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Fred hates Beaverton's Southridge High

Friday, September 30, 2005


As promised, The Rotting Cryptkeeper™'s minions brought their GodHatesFags wrath to my town of Beaverton, Oregon, today.
BEAVERTON -- Members of a Topeka, Kan., church say they plan to picket Southridge High School on Friday to draw attention to the controversial play "The Laramie Project."

Southridge Principal Amy Gordon this month canceled the play, which chronicles the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo.

But the Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, said Wednesday that he will protest any effort to reconsider staging the play at the school.

The church, known for threatening protests but not carrying them out, has launched a nationwide campaign against "The Laramie Project."

Phelps said he thinks pressure from gay rights activists will persuade Gordon to eventually stage the play, leading him to pre-emptively oppose the production.

"In our experience with schools for the past 15 years, they'll put pressure on her until she caves," said Phelps from his Topeka home. "I feel sorry for Amy Gordon, really, what she's going to go through."

Phelps said he expects a dozen protestors from his church to arrive at the school at about 2:15 p.m. Friday for a 45-minute protest.

Gordon stopped a fall production of the play, citing profanities and sexual content. The principal said she will create a committee of teachers, students and parents to review the play before making a final decision.

I haven't found news reports of the protest yet, but KGW promised a report on their 10PM newscast. A brief clip on the promo showed at least three of the neanderthals at the protest. Your intrepid blogger will post more details when available.

UPDATE: Not much more to report on the demonstration. It looks like Phelps' daughter was running the show, and there were about a dozen protesters standing in our first heavy rain of the year. The high school kids stood across the street and yelled back toward the demonstrators, some of those demonstrators being kids looking as young as ten.

KGW interviewed Phelps' daughter, and she gave her typical speech ("Matthew Shepard is in hell, and hell awaits for anyone who emulates him, yada yada yada.") It was nice to see them interview some of the high school kids, all of whom thought the demonstrators were sick, especially for instilling this kind of hatred into their children. Good for them.


Conservative Cat Fight


Janice Crouse is ready for some rightious bitch-slapping.

Meow in wingnutville, according to the Beverly Lahaye lackey. Is mud wrasslin' next on the program? Who said feminism was dead?
Two groups of women within the United Methodist Church faced off last week in Washington. Their objective? To air their differences.

The two women's groups -- the conservative RENEW Network, and the UMC's Women's Division -- debated their differences on social and theological issues in an open forum in the nation's capital. Dr. Janice Crouse of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, who was one of the participants from RENEW, says it was a "cat fight" which was needed.

"There are very distinct differences between the people who run the Women's Division of the United Methodist Church and the women who are actually doing the work in the local churches," Crouse explains. At the local level, she says, Methodist women are Bible-centered evangelicals. But such is not the case with the denomination's national leaders, she says, where there is promotion of campaigns she describes as both "anti-American" and "anti-biblical."

She adds that the actions of the Women's Division have been damaging to the denomination. "All across America women are leaving the [Methodist] Church because the Women's Division is just completely out of touch with the beliefs of the people at the local level," Crouse says.


What Drug Would Jesus Do?


Remember a few months ago when there was that courthouse shooting in Atlanta? Brian Nichols shot up the courtroom, killing four people, and then escaped to an apartment complex where he took young Ashley Smith hostage. Remember how Ashley coaxed the gunman to give himself up by reading to him from the popular Christian book, The Purpose-Driven Life? Remember how the wingnuts kept spouting off about how it was our lenient, gay-lovin' activist judges who brought this kind of violent behavior to bear because of their evil secularist decisions? Remember how the babbling Biblical literalists praised Ashley as proof of God's divine guidance and how the power of Jesus can overcome even the most heinous of violent criminals?

Well, turns out that even Jesus power can get a little bump from the power of crystal methamphetamine:
(ABC News) In her book, "Unlikely Angel," released Tuesday, the 27-year-old Smith says Nichols had her bound on her bed with masking tape and an extension cord. She says he asked for marijuana, but she did not have any, so she dug into her illegal stash of crystal meth instead.

Police said Nichols took Smith hostage in her apartment March 11 after a shooting rampage at the Atlanta courthouse.

During the ordeal, Smith says, she pulled out Rick Warren's book "The Purpose-Driven Life" and read to Nichols a chapter called "Using What God Gave Me" to gain his trust. Nichols later released her, and she called 911 and told authorities where to find him.
Apparently, God gave her the wherewithal to stash away a little bit of crank just in case she needed to calm the jones of a murderous potential rapist.

[Helmet tip to Jesus' General]


Friday AgapePress wingnuttery

Nothing like rounding out the week with a visit to the news briefs at wingnut propaganda web rag, AgapePress.


[Tiny] Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families says John Roberts' service as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court over the coming decades will be one of George W. Bush's "lasting legacies." At age 50, Roberts becomes the second youngest chief justice in American history -- and Bauer is hopeful the new chief justice will model his performance on the high court after that of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, for whom Roberts clerked. And Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has high hopes as well. Roberts, he says, has the "judicial philosophy, intellect, and dedication to be one of the great chief justices in our nation's history." The president is expected to announce within the next few days his nominee to replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. That, says Bauer, could likely determine Bush's legacy with respect to the courts and how he honored the trust of those who elected him to two terms as president. "That is a tremendous burden for the president," he says, "but it is also a tremendous opportunity." The opportunity before the president, Bauer adds, is to "end the hostility of the nation's highest court against America's traditional heartland values."

***


Sore winner: Arnold's too soft on the homos, according to Randy Thomasson.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in California, an issue he says should be decided by voters or the courts. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said AB 849 contradicted a proposition passed by California voters in 2000 that said only marriages between a man and woman are valid.

...In the past, however, the governor has put his signature to other bills that undermine marriage -- notably legislation affecting transfer of property ownership between "registered domestic partners," modifying the state's Teachers' Retirement Law so that the term "spouse" includes a person who is a registered domestic partner, and stating that sexual orientation and marital status are among the characteristics protected against discrimination by business establishments.



[CA wingnut media whore] Randy Thomasson of the Sacramento-based Campaign for Children and Families says it is "outrageous" that Schwarzenegger has signed those bills that have "push[ed] the transsexual and homosexual agenda" upon the state's citizens. Still, Thomasson applauds the governor's action on AB 849 and for "doing the right thing by vetoing 'gay marriage' licenses." The CCF spokesman maintains that the only way to protect marriage long-term in the Golden State is for the voters to qualify and pass the Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Initiative on the 2006 ballot.

***


Bob Knight has vivid dreams about the homo agenda and its effect on all these experimenting women. No, they won't sleep with you, Bob.

...A new survey on sexuality by the National Center for Health Statistics confirms that despite all the attention they get, homosexuals are still a very tiny segment of American society. The survey found that only 2.3 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women claim to be homosexual. That is not surprising to Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute. "This survey is right in line with others that show the incidence of homosexuality is around two percent or less," Knight points out. "This is far different from the 10 percent estimate we were told for several decades that came out of the old discredited Alfred Kinsey sex studies." Knight was alarmed by one aspect of the survey which said that 10 percent of women had experimented with bi-sexuality, something Knight credits to cultural pressures.


Ed Koch: Sheehan has spent her sympathy


Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, basking in the glow of self-loathing at the Republican National Convention.

As I said the last time he resurfaced spewing winger nonsense - enough from this old fag.
Many Americans, myself included, now see her as a person who has come to enjoy the celebratory status accorded to her by the radicals on the extreme left who see America as the outlaw of the world. These radicals are not content to be constructive critics. They are bent on destroying this country.


Love it...


