 24,500

Square mileage of the state of West Virginia: 24,231

Percent by which "minority" residents are more likely to die in a heat wave: 100%

Percent that heat-related deaths could increase due to climate change, according to a study of 15 U.S. cities: 90%

Number of countries whose scientific academies have declared the risk of climate change is certain enough to demand "prompt action": 11

Amount Exxon Mobile has paid to groups and people, including a Fox News correspondent, to downplay climate change risks: $8 million

Factor by which British newspapers covered global warming issues more than U.S. papers in a 2000 study: 3:1
Other stories to take a look at while over at the blog:

* Texas Rep. Aims to Ban Community Internet, on Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) introduction of a bill that would ban free or low-cost "Community Internet" access across the country. Note that Sessions is a shill for the telecom industry. Big surprise, huh?

* Rehnquist Should Take Out a Restraining Order, which is lays out the frightening prospect of a Sen. John (Box Turtle) Cornyn (R-Texas) Supreme Court nomination. Cornyn's been a shill for the Bush machine in Texas, and his view of the Supreme Court? It should merely be "an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives" and courts should "obey a legislature's directives." Nice.

Facing South just turned four months old -- happy birthday! The Institute does great, award-winning investigative journalism in its publication, Southern Exposure, and is worth checking out:
If you'd like to get more involved with the Institute and our work for justice, democracy and peace in the South, here are some things you may be interested in:

*** OUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER: Sign up for the Institute's newsletter, also called Facing South -- it includes news and analysis (as well as the always-popular Institute Index) that often doesn't make it onto the blog. It's free -- just enter your email address in the upper right hand corner of this page.

*** SOUTHERN BLOG DIRECTORY: Are you a progressive Southern blogger? Is there a good one you like to read? We're compiling a list of progressive Southern blogs for eventual publication in some form. If you have a lead, leave a note in the comments or write us here.

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And if you're not an Institute member yet, take advantage of our special online rate to join today. By joining you not only become a card-carrying member of the Progressive South -- you also get a year's subscription to award-winning Southern Exposure magazine, and discounts on Institute special reports.

We look forward to working with you for a better South, and thank you for your support.




AIDS and suffering trumps accepting 'queer'-tainted money



Caring for the poor and suffering in many African countries should be the first order of business for the Anglican church, but no -- instead they are politicking by refusing to take donations from the U.S. Episcopal church, according to wingnut site AgapePress. Again, they show that the pious are the immoral.
Anglican bishops in Africa are refusing millions of dollars in donations from Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) members who have endorsed actively homosexual clergy. The African church leaders took this position following the 2003 election of Vicki Gene Robinson, a priest who left his wife and now lives with his male partner, as Bishop of New Hampshire...After Robinson's ordination the archbishops of many African countries, representing nearly half of the world's Anglican community, declared they would not accept grants from ECUSA churches that endorsed him. Refusing funding from pro-homosexual U.S. sources has put an especially heavy burden on dioceses in Rwanda, a nation still recuperating after the 1994 genocide in that country. However, as Bishop John Rucyahana of the Rwandan Diocese of Shyira notes, "if money is being used to disgrace the Gospel, then we don't need it."



Tony [KKK] Perkins of the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council says he applauds the actions of the African Anglican churches for recognizing that "no amount of silver is worth sacrificing your duty to your congregation and to God." Perkins encourages other believers to help Bishop Rucyahana and the orphans of his diocese.


The High and the Mighty (insecure)



How about this load of pathetic, mewling crap (1-6) from one of the big boy bloggers. Get out the tiny violin.


1) This blog does not exist to promote you, your blog, your business, your organization, your pet issue or cause. Failure to promote or link to any particular thing should not be taken as disapproval of it.

2) If a story falls on the front page of the New York Times, and I don't say anything about it, some people probably will manage to actually hear about it even without it appearing on this page.

3) If Josh Marshall, Tapped, the Washington Monthly, Daily Kos, Pandagon, Eschaton and numerous other blogs talk about something, and I don't, some people probably will manage to actually hear about it even without it appearing on this page.

4) People who write angry emails chastising me for not writing about issue X or demanding that I do so generally find their way into my spam filter. I imagine many other bloggers react similarly. See also 1) and 2) above.

5) People who write angry emails chastising me for writing about issue X and complaining that there are so many more important things to write about generally find their way into my spam filter. I imagine many other bloggers react similarly. See also 4) and 1) and 2) above.

6) Such occasional reminders are not angry bitter complaints. None of the above should discourage people from emailing me with things they think I might be interested in. There is a big difference between "this is interesting" and "you must write about this." Nor should any of the above be taken to mean that I react badly to any and all criticism of what I write. It's just the type of criticism that comes from people who get angry when this blog isn't their personal megaphone that annoys me. "What you wrote is wrong" is very different from "how dare you do/don't write about issue X."
Who do you think was the author of this ode to insecurity? (I provided a big hint, if you didn't already know.) In any case, it's ridiculous to think that if you're getting hundreds of thousands of visits that you're not going to be lobbied to post items. No, you can't post them all (I certainly can't and I don't have 1/1000th of the traffic), but damn, acknowledge the influence you have in the blogosphere -- that's why people are emailing you. It's a strange syndrome, the big bloggers carrying on as if they are just an average joe with a personal blog, and then failing to acknowledge their position as bloggers of influence and do whatever they can to maintain it --because they earn a living at blogging and need those ads.

You know what I'm talking about -- it's the same people, mostly guys, who are already well-connected, linking to one another, and really keeping the "network" closed -- who knows if it is out of malice or not (ahem) -- but out of familiarity and comfort in being there early in the medium together. What they haven't mastered is the art of taking legitimate criticism very well, to them, any mild critique is troll behavior.

A spot-on blogger pal added to the list:
7) The Gilliard Amendment: If you want to grab an audience, you have to work at it. You have to do it every day and not expect an ounce of help. Not one link, not one kind reference. You have to do the work to get noticed. Some of us are more talented than others, but if you work hard and show effort others will appreciate it.

8) Caveat To The Gilliard Amendment: Be a guest blogger at the Daily Kos, then start your own blog. Proceed to skip step 7.
Guess what? Don't waste your time reading the author of numbers 1-6. on the other hand, the author of numbers 7 and 8 I highly recommend reading.


House Repugs want to clip Big Bird's wings


Reagan-era wingnut and head of CPB, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson wants to "correct" what he and other knuckledraggers see as liberal bias.

The AmTaliban House members are flexing their muscles on yet another cultural issue. Under the guise of cutting spending overall, they decided to try to put the screws to public television. They've been bellyaching about the supposed liberal influence, particularly in children's programming. (See the over-reaching on the Postcards from Buster flap).
By a voice vote, the House Appropriations subcommittee adopted a measure that would reduce the financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that directs taxpayer dollars to public television and radio, to $300 million from $400 million. The subcommittee also eliminated $39 million that stations say they need to convert to digital programming and $50 million for upgrading aging satellite technology that is the backbone of the PBS network.

The cuts in financing went significantly beyond those requested by the White House and are likely to be approved next week by the full Appropriations Committee and then by the House. Lobbyists for public television and radio say they hope to have the money restored in the version of the bill prepared by the Senate, where they have support from several senior Republican members. The final legislation will be the product of negotiations between the House and Senate.

..."It is clear the G.O.P. agenda is to control public broadcasting or to defund it," said Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. "House Republicans have gutted funding for public broadcasting stations across the country."

...The head of the Republican-controlled [Corporation for Public Broadcasting], Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, has pressed public broadcasting to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias. That has prompted public broadcasting leaders - including the chief executive of PBS - to object that his actions pose a threat to editorial independence.

Some public broadcasting officials have begun to express concern that the perception of political interference by the corporation would discourage individuals from making financial contributions to the stations. Mr. Tomlinson, meanwhile, has said that the perception that the stations are not balanced could prompt the Republican-controlled Congress to significantly reduce financing.


Catholic church payout over pedophiles over $1B

How high can it go -- the figure is just mind-blowing. At this point the church is now ethically and morally bankrupt as well. But what does the church spend its time talking about? Gay marriage and its supposed fradulence. Balls. (AP):
The cost to the U.S. Roman Catholic Church of sexual predators in the priesthood has climbed past $1 billion, according to tallies by American bishops and an Associated Press review of known settlements.

And the figure is guaranteed to rise, probably by tens of millions of dollars, because hundreds more claims are pending.

...The Rev. Thomas Doyle, who left a promising career with the church to help represent victims, had warned the bishops in 1985 that abuse costs could eventually exceed $1 billion.

"Nobody believed us," said Doyle, a canon lawyer. "I remember one archbishop telling me, `My feeling about this, Tom, is no one's ever going to sue the Catholic Church."


One hero priest: Canon lawyer Rev. Thomas Doyle, received the 2003 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice for his "unwavering efforts to bring justice to victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse." He also won of a Priest of Integrity Award from the Catholic organization Voice of the Faithful.

Asked about the figure, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Monsignor Francis Maniscalco, said church leaders believe the payouts "should be just to all sides." He said victims deserve compensation, but the church must also have enough money to continue serving parishioners.

The bishops are set to meet in Chicago next week to review their plan for protecting youngsters.

The exact financial effect on the church is hard to determine, since each diocese owns property separately and settles cases on its own. Insurance policies cover some costs, but policies differ across the country. And in many places, the coverage has run out.
Hat tip to Ms. Julien.


This and that...read 'em

Items that came across the desk from some House Blenders recently...


* Time to boycott Albertsons, eh? "Radical" Russ passed along news that the AmTaliban has co-opted Boise, ID-based grocery chain, Albertsons, has caved to the Dobson crowd. The nation's second largest grocer agreed to accommodate its pharmacists' right to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their religious or moral beliefs. The accommodation came on the heels of a lawsuit filed by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Christian Legal Society (CLS) against Albertsons and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on behalf of pharmacist David Scimio. (from Crooks and Liars via Talk Left)

* Nancy Goldstein's latest PageOneQ column is up, "Funder on the Right," and it's a good one. She notes: "I correct the record on what the John M. Olin Foundation (the very powerful right-wing grantmaker that will be closing its doors in December) has stood for, and challenge the left to create its own funding/media powerhouse. As you might expect, Olin's top guy is already making the rounds of the media with lots of chest-thumping about stopping Soviet expansion and urban decay--a message that a very compliant piece in the NY Times was happy to convey last month--but no mention of the anti-tax, labor busting, anti-environment, de-funding of the social safety net agenda that's their real legacy. BTW, Olin kick-started the Federalist Society in 1982, and has given it more than 5M since: it currently serves as the main pipeline into the judicial and administrative branch of the Bush administration, with members ranging from Ashcroft, Rehnquist, Scalia (father *and* son), Olsen (who successfully argued Bush's case against Gore in 2000 in front of Rehnquist), John Bolton, Gail Norton, Spencer Abraham, and Priscilla Owen." Great stuff, Nancy! You can find out more about the John M. Olin Foundation at Sourcewatch:
In 2001, the Foundation expended $20,482,961 to fund right-wing think tanks including the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, the Hudson Institute, the Independent Women's Forum, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). "The Foundation also gives large sums of money to promote conservative programs in the country's most prestigious colleges and universities."
* Jeff Q. sent in news that a jury in San Diego found in favor of two gay students that were harassed at school. After deliberating about a week, the jury determined that the harassment effectively deprived Joseph Ramelli and Megan Donovan of the same access to the educational opportunities and benefits that other students enjoy. During the trial, Ramelli testified that students repeatedly called him names, shoved him in the hallways, threw food at him and spit on him. He testified that he heard other students make disparaging remarks about gays and lesbians on a nearly daily basis. Their lawyers argued that Ramelli and Donovan were home-schooled during their senior year because of the constant harassment.


Hutcherson photo art via Mike Tidmus.

* Surf over to MailtoBlog now. Mike in Texas has an action item up about our friend Ken Hutcherson, the homo-bigot pastor that lobbied Microsoft to drop support for an anti-discrimination bill in Washington state. "Anti-gay extremist preacher, Ken Hutcherson, and Lake Washington High School are back in the news. The school was drawn into the Hutcherson/Microsoft controversy when it became known that Hutcherson's 3,500-member anti-gay congregation uses the school's facitilites for their gatherings. (The earlier MailToBlog item about this is here.) The Lake Washington Education Association wants the school district to eject the group. Teachers at Lake Washington High School hesitate to speak out because the school's principal, Mark Robertson, is a member of the anti-gay organization....Although the district advertises a human dignity policy, it has taken no steps to see that it is used to qualify which groups may or may not use their facilities. At best this is administrative oversight. At worst it is pure hypocrisy. The district is now claiming that free speech rights override their policy. Read the rest and send out a letter to get the attention of the district. A couple of earlier Blend posts on this creep are here and here.



* Jon Perr at Perrspectives sends this one in: "Less than a year after savaging Dan Rather over his use of dubious documents in the Bush National Guard case, The O'Reilly Factor massively - and without disclosure - doctored video to distort comments by Senator Joe Biden." He has a piece up on this based on an initial report from The Al Franken Show. Good old Falafel Bill. "O'Reilly butchered tape of an appearance on June 5th by Biden on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous. In that interview, Biden discussed legislation he had proposed to calling for an independent investigation of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and the entire U.S. network of detention camps. Biden continued that while he personally believed the U.S. ultimately should close Gitmo, he felt that the President needed an independent investigation to drive a consensus conclusion.That exchange is not what O'Reilly's viewers saw on June 7th in a segment called "The Truth About Guantanamo Bay." Check out the blog.



YES! Conyers schedules Downing Street Minutes hearings

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Shakes Sis pointed me to a Raw Story newsflash that John Conyers has hearings on tap for DSM. This is proof positive that efforts by blogger groups helped create a critical mass of awareness.
The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on the 2002 minutes between senior British and American officials which asserted that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the case for war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The hearings, which will be held next Thursday, will bring renewed attention to what is being called the "Downing Street memo," actually official minutes of a secret 2002 meeting.

Conyers office has revealed that they will introduce new documents that corroborate the Downing Street Memo at the hearings June 16.
Read the latest:
Big Brass Alliance Forum
John Conyers' DKos diary. A snippet from The Man:
Here is the answer: on Thursday, a week from today, I will be holding a hearing with my Democratic colleagues to begin to hear evidence about the DSM. We will have a number of witnesses, including Joe Wilson, who frequent readers here already know is a WMD expert and former Ambassador; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst; Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq; and John Bonifaz, a renowned Constitutional attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing, we will go to Lafayette Park and I will personally deliver your signatures to the White House.

This hearing is just one step in an investigation that I am commencing that will literally span the Atlantic. I am in touch with British officials and former U.S. intelligence officials and I am determined to get to the truth.

At the hearing, I will disclose information found to date, which includes the public release of newly discovered documents. While none of these documents are as damning as the DSM, they nonetheless bolster the accuracy of it.


Jesse Helms memoirs: race matters



"I did not advocate segregation, and I did not advocate aggravation...By that I mean that I thought it was wrong for people who did not know, and who did not care, about the relationships between neighbors and friends to force their ideas about how communities should work on the people who had built those communities in the first place. I believed right would prevail as people followed their own consciences."
-- former Tar Heel Senator Jesse Helms
I would watch good old Jesse back in the day when he was a commentator on WRAL in Raleigh. I remember as a child listening to him rail on race on our black and white TV. I wondered why this man was so hateful. You didn't have to be an adult to get the clear message that he didn't like black folks encroaching on his lily-white world. They belonged in their place.
"We will never know how integration might have been achieved in neighborhoods across our land, because the opportunity was snatched away by outside agitators who had their own agendas to advance. We certainly do know the price paid by the stirring of hatred, the encouragement of violence, the suspicion and distrust. We do know that too many lives were lost, businesses were destroyed, millions of dollars were diverted from books and teachers to support the cost of buses and gasoline. We do know that turning our public schools into social laboratories almost destroyed them."