From 2 Political Junkies. (Thanks, Jennifer)


Bennett's 'abort every black baby' comment not going over well

"...you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
Ya think? I posted yesterday about the above infamous statement made on his radio show. It looks like the media actually picked up this one. I thought it was going to die a quick death. From Media Matters, a list of who's not backing up Gamblin' Man now that the sh*t has hit the fan.
* McClellan quoted in AP: "The president believes the comments were not appropriate" 

* Freakonomics author responds to Bennett 

* Washington Post: Bennett Under Fire for Remark on Crime and Black Abortions 

* ABC News: William Bennett Defends Comment on Abortion and Crime 

* AP: Senator Demands Bennett Apology for Remark 

* Sen. Harry Reid calls on Bennett to "apologize for racial remarks" 

* Rep. Pelosi: Former Secretary Bennett Must Apologize for Appalling Remarks 

* DNC Chairman Dean "Calls on Republican Leadership to Repudiate Bill Bennett's Racist Remarks"

* Rep. John Conyers demands Salem Radio take action on Bennett 

* Sen. Barack Obama: Bennett's statement "crossed the line" 

* Rep. Bobby Rush responds to Bennett 

* National Urban League condemns Bennett's comments 

* Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Calls for Bennett's Radio Program to Be Pulled 

* NAACP: Bennett Should Apologize for Racial Remarks 

* PFAW: Toxic Rhetoric from Culture Warrior Bennett 

* Salon: Mehlman should ask Bennett to 'shut up' 

* Bennett cited Katrina aftermath, Swift's "A Modest Proposal" as inspiring his comments; ABC's Tapper noted that Bennett "did not seem particularly apologetic"


A read 'em at Julien's List

Bloggrrrl Julien takes on religion, particularly the strident variety being forced down our throats, and the research suggesting societies are worse off when they "have God on their side."
Our country is becoming a world laughing stock, with our archaic views of evolution, women's rights, same-sex rights, and sex education. Our country is overwhelmingly full of self-claimed "believers" in a "higher power". Bunk, I say - it is just an excuse not to take full responsibility for oneself.
Ms. J., what will the sheeple do if they cannot cling to this?


ABC hops in bed with Focus on the Family for 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'



I have to agree with Jeremy of Good As You when he says "this of course means that the 'extremely made over' home will no longer allow for back door entry."

You have to read a bit between the lines of the sanitized FOF press release to see what else the family gets along with a new home. I'm sure the house will be well-stocked with right-wing propaganda.
Focus on the Family is participating in this week’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition event in Peyton, Colorado. Both the show’s producers and sponsor Keller Homes invited Focus to contribute after learning the unique background of the episode’s beneficiary, a local family of eight.

Focus will provide a complete family library of video, audio, and print classics for this homeschooling family. The library includes literary classics, the Adventures in Odyssey radio series, audio dramas from the award-winning Radio Theatre series, marriage and parenting resources [As we all know, Dobson thinks gay marriage is a threat to the earth itself], subscriptions to the top Focus magazines, and a variety of other resources specifically tailored to the ages and interests of the family members.

On the FOF web site, we learn what the most impressive part of the program will be - glad handing with Daddy Dobson himself...
In addition to its participation in the October 2 episode, Focus hosted the Barrett family yesterday at its Colorado Springs campus for a special visit. The highlight of the day was a meeting with Focus founder and chairman Dr. James Dobson. The Peyton, Colorado family of eight also enjoyed a VIP tour of the Focus on the Family campus, lunch with the staff, a visit with Focus on the Family president and CEO Jim Daly, a trip to the broadcasting studios for a behind-the-scenes look at the popular Adventures in Odyssey children’s radio program, and interviews with the Brio and Breakaway teen magazine staffs.


MA priest yanked from pulpit for pro-gay marriage bulletin

Boy, it really is heating up there in Massachusetts. The church is getting desperate and punishing priests all over the place (see earlier Gay affirming priest replaced by Vatican stooge).
In a sign of the stakes facing Catholic Church leaders as they seek to prohibit same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the bishop of Worcester temporarily pulled a Westborough priest from the altar Sunday after the pastor printed an item in the parish bulletin calling a proposed ban on gay unions ''an attack" on homosexuals.

''The priests of this parish do not feel they can support this amendment," read the item in the bulletin of St. Luke the Evangelist Church, where the Rev. George O. Lange is the pastor and the Rev. Steven M. LaBaire is the parochial vicar. ''They do not see any value to it, and they see it as an attack upon certain people in our parish, namely those who are gay."

After the item appeared on Sept. 11, Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester took the altar at two Masses last weekend and delivered homilies exhorting St. Luke parishioners to support the amendment, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Lange would normally celebrate those Masses.

The bishop told the parishioners that the bulletin item was ''unacceptable," according to his spokesman, Raymond L. Delisle.


Terri Schiavo's parents to be honored for tireless efforts to 'save' her



Like a bad penny, these pathetic folks keep turning up. I wonder if remote video diagnostician Dr. Bill "stock sale" Frist is invited? Rev Tinkywinky is. These parents made themselves tools of the Right, trashed their son-in-law, who only wanted to see his wife die with dignity, and made a horrible public media spectacle out of a tragic situation. Tireless, alright.
Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo, will be honored by Southwide Baptist Fellowship in Chattanooga at its annual meeting on Monday, Oct. 3.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell will also be present for the Fellowship, officials said. He is due to be here Wednesday. The Southwide Baptist Fellowship will honor Bob and Mary Schindler "for their courageous stand defending the life of their daughter, Terri Schindler-Schiavo."

The Southwide Baptist Fellowship is celebrating its 50th anniversary at Highland Park Baptist Church. In a special service Monday evening, the Fellowship will highlight the value God places on all human life and honor the Schindlers for their tireless efforts to save their daughter, it was stated.


How's this for a bold statement?

I guess it's a foregone conclusion in the Bush White House, all part of the master plan: HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy.
A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.

Alphonso R. Jackson
, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again."

Rep. Danny K. Davis, Illinois Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, quickly took issue. "Anybody who can make that kind of projection with some degree of certainty or accuracy must have a crystal ball that I can't see or maybe they are more prophetic than any of us can imagine," he said.

Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration.
In the end, Jackson is right. Most of the NOLA poor black residents, now dispersed across the country, will plant roots elsewhere. The first people to resettle in the Big Easy will the the well-heeled residents that lived there before (many whose homes were on higher ground and didn't flood). They will be in there with the well-funded speculators, who will rebuild the city in a way that will squeeze out any chance of affordable housing existing. We all know it. There will be lots of discussion and proposals and lip service about it, but in the end, you'll see a shiny, new whiter New Orleans, with the "right kind" of black population sprinkled in (as in, not poor), you know, Mayor Nagin's crowd, the black bourgeiousie.


Judge orders Abu Ghraib photos, videos released

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out."
-- Journalist Sy Hersh, in a 2004 speech, on rapes of minors by U.S. soldiers caught on camera at Abu Ghraib
Bad timing for the Chimperor and his whimpering minions, eh? (AP):
A federal judge Thursday ordered the release of dozens more pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib, rejecting government arguments that the images would provoke terrorists and incite violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said that terrorists "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that suppressing the pictures would amount to submitting to blackmail.

"Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed," he said.

Hellerstein ordered the release of 74 pictures and three videotapes from the Abu Ghraib prison, potentially opening the military up to more embarrassment from a scandal that stirred outrage around the world last year when photos of 2003 abuse became public.
Sy Hersh's May 2004 New Yorker, article "Chain of Command" covered the surfacing of these images.
In his news conference last Tuesday, Rumsfeld, when asked whether he thought the photographs and stories from Abu Ghraib were a setback for American policy in Iraq, still seemed to be in denial. "Oh, I'm not one for instant history," he responded. By Friday, however, with some members of Congress and with editorials calling for his resignation, Rumsfeld testified at length before House and Senate committees and apologized for what he said was "fundamentally un-American" wrongdoing at Abu Ghraib. He also warned that more, and even uglier, disclosures were to come. Rumsfeld said that he had not actually looked at any of the Abu Ghraib photographs until some of them appeared in press accounts, and hadn't reviewed the Army's copies until the day before. When he did, they were "hard to believe," he said. "There are other photos that depict . . . acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." Later, he said, "It's going to get still more terrible, I'm afraid." Rumsfeld added, "I failed to recognize how important it was."

NBC News later quoted U.S. military officials as saying that the unreleased photographs showed American soldiers "severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi prisoner, and 'acting inappropriately with a dead body.' The officials said there also was a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys."


This one is definitely a 'Russ report'

I certainly want to know what Blend Contributor and Oregonian "Radical" Russ has to say on this one, because the AmTaliban will waste no time weighing in. I'm sure this judge is going to be blasted. Oregon Court Overturns Sex-Show Laws.
The Oregon Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Thursday a state law against live sex shows and a local ordinance that says nude dancers must stay at least 4 feet away from patrons. Both restrictions violate the Oregon Constitution's guarantee of free expression, the court said in a pair of 5-1 decisions.

Justice Michael Gillette, writing for the majority, said it "appears to us to be beyond reasonable dispute that the protection extends to the kinds of expression that a majority of citizens in many communities would dislike'' - including nude dancing.

One case involved a Roseburg club where undercover police paid women to perform sexual activities while the officers watched. The court threw out the club owner's conviction for promoting a live sex show but upheld his conviction for promoting prostitution.

In a dissent, Supreme Court Justice Paul De Muniz said he could not conclude that "masturbation and sexual intercourse in a `live public show''' is a form of speech that the drafters of the Oregon Constitution sought to protect.


Kirk Cameron on how to accost people for Jeebus

You know, if "Mike Seaver" came up to me on the street and got in my face babbling that I needed to be saved, I may have to open a can of Pam's Whoop-AssTM on him. It's one thing to have folks dropping literature off at your door to spread the word, but Kirk is broadcasting training on how to ambush people on the street to witness to them.
The co-host of a popular television show which teaches biblical methods of evangelism says believers can overcome fear when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Kirk Cameron is co-host of "The Way of the Master" with evangelist Ray Comfort. The weekly half-hour program features evangelism training and video clips of actual street witnessing. Cameron says believers must witness in word and in deed. He acknowledges that most people do not want to appear pushy or offensive when it comes to sharing the gospel; and as a result, he says, many remain silent, choosing instead to just "live the life."

Instead of relying on marketing methods to attract people, Cameron says the true gospel needs to be emphasized. And people respond to a proper use of God's law when witnessing, he says.
Taking graphics submissions on what a can of Pam's Whoop-AssTM might look like...


Nancy Goldstein: The Vatican's bold new witch hunt

Nancy's latest Raw Story column is a worthy read (and that's before I got to the cite of the Blend at the end - thanks, Nancy!). She covers the litany of recent Vatican transgressions and ballsy moves to cover its tracks.
Surely we can count on the Vatican to make restitution for the damage done to thousands of innocent children and their trusting parents through a combination of repentance, financial restitution, punishment where appropriate, and a thorough examination of what went wrong at the highest levels of the church.

Um… Would you settle for a witch-hunt against gay seminarians in the US instead?

I hope so, because that’s all you’re going to get. In a move uncannily reminiscent of a certain American leader who responded to Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist attack by invading an uninvolved but oil-rich country, the Vatican has decided to avoid addressing its real problem — pedophile priests and widespread corruption throughout its leadership — by taking a page from the Inquisition playbook.

Better targets,” as Rumsfeld would say.

Who cares that homosexuality is not what motivates men to have sex with 10-year-old boys any more than heterosexuality is what motivates men to rape women? So what if the vows of celibacy should, and for many years did, render moot the question of sexual identity in the church?



Webcast premiere tonight: Documentary on Gay Catholics


GAY USA is hosted by Andy Humm and Ann Northrup. Rev. John McNeill will be the subject of the documentary

Looks like this will be interesting. You can find out how to see the web cast via Manhattan Neighborhood Network, channel 34. (PageOneQ):
Gay USA is presenting the world TV premiere of Brendan Fay’s documentary, Uncommon Jesuit: A Conversation with Rev. John McNeill this evening at 11pm EST via webcast. The 31-minute film will run about twenty minutes into the show, following the news segment.

Rev. John McNeill, 80, is the out gay author of the seminal Church and the Homosexual. In 1976, he was removed from the Jesuits for speaking out against Catholic condemnation of gay love. The documentary covers his life from growing up in Buffalo to his experience as a prisoner of war in World War II to his priesthood and his 37-year relationship with Charles Chiarelli. He was one of the first major theologians to say that homosexuality could be practiced in consonance with Christianity. His appearances on the Today Show and Donahue drove the Vatican crazy, eventually leading to his official silencing by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in the late 1970s.



Jesus' General on David Dreier

Oh, my sides are splitting on this one. Head on over to read the open letter to the homo almost-Majority Leader -- "Roy Cohn's cold, dead woody." A snippet:


...voting to deny basic human rights to homosexuals isn't the same thing as personally denying them, and the lack of evidence for the latter in your record has always made me wonder if you were truly committed to the cause of heterosexual supremacy. Fortunately, any reservations I had about you ended yesterday when you rejected your own request to be promoted to the position of Majority Leader on the basis of your sexual orientation. Anyone can discriminate against others, but it takes a special kind of man to discriminate against himself. I salute you for that.

I imagine it wasn't an easy thing for you to do. You probably went straight to a bar afterward and drank yourself into a stupor. Hopefully, you also beat the shit out of yourself when you noticed that you were leaving a homosexual bar. After all, you may have voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but have you ever committed a hate crime?


The Governator vetoes CA marriage bill

"By vetoing the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act, Governor Schwarzenegger has come down on the wrong side of history. Governor Schwarzenegger had the chance to enter the pages of history with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson; instead he has chosen to be listed alongside George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. Just as Wallace, Thurmond and many other segregationists came to regret their errors, I hope that Governor Schwarzenegger will come to change his views."
-- California State Treasurer Phil Angelides on Arnold's veto
Terminated.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger followed through Thursday on his threat and vetoed California's same-sex marriage bill.

Schwarzenegger who had been sitting on the legislation since Friday used the confirmation of John Roberts in Washington to draw attention away from the veto.

In a brief statement announcing that he had stroked out the bill the governor said he is supportive of same-sex couples and noted that California has the strongest domestic partner law in the country.

The statement said that if he had signed the bill it would have simply added "confusion to a constitutional issue." Schwarzenegger went on to say, "If the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional this bill is not necessary. If the ban is constitutional this bill is ineffective."


A must-read dual series on black homo-bigot pastors

House Blender Jennifer of Intous pointed me to the slamming parallel blogging this week by Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick to out homophobic black ministers in a five-part series. Keith launched the series on Monday with:
We're tired of the hypocrisy and divisive "Christian" rhetoric that too many black pastors are spreading, and we're tired of these same ministers selling out their pulpits to the highest bidder.

From New York to Los Angeles, black LGBT people have been the backbone of the black church. Through this network, we've discovered that many homophobic black pastors lead secret lives outside the church. We're not naming any names, yet, but if you know something to help us confirm the information from our sources, we'd like to know.
They have put so much into the series that you must go to their blogs to read the whole thing. I'm just putting a tasty sampling of you'll find there.

So far this week, Jasmyne has taken on some of the most homophobic pastors imaginable, and we all know that many are on the faith-based take. Here's who she's served up on the platter...


* Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Baptist Missionary in Atlanta, Georgia. Memorable quote: "Woman is the soul of man. She is his flesh consciousness. In essence, God made Eve to help Adam replenish the earth. Woman has the canal…everything else is an exit. God had to separate Adam and Eve where they connected so he could tell them to reconnect in covenant to duplicate Him. In Christ, God puts his seed in us. Any other way is a spiritual abortion. Cloning, Homosexuality and Lesbianism are spiritual abortions. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the fallen man."


* Bishop Noel Jones of Los Angeles (brother of Grace Jones). Fun fact from Jasmyne: Last November, Bishop Noel Jones traveled to Jamaica to tell the Jamaican people not to bow to pressure from American gay rights activists to change their anti-gay laws. Divorced for about 10 years, Bishop Jones is living out his Christianity as a single man. Something to think about -- Jones is known to socialize with self-proclaimed ex-gay Donnie McClurkin (R).


* Bishop Paul Morton of the Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans. Memorable quote: "You don't try to put 2 plugs or 2 sockets together. I want some folk to get deliverance. You ain't got no socket rubbing up against another socket talkin' 'bout 'come on light my fire!' It ain't gon light! We need to break the curse 'cause even some of these older women are attacking some of these younger women and placing them in this lifestyle. That's why you can't even walk right when you doin' that stuff. You hurtin' 'cause it ain't natural."


* Creflo Dollar of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia. Memorable quote: "When you begin to legislate policies and you take it past its designed intent and boundaries, you're going to end up in perversion." Fun fact from Jasmyne: Rev. Dollar preaches a ministry of prosperity, and he was one of a a handful of black ministers who joined with controversial conservative Lou Sheldon to declare their support for President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative.

Keith's got high-profile homo-haters up this week at his pad as well. Here's a sampling of the bigots in the pulpit on his site.


* T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House & T.D. Jakes Ministries. He's Bush's best bud, showing up to provide some color (or is that cover) when he met with Katrina survivors. He supported FMA. Memorable quote: "To date, I have not seen scriptural authority that allows me to stand on behalf of God and say I now pronounce you husband and husband, and wife and wife. This is an issue the government is undecided about. The Bible is not." Fun fact from Keith: Jakes has also adopted another part of the presidential philosophy: his lifestyle. Jakes and his congregation refer to his wife Serita as "the first lady," and they live in a $1.7 million mansion on Dallas's scenic White Rock Lake next to a building once owned by oil magnate H.L. Hunt.