His upcoming memoirs ("Here's Where I Stand," scheduled to be published by Random House in September) are unapologetic on that front, but he actually cracks on his stance on AIDS. Give him a cookie. A tiny one.
It had been my feeling that AIDS was a disease largely spread by reckless and voluntary sexual and drug-abusing behavior, and that it would probably be confined to those in high risk populations. I was wrong."
I can tell you personally, having written the former Senator, his office excelled in constituent services. Letters were responded to promptly and with specificity to your concern (even if you didn't agree with him). With Helms, he realized his power to be re-elected was gained by fulfilling his state's needs and communicating effectively on a personal level. That level of communication, infused with southern gentility, goes over well here, and will continue to do so.


Helms on John Edwards: "It is always nice to see a North Carolinian in the national limelight -- like Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino's success on the 'American Idol' television program, or the Carolina Panthers reaching the Super Bowl in 2004 -- but watching a nice man with so little experience or familiarity with national and international issues try to project himself as an expert ... struck me as 'overreaching.'"

Jesse didn't like the homos, either, but if you read this blog or are old enough to remember his spewing on the Senate floor, you already knew that. He was a man ahead of his time; he'd fit right in with the AmTaliban wrecking crew we're dealing with today. The irony is that his granddaughter is a open lesbian (and was elected as a judge last year). I have no idea how that news went over in the Helms household, but Jesse also didn't mind receiving down and dirty political services from Arthur Finkelstein. The openly gay man, who recently married his partner in Massachusetts, worked with Jesse Helms on his Senate run against Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.



I was living in NC during this time period, and it was the nastiest, most racist campaign the GOP has seen in a lifetime. It was a close race (Gantt leading 47-45 percent), until Finkelstein ran the infamous "white hands commercial" showing a close up pair of a flannel-shirtsleeved hands crumpling a job pair of white hands crumpling a termination notice, with an ominous voiceover explaining that a well-deserved job went to someone else because of affirmative action. This appealed to the blue collar, textile working folks in the rural areas, and Helms won handily.



Jesse with his lesbian granddaughter (and recently elected district judge in North Carolina), Jennifer Knox Helms. Get a bust of him at Jesse Helms Center Museum Store. Ugh.

I really don't want this man, who made a career out of bigotry and intolerance, making a dime off of this book. But I'm sure the wingnuts will be lining up to get it at local bookshops. And if he isn't too feeble to do a book signing, I'm sure the lines will be out the door.



Why 'ex-gay' programs like Love in Action are immoral


Zach's parents have shipped him off to an 'ex-gay' re-education camp.
We believe the scripture is the final truth and authority concerning all matters of morality, as well as the hope and healing for morality in dilemma. We acknowledge the sinfulness of any sexual act outside of the scriptural context of Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman. We uphold Christ’s offer of redemption and freedom to all who come to Him.
-- from Love in Action's 'doctrine'

This post will tell you exactly why we have to continue to fight the American Taliban, the Dominionists, that absolutely unhinged element that is trying to take over our culture and invade every aspect of our lives. Homosexuality isn't destroying the family, it's institutions like the "ex-gay" movement that want to emotionally and psychologically destroy gay people. These are gay people who are still trying to come to grips with their orientation; by crushing them with guilt and hellfire, the ex-gay movement represents the height of immorality.

A 16-year-old boy named Zach in Tennessee recently came out to his parents. It didn't go well. In fact, it resulted in him being sent to one of those "ex-gay" re-education holes.
Somewhat recently, as many of you know, I told my parents I was gay. This didn't go over very well, and it ended with my dad crying, my mom tearing, and me not knowing what I'd done - or what to do. It kind of.. went away for about a week or two I think. They claim it's beause they didn't want to interfere with my last week or two of school.

Yesterday they told me that I couldn't go anywhere until I got a job. Out of the blue. Because I'm the most irresponsible child my dad knows - as he told me - mainly because I forget to unload the dishwasher sometimes... it doesn't matter that I have to clean up after my sisters and myself everyday. It just doesn't.

Well today, my mother, father, and I had a very long "talk" in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they "raised me wrong." I'm a big screw up to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears, joing the rest of those kids who complain about their parents on blogs - and I can't help it.
This sick program, "Refuge," is part of Love in Action's call to the confused homosexual to return to Christ, and with it, the blessing of heterosexuality - since of course, they lump being gay with alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictive behaviors.

Love In Action International exists on a beautiful 5 acre "park like" setting on the northern edge of Memphis in an area called Raleigh. We have 19,000 square feet of space in three buildings. On the grounds we have four intimate prayer gardens, hundreds of beautiful trees, two peaceful reflective chapels, and a baseball field! Our property is located just one and one half miles north of I-40 and conveniently located for any travelers. Refuge is an intensive program designed to minister to adolescents struggling with broken and addictive behaviors, such as promiscuity, alcohol & drug addiction and homosexuality.
-- from LIA's page on Refuge
There is nothing resembling love in the actions of this organization, just the bullsh*t, brainwashing and destruction of the human spirit that Love in Action forces upon its participants. The Religious Right harps on "saving the children"...if this is how they save the children, the people running these "ex-gay" ministries need to be locked up.
* LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI¹s). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and "campy" or gay/lesbian behavior and talk.

* As non-residential clients, Refuge participants must submit to an F.I. search every morning. With the exception of the very first program day, when they may arrive no later than 9:00 a.m., Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc. Items that violate the F.I. policy or the dress code will be held for the client, to be returned no later than the client¹s last day in program. Clients may request to have their F.I. items returned by filling out a C.O.C.

* All photographs will be taken for the purpose of sobering re-evaluation. Clients may request to have pictures returned to them via C.O.C.

* Refuge clients will not be allowed to use personally owned computers during the program, whether on campus or at home/in temporary lodging. Computer stations are normally available on campus when clients need to type something.

* Clients should report all FI's (with discretion), whether their own or another's, to staff.

* Due to the nature of many gender identity struggles, issues of enmeshment and emotional dependency can develop not only with same sex, but sometimes even more easily with the opposite sex. Because healthy and appropriate same and opposite-sex relationships are encouraged, dating and exclusive relationships of any kind are prohibited while in the program.

* Clients may have no contact with anyone who has left the program prior to graduating without the blessing of the staff to do so. Clients may address off-limit persons they inadvertently encounter with a polite "hello" only.

* While in the program, clients may have no contact with anyone involved in unrepentant emotional dependencies, inappropriate sexual behaviors, or chemical dependencies. This includes any contact with friends struggling with dependency issues or inappropriate sexual behavior that was known about prior to entering the program. If such a person is encountered, the client must make his/her staff worker aware of this.
For adult, let alone gay kids, going into this kind of program is a living hell, and his parents should be charged with abuse. Zach is in despair...
What is with these people...? Honestly.. how could you support a program like this? If I do come out straight I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it wont matter.. I'll be back in therapy again. This is not good--
Zach runs away as the time for him to be committed nears. Tell me, what does this say about family values when a parent can see that they are damaging their child, but are reinforced in their behavior by their social institutions to continue doling out the emotional pain and abuse?
I came back and they took everything from me, they don't want me to have outside influences-- i dont know how long im going to be on, because if tehy wake up, im screwed. The program starts June 6 and is until either teh 17th or the 20th. I'm sorry I don't have time to write back o all of the comments and messages. I'm just here to let everyone know I am still alive, I'm sure you've left messages on my cellphone, they took that.. and my keys... and the computer.. and I've been homebound. -=sigh=- I just need this to be over. Don't worry. I'll get through this. They've promised me things will get better whether this program does anything or not. Let's hope they aren't lying. I've been through hell. I've been emotionally torn apart for three days... I can't remember which days they were.. time's not what it used to be.

...My mother has said the worst things to me for three days straight... three days. I went numb. That's the only way I can get through this. I agree, if you're thinking that these posts might be dramatized.. but the proof of the programs ideas are sitting in the rules. I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person... I'm so satisfied--happy's too strong of a word the state I'm in-- that everyone's taking the time to email and write letters in complaint to these people. I dont know if it will do anything, but if something did happen it would be -- awesome.
Zach's blog is here. Visit and share some love. One can only hope he can still access his blog to receive the support.

And well, these people...they are just evil:
Love In Action International Inc.
4780 Yale Road - Memphis, TN 38128
(901) 751-2468
info@loveinaction.org
The Love In Action team:
http://www.loveinaction.org/default2.aspx?pid=29


AmTaliban Tony Perkins paid David Duke $82K for mailing list


This two must be blood brothers for the "movement."

I posted about this back in April, but this story is percolating over on AmericaBlog again. While the AmTaliban forces like Family Research Council is reaching out to black pastors, bringing them into the evangelical fold by railing against the civilization-destroying homos, it isn't sharing some pertinent information about FRC exec Tony Perkins. It seems that family-oriented, pious Tony paid former KKK Wizard, cosmetic-surgery-enhanced, self-proclaimed head of the "European American" movement, David Duke, $82K for his mailing list of affinity knuckledraggers in 1996.

Why has no one, especially these courted black pastors, called FRC on this low-rent white supremacist co-mingling by Perkins? From The Nation:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.

...Six years later, in 2002, Perkins embarked on a campaign to avenge his mentor's defeat by running for the US Senate himself. But Perkins was dogged with questions about his involvement with David Duke. Perkins issued a flat denial that he had ever had anything to do with Duke, and he denounced him for good measure. Unfortunately, Perkins's signature was on the document authorizing the purchase of Duke's list. Perkins's dalliance with the racist Council of Conservative Citizens in the run-up to his campaign also illuminates the seamy underside of his political associations.
That's out of control. So, for those pastors willing to "shack up" with the likes of FRC and Perkins, what do you have to say?

Earlier posts on the suck-up to the religious black community and the activities of black homo-bigots...


Hat tip AmericaBlog.


Caption this...shrinking Chimp edition

Wednesday, June 08, 2005



Feeling small? An ABC News/Washington Post Poll taken Thursday through Sunday found that Bush is paying a price for his stances: 62% disapproved of the way he's handling Social Security, and 55% disapproved of his handling of the stem cell issue. Asked about his handling of federal judges, 46% approved, and 44% disapproved. Six in 10 said Bush and GOP leaders are not making good progress on the nation's problems.

Check out this hilarous USA Today piece, Bush's stubbornness may be hindering him.


Does he want to work his way up to a Darwin Award?

Teen Trying to Kill Snake Shoots Himself. Good old American ingenuity. He can't win a Darwin, since his stupidity isn't fatal, but this definitely qualifies as an up-and-coming candidate.
A snake in the grass is to blame for a teenager shooting himself in the leg, police said. A 16-year-old boy was mowing his lawn Tuesday when he saw a snake slithering toward his dogs, which were chained in the front yard, police said. Worried about the canines, the boy ran inside and grabbed a .22-caliber pistol, said Port Wentworth police Sgt. Loren Scholes. The boy came back outside and when he saw the snake at his feet, he hastily aimed and fired. The bullet entered his right calf and exited near his heel, Scholes said.


Big Brass Alliance makes CNN's 'Inside the Blogs' for its DSM coverage



Big kudos to all those participating in the Big Brass Alliance, the effort started up by Shakespeare's Sister and yours truly. Mark Williams of DemBloggers passed along the news that BBA, along with other blogs that are trying to raise the profile of the Downing Street Memo Minutes story were mentioned today on the second segment of CNN's Inside the Blogs. He has the video on his site.

Note: The NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller had a good piece today on Chimpy and Blair's lame denial that the Iraq reports were fixed to justify the Iraq invation.

Discuss the latest news and action items at the Big Brass Alliance Forum.


Corrupt Kentucky Pastor indicted on seven counts


It appears the good reverend was buying cars and playing the ponies with church funds

Family values, with an example straight from the pulpit. Yes indeed, this would definitely be another candidate for the Conservative Values Monitor (v 1.0 and 2.0)
A federal grand jury today handed down a seven-count indictment against the Rev. Larry Davis, alleging that the pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring essentially was stealing money from the church.

The indictment alleges that Davis submitted a false loan application to Fifth Third Bank, evaded federal taxes for four years, and transferred stolen money out of state to purchase two vehicles, including a Porsche. He will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Covington on June 17. Davis, 57, has not been arrested but has been issued a summons to appear in court. If convicted, the maximum punishment he faces is 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine.

...Davis has been pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring since 1985. As pastor, the indictment says that he had control over most of the bank accounts, investment accounts and credit cards.

The indictment alleges that Davis misappropriated nearly $500,000 from the church’s $3.5 million construction loan taken out in April 2002 from Fifth Third Bank. Davis acted as general contractor for the project. Van Tatenhove said some of that money was withdrawn from ATMs at racetracks.

The indictment also says that Davis submitted a forged paper to Fifth Third Bank to get an additional $4 million loan. The paper he submitted said that the church gave him permission, but the church hadn’t, the indictment said.


Thanks to House Blender and Julien's List contributor Holly for the pointer.


Some bright news on the gay rights front (and Freepi fun)

It's nice to have some positive news to report...

* Maine's House of Representatives killed a proposed constitutional amendment late Tuesday night to ban same-sex marriage. The 88 - 56 vote fell far short of the two-thirds majority it needed and is seen as a crushing defeat for supporters of the amendment. Although the Senate has yet to vote on the issue, the House vote effectively kills the measure. "I would say this is the end of it for this year," said Betsy Smith of Equality Maine. Rep. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, the sponsor of the ban, agreed, saying he did not necessarily expect a two-thirds win but he had hoped to get more than 56 votes.

* Oregon Gay Unions Bill Advances. A Senate panel passed a bill to create civil unions Tuesday, the latest step in the Legislature's battle over whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to have legally recognized relationships. The bill to extend the benefits and rights of marriage to gay couples passed on a partisan 3-2 vote, with Democrats in favor. It will now head to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass, setting up a tug-of-war with the Republican-controlled House, which is currently considering its own bill. That legislation would provide a more limited set of reciprocal rights to any two people over 18, including relatives...Sen. Charles Starr, R-Hillsboro, argued that the bill goes against the will of the voters, who passed a ban on gay marriage last year. "(This bill) is simply 'gay marriage' by another name," Starr said.

* Judge Orders Gay Flag To Fly From St. Augustine Bridge. The Rainbow flag was hung from St. Augustine's famed Bridge of Lions Wednesday morning ending a three-year battle between gay Pride organizers and the city. The final skirmish in the dispute came late Tuesday when a judge ordered the city to allow the St. Augustine Pride Committee to display the flag. The Committee and Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBT civil rights group, filed suit Monday accusing the city of discrimination. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. said that the Pride group's First Amendment rights had been violated when the city refused to allow the flag to be hung from the bridge, a focal point in St. Augustine. Adams ordered the city to fly the flag by 9 a.m. this morning and to keep the flag up for for six days.

This last item set the Freepers off. Let's wade into the ignorant, knuckle-dragging filth...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"OK all you members of the Sons of Confederate Soldiers and other affiliated groups in this area. Time to get your flags on the bridge."

"My guess is the judge is a Clinton appointee....???"

"Your right. I went to his website. It says that he was appointed to the Federal bench in December of 1993."