* Willie Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church in D.C.: Blenders know this man all too well for his homo-baiting from the pulpit. It's hard to pick just one quote, so here's two. Memorable quotes: "When you get down to this thing, women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain’t real. That thing ain’t got no feeling in it. It ain’t natural."

"Any time somebody got to slap some grease on your behind, and stick something in you, it’s something wrong with that. Your butt ain’t made for that. You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding."

* Gregory Daniels of Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Fun fact from Keith and memorable quote: A self-identified Republican and supporter of President George W. Bush, Daniels made headlines in February 2004 when he told the New York Times, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them." Yes, that's a black minister who said that.


* Bishop Charles Blake West Angeles Church of God In Christ, and second in command of the national body of Church of God In Christ (C.O.G.I.C.). Memorable quote: "the homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body."

UPDATE: Here is Friday's excerpt from Keith and Jasmyne as they ask the question -- Is Donnie McClurkin Still Gay?




* Donnie McClurkin, 46-year-old unmarried gospel singer and preacher at Perfecting Faith Church in New York. Fun facts: A Bush supporter, McClurkin performed for the President at the Republican National Convention last year. "There is a moral aspect that was overwhelmingly a part of Bush's appeal," said McClurkin, who also appeared in Michigan with Bush during the campaign.

Shortly after, he's quoted on the Christian Broadcasting Network's (Pat Robertson’s organization) Web site saying: "I'm not in the mood to play with those who are trying to kill our children."

So now gays are trying to kill children. That’s completely absurd and there’s no proof to validate that statement.

I think the following portion by Keith and Jasmyne really sums up this list of hypocrite losers in the pulpit.
Listen to what Donnie McClurkin himself says about his sexuality. "There was a big 20-year gap of sexual ambiguity where after the rape my desires were toward men, and I had to fight those things because I knew that it wasn't what we were taught in church was right. And the older I got, the more that became a problem, because those were the first two sexual relationships that I had. Eight years old and 13 years old. So that's what I was molded into. And I fought that. When I tell you from eight to 28, that was my fight -- in the church. And you were in an environment where there were hidden, you know, vultures I call them, that are hidden behind frocks and behind collars and behind -- you know, reverends and the deacons, and it becomes a preying ground, a place where the prey is hunted, and that was what it was like."

McClurkin basically describes a world in which homosexuality is common in the church community. Something we have been trying to tell you from day one in our campaign. The Black church is the most homophobic and homotolerant.


Key: black pastor


Another casualty of the Bush economy



One of my bloggrrrls is getting an unwelcome visit from the beast known as the Bush economy. Melissa of the Koufax-nominated Shakespeare's Sister was laid off from her job today.
Last night, Mr. Shakes and I got a notice that our property tax had been increased 100% on our matchbox of a house, and effectively immediately, our monthly payments would be increased by 20%. Then this morning, I got laid off. Wish we didn’t have to, feel terrible, no money and all that.

So, I’m pretty desperate at the moment, and although I hate to do this, I’m asking for donations. If you like Shakespeare’s Sister and if you can afford to, I’d appreciate it if you could help out, because now this is the only job I’ve got.
She has links to Amazon Pay and Paypal on her site in the left sidebar if you're a fan and want to show some love for the incredible blogging that she has done and will continue to do.


'Lapdog' Blair's goons throw 82-year-old party member out of conference

"It was a dreadful overreaction by the stewards, who were understandably concerned about security."
-- Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt

"The stewards behaved completely inappropriately."
-- Liam Byrne, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Services

"The treatment was ... tactless and unnecessary."
-- Linda Riordan, MP for Halifax

"The Labour Party reserves the right to remove people who cause a persistent disturbance."
--Labour party spokesperson

"It's heavy handed for people to be ejected"
-- John Austin, MP
Guess Bush's puppy decided to sic his borwn shirt bouncers on a fellow Labour Party member that dare speak out against Blair's war policy. The elderly man only got up and said the word "nonsense" to get his poor ass hauled out. (Independent):
The Labour Party was forced to make a humiliating apology to an 82-year-old party member last night after he was thrown out of the conference for heckling Jack Straw.

Walter Wolfgang, a party member for 57 years, was bundled out of the conference hall by stewards after shouting "nonsense" as Mr Straw, the Foreign Secretary, defended Britain's role in Iraq. He was later stopped under anti-terrorist powers as he tried to re-enter the hall.

The heavy-handed treatment of Mr Wolfgang revived criticism of the " control freakery" associated with New Labour and even drew comparisons with the way the Communist leaders in Russia and China stifled dissent.

Mr Wolfgang fled Nazi Germany as a teenager for the freedom of Britain. He said: "I shouted out 'nonsense'. That's all I said. Then these two toughies came round and wanted to manhandle me out. 'I said: 'Do you want me to leave? I will leave, you don't need to manhandle me.' "Physically, I am not too well, so I said I would follow them."

Talk about control freaks; lapdog Tony has picked up some tricks (did Bush have to feed him some tasty biscuits as he was training him) about crowd control and protecting deluded government stooges and himself from hearing any dissent or negative news.
In what Tony Blair's anti-war critics have called the "don't mention the war" conference, the party avoided a separate debate and vote on Iraq and the Prime Minister made only a short reference to the issue in his keynote speech. Mr Blair also blocked a motion for the conference to pay tribute to Robin Cook, the cabinet minister who resigned over the war and died in August.

Steve Forrest, the chairman of the Erith and Thamesmead Labour Party, was also ejected for protesting at Mr Wolfgang's treatment. Angry delegates demonstrated at the removal of the two men as Mr Straw made an unapologetic defence of British policy in Iraq.

... Mr Forrest said: "I literally said 'hear, hear' twice. Later, this gentleman shouted 'nonsense'. It was just the voicing of an opinion and they grabbed hold of him. I said: 'You leave him alone, he is an old man' and five stewards pulled me out of the centre. They've taken my pass away and they won't let me back into the conference centre."


Wyoming pharmacists may be allowed to refuse to dispense AIDS meds

First birth control pills, now this. If you have a religious or moral problems dispensing legal, life-saving medications, don't be a f*cking pharmacist. How hard is that? (365gay.com):
The Wyoming Board of Pharmacy is considering the rule change amid pressure by conservative groups opposed to the sale of contraceptives and birth control pills. But, the regulation could be used to deny service in many other areas critics charge.

"It is so broad, that any pharmacist with any personal belief that is contrary to any particular drug is allowed to refuse to fill a legal prescription," Pamela Reamer Williams, director of the Casper-based Wyoming AIDS Project told the Star-Tribune. "Health care professionals are supposed to help. They're not supposed to judge."

Currently, pharmacists are allowed to refuse to dispense a drug if they think a prescription may harm a patient or if the patient is being overmedicated. But Wyoming law is silent on moral conflicts. Reamer Williams said that the rule change could allow druggists to turn away people they thought were gay.

"It's no secret to any of us that there are people in this state who have religious and moral objections to homosexuality, and it's not just homosexuals in this state or anywhere else that are living with AIDS," Reamer Williams told the paper.


What he said...about DeLay and Dems

Oliver Willis says exactly what I was thinking about this DeLay meltdown -- the Dems are media-AWOL on what should be a slam-dunk marathon of discussion on the MSM tying the GOP and the Chimp admin to corruption.
I think it’s because the Democrats simply do not understand the media, and have been completely clueless about how to play the press since President Clinton left office. Democrats simply believe that we still exist in an environment where someone can simply be left out in the press, to be savaged by the actual facts. Wrong.

That is simply not how the media works today, and I don’t know how many times I have to say it. The way the media works today is that the press simply sits there in the middle, dumb and oblivious and pliable. For Democrats to be effective, they must have a presence in the media beyond a press release.
O-Dub's theory, which plays itself out time and again (think the Kerry non-rapid response campaign), is that Democrat don't want to be viewed as partisan. He's right. They are full of BS, afraid of their own shadows. Such ball-less dweebs. The Right was all over Clinton over a blow job, and Dems can't make hay out of this? Look at what was handed to them on a silver platter -- and it has nothing to do with being partisan, as Oliver points out:
* District Attorney Ronny Earle has prosecuted more Democrats than Republicans
* Earle has been re-elected numerous times by the people of Texas
* DeLay was indicted by a grand jury in the state of Texas, made up of regular American citizens

Any Dem with a pulse should be able to capitalize on this. If you toss in the FEMA fiasco, the Cat Killer's insider trading, and the billions getting flushed down the toilet with no-bid contracts to the Chimp's friends and "base" in both the War on Terror and the post-hurricane Gulf Restoration Project, it's simple. The GOP is rife with corruption -- that can be explained and understood by the average American. Dems, wake the heck up.


Turkish women rip Karen Hughes a new one on her 'listening tour'

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Chimpy's Undersecretary of State Karen "Mommy" Hughes was scorched by a group of Turkish women when they blasted her boss and his Iraq policy, which has not done a hell of a lot for women.
"This war is really, really bringing your positive efforts to the level of zero," said Hidayet Sefkatli Tuksal, an activist with the Capital City Women's Forum. She said it was difficult to talk about cooperation between women in the United States and Turkey as long as Iraq was under occupation.

Hughes, a longtime confidant of President Bush tasked with burnishing the U.S. image overseas, has generally met with polite audiences -- many of whom received U.S. funding or consisted of former exchange students -- during a tour of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey this week.

In this case the U.S. Embassy asked Kader, an umbrella group that supports woman candidates, to assemble the guest list. None of the activists currently receive U.S. funds and the guests apparently had little desire to mince words. Six of the eight women who spoke at the session, held in Ankara, the capital, focused on the Iraq war.

"War makes the rights of women completely erased and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price," said Fatma Nevin Vargun, a Kurdish women's rights activist. Vargun denounced the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, the activist mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, in front of the White House Monday at an antiwar protest.

Hughes, looking increasingly pained, defended the decision to invade Iraq as a difficult and wrenching moment for President Bush, but necessary to protect America.


The Dark Wraith on Man-Breasts

While Blenders were chatting up about Jeffy Lube's newly sprouted breasticles, The Dark Wraith was doing some serious blogging about a British report on the rise in man breasts over at Big Brass Blog.

This is not the same as the better-known he-stuff sported by heavy-set and sedentary men who have excessive upper torso body fat deposits resulting from obesity or near-obesity. Men afflicted by gynaecomastia literally develop the glandular tissue characteristic of females. Corrective surgery involves sucking out the fat that has developed (a procedure popularly known as "liposuction"), as well as cutting out the female glands that have pathologically taken root. In essence, the procedure is a highly restrictive form of cosmetic mastectomy, although prophylactic considerations, as noted below, may be included in the decision to carry out the breast-reduction surgery.
Someone should email this critical information to the Bulldog pronto.


'Most Corrupt' Blunt gets AmTaliban seal of approval


You can find out why CREW put Blunt on their top 13 corrupt list here.

Roy Blunt, Tom DeLay's bootlicker from Missouri, who got tapped by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to purportedly keep the House Majority Leader seat warm for Tom DeLay, gets a big thumbs up from the Family Research Council. Golden boy Tony Perkins:


"I am confident that House Whip Roy Blunt will continue Tom DeLay's efforts to move forward with pro-family public policies which drove turnout among values voters in the last election. Congressman Blunt has been a recipient of Family Research Council's 'True Blue Award' which is given to members of Congress who have consistently voted pro-life and pro-family.

"Family Research Council looks forward to working with Congressman Blunt in the coming days as Congress considers tax relief for charitable giving, an amendment protecting marriage, a fetal pain bill and a ban on human cloning."
Meanwhile, do you think Tony cares that Roy turned up on this list -- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's Beyond DeLay: The 13 Most Corrupt Members of Congress. See some familiar names on this list?
For the first time, CREW has compiled and analyzed all these members’ transgressions in tandem with the federal laws and congressional rules they may have violated.

CREW has also launched a new website, www.beyonddelay.org, which details the tainted thirteen’s violations and encourages visitors, through the website, to contact their member of Congress to ask for an investigation of these members.

The 13 members are:

-- Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
-- Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-CA)
-- Rep. Tom Feeney(R-FL)
-- Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
-- Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
-- Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
-- Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
-- Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
-- Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
-- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
-- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
-- Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
-- Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Someone should remind Dave Dreier that his being a big self-loathing homo was perceived as a bigger liability to Denny Hastert and his bigot colleagues than Roy Blunt being one of the 13 most corrupt legislators. Nice bunch of folks you're hanging out with, huh Davey?


Still blaming the homos for Katrina

Man, I thought this tired sh*t was through by now. Today we have an unhinged pastor blaming gays at an invocation before the first NOLA city council meeting since the hurricane. As if there aren't more important things to be discussed than queer energy and general debauchery stirring up natural disasters. (365gay.com):
New Orleans City Council has met for the first time since hurricane Katrina and the priest who delivered the invocation at the start of the meeting said the disaster may have been brought on by gays "and other sinners".



The Rev. Robert Guste of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Kenner said that Southern Decadence, the annual gay festival that was to have been held the week the storm hit, and the city's large number of gay bars could have been a contributing factor. [And the reason Rita hit TX is...?]

He also blamed the "debauchery" of Mardi Gras, gambling and pornography. "Does this not invite divine judgment,'' the 78 year old priest told councilors. Noting that some people call New Orleans "Sin City,'' Guste said the storm was a warning that "God was knocking on our door and telling us to get our house ready.''

...It is not the first time that Guste and his church have been in the spotlight. In 1997 Guste and parishioners at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church claimed that a portrait of the Virgin Mary that hangs beside the altar was weeping. People came from all over the US to see the purported miracle but the Vatican distanced itself from the event.
***

Blender Kathy of Birmingham Blues noted that another dumb*ss is bleating much the same thing in Alabama.


Sen. Hank Erwin (R-Montevallo) has opened his mouth in public again, and once again it was a mistake. He says God sent Hurricane Katrina and other storms that have caused devastation on the Gulf Coast as punishment for sin. According to Hank, “New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness.” Notice that he doesn’t mention Alabama in his statement. So I guess that means that we don’t sin here. And of course he doesn’t mention Texas; there couldn’t possibly be any sin in W’s home state.

...Erwin is a one-note fanatic who spends his time in the Senate trying to protect us from the evil homos who, at least according to Hank (and other nuts like book-banning Rep. Gerald Allen), are trying to take over the world. What are the chances he’ll also be a one-term wonder in the Alabama Senate? Not great, I’m afraid. People like Hank can always appeal to the smug wing of the Christian faith, those who sit safely in their houses, secure in the knowledge that they have a direct line to God and the rest of us will be roasting soon.


Anita rises from the...oh wait, she's not dead



Mike Tidmus, again...
Sometimes I miss the good old bad old days of going up against a marginally imaginative, at least unscripted, adversary like Anita Bryant. Poor Anita. The former beauty queen and orange juice spokesperson thumped her Bible and we tossed pies at her. Those were the gayest days, my friends.

Now we’re up against huge, well-funded, nationwide, carefully-branded and coached and legally-advised hate groups like the Concerned Women for America.

...CWA has discovered that pimping is their real bread and butter. That is to say, they make a nice living off the sex lives of other people … gay people to be specific. The more they can inflame the gay panic of the non-millionairess and slightly-less-bored (but potentially desperate) housewife set, the more money they make.


Bill Bennett's guide to crime reduction

"...you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
I sh*t you not. This occurred on the September 28 broadcast of high-stakes gambler and moralist Bill Bennett's Morning in America. (Media Matters):
Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

Bennett's remark was apparently inspired by the claim that legalized abortion has reduced crime rates, which was posited in the book Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But Levitt and Dubner argued that aborted fetuses would have been more likely to grow up poor and in single-parent or teenage-parent households and therefore more likely to commit crimes; they did not put forth Bennett's race-based argument.
The audio clip is here. Perhaps that is Bill's solution for dealing with those pesky homos that keep growing up and wanting to destroy marriage..

Hat tip, Atrios.


Open thread - and gay day as DeLay steps down


DeLay with Roy Blunt (MO), who's taking DeLay's place as majority leader instead of homo Dreier (r), who had his invitation to lead withdrawn just a bit ago...

[UPDATE: Freeper commentary added...]

[UPDATE 2: CNN reports that Dreier is now relegated to "helper bee" shuffling the Repug legislation on the House floor; Congressman Roy Blunt is in. Sounds like Davey just got a taste of anti-gay discrimination - up close and personal...]

Contribute your thoughts on Tom ("The indictment is a sham") DeLay and the fun news below. Who knew there would be a homo spin to this story?

It was thought that Denny Hastert would recommend big old outed self-loathing homo Rep. David Dreier of California temporarily replace DeLay as Majority Leader, but alas, he was passed over for some reason. Maybe it had to do with some of this information about the California representative...