"The brave Spaniards who founded the first Christian community in the new world spin in their graves, as does the brilliant theologian for whom that community was named."

"This is a ruling that needs to be defied."

"That this happened in FloriDUH should not surprise you in the least. No offense intended to the good FReepers that reside in that state."

"so now we will have the Christian flags? Will we see 49 flags that have a circled red cross out circle over the upside down pink triangle? If anyone is a history buff, the Greek Orthodox Mission of the first settlers of the city is an interesting thing to see. "

"Well then, I think that I will go down there, pay my $295, and demand my equal right to fly forty-nine Confederate battle flags for six days and see how he reacts to that."

"Why can't the gay pride folks fly their rainbow flags elsewhere, rather than the Bridge of Lions? This is "in-your-face.""

"anyone what to be the flags will not be there for long [WTF is he saying?]"

"If there were any free speech advocates down there, they, too, would fly rainbow flags, but theirs would have added a big red circle with a diagonal bar. It is a perfect opportunity to shove this issue down the throats of the left-wing, neocommunists. If the faggots have the right to self-expression, so should normal people."

"And who said activist judges do not need to be REMOVED FROM THE BENCH ???"

"I will gladly chip in to see that happen. This has to be one of the most outrageous things I've heard a judge do yet, even for Florida! I swear this is no longer my country."

"Is this complete, total, insane judicial fascism or what? I am very thankful I don't live there, I would be sorely tempted to practice civil disobedience in the form of RIPPING DOWN the ****ing flags. When is the madness going to subside? When will enough people wake up to the truth that there are certain moral absolutes which are always true, always have been, and always will be? The prohibition against same sex sodomy is timeless and changeless. And the fact that governement officials are forcing and cramming this unhealthy and immoral behavior down everyones' gullets has got to stop. "

"By what vaporous precedent did this idiot of a federal judge make this ruling? Time for a little justified vandalism in St. Augustine!"

"Well, to be fair, before gays moved into the Dupont Circle area, it used to be a really bad neighborhood."

"It has also been reported that the span will be renamed the "Bridge of Loins" for the duration of the display."

"well, in-your-face is exactly how they like it. It's not something that people should be discreet about anymore. Frankly, I don't want to know WHAT those people do in their six lives but boy they sure have no qualms about making sure everyone knows what goes on in their bedrooms. It's disgusting that it's gone to this level, really, but I should say I'm not surprised given the direction this country is heading it. I, for one, say GO FOR IT to all those who want to fly their stars-n-bars. After this, I don't think anyone has a leg to stand on when it comes to "offending" others."

"Well, at least we know that homosexuals won't petition to fly their stupid rainbow flag on the Pearly Gates. I would love to see them try it, though."


Men, cover your privates, you're going to cringe

This is, well, not the answer to stopping rape. The fact that someone would invent a tampon-like device that cuts a penis shows how bad the rape situation must be in South Africa. I would think that the use of this device might cause rapes to plumment, but it would increase the homicide rate, in revenge for the maiming of the attempted rapist's dick.
Furious South African women have called for a controversial new anti-rape device, dubbed a “rat trap”, to be banned by the Government. The tampon-like device, invented by a woman, supposedly protects women from rapists by cutting into a man’s penis.

It has sparked an empassioned debate over the high number of rapes committed each day in the country and the authorities’ apparent failure to tackle the issue. Activists are outraged and want to stop it going on sale alongside tampons in chemists and supermarkets next month.

Charlene Smith, a leading anti-rape campaigner, said: “This is a medieval instrument, based on male-hating notions and fundamentally misunderstands the nature of rape and violence against women in this society. It is vengeful, horrible, and disgusting. The woman who invented this needs help.”

The device, which Sonette Ehlers, its inventor, has patented, is worn like a tampon but is hollow. In the event of a rape, she said that it would fold around the rapist’s penis and attach itself with microscopic hooks. It is impossible to remove the clamped device without medical intervention.


Time out for a homophobic soap break


Poor actor Mark Dobles, stuck playing a homicidal homo on One Life to Live. Why couldn't the writers give him something less demeaning?
Llanview's new lieutenant governor and a recovering alcoholic and newlywed, Daniel Colson, has murdered twice to keep his sexual identity secret.
No, it's not real. It's a controversial storyline on One Life to Live, a soap I used to watch a couple of years ago. The above description is from a currently running plot -- I've not tuned in, the show has gone in the toilet -- that the writers and the producers allege is an in-depth take on a McGreevey-type plot "on steroids."

This is an offensive development trying to be spun in a positive light by those connected to the show. Since there are basically no gay characters on soaps (they don't last long; if it looks like homo sex might occur, they end up dead, the lover moves away, or in the case of All My Children's Bianca, she gets raped/knocked up). Now that this character is front and center, what is he? An alcoholic murderer that's ashamed that he's gay, carrying on an affair with a man as he attempts to climbs the political ladder while married to a beloved principal character, Nora Buchanan, on the show.

GLAAD came down on the soap for this storyline.
GLAAD contacted ABC and One Life to Live to convey our concerns and to share with them the passionate reactions we've received from viewers via our website glaad.org. "The anger is understandable, but everyone needs to watch all of it," executive producer Frank Valentini tells GLAAD. "This is a story about the harsher side of intolerance and about one man not being true to himself. There are going to be meaningful, frank discussions that come out of this."

Discussions after the fact don't change what's come before it. "A story about a man who kills because he is gay only reinforces the idea that being gay is something to be ashamed of," Romine says. "It's a tired stereotype that internalized homophobia explodes into murder."
And, as I said above, when it comes to gay characters, they don't last long. OLTL is writing off both characters (Daniel and his lover).

It's notable that GLAAD honored the series as Outstanding Daytime Drama for its gay-positive storylines last year. Another popular character, Marcie, was an advocate of gay marriage, on behalf of her brother who planned marry his partner. [Note again: the brother doesn't even live in the fictional town of Llanview!] OLTL also tackled the homophobia when a college student came out of the closet and was harassed by friends. But as tentative as those positive steps were, the soap rolled it all back with this crazy homicidal homo plot.

It's like a completely surrealistic experience watching soaps in the present day, knowing that the majority of the audience for soaps is perceived as conservative in nature. I only watched soaps regularly back in the "Luke and Laura" stone age days of late 70s/early 80s GH, and was a big fan of The Edge of Night. Kate still gets Soap Opera Digest, so I usually take a peek to see what is going on in the soap world. Based on some of the unhinged letters they get, there's a big bible-beater audience out there, but there's also a sizeable number of reasonable people that get out in the world and don't agree with OLTL's spin on this.

One hysterical thing that you'll notice in these mags and on the fan web sites is that NO ONE in the soap world is openly gay, either in front of or behind the camera. It's like a quaint throwback to the old days in Hollywood where everyone knew who was or wasn't queer, and the studios paired of fags and dykes for public consumption, and the audiences bought it. I think the producers and sponsors would have a coronary if anyone wanted to come out of the closet, given their squeamishness about ratings and the fantasy that they want to present. It really is another world (no pun intended). Tom Cruise would fit in well here. ;)

Just a cursory flip onto SoapNet or through one of these fan mags and your gaydar just goes wild. I cannot fathom who thinks some of these highly metrosexual actors are straight!?

Now, I don't know who for a fact is or isn't gay, but Kate and I have our list of possibilities...

***

Another thing you'll notice in the soap world is that there is a serious, obvious abuse of Botox. I don't know if it is disproportionate to the rest of Hollywood/NYC, but maybe these folks are paranoid because a good deal of their work is shot in closeup (and now in HD!). Men and women. Scary stuff. The most painful face I've seen is that of Drake Hogestyn (Days of Our Lives). No lines, too tan, and scary hair. Stop the madness man - you look like a freakshow! Is he that scared of losing his job because of natural aging? Another painful victim of "over-construction" is Joan Van Ark, who did a stint on The Young and the Restless last year. There has been so much heinous work done that she looks to be working hard to catch up to Michael Jackson's level of self-destruction. No wonder she's got her hair over her face -- she's had the bungee-jump pull.


AwfulPlasticSurgery.com


This is just plain wrong - 'runaway bride' inking media deal


She needs mental help, not a six-figure media deal with Judith "I boinked Bernie Kerik" Regan.

This is the celebritization of dumb*ss America when someone like Jennifer Wilbanks can cash in for breaking the law, making a fool of herself and wasting taxpayer money when she needed serious psychological help. Note the deserted groom's hanging on as part of the deal and his own 15 minutes of fame. (NY Daily News):
Fresh from copping a plea to faking her own abduction, "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks seems ready to cash in. I hear that Queen of All Media Judith Regan is close to inking a mid-six-figure deal with the 32-year-old Wilbanks and her on-again, off-again future husband, John Mason, that includes movie-of-the-week rights (possibly for NBC) and a network television interview - maybe with Katie Couric. No comments all around.


No cleavage or wicked Abercrombie & Fitch at Bob Jones U.



For all you good Christians heading off to South Carolina's Bob Jones University, watch out for necklines, hemlines and Abercrombie & Fitch clothing or you'll be on the dress code sh*tlist.
Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiary Hollister have shown an unusual degree of antagonism to the name of Christ and an unusual display of wickedness in their promotions. In protest, we will not allow articles displaying their logos to be worn, carried, or displayed (even if covered or masked in some way).
As I perused the dress code, I took note of these amusements...

Guys:
[As usual, you get off easy on the AmTaliban fashion front. :)]

* Hair must be cut in a traditional, conservative style–not shaved, spiked, tangled, or shelved. It may not be colored or highlighted. [I'm out of the loop...what is shelved hair?]

* Sideburns should not extend past the middle of the ear. Men are expected to remain clean-shaven.

* Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are not permitted.

* Hats may not be worn indoors except in the gym.

* Men are not permitted to get tattoos or wear body piercings.


Gals:

* Tops must be long enough that the midriff is never exposed.

* Necklines may come no lower than four fingers below the collarbone. [Do they have someone measuring boobage access?]

* Hemlines and slits or other openings should never come higher than the bottom of the knee.

* All dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts must be loose-fitting, having a minimum of three inches of ease at bust and hips. [No need to worry about panty lines at BJU!]

* Hairstyles should be neat, orderly, and feminine. Avoid cutting-edge fads and cuts so short that they take on a masculine look. [No dyke mullets or buzz cuts for you, babe!]

* Combat boots [!], hiking boots, or shoes that give this appearance are not permitted..

* Excessive makeup is not permitted. Earrings may be worn only in the lobe of the ear (maximum of two matched sets). All other types of body piercings are prohibited. [I'm surprised at the two sets of earrings - how mainstream!]

Oh, and if you think you can surf Chimpy's internets at BJU, watch out -- the email is restricted.
Email note: Due to the flood of objectionable content coming through outside email services, students may use only the filtered campus email system while on campus. Students may not access outside email services from the campus network
via Raw Story.


Shouldn't Chimpy and Tony get hit by a bolt of lightning?



Bush, Blair try to discredit the Downing Street Memo. And they don't do a very good job of lying.
President Bush denied on Tuesday the substance of a 2002 memo in which a top British intelligence official claimed the administration manipulated facts and intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

In a brief appearance with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the White House, Bush said "there's nothing farther from the truth."

"We worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully," Bush said. "Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option."

Blair, Bush's closest ally in the war, said that "the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all."

...Their appearance marked the first time Bush has responded directly to the so-called Downing Street Memo, which details observations by British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove after a meeting with administration officials eight months before the war.

...Bush and Blair noted the memo was written before the United States and Britain went to the United Nations in November 2002 to call on Saddam to disarm.

"All the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict," Blair said. "As it happened, we weren't able to do that because, as I think was very clear, there was no way that Saddam Hussein was ever going to change the way that he worked or the way that he acted."

...David Swanson, a Washington Democratic activist working to persuade Congress to pursue an inquiry into the memo, said the document's timing and the U.N. resolution calling for Saddam to disarm do not disprove the memo's contents.

"I am not sure what point they thought they were making," said Swanson, the co-founder of www.afterdowningstreet.org. "These minutes mesh perfectly with a building pile of evidence, including testimony from former administration officials, and if that's going to be a matter of sheer coincidence, we need an explanation of why."
ALSO: Check out Steve Cobble's piece in The Nation.


A bucket of chicken could cost you your life in Pakistan


This KFC outlet in Karachi was set afire by angry Shiites after a suicide bombing at a nearby mosque. (Left: Aamir Qureshi/AFP — Getty Images)

Al Qaeda doesn't like the Colonel. I could make a lot of extra crispy jokes here, but I think I maxed out on bad taste with yesterday's body-parts-fall-off the-plane/bloody chainsaw story.
Four times since Pakistan allied itself with the United States campaign against terrorism, a KFC outlet here has been attacked. Each time, the owner, Rafiq Rangoonwala, dutifully cleaned up and reopened for business. This time, with six of his employees dead, he's not so sure.

Last week, as evening prayers began at a Shiite mosque down the street, a suicide bomber believed to belong to a Sunni extremist group linked to Al Qaeda blew himself up inside the mosque compound, splattering his remains across the high courtyard wall.

Minutes later, a mob, believed to be led by outraged Shiites, stormed Mr. Rangoonwala's KFC outlet, dousing its floors with gasoline, setting it ablaze and then blocking the entry of rescue workers. Six hours later, the six bodies were hauled out. Four had been burned. Two had frozen to death in the walk-in freezer; their bodies were found only after a mobile phone belonging to one of the men rang. The dead had all worked at the KFC, and they were all local men in their mid-20's.

Now the restaurant is a gutted, blackened hulk, with the familiar profile of Colonel Sanders still visible and a billboard, now sooty and macabre, looming above. "Come have a chicky meal," it reads, "cuz you are going to love this deal."


No need for science lab, just use the kid


Elemenia Jackson and Anthony Jackson. The boy was allegedly choked by a teacher as an "experiment." (Staff photo by Angela Rowlings)

You've got to be kidding me. This principal and teacher need to be fired. Note that there's no denial that the incident occurred; the school lamely issued an apology. Substitute teacher chokes boy unconscious.
The family of a 12-year-old Dorchester boy is demanding answers after they say he was choked unconscious by a substitute teacher in an elementary school classroom, then put on a bus and sent home after he recovered.

The incident, which Boston Public Schools officials say is under investigation, allegedly happened Thursday at the John Marshall Elementary School. But Elemenia Jackson, the boy's grandmother and custodial parent, said the school never notified her. Instead, she found out Thursday night when a neighbor who is a classmate of the boy ran up to her as she returned home from work.

"He said the teacher asked how long does it take for a student to black out," she said. "Someone said `I don't know,' and she said `Well, let's try it' and then she turned and choked him."

She said her grandson, Anthony Jackson, a fifth-grader, said the teacher wrapped her hands around his throat and choked him with such force that he lost consciousness and fell to the floor, but no one called for emergency help.

"They just sent him home," his grandmother said. "They put him on the bus." Anthony, still reluctant to talk about the incident, said he had a headache afterward, but has since recovered. His family took him to Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center Friday morning to be checked out, but he suffered no serious injuries.

Anthony's mother, Elaine Jackson, said she went to the school Friday to find out what happened, and was given only an apology by school officials. "That's not enough," she said. "She shouldn't be in there."

Theresa Harvey-Jackson, principal at the school, was at a conference yesterday and unable to comment. But School Department spokesman Jonathan Palumbo said that the Department of Social Services was investigating the matter, and the district would await any DSS action before deciding what, if any, disciplinary measures would be taken against the teacher, who was not identified by officials yesterday.


Howie unloads again, Kenny dodges gay questions


Truth-teller or unhinged - you decide.

You have to admire the straight-shooting approach, but over the last week he's provided red meat for the Freepi. Mainstream Dems are already running for cover. Here's some of what he's had to say.
On Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Gov. Schwarzenegger has been a big disappointment to a lot of Californians ... Americans are tired of politicians that break their promise, especially in an area like education ... so I think there's going to be a lot of questions about whether the governor really cares about average Californians."

On Schwarzenegger's endorsement of the Minutemen
: "This is why I don't agree that there's no difference between Republicans and Democrat ... you would never have heard a Democrats talk like that ... I think the Republicans are always like this. I remember (former Republican Gov.) Pete Wilson ... got elected by victimizing immigrants. Republicans always divide people."

On illegal immigration: "(Democrats) understand we have a border problem. But we think that if you enforce the laws you already have, the people who are already here ... they haven't broken any laws, they paid their taxes, a lot of them are paying into the Social Security system and getting nothing. Those people ought to be on a reasonable track toward citizenship."

On past promises by Democratic officials to minority communities: "It does make a difference that we now have senior management that is African American (and minority) ... which means we're not going to have the white boys' club make all the decision anymore. Everybody's going to be included."

On San Francisco politics: "It's always a pleasure to come to San Francisco because I don't look so liberal when I come to San Francisco."

On the Democrats' strategy for the 2008
: "We're trying to resurrect this party. We're going to be in every state. You're not going to see any 18-state strategies. We're going to be in places like Mississippi and Kansas and Idaho. We're going to be in the Republican counties of California from now on; we're not going to try to win by getting San Francisco and Oakland and Berkeley ... we're not going to sit around anymore. We are going to fight back. We haven't been fighting back."
***

While we're on political party rhetoric, I missed posting about "I'm not saying whether I'm straight" RNC head Ken Mehlman's dodge-tastic appearance on Meet the Press. He couldn't seem to give a clear answer on anything related to homos. Tim Russert seemed to take pleasure in pushing him for some answers. You can read the transcript here, and Crooks and Liars has the video. Mike Rogers over at BlogActive had this to say:

MTP's RUSSERT: Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?
MEHLMAN: I don't know the answer to that question.


Now, Ken, if you had declared your sexual orientation, gay or straight, publicly, we might actually believe you when you say you have no opinion as to whether being gay or straight is a choice. While you are perfectly comfortable having your spokesperson claim you are straight, is there a reason you can't say it yourself? And yes, Ken, you did run the most homophobic presidential campaign in history, so yes, we do have the right to ask you if you're gay.

The one time you talked to me personally on the phone, you refused to say "I am not gay" in fact all you could muster was an "I'm not that way" which sounds right out of the talking points of the "ex-gay" movement. Ken, if you're really straight how come you just won't say so? Are you trying to make the GOP such a bastion of gay rights that you won't answer the question? Well, if that's the case, then let's see you endorse the Employment Non Discrimination Act for good measure.

Ever since Randi Rhodes said you were gay on national radio, I thought it might be a matter of time before you at least stood up for who you are.


Rick Perry, eat my dog's waste product

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This bastard governor of Chimpy's home state actually deserves worse. After he signed a resolution to amend the Texas Constitution by banning same-sex marriages, he said the following:



He's making a play to Jeebusland in time for a future presidential bid, so gay Texans, at least you know where you stand with this knuckle-dragging bigot. He's pulling in the welcome mat and telling queers to get the hell out.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis (who referred to him as a "motherfucking cockwanking scumsucking ratshit douchebag").


Voting machine companies make election reform groups its b*tches

The BradBlog sloshes through the sewer that is election reform. The latest depressing news is pretty transparent, actually. When you have a purportedly non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to figuring out how to clean up our election system with its conferences sponsored by Diebold, a e-voting machine manufacturer, it's all over. Take a look at this, and then surf over to Brad's place.



Barf bag: Katherine Harris is running for the Senate



Why can't this woman just GO AWAY? Katherine Harris is the stuff nightmares are made of. She's traumatized us by tossing the election to an unqualified dolt, and now she's subjecting us to another run for higher office. She will have no problem raising cash, so it's a matter of whether Bill Nelson is vulnerable.
Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, who as Florida's secretary of state was both praised and vilified for her part in the 2000 presidential recount, said Tuesday she will run for the Senate next year against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. Her announcement brings a major name to the race, along with the potential to raise a lot of money.

"The time has come to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate," Harris told The Associated Press. Harris, who is serving her second term in Congress, is considered a top fundraiser and is a popular figure among Republicans. But she is also despised by some Democrats for her role in overseeing the recount that ultimately gave Florida and the White House to George W. Bush over Al Gore.

"Humbled by the task ahead but knowing in my heart that one of the greatest honors in life is having a chance to make a difference in the lives of others [What an understatement for her work in 2000, huh?], I am confident I can accomplish more for the people of Florida, and experience reminds me I've always done best when I've started out as the underdog," Harris said.


One for the "you've got to be sh*tting me" files

So many candidates for this honor, but I have to go with this one, since both the court and the driving officials manage to offend. Sicilian court condemned road authorities Monday for suspending the driving license of a man after finding out he was gay.
The court on the Mediterranean island said being gay was merely "a personality disturbance" which had no bearing on a person's ability to drive, Ansa news agency reported.

The 23-year-old man, who was identified as Danilo G., got into trouble with the road license authorities in the city of Catania after they discovered he had been exempted from military service because he was gay. The authorities suspended his driving license ahead of further checks on his "suitability" to take the wheel.

The man's lawyer, Giuseppe Lipera, denounced the move as "utterly scandalous and offensive" and has demanded 500,000 euros ($613,500) in damages. "Danilo ... is deeply perturbed by what has happened. He has lost his hair and is suffering shock," Lipera was quoted as saying by Ansa. In a written ruling released Monday, the Sicilian court said: "It is clear that sexual preferences do not in any way influence a person's ability to drive motor cars safely."


Weird sh*t for the day: body parts fall off plane


The South African Airways flight had originated in Johannesburg, but made one stop in Dakar, Senegal. (WNBC)

This morbid stuff boggles the mind. Wouldn't you like to be the worker that finds this mess? Bleh. It's assumed that someone was stowing away in this plane. Otherwise, it's really a bad place to store a dead body for transport or for hiding.
A body part apparently fell from the wheel well of a plane coming in for a landing on Tuesday at John F. Kennedy Airport and landed in a suburban backyard, authorities said.

More remains were found on a South African Airways flight after it landed at Kennedy, said Tony Ciavolella, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said a Customs agent meeting the plane, Flight 203, after its landing at Kennedy's terminal three discovered a leg hanging from the left wheel well section.

...Police in Nassau County received a call at 10:51 a.m. about a body part found in the backyard of a house in Floral Park. It apparently had hit the roof of a garage and bounced to the ground, said Officer Thomas Blanchard.
Oh, and I found a bonus gross-out story for you. Suspect in killing entered United States with bloody chainsaw.


On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres.

Then they let him into the United States.

The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on his kitchen floor. The man's head was in a pillow case under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.


Another book meme...

Thanks to Coturnix, I've been tagged with the latest book meme...Here you go...

Number Of Books I Own: Oy. This is a tough one. Coturnix claims 5,000; lord I wouldn't want to store that many. I've pared down a lot after several moves, selling many when I moved to NC from NYC, and once again in another move down here. We have them in two rooms, two big bookcases, and now we're about to load up a third small one. I'd say 750? I gave away a lot of the ones that I read once, and knew I would never read again. Oh, like one of those awful James Patterson books someone gave me for a present one Christmas.

Last Book I Bought: Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Last Book I Read: Good night, I have a lot going on at once! I did finish Keith Boykin's Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America as a counterbalance to On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep with Men, by J.L. King. Boykin is rightfully tough on King, who is seen as exploiting the media's need to place the spread of HIV in the minority community on the Down Low, when there are a lot of factors at work, including the DL.

I'm still working on The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, by Kitty Kelley and a couple of others. It's hard when I'm already reading weekly newsmagazines as well, plus blogging. Need more hours in a day!

Five Books That Mean A Lot To Me: OK. This list has to reflect a lifetime of reading, right? Well there are plenty of books to consider, let's forget the intellectual stuff and pick the whimsically favorite ones.



* Harriet the Spy. I loved this book. Dyke in training on the cover.



* The Nancy Drew series. And I'm talking about the old-school hardback edition, with the yellow spine and the painted covers. Who can't love a book series when the gal's best friend is a chick named George? I'm sure I saw lesbian themes in there.


* David O. Selznick's Hollywood. Big, big coffee table book (1980 first edition, hardcover, 425 pages) with luscious color and black-and-white pictures from Hollywood's Golden Age, plus interesting back story tidbits about Gone With the Wind, including pictures from the screen tests of actresses that tested for Scarlett O'Hara including Paulette Goddard (good choice), Joan Bennett (pretty good choice), Bette Davis (omg, no) and Tallulah Bankhead (big mistake). This f*cker is heavy, and it moved with me over and over because I love it so much.

* The Celluloid Closet, by Vito Russo. I read this book when coming out, and it neatly dovetails with my interest in film history. Russo's take on homosexuality and gender roles in Hollywood films from the 1920s to about 1980 (in the tattered edition I have) was a landmark book in its time. (It was the basis for the 1996 documentary, narrated by Lily Tomlin). The most entertaining part of the book is the glossary in the back, where it lists the homo-erotic or homo-subtext in major films.

I'm blanking on #5 for now. I'll come back and update later.

In the meantime, I've got to tag a few folks. First, Shakes Sis, who I'll forgive if she doesn't have time. Ms. Julien, since I've not written in a while...and how about local blogger ae, whose blog Arse Poetica is infinitely interesting.


No wonder McCain is skipping this AZ Repug Convention


Those were the days: hugging Chimpy isn't going to cut it with your hometown crew, John.

If John McCain plans an '08 presidential bid, he won't any support from this homegrown wingnut crowd. I guess this would be considered a badge of honor, considering the over-the-top wingnuttery of this proposed censure by the Arizona Republican Assembly. (Arizona Conservative):
In recent years, Senator McCain has shown little regard for the party or its principles while consorting with Democrats and grandstanding for another presidential run.

Last month, McCain led a group of seven moderate and liberal Republicans in making an agreement with seven Democrats which undermined Senate President Bill Frist’s desire to change the rule on cloture of filibusters. As a result, it may be more difficult to get some of President Bush's pro-life, conservative judicial nominees confirmed. McCain has been vilified ever since for his betrayal to the GOP. He has also betrayed party faithful throughout his amnesty legislation, constitutionally-challenged campaign finance reform and other controversial stands.

McCain was re-elected last year. But a 2001 recall effort against him was discontinued because of the September 11th Al Quaida attacks on the United States.

The following resolution will be proposed at Saturday’s ARA convention, discussed and voted on:

Whereas, Senator John McCain deserted the ranks of the Republican Party and the Leadership of the United States Senate on the issue of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush, leading to the stalling of the President’s agenda for judicial reform,

Whereas, Senator John McCain led the Democratic Party in reforming campaign finance leading to the orgy of spending in the 2004 elections;

Whereas, Senator John McCain has seriously considered the possibility of running for President on a split ticket with a Democrat;

Whereas, Senator John McCain is presently working with his Democratic soul mate, the Senior Senator of Massachusetts to draft a reform of the Immigration Policy of the United States after years of neglect,

Whereas, Senator John McCain has been missing in action to wit; his responsibilities to represent the citizens of the State of Arizona,

Be it resolved that the Arizona Republican Assembly here assembled on June 11, 2005 in Scottsdale Arizona takes the following actions:

The Arizona Republican Assembly officially and publicly censures Senator John McCain for desertion of his duty to the President and Senate Leadership; for his consistent actions supporting the Democratic Party; and, his abandoning his responsibilities as a representative of the citizens of Arizona.
You get the idea. All the nominally moderate Repugs that saved the filibuster are going to get this type of treatment. One has to wonder what kind of traction they will have at re-election time.


Big Brass Alliance update



The Big Brass Alliance is over 360 strong, and its bloggers have been getting out the word that the slack-*ss media cannot seem to do -- that an investigation is needed as a result of the Downing Street Memo and the work of AfterDowningStreet.org.

Shakes Sis and I have been overwhelmed with requests to join; if you're a blogger that wants to take part, email BBA: mail@bigbrassblog.com.

We've also set up a BBA Forum where you can go to post and converse freely with other folks. Also available there are the latest action items, and media resources and blog links. The Forum will also serve as a repository for information resources for the Alliance for future reference. Surf over to it:

http://bigbrassblog.com/phpbb/

***

Today's action items:

The Awaken the Mainstream Media campaign asks that you contact the following MSM outlets:

(A) Washington Post Ombudsman, Michael Getler. email: ombudsman@washpost.com phone: 202-334-7582 fax: 202-334-5269

(B) USA Today Managing Editor of News, Carol Stevens. phone: 800-872-0001 or 703-854-3400 fax: 703-854-2165 email: editor@usatoday.com

(C) Toledo Blade Ombudsman, Jack Lessenberry. email: omblade@aol.com phone: 419-724-6200


Up to 140K on the Conyers letter:

For those of you that want an update on the Conyers letter, it's now up to 145,000 signatures. If you still haven’t signed (it will be personally delivered to Chimpy), head on over to do it.



Caption This, Downing Street Memo Edition


The actual caption: The two leaders, both faced with skepticism at home over their handling of the Iraq war, met for their first talks since Blair emerged from elections a month ago with a third term but weakened politically. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


Must read: Shakes Sis flips Kos the bird


A pretty dumb web ad for TBS's new reality show, the Real Gilligan's Island featuring two "sexy" gals throwing pies at each other.

DKos ran the above ad; some Kossack women were pissed and let him know it. His response to them was actually more offensive than the ad. Here's what he said:
Apparently, having two women throw pies at each other, wrestle each other in a sexy, lesbianic manner, then having water splashed on their ample, fake bosoms is degrading to women. Or something like that.

Whatever. Feel free to be offended. I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst. I don't care for such sanctimony from Joe Lieberman, I don't care for it from anyone else. Some people find such content offensive. Some people find it arousing. Some people find it funny. To each his or her own.

But I am not Lieberman. I won't sit there and judge pop culture and act as gatekeeper to what I think is "appropriate", and what isn't.

And I certainly won't let the sanctimonious women's studies set play that role on this site. Feel free to be offended. Feel free to claim that I'm somehow abandoning "progressive principles" by running the ad.

It's a free country. Feel free to storm off in a huff. Other deserving bloggers could use the patronage.

Me, I'll focus on the important shit.
Shakes Sis erupts with a great piece today.
Asking why the most influential liberal blogger is running an ad promoting something that is generally anathema to liberal women is not the same as being a culture-vulture like Joe Lieberman. There’s a big difference between seeking to ban content, and questioning whether that content is in alignment with the objectives of those who profit from it. This distinction seems patently clear to me, but apparently it was easier for Kos to assume to sanctimonious and arrogant tone of which he was accusing women of having in order to scold them for gettin’ uppity, rather than address the actual issue—whether he had chosen to either overtly or covertly condone the exploitation of women.