According to Raw Story, Dreier has repeatedly voted against gay rights measures, and at least three MediaNews Group newspapers are said to have instructed its reporters not to ask questions about the congressman's sexuality or how it relates to public policy.

This bigot voted for the original DOMA in 1996 and a measure that banned gays from adopting in D.C. It's no surprise then that Dreier has a 92 percent favorability rating from the Christian Coalition.

Mike over at blogACTIVE reminds us that:
David Dreier was a recipient of a blogACTIVE Roy Cohn Award for being a gay man who worked against gay people. Now, in his newly visible role, provided the House elects him, David Dreier will be in a position to finally put the Federal Marriage Amendment, which he opposed, to bed.

No reaction from radical right groups yet on Hastert's pick -- we're assuming that he didn't check in with the Family Research Council's ok on this.

Here's a look at the original Roy Cohn Award given to Rep. Dreier by blogACTIVE last year.
This last bit from Mike kills me:
If Delay is "The Hammer," perhaps David could be called "The Pounder." Hmmm, on second thought, maybe "The Poundee," is a better call here -- not that there's ANYTHING wrong with that.
To continue to add to the pile-on, John at AmericaBlog flashes back to the 2004 GOP Convention when Dreier refused to answer a direct question from Mike Signorile about whether Dreier was heterosexual. Ha ha ha ha. John:
I wonder how the religious right is feeling just about now? They can kiss their anti-gay constitutional amendment goodbye, and much more. If the religious right doesn't think we can pressure Dreier to stop their anti-gay crap, then they really haven't been reading up on their gay agenda. :-)
You asked for Freeper response to Delay/Dreier, well here you go...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Sad day. I hope he's cleared, but don't know the facts."

"....aren't they jumping the guy a little bit on DeLay who's already said there is nothing to these allegations....."

The Smoking Gun

"Well I've always said, "if" is the biggest word in the dictionary. We'll just have to wait and see..."

"Yep. It was political but it doesn't matter. DeLay's out of action."

""Oh goody, another "honest" politician leading us. These people never learn. /sarcasm still on." Don't you know a Republican politician can't be a crook? ;) We'll see how it goes but personally I see this as poetic justice for Delay's recent statement that all the fat has been cut from the budget, etc. One of the most politically stupid and insulting statements I've seen in a while. On the other hand, maybe this shows he's got an insanity defense..."

"IMHO it's pure vendetta because Tom DeLay has been so effective! A blind man could have seen this coming. A totally political attack by a crooked RAT, and the MSM will love it. DeLay will be totally cleared, but the MSM will barely mention that part."

"So the bastards can take down any legitimate congressional leader just by hitting them with bs charges? Sounds like a load of horse**** to me.

"As much as this seems to smell, it may be a good thing in the long run. Hopefully the MSM will run with it for a long time and along with Katrina it will keep the spotlight off the next supreme court nomination - which is REALLY where the liberal power lies. I would love the irony of a frivilous lawsuit helping to create a conservative court."

"Another DNC funded witch hunt."

"To be brutally honest with you, I don't give a rat's rear hind quarters what party you are in or for, but if you break the law, and jail is warranted, then you go to jail. No one is ABOVE THE LAW. No matter HOW IMPORTANT they may think they are, or how big their britches are, guilty, go to jail! That simple. And I don't care what party they are in."

"As a former Texan (please Texans help me out here), I know that Ronnie Earle, the dim DA in liberal Travis County - been there for 18-20 years I believe - has traditionally used his office to file spurious charges against pub pols - mostly they end up amounting to nothing. Just fishing, trying to make trouble etc. As the DA of the county that contains the state capital, Earle has way too much power and he abuses it."

"In this case, we probably shouldn't take any chances, so let's just string him up and then we'll wait and see if he really did it...."

"And the same old Freepers will run for the hills! LOL, they complain and lecture the GOP?"

"...let the chips fall where they may and we'll learn the truth. I suspect this is going to be a Raymond "Can You Tell Me Where to Pick Up My Reputation" Donovan witch hunt by a RAT prosecutor...I've always wondered how RATs escape the political process?"

"Appears the TX Chicken RATS been waiting for this since 2001 when they ran for cover because they didn't want a quorum in the state legislature to plan redistricting, and they blamed their problems on DeLay then."

"Payback is painful. DeLay almost singlehandedly locked in the Republican majority in Congess by his redistricting effort in Texas. This is sour grapes for the Dems. More chicken-sh*tted stuff rather competing on the issues. DeLay is a strongwilled, go for the jugular Republican not a weak-kneed appologetic Republican. That makes him a target. Drier is a better face for the Republicans anyway. He'll win more votes."

"Why don't you wait until the trial before you throw him to the wolves. It's incredibly easy to get a Grand Jury indictment. Look at Earle's success (none) in these partisan witch hunts and then tell me you believe DeLay will be convicted. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts he'll be acquitted. Meantime the MSM will have a field day with this."

"I'm more confident since he stepped down. e doesn't appear to be hiding, and he isn't putting himself before the par"

"Oh yes, David Drier is a great conservative... Sheesh, do I need to say ((sarcasm))??"

"r face for the Republicans anyway. He'll win more votes."

"Think so? Wait until the Dims really start throwing out the rumors about Dreier being gay, and everyone here and in the MSM who is braying in triumph over DeLay's indictment starts hounding Dreier and calling him a "queer"."

"Democrats and liberals love gay men. Just ask Barnie Frank."

"Republicans can be so stupid. Why make Drier the leader? Why not some anoymonous likeable tax cutting Republican Congressman without a spot on his record? Its like we continually want bad publicity."

"Check out laweekly.com and rawstory.com for the answer. They both say David and his COS partner have been bad little boys."

"Apart from the fact that he's rumored to be gay and has lived with his Chief of Staff for a number of years..."

"Have you lived under a rock for the past ten years? Dreier has had PLENTY of face time on talking head shows and was the Chair of GOPAC for quite a while. From what I understand, he is the typicaly California Republican . . . pretty conservative fiscally, more of a moderate on social issues."

"DREIER? Oh God, there goes any last vestige of backbone the House GOP might have had. Expect amnesty for illegal aliens and worse out of this buffoon."

"Is seom part of the gay lingo?"

"Seeing how the only people who seem to hate Dreier are the Buchanan/Tancredo crowd, he must be a good choice."

"Care to elaborate on that accusation? You , like many others at FR who supposedly support FRee speech, use hate like dysentery victims use toilet paper."

"David "Send Us More Illegal Aliens" Dreier. Great choice.


The AmTaliban spin on Love Won Out's Birmingham conference

I posted earlier on the Blend about the 'Love Embraces All' conference in Birmingham that countered the "ex-gay" sham put on by Dobson's Love Won Out recently. Here's coverage from AgapePress of the LWO event, "Love Won Out Tackles Homosexual Issues With Information, Compassion, Biblical Truth." It's side-splitting, featuring some of our familiar former homos.
Earlier this month, Focus on the Family brought its international Love Won Out conference to Birmingham, Alabama, for a one-day gathering designed to educate and equip participants to wrestle with key issues surrounding homosexuality and to offer hope for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions. Speakers included experts on homosexual issues straight from the front lines of the culture wars as well as former gays and lesbians whose personal testimonies affirmed the possibility of freedom in Christ.


Professional heterosexual Melissa Fryrear.

One of the featured speakers at the Birmingham LWO Conference was former lesbian Melissa Fryrear, a gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family. She says even though homosexuality and same-sex marriage are becoming increasingly politicized in contemporary culture, the conference focuses on love and hope in Christ. “We are here to offer a perspective that is rarely heard anywhere else,” she says. “There is a way out of unwanted homosexuality.”

Fryrear presented two separate breakout sessions, entitled “Someone I Love is Gay” and “Questions & Answers on Lesbianism.” In them, she balanced factual information, scriptural truth, and personally vulnerable sharing of her own path out of homosexuality, along the way providing penetrating insights into homosexuality from a female perspective. [OMG.]

I never met a person who aspired to be homosexually challenged,” the gender issues expert noted at one point. “Sexual trauma is a huge piece of the puzzle. Having talked with hundreds of homosexuals, I have never met one that had not been sexually violated in his or her life.”


Dr Joseph Nicolosi claims to have helped over 200 gay men to change, over time, to a heterosexual orientation. Hey, what about lesbians, Joe?