Kos has a right to disagree with the sentiments of women who are offended by his decision. He also has a right to be condescending…
Apparently, having two women throw pies at each other, wrestle each other in a sexy, lesbianic manner, then having water splashed on their ample, fake bosoms is degrading to women. Or something like that.
…dismissive…
Whatever.
…judgmental…
I find such humorless, knee-jerk reactions, to be tedious at best, sanctimonious and arrogant at worst.
…insulting…
And I certainly won't let the sanctimonious women's studies set play that role on this site.
…egotistical…
Feel free to storm off in a huff. Other deserving bloggers could use the patronage.
…and demeaning…
Me, I'll focus on the important shit.
…every right to be all of those things. (As do his merry band of groupthink wankers, many of whose own sexism is put on display in the comments thread associated with the main post). And I have the right to declare him a wanker and remove him from my blogroll, which I’m sure would give him a good laugh, considering I’m a Lilliputian to his Gulliver. But damn it, I won’t stand for that shit. Someone’s gotta stand up to those on our side who would continue to relegate us to the margins, treating our concerns about fairness and respect with mockery and scorn. The liberal sphere is a not a place where strong women should be branded as hysterical or over-reactionary for being concerned about the possible appearance of support for the denigration of their gender, even if there are those who disagree. Disagreement is not the same as ridicule. It’s thoughtless, and worse than that, it’s bad politics.

With friends like these, who needs Republicans?
Go read the rest (and the comments, which are slamming).

Of course, that's a "what she said" moment. What I would add is that Kos has been quite full of himself on many fronts for some time (see my post "Taking on the big, bad, blogging dogs so we can pee on the political hydrant too"), pooh-poohing calls for more diversity in the voices of front page diarists, as well as deeming what is or isn't a legitimate progressive issue, simply because he has the clout/readership to do so.

What it comes down to is that Kos's whoring for ad dollars (and this applies to most big, influential bloggers at this point) makes it clear that once blogging is your day job and your income is dependent on the ad buxxx rolling in, it can result in squishy politics -- and defensive behavior.

Now he's just another dude trying to pimp his upcoming book with his built-in audience, so look for more of the same. It's the new media, but top-drawer blogs like DKos are increasingly looking and behaving much like the MSM in its condescending attitude toward others not within the "inner circle" of legitimacy that they define as part of the big bloggers club.

[UPDATE: Shakes Sis fires off another one.]


Ratz is at it again: same-sex unions are 'pseudo-matrimony'

Monday, June 06, 2005


(Pope Ratz photo illustration by "evilgenius" Doug at Reality Stick).


Pope Ratz loves flapping his "pseudo-holy" gums about queer folks. He cannot help it, and he likes rewriting history as he goes along. While he's being all pious, perhaps the Pontiff needs to catch Sins of Our Fathers on Showtime. Hmmmm? That was one powerful movie about the church's complete moral corruption over the pedophiles in its midst. (USA Today):
Pope Benedict XVI condemned same-sex unions as anarchic "pseudo-matrimony" Monday and reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to abortion...He said matrimony was not just a "casual sociological construction" that changed in certain times in history but rather an institution that had its roots "in the most profound essence of the human being."

"The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedom that wrongly passes for true freedom of man," he said.


Follow-up love note to Durham from Fred Phelps


We love you too, Rotting Cryptkeeper.TM

I did a check back at the Westboro Baptist Church's God Hates Fags web site, and it looks like one of its "members" wrote up a little piece on their trip to Durham last month. It's a document packed with lies, but it's an entertaining read. Here's a snippet of the air kiss from Topeka:
After hugs and farewells, several ambassadors of Christ left Westboro Baptist Church at 5:30 am to travel to Durham, NC. Jon, Kay, Ben, Mara, Sara, Joe, Hezekiah, Grace and Josiah were scheduled to picket Durham School of the Arts, Duke University and various fag-enabling whorehouses masquerading as churches. [NOTE: one of the churches picketed was St. Luke's Episcopal Church, which also had a cross burned on its property a couple of weeks ago. No one has made a connection to Phelps -- or local yahoos that WBC might have riled up.]

After having extensive discussions about Nehemiah 13, Ezekiel 33, and Judges 19 on the airplane, we arrived in Durham, the City of Medicine (a.k.a., the City of Whores, a.k.a. the City of Bastards). Our first picket was at Duke University. Before even breaking out a single sign, a vile, old, crusty SoulForce fag drove his vehicle at WBC children who were walking down the side of a back road. [LIES] (Apparently the way to combat "spiritual violence" is to resort to good old-fashioned aggravated assault.) The picket was wonderful. We had lots of traffic and lots of media. Later, we were the second story on the evening news. Hezekiah was interviewed, saying that the Pope is in Hell because he taught that God loves everyone. Grace said to thank God for 9-11 because you should thank God for everything and thank Him He didn't kill you. Kay said "God Hates."


The losers of WBC.

Later that night was the main event - "The Laramie Project" at Durham School of the Arts. Duke University students were allegedly putting together a group calling itself "Peacefully Packing the Pavement." We like to call them "Violently Packing the Fudge." Their stated goal was to go out on the sidewalk at 6:30 and pack it with so many people that WBC wouldn't have any room to stand. So we showed up at 6:15. At 6:30, there were approximately zero perverts packing the pavement. At 6:40, there were approximately 50 perverts packing the grass across the street. By 7:00, around 150 total fags and fag-enablers had trickled in. Peppered among the fags were some nominal "Christians" (a.k.a., fag-enablers) whose doctrine was "Don't Judge, Don't Condemn, Don't Rebuke." Featured among the fags and fag-enablers was a gender-confused soul who was under the false impression that she was a male, and a species-confused, corpulent, oily fellow who was apparently in the middle of his transition from human to pig.



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
* Daily Kos diary: Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC


I hope the granny wasn't the one 'putting out'

I'm trying not to visualize this madam as a "working girl," but considering today's posting trend about boobies, I'm having a hard time getting the imagery of octogenarian gazongas out of my mind. Bleh.
Police made a surprising discovery when they busted the alleged madam of a prostitution ring called "August Playmates": The woman running the show was an 80-year-old grandmother.

Authorities arrested Vera Tursi last month during a sting operation to crack down on prostitution rings posing as legal escort services. Police say Tursi ran the business from her two-bedroom apartment, taking $60 of every $160 she charged clients for one hour with a call girl.

Law enforcement officials say Tursi admitted her role in the business, saying she took it over a few years ago from her daughter, who had died. Police say Tursi told them she needed money to subsidize her Social Security checks.
Does Chimpy plan to consider this mature woman's enterprising nature part of his Social Security plan?


The AmTaliban influence continues: nipples are the new WMD



In an example of the anti-nipple phenomenon, Canadian actress Pamela Anderson complained that network censors ordered her nipples be 'taped down' during filming of her new TV series, Stacked, so as not to offend prime-time audiences. (Louis Lanzano, The Canadian Press)

[UPDATE: Moving this back up. To add to the absurdity, Disney has given Lindsay Lohan a digital breast reduction for her new "family-friendly" movie. See more below.]

This really says it all. House Blender Cat passes along a story that makes me cringe about the influence of the wingnuts on contemporary culture. TV execs that used to have Suzanne Somers and Farrah Fawcett bouncing around in full flower on TV in the 70s must have found Jeebus and want to protect you from the boobies.
Sixteen months after the Super Bowl's tempest in a C-cup, war has been declared on women's breasts. From Desperate House-wives' deployment of digital nipple-erasers to Victoria's Secret's nipple-negating bras, a campaign is under way to conceal one of the natural features of the female breast.

The producers of TV's Desperate Housewives have reportedly spent thousands of dollars digitally removing the nipples from on-screen images of actresses Teri Hatcher and Nicolette Sheridan. In discussing the show's "nipple problem," series creator Marc Cherry tells the Philadelphia Daily News: "Certain actresses really don't like to wear bras. And we try to accommodate them as much as humanly possible. ... So we've done a lot of blurring."

Jeff Jarvis, founder of buzzmachine.com and creator of Entertainment Weekly, jokingly calls it "the nipple clause." As in, "I have the right to have them, you have the right to airbrush them." A similar situation exists on Canadian actress Pamela Anderson's new TV series, Stacked. In an April interview on Howard Stern's radio show, the actress complained that network censors ordered her nipples be "taped down" during filming so as not to offend prime-time audiences.

"What we have are media executives coming around trying to suggest they should protect us from this, because they're trying to protect themselves," says Mr. Jarvis. "Is there really going to be an outcry? In fact, shouldn't the person who causes that outcry be embarrassed?"

...Gary Grizzle, an associate professor of sociology at Florida's Barry University, says the trend represents a shift from a way of thinking in which a woman's ambition, not her sexuality, was considered the greater menace.

"For most of the '80s and '90s, the real threat, as far as women go, had to do with their career aspirations," he recalls. "Normally, we assume that when the focus is on women, they'll be very sexual and very submissive. It's the ones in the three-piece suits that scare the hell out of us."

Mr. Grizzle says current anti-nipple sentiments are steeped in the same notions that cause some religions to keep women covered up and out of holy places because a woman's "sexuality disrupts everything that men try to accomplish."
***


No more cleavage, Miss Lohan...

And now, more about Lindsay Lohan's digital booby reduction; more evidence that too many people have too much time on their hands, their minds in the gutter, and a complex about women's bodies.
Teen actress Lindsay Lohan's breasts have been digitally reduced for forthcoming Disney film Herbie: Fully Loaded, to avoid offending family audiences.

Test screenings for the new movie, the fourth sequel to the 1968 film The Love Bug about a Volkswagen Beetle car with a mind of its own, indicated that some parents felt Lohan's character Maggie Peyton was too raunchy for a children's film.

Disney technicians were forced to plough through numerous scenes - especially those showing the busty actress jumping up and down at a motor racing track, reducing her breasts by two cup sizes and raising revealing necklines on her T-shirts.
This is just sick. What is wrong with people?


No medical marijuana for you, say Supremes

This is a dumb ruling, but not unexpected. So now Feds can bust terminally ill people -- that's going to put a real dent in the War on Drugs.
Federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe marijuana to ease pain, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, concluding that state laws don't protect users from a federal ban on the drug.

The decision is a stinging defeat for marijuana advocates who had successfully pushed 10 states to allow the drug's use to treat various illnesses. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing the 6-3 decision, said that Congress could change the law to allow medical use of marijuana.

The closely watched case was an appeal by the Bush administration in a case involving two seriously ill California women who use marijuana. The court said the prosecution of pot users under the federal Controlled Substances Act was constitutional.

"I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, one of the women involved in the case.

In a dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said that states should be allowed to set their own rules.
Opinion of the Court: Stevens, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Kennedy

Dissent: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Thomas

***

Other decisions today by the Supreme Court:

* Supreme Court Rejects Women's Sports Case. The Supreme Court refused Monday to consider reinstating a lawsuit that accuses federal officials of discriminating against male athletes in enforcing equal opportunities for women. Justices without comment rejected an appeal from the National Wrestling Coaches Association and other groups that have been fighting federal policies under the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX.

At issue for the court was whether the challengers showed that the law directly caused a reduction in men's sports, and whether they should be allowed to sue federal officials. The latest case involved claims that the government is forcing colleges to discriminate against male athletes, because of a requirement that the ratio of male and female athletes be similar to the overall student population. "If unchecked, the gender quota ... will continue to cause sweeping injustices and discrimination in colleges nationwide, and is already being applied to public high schools," justices were told in a brief filed by the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund.

* Court Expands Scope of Disabilities Law. The Supreme Court, expanding the scope of a landmark federal disabilities law, ruled Monday that foreign cruise lines sailing in U.S. waters must provide better access for passengers in wheelchairs. The narrow 5-4 decision is a victory for disabled rights advocates, who said inadequate ship facilities inhibited their right to "participate fully in society." Congress intended the 1990 American with Disabilities Act to apply to cruise lines, justices said.

"The statute is applicable to foreign ships in the United States waters to the same extent that it is applicable to American ships in those waters," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.


Looks like the AFA suspended its Ford boycott


Donald and Tim Wildmon have to eat a little crow, lololol.

That cave-in was fast. I just posted about the American Family Association's Ford boycott last week. The automaker was too gay-friendly for the AFA's taste, so they unleashed the wingnuts. Guess they couldn't drum up much interest from the AmTaliban crowd, particularly after having caved on their Disney boycott just before announcing this "effort."
Following a meeting with a group of Ford dealers, AFA has suspended its boycott of Ford Motor Company until December 1, 2005. In the meeting, the dealers asked for time to see if the concerns raised by AFA in their boycott announcement could be addressed by them in cooperation with officials from Ford Motor Company.

AFA felt that the dealers were making a good faith effort and agreed to accept their request. Therefore, the suspension request was accepted by AFA. During the remaining period AFA will work with the dealers in attempting to resolve our differences.

We urge those supporting the boycott to disregard the boycott until December 1, 2005.
(via AMERICABlog)


AmTalibaners go after AFL-CIO for opposing marriage amendment


MI State Sen. Mike Goschka thinks union members are common-sense people who know that God never intended for homosexuals to marry

It's time to send a little love to the AFL-CIO, as its the latest organization to be bashed by the Reich for nixing support of a federal anti-gay marriage amendment. From the unhinged Aaron Atwood, associate editor of the Focus of the Family web site:
The AFL-CIO is lobbying against the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA)—an effort to constitutionally define marriage as between one man and one woman. The organization represents 58 national and international labor unions and more than 13 million workers, but its policies are liberal compared to the people it represents. The march toward the left by a few in leadership misrepresents what most rank-and-file union members hold as deep convictions.

Ken Boutwell, a Mississippi union worker with Georgia-Pacific is going on the offensive. He and what he calls "a few men standing with me" have created a Web site to petition John Sweeney, the AFL-CIO president, to change his stand on the issue of marriage. Though cumbersome to type, http://unionworkersagainstgaymarriage.com, is a tool Boutwell hopes workers will use to stop AFL-CIO activism. "Sweeney has sold us out," Boutwell said. "Unions are supposed to be democratic and give people a choice. When Sweeney and his council speak for 13 million workers about an issue this important . . . he's supposed to represent the body."

An open letter to Sweeney, sent today and signed by pro-family groups and union members across the nation, stated, "We're further troubled by the expectation that you will use the dues and fees you collect as a condition of employment from employees who strongly oppose homosexual and transgender activists' political agenda to pay for your political and lobbying activities in support of that agenda.

"Between now and your July convention, we and the pro-family organizations we represent will . . . do everything in our power to ensure that rank-and-file union members all across America are fully informed of the AFL-CIO's endorsement of homosexual activists' political agenda, particularly your formal opposition to state and federal constitutional protections for the institution of one-man, one-woman marriage."

The agenda the letter speaks of is not hard to find. The AFL-CIO's obvious partisanship is evidenced in its "Pride At Work" constituency group.

..."Are You A Proud Union Queer?" the site asks. "Thinking about getting inked? Well before you take the plunge, maybe you should take a second and try one of Pride At Work's new temporary tattoos, just in time for Gay Pride! The message is simple, 'PROUD UNION QUEER.'"

"It appears that the AFL-CIO wants to keep this a secret," Burress said. "There are no press releases or communications because they know the rank-and-file would be adamantly opposed to negotiating special rights just because someone says they are homosexual.

"Someone's sexual orientation is a private matter and this agenda is opening Pandora's Box."

Mike Goschka is a Michigan senator in the 32nd district for Saginaw and Gratiot counties. He is a member of the United Steelworkers Union, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and said he thinks this is an issue much like abortion...Union members, said Goschka, are common-sense people who know that God never intended for homosexuals to marry.