Other speakers helped supply further pieces of the puzzle. [Fraud scientist] Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president and principal researcher for the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) presented a talk on “The Condition of Male Homosexuality” and another on “Prevention of Male Homosexuality.” And Exodus International's Randy Thomas presented “Hope for Those Who Struggle” and a two-part session called “Reaching the Homosexual.”


Anne on mom Nancy Heche (above): "The "Ex-gay" events that are going on right now make me sick. The fact that my mother is using my name to promote this movement makes me even sicker."

Also, guest speaker Nancy Heche shared the lessons of faith and forgiveness she learned during her celebrity daughter's high profile lesbian relationship, and even before that, when she lost her husband to AIDS after discovering he had secretly lived a homosexual lifestyle during their marriage. Later, Heche also presented a session called “Three Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say.”


Tom DeLay indicted


He's not smiling now.

Criminal and thieves at the Federal level.

Slimeball gets greased - DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe.
A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, an indictment that could force him to step down as House majority leader.
Actually, he has to step down as majority leader because the GOP rules say he has to. You'll recall that Congressional Republicans earlier tried to drop that little requirement, but that heat that drew was so bad that it didn't fly.
DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee.

...DeLay has denied committing any crime and accused the Democratic district attorney leading the investigation, Ronnie Earle, of pursuing the case for political motives.

Democrats have kept up a crescendo of criticism of DeLay's ethics, citing three times last year that the House ethics committee admonished DeLay for his conduct.

Earlier, DeLay attorney Bill White told reporters, "It's a skunky indictment if they have one."

As a sign of loyalty to DeLay after the grand jury returned indictments against three of his associates, House Republicans last November repealed a rule requiring any of their leaders to step aside if indicted. The rule was reinstituted in January after lawmakers returned to Washington from the holidays fearing the repeal might create a backlash from voters.

DeLay, 58, also is the center of an ethics swirl in Washington. The 11-term congressman was admonished last year by the House ethics committee on three separate issues and is the center of a political storm this year over lobbyists paying his and other lawmakers' tabs for expensive travel abroad.
Can't wait to see him in prison gear.


Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster

[UPDATE: moving this back up a bit to remind folks to participate in the fun...]

Blender Fritz of On the Fritz has started the ball rolling on "improvements" to Joe Tresh's photo of the Ho' Beast "Journalist" of the White House (and, ahem, new columnist at the Washington Blade) at the pro-war rally last Saturday. The original poster reads "Let Our Troops Finish Their Mission."

Organizers expected 20,000, and only about 400 people showed up, including recently the self-outed "bisexual" Rent Boy. I know, stop laughing...

Fritz's caption with his little P'shop fun:
"Ugh! I can’t begin to express my complete and utter contempt for this self-loathing freak. I don’t know what disgusts me more — his politics, his slimy personality, or his flabby man-boobs and fat gut. This asshole is a complete loser in every respect."

Here's Fritz's submission (L), and one and from Fritz's brother.


Here's one sent in from Blender Sticker-Shock (L), and a howler from Shakes Sis.

Three more from Virtual Pus:







Here's another from reader D. (L), and Deborah (R).

Here are eight (!) contributions by my favorite ace P'shop wizard, Mike Tidmus:









From Robert in WeHo:



Also: read about JimmyJeff "coming out" as bisexual in my post, "Perhaps the most ridiculous column ever."

***

And, for the photographer's thoughtful take on the roller coaster over this, see Joe Tresh's blog entry, "Jeff Gannon at Rally for Families, Becomes Liberal Gannon Fodder."


Crooks, thieves and a homo-bigots at the local level


Rap sheet: I think Vincent Brown has a big future as a corrupt Repug. Is the Bush team hiring anyone for the Gulf Enterprise Zone? Vince may be just your kind of guy.

We've got a good little story going on here in Durham. One of the mayoral candidates, Vincent Brown, seems incapable of telling the truth and has a mile-long rap sheet. This guy is a serious scam artist, who managed to get a former Durham County commissioner and the former president of the local chapter of the NAACP to be his campaign treasurer, and was endorsed by the county's pathetic Republican Party, which is finally asking Brown to withdraw from the mayor's race.

The best part? He has chastised incumbent Mayor Bill Bell for not being aggressive enough in combating crime. Look in the mirror, fool. He didn't show at a meet-the-candidate public forum sponsored by the local Democratic Party on Tuesday -- the only empty chair on the stage had Brown's name on it.

You can't even get a clear basic background on the man. (N&O):
Over the years, he appears to have used at least four variations of his name -- Vincent Brown, Vincent C. Brown, Vincent C. Brown Sr. and Vincent Cortez Brown. He has also used at least two birth dates -- one in 1960 and another in 1963.

On a candidate's questionnaire Brown filed with The News & Observer, he wrote that he is 45. When asked his age in an interview, he said 43. Asked to explain the discrepancy, Brown gave the 1960 date used on his voter registration as his true birthday, which would make him 44.

Though he says he has lived in Durham for 12 years, legal records, phone listings and credit reports indicate that Brown and his wife, Jennifer Brown, have moved often -- living in Greensboro, Hillsborough and Danville, Va., among other places.
He pleaded guilty to 46 misdemeanor charges, under plea agreements after first being charged with felonies. A sample of what is on Brown's rap sheet and list of lies, revealed in court documents, police reports, prison files and other public records - there are over 100 charges.

* writing worthless checks
* simple assault
* fraud
* providing fictitious information to a police officer
* possessing a weapon on school grounds
* violating probation
* failing to pay income tax
* driving while impaired.
* convicted of felony forgery in Pender County
* numerous civil actions filed against him, mostly seeking payment. Earlier this month, an order was issued against Brown on behalf of one of his former attorneys for unpaid bills and interest totaling $70,810.
* promoting the prostitution of a minor (with three charges involving the same victim!).
[The charges took two years to go to trial and the victim, a member of Brown's church then refused to testify, according to the N&O.. "The charges were not dismissed because of an insufficiency of evidence or because the defendant was innocent," according to Durham assistant district attorney. "The charges were dismissed because of the desires of the victim and the victim's family. Her father did not want her to go through a trial, and he said it had already been handled within the church."]

* Brown actually drove to an N&O interview last week driving a late-model pickup truck -- even though criminal records indicate his driver's license was permanently revoked back in 1992.
* Brown said he lived in Greensboro in 1988 as a student at N.C. A&T State University, where he said he earned a four-year degree in civil engineering. The university registrar's office said last week that no one under Brown's name or either of the birth dates he has used earned a degree or attended classes there.

What does this dolt have to say for himself on the criminal charges? He claims it's all a case of mistaken identity. Hmmmm...how does that explain all the people that recognize him and that he has fingerprints on file?
"That's not me," Brown said Thursday. "I don't know who that is. This is wrong. ... There are so many Vincent Browns."

He then said the charges shouldn't matter anyway, because they were dismissed -- information not included on the documents he was shown. Asked how he knew the charges had been dismissed if he was not the Vincent Brown who had been arrested, Brown paused; then he laid out a scenario in which he was a victim of mistaken identity and had to hire a lawyer to help set the record straight. He reiterated that he had never been arrested.

A Durham assistant district attorney, Tracey Cline, identified Brown as the man she was set to prosecute on the prostitution charges.

...Cline said she was surprised by Brown's claims of mistaken identity. When the police investigated the prostitution charges, they used Brown's fingerprints to run a records check that matched his 1963 birth date, his Social Security number and his Pennsylvania birthplace.
I could go on and on, but read even more on this guy in the followup article, "More say Durham candidate told lies." The first story triggered a ton of phone calls and e-mails from people across the state who say they have had run-ins with Brown.

***

At that open forum, since the buzz on our man Brown was so high, it appears all the candidates were asked to disclose whether they had ever been arrested on a criminal charge or had been to jail. Eight out of the 17 candidates for mayor or city council has had run-ins with the law. Some of the issues were minor (speeding), but some of these characters really should have thought twice before running for public office. What's worse is that some of these folks are dumb enough to get up there and lie when judgments and guilty pleas are in the public record. Is there some kind of congenital lie gene in aspiring politicians? More info from Michael Biesecker's N&O piece:

* Shawn R. Cunningham (Ward 3): arrested on a felony count of embezzlement in 1996 and a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon in 1992.H e pleaded guilty to both, with the felony embezzlement charge being lowered to a misdemeanor count as part of a deal with prosecutors. Cunningham, whose resume says he has worked for banks and mortgage companies, also has been charged with at least 15 misdemeanor counts of writing worthless checks over an eight-year span.