"The average person in the shop may not be hugely involved in church matters or politics but they have a respect for the things of the Lord. You'd very find few atheists among union members." Goschka notes that these are not stereotypical "gay bashers" but rather folks that see the natural order of things.

Steve Conner, a United Auto Workers member agrees. "I understand nuts and bolts you know," Conner said, referring to the unnatural aspect of homosexual unions.
Visit the AFL-CIO site to view the resolution, "Support for the Full Inclusion and Equal Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People in the Workplace".


Southern Poverty Law Center goes after the AmTaliban

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Wild wingnuttery (clockwise from top): James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Pat Buchanan, a political commentator and founder of American Cause. All are getting the heat turned up on them by the SPLC. (Photos: AP)

“Our bailiwick is extremism,” he said. “We’ve avoided the Christian Right in the past, and we don’t feel we’ve expanded to include the Christian Right — we feel very strongly they have entered our world [of extremism].
-- Mark Potok, editor of SPLC's Intelligent Report.
The Southern Voice reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center is going after our little hot-to-trot friends in the AmTaliban. In the article "Holy War: The Religious Right's Crusade Against Gays Heats Up," SPLC's magazine, The Intelligence Report.the SoVo article, which features quotes from pro-gay minister (and former 'ex-gay' -- he got out of the self-loathing cycle) Mel White and Melissa Fryrear "gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family and a self-described former lesbian."
There's also a great round-up with thumbnail sketches of the players. If you're a regular House Blender, you'll see that these names come up frequently because of their completely unhinged homophobic statements.
These organizations represent some of the most influential anti-gay groups operating today, according to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Alliance Defense Fund
Scottsdale, Ariz.
www.alliancedefensefund.org
In 1993, a coalition of 35 Christian Right groups founded the Alliance Defense Fund to combat gay-rights victories in the courts. Key founders included D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries, Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association and James Dobson of Focus on the Family.
The ADF trains other attorneys "to battle the radical homosexual legal agenda" in free, week-long National Litigation Academies, whose participants commit to "provide 450 hours of pro bono legal work on behalf of the Body of Christ."
In 2000, the ADF helped defend the Boy Scouts of America's ban on openly gay scoutmasters, which was upheld by a narrow 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.

American Family Association
Tupelo, Miss.
www.afa.net
Best known for leading boycotts of advertisers in the mass media, including Disney, Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Ford. Its leader is Rev. Donald Wildmon, a former Methodist minister who has led a series of religious-right groups since 1976.
The American Family Association includes a 200-station radio network, about 100 employees and a monthly "AFA Journal" sent to 180,000 people, largely on the basis of anti-gay appeals.
AFA has 21 state directors, including California's Scott Lively, co-author of "The Pink Swastika," a book that claims "homosexuals are the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities."

American Vision
Atlanta
www.americanvision.org
Founded in 1978 by Gary DeMar, American Vision is a prominent proponent of Christian Reconstructionism. DeMar contends that the U.S. was founded as a "Christian nation" and that its democracy should be replaced by a theocratic government run by Christians who will strictly impose certain Old Testament prohibitions, including passages they interpret as opposing homosexuality and abortion.

Concerned Women for America
Washington, D.C.
www.cfwa.org
When she founded Concerned Women for America in 1979, Beverly LaHaye was best known for "The Act of Marriage," an anti-feminist bestseller co-authored with her husband, Tim.
CWA now has a daily radio show that reaches more than one million listeners, four affiliate organizations, and a cadre of attorneys, researchers and lobbyists.
In 2001, LaHaye hired two of America's most prominent anti-gay propagandists, Robert Knight and Peter LaBarbera, to launch CWA's Culture and Family Institute.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, CWA accused same-sex partners of those killed of "trying to hijack the moral capital of marriage."

Family Research Council
Washington, D.C.
www.frc.org
In 1988, James Dobson's Focus on the Family mega-ministry merged with the Family Research Council, a small Washington think tank headed by Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate. With Focus' millions behind it, FRC's profile shot up as Bauer brought Dobson's anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-sex education messages to leaders on Capitol Hill.
When FRC's lobbying threatened Focus' tax-exempt status in 1992, the groups severed their legal ties.
During the gays-in-the-military debate of 1993, Bauer wrote an influential op-ed alleging that gay people's "notion of 'civil rights' would mean a jackboot on the back of the 99 percent of society that still follows the norms of nature."

Family Research Institute
Colorado Springs, Colo.
www.familyresearchinst.org
The Family Research Institute was founded in 1987 by Paul Cameron who told the 1985 Conservative Political Action Committee conference that "extermination of homosexuals" might be needed in the next three to four years. He has advocated tattooing people with AIDS in the face, and banishment to a former leper colony for anyone who resisted. He has called for gay bars to be closed and gays to be registered with the government.
Cameron was kicked out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations in 1983. Anti-gay groups and commentators including Pat Buchanan frequently cite Cameron's studies alleging that gay men intentionally spread AIDS.

Focus on the Family
Colorado Springs, Colo.
www.family.org
James Dobson, a former child development professor who advocated spanking, founded Focus on the Family in 1977.
On Focus' 47-acre campus in Colorado Springs, some 1,300 employees battle against gay rights, sex education and women's rights with an annual budget of $130 million. Dobson's radio show is aired daily on more than 9,000 radio stations worldwide, giving him an estimated audience of more than 200 million.
Among the anti-gay rhetoric on the group's Web site is a Dobson essay that says: "Moms and Dads, are you listening? This movement is the greatest threat to your children. It is of particular danger to your wide-eyed boys, who have no idea what demoralization is planned for them."
Dobson's effectiveness was seen clearly as he successfully spearheaded the national campaign against gay marriage in 2003 and 2004.
Thanks to House Blender Adrian for the pointer.


Confederate flag to fly today in Missouri


Missouri cracker Gov. Matt Blunt wants to mark Confederal Memorial Day; NAACP's Mary Ratliff: "It is just appalling to me that the governor would again raise a flag that is so humiliating and reminds us of the vestige of slavery that has divided our nation for all these years."

This news story notes that Missouri never joined the Confederacy, but it was a divided state during the Civil War (some residents fighting for the Union, some for the Confederacy). Guess there's no division now, ha ha, since the state's Repug gov has decided it's A-OK to fly the flag Sunday.

I am so tired of the "it's not about slavery or racism" bullsh*t excuses that come out of these "Confederate Historical Society" types. Again, it about trying to downplay a painful time in history by romanticizing it.
Republican Gov. Matt Blunt has ordered the Confederate flag to fly Sunday at the Confederate Memorial State Historic Site in Higginsville, where an afternoon graveside service is planned to mark Confederate Memorial Day. The flag will fly for only one day, but a Blunt spokesman said Friday the governor also supports a scholarly review of whether it would be appropriate to again fly the Confederate flag regularly at the historic site.

Mary Ratliff, president of the Missouri State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was irate about Blunt's decision. "It is just appalling to me that the governor would again raise a flag that is so humiliating and reminds us of the vestige of slavery that has divided our nation for all these years," Ratliff said.

The state NAACP has a regularly scheduled meeting today in Columbia, and Ratliff said she would be "asking for drastic measures from our national office." She noted the NAACP has led a 5-year-old boycott of South Carolina because of its display of the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds, although not everyone is following the group's lead.

...Blunt's decision was welcomed by John Christensen, commander of the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and head of the local camp in Springfield. "It wasn't about racism, the war, and (the flag's) just a symbol of the South," Christensen said.
It just doesn't fly. It's like the Cary, NC Christian school that wanted to teach that blacks enjoyed the slave life in its "Southern Slavery, As It Was" history pamphlet. The excuse for that crap was the principal said it is hard to find writings that are both "sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery."

Thanks to House Blender Jeff for the pointer.


These women do not deserve to be mothers, part 2

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I had a post up earlier in the week about the heinous moms that served up their daughters to be raped, now we have some equally morals-free parental behavior by another couple of moms, this time involving kids in cars.

* Woman Leaves Disabled Daughter in Hot Car at Shopping Mall. The woman left her daughter in the hot car Friday afternoon outside the Wolfchase Galleria in East Memphis. The child suffers from cerebral palsy, so she could not get out of the car on her own. She may have been left for more than an hour and a half...The child was rushed to LeBonheur Children's Hospital. She was not seriously hurt. Police waited for the child's mother to come out of the mall. She was arrested and faces a misdemeanor charge of child abuse and neglect.
But we can top that story; let's go to San Fernando, CA where a mom rode around with the kids stowed away...in the trunk.

* Woman Charged For Allegedly Driving With Children In Trunk. Laverne Renee Dunlap is scheduled to be arraigned June 20 in San Fernando Superior Court on the three felony charges, according to the District Attorney's Office. Dunlap, who had a total of seven children in the Toyota Corolla when she was stopped on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway on May 20, is free on her own recognizance.

Another motorist had reported seeing the car that day at the side of the San Diego (405) Freeway, near the National Boulevard off-ramp in West Los Angeles. The tipster said children were apparently inside the trunk, which was being closed by a woman, California Highway Patrol Officer Wendy Hahn said last month.

Officers stopped the car about 70 miles away shortly after 8 p.m. and found a 15-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl in the trunk, according to Hahn. Dunlap said shortly after her arrest that she didn't have enough room in her car for all of the passengers. She also said she "wasn't thinking," and that the children wanted to go into the trunk "because we were hurrying and trying to leave."

...Four other children were riding in the back seat -- ranging in age from 5 to 17 -- and a 10-year-old was sitting on the lap of a woman in the front passenger seat, Hahn said. The third child endangerment charge pertains to that child, who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Let me see. I am still waiting for more reasons that people like these women are somehow more qualified to be parents than say, a sane gay person that would never do such a thing to their children.


Robert Knight: The homosexual agenda is more powerful than the Reich


The penis-owning head of the Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute continues his tirade against homos.

Bob Knight's now one of my favorite AmTaliban spokesfreaks because his quote are so over-the-top. He already made the Blend this week for implying the demographic shift of families with kids out of San Francisco is due to selfish homos, not, say, high real estate prices.

Today's Knight rant is about his belief in the pervasive influence of homos on Capitol Hill. He's covered this in his typical ass-hat fashion before, but he's ratched up the rhetoric a notch here. I sense frustration and desperation, ha ha ha. The homo agenda is laying waste to family by stifling passage of "family-friendly" policies...
Pro-family policies coming out of Washington, DC, seem at times to be in short supply. One family advocate credits that situation partially to the persistence of homosexual activists who reside in the District of Columbia. But another says he is convinced there is a place for both state and federal governments in helping sustain the traditional family.

The director of the Culture and Family Institute in the nation's capital says homosexual activists are relentless -- and he suggests that is why they wield a great amount of clout on Congress. Robert Knight says there is no doubt in his mind that the homosexual lobby has influenced Capitol Hill in a big way.

"Because there are so many homosexuals in Washington, it's a very aggressive community," Knight shares, offering that just by sheer numbers many pro-homosexual groups are able to accomplish their agenda. "You have national homosexual organizations headquartered here -- like the Human Rights Campaign -- that ... wield tremendous influence on Congress."

Such an environment, he says, causes it to appear that homosexuals are a huge segment of the population -- and has led to pro-family legislation being blocked and pro-homosexual legislation being passed.
Well gay folks haven't exactly been mowing down the Reich legislatively, so I don't know what he's thinking. Then again, the Right is convinced that they are the victims in all of this, which shows you how delusional that crowd is. Check out Little wingnut Gary Bauer's whining that 'Christians are being persecuted.'


I'm still trying to figure out what the hell this is about

These Southern Baptists seem like a cult. Or am I just jaded?
...A Baptist Press report is suggesting that one of the reasons Southern Baptists are facing struggles with their evangelism efforts is that many church members may not be saved themselves. Tom Rainer is the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In a recent study, he found that the evangelistic effectiveness of the denomination has remained fairly stagnant since 1950. A BP commentary by Todd Brady of Union University says one of the most troubling reasons Rainer gives for this stagnation is "unregenerate" church members. Brady notes that for the most part, not much is required to join a Southern Baptist church -- walk down an aisle, nod affirmatively at the pastor's leading questions, and wait for the congregation to say "Amen." In fact, the study's assessment is that nearly one-half of all church members may not be Christians. Brady says the conclusion is not hard to draw: an unbelieving church cannot be an evangelistic church -- and some, he says, would question whether a church half full of unbelievers is even a church in the first place.


She's waiting for CroMagnon Man to club her and drag her to the cave

Friday, June 03, 2005


What century does Kay O'Connor want to return to?

"I think the 19th Amendment, while it's not an evil in and of itself, is a symptom of something I don't approve of...The 19th Amendment is around because men weren't doing their jobs, and I think that's sad. I believe the man should be the head of the family. The woman should be the heart of the family."
-- Kansas State Senator Kay O'Connor

She needs to get chummy with Kimberly Fletcher (see "The 50s are back: Wingnut Homemakers for America"). She also may also want to give Betty Miller of Christians Unlimited Ministries a ring ("What Does The Bible Say About The Duties of a Christian Wife"). It would make one hell of a sewing circle.

The kicker is this empty vessel wants to be the state's top elections official. Isn't that special?
Sen. Kay O'Connor announced Wednesday that she is seeking the GOP nomination for secretary of state next year. O'Connor, 63, has served in the Legislature since 1993.

In 2001, O'Connor received national attention for her remarks about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [above], ratified in 1920, which gave women the right to vote...On Wednesday, she dismissed the controversy — which included an unsuccessful drive to recall her from office — as "silliness." She said she does not believe voters will consider it a significant issue.

"I am who I am. You don't have to agree with everything I say," O'Connor said. But Caroline McKnight, executive director of a group devoted to fighting conservatives in politics, said: "If she thinks it's going to go away because she's on a statewide ballot, she's living on another planet."


Spread the love: hate messages burned into San Jose lawns

The cowardly bigots continue their "communication campaign" in places around the country. Three crosses burned last week in Durham, and now look at what's happening in California (Chronicle photos by Liz Mangelsdorf).
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating as a hate crime the defacement of nine suburban San Jose lawns by someone who burned swastikas and other inflammatory messages into the grass, apparently using chemicals.



Deputy Terrance Helm said his department was first called to the 400 and 500 blocks of South Cypress Avenue near Stevens Creek Boulevard in unincorporated San Jose on May 18. Then on Wednesday, one of the residents called again to report that he suspected his lawn had been hit again. Today, Helm said that not enough time had passed for the chemical to take effect, so deputies weren’t sure if the perpetrator had returned.

Eight of the lawns had swastikas burned into them, including those of at least two homes with Jewish residents. A racial epithet had been burned into the lawn of a home whose residents are black, Helm said. That is the home that may have been hit again, he said.



Authorities have taken soil samples to try to determine what kind of chemical was used, Helm said. The NAACP of San Jose/Silicon Valley is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and conviction, said organization president Rick Callender, who is coordinating with the Sheriff’s Department to monitor tips.
Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.


Downing Street Update - June 3

Things over at Big Brass Alliance continue to pick up steam. I'm still getting my inbox filled with bloggers signing up for our Alliance page and listserv -- we should top 300 members today. I'm also working on some additional back-end features for the effort, which we'll announce if I can figure out whether I can handle all of the workload.

What's cooking, via Shakes Sis:
Today’s media contacts are:

(A) ABC Nightline. email: nightline@abcnews.com

(B) NBC News. email: nightly@nbc.com phone: 212-664-4971 fax: 212-664-4426

(C) Wall Street Journal. email: wsjcontact@dowjones.com phone: 212-416-2000 fax: 212-416-2658

* If you post on the topic today, make sure you contact Joe at The Heretik and Charles at Freiheit und Wissen, who are doing Big Brass Blogswaming aggregation.

* The Big Brass Alliance made Wikipedia, which is pretty cool.

* And this is my favorite item of the day:



The Backbone Campaign (which seems an appropriate match for the Big Brass Alliance), a a grassroots effort to embolden citizens and elected officials to stand up for progressive values, says:
Please join us in sending Spine postcards to your Senators and members of Congress to let them know they should join the Inquiry into the Downing Street Minutes/Memo. You can click here to download a pdf file that can be printed on cardstock or other paper and sent to you members of Congress. This version of the pdf file refers directly to the Downing Street Minutes/Memo issue.
***

Setting up activism channels like BBA, and maintaining the Blend (and doing a FT day job) are a lot to juggle, but building community is worth it. Shakes Sis is doing the main contact work and writing and does a whiz-bang job at that. She finally put up an Amazon "Click to Give" button on her site:
And, at the suggestion of some kind (and optimistic) people, I've added a tip jar to the lefthand menu, because I am broker than a broke thing with lots of little broke bits all over it.
Please recognize her good work if you can! She's done the editorial heavy lifting for the Alliance, for which I am grateful.

I've put up a Paypal button here on the Blend. Fortunately I'm not completely broke (though the savings are depleted because of that hardwood floor project -- can you believe that we're still dealing with that rotten home improvement store about a partial refund we're entitled to)?!

So it's really just a tip jar if you like what I do and are so inclined; it's not a big fundraising campaign. I'll be happy if the contents of the jar covers the hosting costs for this blog and B3.


Friday celebrity bullsh*t

I know this is light stuff, but it's Friday, for goodness sake!

I do read Us Weekly (it's Katie's subscription, not mine -- haha -- but it's a guilty pleasure after devouring a stack of MSM newsmagazines and reading political crap all week). I actually posted a while back ("I am not paying attention to this trial and this is why") about Michael Jackson pathetic sideshow. All you can do is say "WTF happened?"



Whatever the jury decides, the man-like being is FUBAR.

In other celebrity news, I couldn't ignore the report on CNN today...it's clear that Tom Cruise is losing it. I know that staying in the closet can cause mental and emotional distress -- but he's exhibiting symptoms of something quite similar, wouldn't you say? Rumors about whether he is or isn't gay have been floating around for years, but it's hysterical to see the news media dancing all around that story, even while pooh-poohing that his "relationship" with starlet Katie Holmes is a publicity stunt. His sister, now his publicist (he dumped his star gatekeeper/flack Pat Kingsley a while back) says it is LUV.
Mr. Cruise's spokeswoman, his sister Lee Anne De Vette, said she had not heard anything negative after the "Oprah" appearance. "You're looking at someone who's genuinely very happy," she said. "The response we've gotten back is complete enthusiasm and exhilaration for his enthusiasm and exhilaration. He's a very happy person."

The loving couple...and a pissed Brooke Shields.

What his other manager kept in check is the mega-star's slavish devotion to Scientology, which is now causing Cruise to publicly stick his foot in his mouth big time. War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg, is supposed to be a big summer flick for Tom, but he can't seem to actually talk about the movie in his interviews. It's either about his "romance" or the E-meter. They say even bad publicity is better than no publicity, but you'd have to doubt it after reading some of this in the NYT:
There have been other publicity hiccups related to Mr. Cruise's increasingly public association with Scientology, the religion founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. In a series of television interviews on "Access Hollywood" last week, the star spoke at length about his passion for Scientology, at one point criticizing Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants: Scientology considers modern psychiatry and its medications to be harmful.

... Mr. Cruise's insistence on making his religion a prominent part of his current work has raised some resistance in Hollywood. Some executives from the United International Pictures, which is releasing "War of the Worlds" overseas, complained earlier about being asked to take a four-hour tour of Scientology facilities in Los Angeles in late January.

And Mr. Cruise's insistence on having a Scientology tent on the set of "War of the Worlds" created a conflict at Universal, where the movie was being shot, two executives involved said. The executives, who asked not to be identified to protect industry relationships, said that Mr. Cruise, his agent Kevin Huvane and Mr. Spielberg all had to appeal personally to the president of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer, for the tent to be permitted on the studio lot, where no solicitation is allowed.
All of this is making Paramount execs tied to upcoming Mission Impossible 3 queasy about this freakshow. I guess I'd be worried if I had $150 mil on the line and my potential star is having a PR meltdown/identity crisis.

See pix of his freakout on Oprah here.


The Cat Killer and Empty Wig want to raise $50K this month


I got an email from these two losers asking for dough; how did I get on the National Repug Senatorial Campaign mailing list? (Frist graphic from BlogActive.)

Lest you think the "nuclear option" is off the table, James Dobson's hand puppet and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is helping surgically-smoothed Tar Heel Senator Elizabeth Dole pass the hat to support the Reich's efforts to appoint Bush wingnuts to the court. The uptight fundamentalist wingnut's email is a tired-sounding appeal to online Repugs for their pocket change.
...As Senate Majority Leader, I want to assure you that, if the Democrat's campaign of judicial obstruction resumes, I will not hesitate to use the Constitutional Option. We must ensure that President Bush's qualified judicial nominees get the up-or-down votes they deserve.

That's why we need to counter the Democrat's attacks and misinformation - including the multi-state, multi-million dollar advertising by liberal special interest groups like Moveon.org and People for the American Way. I have asked the NRSC to spearhead Republican efforts to support President Bush's judicial nominees as we bring them to the floor of the Senate for fair up-or-down votes.

To prepare for these battles, NRSC Chair Senator Elizabeth Dole has set a goal of raising $50,000 for the month of June from fellow online Republicans. This money is essential to our efforts to fight back against the obstruction of Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, and John Kerry.

And so I urge you to support the NRSC immediately with a contribution of $25, $50, $75 or even $100. To make a contribution, please click here.

...June will be a defining month for President Bush and the Republican Senate Majority. I have asked the NRSC to be prepared to support President Bush's nominee if there is an appointment to the Supreme Court. We must be prepared to support the President's nominee to the Supreme Court should a vacancy open. I am counting on you to help the NRSC prepare for what is likely to be one of the toughest and most consequential debates in recent memory.

Help us deliver on the principle of up-or-down votes for the President's judicial nominees.

Our need is urgent and our cause is just.


Bill Frist, M.D.
Senate Majority Leader


CA gay marriage bill tanks

Oh well. It's too bad. The vote was close, and seems like it could have passed, if given time to win over more votes next year. The downside is that it gives the bible-beating AmTaliban more time to poison the well.
The California Assembly has passed up a chance to make history. The Assembly narrowly defeated a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in the state. The measure lost by a slim four votes in the 80 seat Assembly.

Even so, nearly a quarter of the Democrats voted with Republicans to reject the bid. It was the second time in two days that the measure was voted down. Activists in the state had hoped the issue would come up for a third vote on Friday, the last day new bills could be considered, but it was not to be.

..."We had people who were adamantly against it last year who were speaking adamantly in favor of it on the floor," said Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, a supporter of the bill. "This was progress even though it's not enough." LGBT activists say they will be back next year to try again.


Captioning delights for Blenders

Love that position of the microphone in that Chimpy pic...





I think Robert Knight secretly wants to let his hair down and get nasty

Thursday, June 02, 2005


The male head of the Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute thinks about homos WAY too much.

This guy is wound so tight that I fully expect to hear he's been busted soliciting a young kid in a dark alley, or caught in some kind of kinky encounter with a rent boy, or perhaps found cavorting with beasts in a video. Really, anyone that can place all the blame on gay folks for the high price of real estate (and the subsequent unaffordability to raise a family there) is a bit "touched."

I suppose you can make a case for the exodus of families from San Francisco is due to the DINK factor (dual-income, no-kids), but that's hardly a demographic solely made up of homos, last time I looked around my neighborhood. Plenty of single hets are doing exactly the same thing, and I don't see Robert Knight blaming them...well, at least not YET. Straight, selfish allies...you're next.
A pro-family leader says families have been driven out of San Francisco, California, because of the high cost of living and the increasingly family-unfriendly culture itself. According to an Associated Press report, San Francisco's 18-and-under population is just 14.5 percent -- the lowest percentage of children for any major city in the United States.

Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, believes a major reason for this statistic is that San Francisco's dominant subculture is prompting families to flee the city. That subculture, Knight contends, is largely made up of childless adult singles and couples -- many of them homosexuals -- who live well and who live mainly for themselves. "The homosexuals have enormous influence," he says. "It's a very artsy city, and everything's very expensive. That's one reason families can't afford to live there anymore. It's all geared toward either the single life or the two-income adult life without kids."

Today in San Francisco, Knight points out, there is a proliferation of what used to be called "dinks," or "dual income, no kids" households. Many of these are homosexual couples, and in a city where homosexuals represent 20 percent of the population, the pro-family leader says it is no surprise that there are so few children. "The homosexual lifestyle is about pleasing oneself," the CFI spokesman asserts, "not planning for the future, not setting aside money for kids, not trying to create a situation where the generations come together. It's about having fun. It's about indulging in whatever desire you want at any given time."
I t sounds like he's aping Alan Keyes with a variation on "selfish hedonism" commentary.
Just for perspective, Knight is the dude that targets gays because of heterosexual child pornographer, says judges are out to destroy marriage at all costs, and that homos are taking over the nation's capital.


Rep. Conyers' Downing Street letter to Bush tops 86K sigs

The Brad Blog reports that the John Conyers Downing Street Letter to Bush petition has topped 86,000 signatures so far, with the ante upped to 250K, over the 100K originally requestion. Amazing. Conyers on the response:
To date, I have relied on hardworking volunteers to maintain my website and, frankly, the response has overwhelmed them. Over the holiday weekend, there was so much activity on the letter that my website froze, and we are still in the process of compiling the data. I thank you for your continued patience.

I do have some preliminary results, however. As of Wednesday, in five days, we had at least 86,000 signatures on the letter. This would not have happened without your help and hard work. This is so important that I have concluded that it is time to do more. My new goal is a quarter of a million signatures and I once again must ask for your help.
If you haven't signed yet, here's the link.


Saudi official's proposal to let women drive flips the men out


Good old Saudi Prince (and Chimpy family friend) Bandar's kingdom is not particularly woman-friendly, eh?

This is so absurd that you have to laugh...then given a few moments of thought, you start to feel sick that women have to live under such oppression that the simple act of driving a car will damn you and likely place you in physical jeopardy. I wonder what "Bandar Bush" has to say about this crap?
He just wanted his colleagues in the government's legislative arm to discuss the possibility of conducting a study into the feasibility of reversing the ban on women drivers — the only prohibition of its kind in the world.

But Consultative Council member Mohammad al-Zulfa's proposal has unleashed a storm in this conservative country where the subject of women drivers remains taboo.

Al-Zulfa's cell phone now constantly rings with furious Saudis accusing him of encouraging women to commit the double sins of discarding their veils and mixing with men. He gets phone text messages calling on Allah to freeze his blood. Chat rooms bristle with insulting accusations that al-Zulfa is "driven by carnal instincts with 454 horsepower."

...Conservatives, who believe women should be shielded from strange men, say driving will allow a woman to leave home whenever she pleases and go wherever she wishes. [AND?] Some say it will present her with opportunities to violate Islamic law, such as exposing her eyes while driving or interacting with strange men, like police officers or mechanics.

"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."

But al-Zulfa contends neither the law nor Islam bans women from driving. Instead, the ban is based on fatwas, or Islamic edicts, by senior clerics who say that any driving by women would create situations for sinful temptation.


Pentagon delays release of May recruiting data


Rummy won't be laughing when the recruiting numbers finally come out.

It's time for all those young Republicans out there to step up to the plate, since the it's looking desperate enough to keep the lid on the declining numbers (paging whining, chickenhawks columnists like Jonah Goldberg):

* Regular Army -- recruiting goals down 3 months in a row, short by 42 percent in April

* The Army was 16 percent behind its year-to-date target entering May. They need 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005 (by Sept. 30).

* The Marine Corps -- off target for signing up new recruits four straight months in a row and 2 percent behind its year-to-date goal (the Marines have historically never had trouble). It has a target of 38,195 recruits this FY.
The Pentagon on Wednesday postponed by more than a week the release of military recruiting figures for May, as the Army and Marine Corps struggle to attract new troops amid the Iraq war.

The military services had routinely provided most recruiting statistics for a given month on the first business day of the next month.

Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the May numbers for the active-duty and reserve components of the all-volunteer military will be released on June 10. "Military recruiting is instrumental to our readiness and merits the earliest release of data. But at the same time, this information must be reasonably scrutinized and explained to the public, which deserves the fullest insight into military performance in this important area," Krenke said. [PRE-DAMAGE CONTROL.]

Asked whether the move would simply delay the release of bad news, Krenke said, "That's not necessarily true," noting that "we expect the numbers to improve during the summer months."

Military recruiters have said potential recruits and their parents were expressing wariness about enlisting during the Iraq war. They said improving civilian job opportunities also were affecting recruiting.


Need a doctor? If you're a reservist, you may be SOL


Michigan's U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz is a doctor and thinks it's a patriotic duty to deal with the government's crappy insurance that military families are covered by.

Our health care system sucks -- why should people that sacrifice their lives have to be turned away by doctors? It's the Shame of Bush's America, part 67897 -- reservists can find few doctors willing to accept the military's health care insurance. After sacrificing for Chimpy's war follies, this is complete bullsh*t.

Why can't the military have the same federal health care benefits as Congress, hmmm? (Daily Sentinel):
With thousands of reservists and National Guard members being called to duty, some families are not only left without a spouse's income, but also their health insurance.

The military provides Tricare, but with low reimbursement rates, many physicians hesitate accepting the government insurance. That has made access to health care difficult for reservist families. Tricare's $18 billion health plan provides insurance to 9.1 million active-duty military members, their families and military retirees under 65.

"We stopped taking it three or four years ago," said Dr. Susan Blue, a Fort Worth neurologist and president of the Tarrant County Medical Society. "Reimbursement rates are not high these days with anyone, but the military was the first one to go to a point that it wasn't feasible financially to accept it anymore."

Access is somewhat easier for families living near a base. But families of mobilized reservists from cities such as Houston may have to search for Tricare doctors.

...U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, R-Mich. and a physician, has called for doctors to accept Tricare as "a patriotic duty." But physicians find it difficult to do business given Tricare reimbursement rates. The rates are linked to Medicare's rates, but a 5 percent reduction is expected in January.

Dr. Stephen Brotherton, a past president of the Tarrant County Medical Society and a Fort Worth orthopedic surgeon, said his father, a World War II veteran, gave him grief for not accepting Tricare. "Any of us would love to serve our servicemen, but what they're paying is well below what we have as a break-even point," he said. "It would be better for me to actually see them for no charge and not try to participate in the program."


(Former) SF 49er PR guy Kirk Reynolds is a d*mbass


Get out the tiny violin...

I saw part of this on CNN this AM. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if you make a video this offensive, SOMEONE is going to leak it out. The usual mea culpas ring hollow. All involved are only sorry because it became public.
An in-house video meant to prepare San Francisco 49ers players for dealing with the media backfired on the NFL team Wednesday after it was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 15-minute film, featuring racist jokes, lesbian soft-porn and topless blondes, features the team's public relations director, Kirk Reynolds, impersonating San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in the mayor's office and other city scenes.

Now the mayor and the city's gay leaders are outraged, the team's owners are embarrassed and Reynolds is leaving the organization. The Chronicle described the film and published an image showing Reynolds with the half-naked women under a screaming headline on Wednesday. Reynolds called it a "terrible mistake." No sh*t.

"I'm more sorry than anybody,'' he said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night. "My intention was to deliver a message important to our team. Certainly the execution and my decision making were way out of line. I deeply regret it." Reynolds said he made the video to coach players on handling media questions in diverse San Francisco – and never meant it for public consumption.

The video was shown to players last August during training camp in Santa Clara where it was part of a diversity workshop. "I certainly offended people and I never intended to offend anybody,'' Reynolds said. "Anybody who knows me, that's not a reflection of who I am. I did something for a certain audience that got out of hand. ... It was contradictory to my values and beliefs and contradictory to the team's values. I completely apologize to anybody who was offended."


Big Brass Alliance picks up steam...



Sorry it's been a slow day with the Blend posts; I've been working on the deluge of folks sending emails wanting to join the Big Brass Alliance, a group of bloggers that support After Downing Street efforts to urge that the U.S. Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war -- and to wake up the lazy media that refuses to give this attention.

The Big Brass Alliance crew has assembled well over 200 bloggers already to spread the word and have spruced up the offerings on the site's web page and added resources, including a mailing list and chat room for strategizing.

Anyone who's interested in joining the Alliance is welcome. We are posting the information shared on the Awaken the MSM: Downing Street Memo Alert Daily Kos action item diaries by smintheus as well.

Check out BBA: http://www.bigbrassblog.com/bba.html for more info and to see who's participating.

Email us to add you blog to the Alliance: mail@bigbrassblog.com


Rubbers scare the AFA, 'Bible Week' in AL, and Benny Hinn's in hot water

These unhinged people are really over the edge. Look at this nonsense coming from the American Family Association over a couple of condom ads.


Two television networks are breaking new ground tonight (June 1) and airing condom ads during prime time. A spokesman for the American Family Association says the networks are violating the public trust. NBC will be airing the Trojan condom ad during the show Law and Order after 10:00 Eastern time tonight. The WB television network will air the ad during the program Smallville after 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Both networks say the ads are about responsibility and safety, but Randy Sharp with AFA says it is really just subjecting children to adult themes. "Now that that line is going to be crossed, we can only expect that these ads are going to get more risqué, they're going to get more graphic, they're going to get into an area which is has nothing to do with safety or health issues." Sharp says it is no secret about the message either network wants to convey, especially when the ad runs during a popular teenage program like Smallville. He predicts the TV ads will eventually promote recreational use -- much like the company's current radio ads.

And here are a couple of additional wingnuttery specials, courtesy of AmTaliban propaganda organ, AgapePress:


* Alabama Governor Bob Riley will lead the National Bible Association's efforts this year to promote the reading and study of the Bible. Riley's office says the governor will declare November 20-27 "National Bible Week" in Alabama and will urge other governors to do the same in their states. In a statement, Riley says "God gave us the Bible as a constant source of moral and spiritual guidance." The Alabama governor adds that the Bible "should be celebrated and read every day, but especially during the week of Thanksgiving." The National Bible Association, formed in 1940, selects one governor and one mayor each year to serve as national chairs for Bible Week.


* And you know things are bad when the AmTaliban shoots down one of its own. This time they are going after the completely fraudulent "healing" evangelist, Benny Hinn, as if there aren't dozens of other so-called ministers doing the same damn thing.
A religious media watchdog group says evangelist Benny Hinn's World Healing Church should not qualify as a church. Earlier this year, Ole Anthony -- president of the Trinity Foundation -- submitted a three-inch-think report to the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to show that Hinn's ministry failes to meet the IRS's definition of a church. Hinn started a church in Orlando in 1983, then sold it in 1999. However, Benny Hinn Ministries (BHM) is still classified as a church. Anthony has a problem with that. "Claiming himself to be a church, he doesn't have any accountability," he asserts. "He has a revolving-door board of directors -- in comes somebody who disagrees with him, he changes the board; and so he's using that ministry [and] its well over a hundred million a year [that he is taking in] as his personal piggy bank." According to Anthony, Hinn lives in a $10 million parsonage, has charged to the ministry hotel rooms costing thousands of dollars a night, and provided thousands of dollars to family members for "shopping sprees." Anthony fears that Hinn's action are "going to bring down the real churches if he keeps up these kinds of excesses." The evangelist, he adds, has "absolutely no accountability -- he's just run amok." It is because of Hinn's refusal to be held accountable that MinistryWatch.com has issued a "Donor Alert" [PDF] encouraging donors to prayerfully consider withholding contributions to the ministry. BHM officials were given more than two weeks to comment on this story but did not return repeated requests for interviews.


'Disabled and blind' woman drove pickled BF home

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Guess this story is the bookend to the dumbest driver post on the Blend. Thankfully, this was in the UK.
A woman who is wheelchair-bound and "virtually blind" drove her boyfriend home after an evening drinking because he was so drunk, a court heard.

After crashing into two parked cars, Sheree Smith told police that she was not doing too badly until her legs seized up and her eyes "went blank". She told officers: "I am virtually blind. I used to have a provisional licence years ago but I did not take my test as I'm scared of the road.

"The person who drives the car was drunk. As I turned into my road, my eyes went blank and my leg seized up. I could not move the brake and the clutch. I could not see. I had my hands over my eyes."
(via Raw Story)


Fox News covers Downing Street Memo


Scotty McClellan: "there is "no need" to respond to the memos." WTF?

Faux News is actually talking about this topic (what is the world coming to?), with the headline "Downing Street Memo Mostly Ignored in US" -- too bad very few other media outlets are doing ANYTHING with this information, which is not disputed by the White House.:
A British government memo that critics say proves the Bush administration manipulated evidence about weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out a plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein has received little attention in the mainstream media, frustrating opponents of the Iraq war.

The "Downing Street Memo" — first published by The Sunday Times of London on May 1 — summarizes a high-level meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) and his senior national security team on July 23, 2002, months before the March 2003 coalition invasion of Iraq.

The memo suggests that British intelligence analysts were concerned that the Bush administration was marching to war on wobbly evidence that Saddam posed a serious threat to the world.
This is un-f*cking believable, isn't it? We're experiencing the same sort of do-nothing coverage that accompanied all the voting machine shenanigans/voting fraud allegations before and after the election. The MSM just rolls over and plays dead, leaving efforts like AfterDowningStreet.org and Big Brass Alliance to keep this story afloat.
Led by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the signatories are mostly representatives who opposed the war in Iraq and make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Conyers says the mainstream media have ignored the story and let President Bush off the hook. He noted that liberal blogs and alternative media have been keeping the story alive. "But these voices are too few and too diffuse to overcome the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and neglect of our major newspapers," Conyers said in a recent statement.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said there is "no need" to respond to the memos, the authenticity of which has not been denied.
Tip to Shakes Sis on her site and on Big Brass Blog for the pointer.


Dobson 'Ex-Gay' sham Love Won Out touts Anne Heche's mom


Dobson and his "former homosexual" Love Won Out host, Mike Haley.

The James Dobson 'ex-gay' roadshow known as Love Won Out will be in Seattle this month -- during Pride -- as an alternative for questioning queers looking for a way to "go straight." The special guest star of the event will be Anne Heche's mom, of all people.
Focus on the Family will bring its international Love Won Out conference to Seattle on June 25, amidst the gay-pride activities planned for that weekend throughout the city. Northshore Baptist Church will host the one-day event, designed to educate and equip attendees on the issues surrounding homosexuality and provide help for those struggling -- and those whose loved ones struggle -- with unwanted same-sex attractions.

"As the homosexual life is celebrated in 'gay-pride' events throughout Seattle, we will be there to offer a different message - one of hope and healing for those who don't share that sense of pride," said Mike Haley, Love Won Out host and a former homosexual. "Thousands of men and women know firsthand that there is a way out of unwanted homosexuality. I am living proof that change can happen."


Nancy Heche

In a brand-new addition to the Love Won Out lineup, the Seattle conference will feature Nancy Heche, offering insight to the parents and spouses of those involved in homosexuality. Heche is the mother of Anne Heche, the former lesbian partner of Ellen DeGeneres; she also lost her husband to a long battle with AIDS after he secretly lived a homosexual life during their marriage.
Thanks to House Blender Scott for the pointer.


Update on support for Ford in light of AFA boycott



Just got an email from House Blender Sarah, who has started an effort to collectively send support to Ford, given that the American Family Association is probably ringing the automaker off the hook right now, gay-bashing them. Here's the petition. From Sarah's email:
I have put the action items in a Kos diary here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/6/1/125553/5910

and on my blog, here.

...AFA already has something like 85K signatures. I am unsure if I can get enough signatures to counter this drive, but I would like to try. I have to think that there are more of us (those who support gay-friendly companies) than them!


AmTaliBaptists revive anti-public-school resolution


Texas pastor Grady Arnold's wants to save the children from the evil of the public school system, which of course is full of heathens and homos.

The bible-beating Southern Baptist Convention is calling for its members to pull their children out of public schools, warning about the 'toxic spiritual nature' of them. Read it and weep for joy. (WingNutDaily):
Similar to one that failed last year, this resolution also asks churches "to lovingly warn all of their members concerning the toxic spiritual nature of the government school system."

Grady Arnold, a pastor in Texas who also directs GetTheKidsOut.org, is submitting the measure along with David Scarbrough, minister of education at a Souther Baptist church in Tennessee.

"Southern Baptists have been playing the 'ostrich with its head in the sand' routine long enough," Arnold said. "The time is way overdue that we acknowledge the devastating effects public school is having on the faith of our children."

Arnold takes issue with Baptist leaders who argue that having their children in public schools is being "salt and light," a Christian influence and witness.

But Arnold points to the denomination's own data -- the SBC Council on Family Life Report of 2002 -- which says 88 percent of those Southern Baptist children after graduating from government high school are leaving the church.

The Arnold-Scarbrough Resolution: "(a) applauds Christians working in the government schools as missionaries, (b) calls on churches to warn their members of the devastating effects of sending their children to a totally secular institution for their education, (c) calls on churches to become aggressive and pro-active in starting Christian schools and in supporting homeschooling."


Rally to promote peace and unity in Durham will be on Sunday


One of the burning crosses, and a vigil held the next day.

The Durham Human Relations Commission announced the plans for a large rally in response to the cross burnings last week. See my earlier posts on this here and here. House Blender and Durhamite Robust McManlyPants also shares great insights here.

According to Yvonne Peña, the City’s director of Human Relations, more than 35 community organizations are supporting the upcoming rally and will be present to illustrate community solidarity. The rally will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Durham Armory located at 220 Foster St.

Again, I want to note that the local coverage has totally dropped the ball on seeking a possible connection to an anti-gay angle, despite one of the locations being at a church that is gay-affirming, and was picketed by the Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps losers only a couple of weeks prior to the cross-burnings. [I'm not speculating that the Phelps folks did anything; that's not how they operate, but that activity could definitely stir up some rednecks out to send a message to the bigots of all types out there.] All the talk has been exclusively about a racial angle. Just a sampling of the blind spot by Ginny Skalski of the Herald Sun. :
The event will feature several speakers who will encourage the entire community to gain understanding about issues facing people of different races, economic and educational backgrounds.

...Organizers will show the award winning documentary film "An Unlikely Friendship" at 7 p.m. at B.N. Duke Auditorium on NCCU's campus. The film tells the story of a Ku Klux Klan leader and outspoken black activist who form a strong and loving relationship in the wake of a community discussion on Durham school desegregation in 1970.

After the film, a panel discussion will be led by Ben Reese, vice president for Institutional Equity at Duke. There is a $1 suggested donation to cover security costs charged by NCCU, which will pay overtime to university police to work the event, said Stacy Shelp-Peck, who helped organize the event.

Among the panelists who have confirmed their attendance are: NCCU Chancellor James Ammons; Diane Bloom, director and filmmaker of "An Unlikely Friendship;" the Rev. Gene Hatley, 2005 NAACP community service award winner; the Rev. James Pike, pastor of Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill; and MaryAnn Black, associate vice president of Community Affairs for Duke University Health System.
I do know that Ben Reese, who is heading the panel discussion, is keenly aware of LGBT issues. I can only hope that he does mention sexual orientation as a factor in these types of hate crimes.


These women do not deserve to be mothers

I'm sorry...what kind of beasts are these women and men? I wish I were making this sh*t up. This is so sickening.

The first case involves a woman -- a social worker in Wilmington, DE who works with sexually abused and exploited children. She is accused taking money to keep quiet after she let her boyfriend rape her teenage daughter.
Her boyfriend, 38-year-old Albert Laing, has been charged with two counts of felony rape and second-degree unlawful sexual contact. He's also charged with endangering the welfare of a child and hindering prosecution.

The mother and Laing allegedly had a written contract to keep the relationship secret. In return, Laing is accused of paying money to the mother.
The next depraved case comes out of Long Island, NY. This f*cker said it was time for the girl to "have sex and get it over with, the sooner it happens the better" and gave her booze and put her in a motel with a man, who raped her.

Oh, and for bonus points, the daughter's 14-year-old friend was also raped while under the woman's care on an overnight shopping trip to White Plains.
An indictment handed up yesterday charged the 41-year-old Sayville mom, whose name was withheld to protect the victims, with accessory to rape and child endangerment.

Gilberto Gonzalez, 19, of Pleasantville, and Michael Berger, 18, of White Plains, whom the girls allegedly met in a mall elevator, were charged with rape, which is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars.


Depraved Jim West asked to resign by city council


Dammit, just resign already.

Heaven knows this homo-bigot, de-closeted, accused pedophile needs a shrink. Badly. And he has no business running Spokane. He doesn't even have the sense to step down and take a look at his life and what he has wrought -- on the taxpayers' dime. See JJ's Big Brass Blog post on West's Today Show appearance yesterday. (CNN):
The Spokane City Council unanimously asked Mayor James E. West to resign over allegations he misused his office and molested two children -- claims the mayor vowed to fight from his post.

The seven-member council's vote Tuesday evening was advisory. West can only be ousted by a citywide recall vote. "The city of Spokane is consumed by this issue, both inside and outside of City Hall," council president Dennis Hession said in explaining his vote.

Hours before the vote, West, 55, appeared on NBC's "Today" show in New York and denied any misuse of his office and the abuse allegations. He acknowledged he was a closeted homosexual, and called himself the victim of a "brutal outing."

"My mail and e-mails are running two to one in favor of me not resigning. You should not be run out for simple allegations because then you could run anybody out of office," he said.

At the City Council meeting, the panel listened to 90 minutes of sometimes emotional testimony from Spokane residents. Supporters of the mayor said he had not been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes.

..."He exhibited abuse of power and moral depravity," said Leslie Norman, another Spokane resident. "If he was an employee of any other company, he would be fired on the spot."

The Spokesman-Review has reported allegations that West molested two boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s 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, 55, has denied those allegations but acknowledged having relations with adult men.

The former GOP majority leader in the state Senate also said Tuesday he was not being hypocritical when he opposed gay-friendly bills.

"I voted to represent my legislative district in the Legislature. I was not an advocate," West said. "I was not a leader of the charge in any of those cases. Every representative and every senator from my district voted the way I voted."
OMG. He just doesn't get it. Does he really think that making a pass at a state senator's 18-year-old son ("I want to do to your son what no mother would want to know") or any of the laundry list of sleazy stories are all made up? Come on Jim, get some help before you get locked up.