* Joe Williams (Ward 1): "I don't have any skeletons in my closet." Records show Williams was convicted in a 1986 trial for a single misdemeanor count of assault on a female. He was ordered by a judge to "pay for damages to teeth" in an amount to be determined by the clerk of court. When asked about the charge after the event, Williams said it resulted from an altercation with his sister. "Everybody has fights with their sister," said Williams, who was 44 when he was convicted.

* John Holmes (Ward 2): told the crowd that he had been arrested once for driving with a revoked license, spending about an hour in jail before his wife bailed him out. Court records show Holmes has been charged for driving with a revoked license nine times since 1992, most recently last year. He pleaded guilty to those charges on four occasions. Holmes could not be reached Tuesday night to answer about the discrepancy.

* Steven Matherly (Ward 3) acquitted on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges from his actions at a Durham school board meeting. But he did not mention five charges for writing worthless checks between 1990 and 1995, or a 1993 charge for driving with a revoked license. Records show Matherly pleaded guilty to two of the misdemeanor check charges, as well as the license charge. Asked about the charges, Matherly said: "They are what they are, and that is all I have to say."

* John Best (already a council member): sent to jail for two days by a judge earlier this year for his failure to pay child support and alimony. According to the Durham County clerk of court, Best now owes his ex-wife $18,546. The council member has repeatedly said that the outstanding balance is alimony and that he has always paid his child support. But according to the clerk's office, $1,707 in child support is owed. Best also pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in 1998. Best said Tuesday that the conviction resulted from a "mistake in judgment" that had not affected his performance on the council over the past four years.

* Jackie Wagstaff (running for mayor): charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense for doctoring city check requests from North East Central Durham Reinvestment Inc., a city-financed social services organization she ran. She later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts in a deal with prosecutors.

* Victoria Peterson (Ward 1), said she had been arrested for trespassing while protesting at abortion clinics. Records show five second-degree trespassing charges filed against Peterson in North Carolina between 1989 and 2001. She pleaded not guilty on three of the counts, but the records indicate she was found guilty at trial.

***

I have a special place for Ms. Victoria Peterson in my heart because she is is a good representative of our local Af-AmTaliban, serving as president of Christians for Morality in Government. She's an ace homo-bigot that didn't make it out of the primary the last time she ran.

In 2003, she testified before the County Commissioners to urge them not to extend partnership benefits because: "Many of them are infected with diseases, and their lifestyles are very, very dangerous," Peterson told the board. "Many don't live to be senior citizens. Who's going to pay this expense if they get sick in their gay lifestyle?" And here's another gem of her reasoning: "The gay community makes plenty of money. Just because of how you have sex, does not mean anyone is entitled to special rights."

The measure passed, making Durham North Carolina's first county to enact domestic partner benefits. Chapel Hill and Carrboro also offer domestic-partner benefits to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Peterson threatened to sue the county over the passage of the measure.

When a bill to add sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination was defeated in 2003, she said: "They could come to work dressed one day looking like a female and two weeks later looking like a male. We do not recognize people who actively engage in a gay lifestyle."

My favorite Peterson quote came after she was roundly defeated in the 2003 primary. She just couldn't understand how, a good "Christian" conservative like herself came in next to last in a field of seven candidates in queer-laden, progressive Durham (no link to this N&O article, "Bell dominates mayor's race in Durham"):
Victoria Peterson, a community activist and frequent critic of the council, finished seventh, eliminated by the more than 2,700 votes she trailed Herndon.

"I am disappointed, to be honest," said Peterson, who was not endorsed by any of the major groups. "No one told the people who went to the polls to vote for me to vote for me. Politics were played with who got endorsements and who didn't. The political groups aren't looking out for the community."
***

All that said, we do have a progressive candidate out there that has gained the Independent Weekly's endorsement, Regina Stanley-King. Blender Reina emailed:
I wanted to put the word out to you about a good friend of mine that is running for city council. It's Regina Stanley-King, and she's already done pretty well for herself, getting the Independent Weekly's endorsement, and doing well with Durham's gay community (supporting Liability insurance measures) last night at the Democratic meeting in town.

She's a good woman, and really wants to know the diverse population that makes up the city. Heck, recently she dropped by the new 305 South (new space owned by the old owners of Ooh-La-Latte/Untidy Museum on my suggestion for someplace fun and funky to check out, and ended up chatting with the owners for a good hour about all kinds of things. They loved her, and She's enjoying seeing all the sides of Durham she'd been missing out on.
Stanley-King may have an uphill battle in Ward 2 as her opponent is current city councilman Howard Clement, who has been on the council a looong time (some say too long), but he has always ended up back in the chair..

Durham's primary elections are on October 11.


MA: Gay affirming priest replaced by Vatican stooge


The beloved, but ousted Cuenin (l), and his Ratzi-approved replacement, Coyne.
''I believe this is about more than money -- that is an excuse, not a reason. They've used that as a way of moving Walter out of the way, and ensuring he can never be a pastor again, and I believe it has more to do with his stand and activities in the sexual abuse crisis and his support of women, of gays and lesbians, of divorced couples, and of marginalized people."
-- Christina Graf, the vice chairwoman of the parish council at Our Lady Help of Christians on Walter Cuenin's ouster
Never mind homos, Ratzi's now ordering the deep-sixing of dissenters that dare think gay people are human beings.

The fig leaf of "fiscal improprieties" is being used to squash dissent, but evidence has surfaced that Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton, MA, was targeted for his pro-gay and progressive public positions. He was a popular figure, leading the parish for 12 years, but he was removed by the Boston Archdiocese in yet another "witch hunt" bent on weeding out clergy critical of the church's hypocrisy and frankly, immoral behavior.

To add insult to injury, the man installed to take his place, Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, is a part of the Vatican cover-up of the pedophile horror, having served as archdiocese spokesman at the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. This church is so sick and rotten. How many times do parishioners have to be spat on by the Vatican before an outright revolt and schism occurs?

The improprieties held against Cuenin are laughable -- a $500 stipend and a leased Accord -- and Cuenin said that the payments had repeatedly been approved by the parish finance council and reported during previous archdiocesan audits.

A letter surfaced, according Boston.com, that shows the more likely reason the hammer came down.
In an indication that a Newton pastor's position on gay rights may have played a role in his ouster, a conservative website has posted a letter from a top archdiocesan official saying that Roman Catholic Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley had been ''very disturbed" by an accusation that the pastor had invited parishioners to consider marching in a gay-rights parade in Boston last spring.

...Bishop Richard G. Lennon, the archdiocesan vicar general, writes of receiving complaints that Cuenin had positively mentioned an upcoming gay pride parade in the church bulletin, and says, ''Please know that the archbishop is very disturbed by the information that you, along with others, have sent to him regarding this event and the involvement of Father Cuenin. He wishes to assure you that he is in the process of addressing this whole matter."

The letter was dated July 8, one month after the annual Boston Pride parade on June 11.

...A leader of the parish's delegation to the gay pride parade said Cuenin did not author the bulletin announcement and did not march in the parade.

''It wasn't an invitation from Walter, but from the justice and peace committee of the parish, because gay rights is an issue of justice in our minds," said Larry Kessler, a member of the parish council at Our Lady Help of Christians and a founding director of the AIDS Action Committee.
The wrath against Cuenin is also driven by hardline American Conservatives.
Cuenin has been an outspoken supporter of welcoming gays and lesbians to the church, and his position on that issue, as on many other issues, has angered conservatives, some of whom have been agitating for his ouster for years. The Operation Rescue: Boston website, www.orboston.org, for example, refers to Cuenin as a ''pro-gay, dissenting priest," and to his actions as ''heresy."

...In the parish bulletin at Our Lady's earlier this month, Cuenin wrote: 'We have made a special effort to welcome gay and lesbian persons and their families. The parish is blessed to have many couples, some now legally married, as members of the community. They come on Sundays and are raising their children in the faith. Their marriage seems to have been a good experience for them. It doesn't appear that anyone's marriage has been threatened or compromised by the 1,800 gay marriages that have already taken place in the past year."

...Cuenin had previously landed in hot water in 2002, when he was quoted in The New Yorker magazine saying that divorced people should be granted a ''front-row seat" in Catholic parishes, and that gays and lesbians should be granted the ''other front row."

Cuenin also led a group of priests who wound up signing a letter calling for Cardinal Bernard F. Law to resign in December 2002.
You know that last bit of business was enough to put the Vatican's panties in a bunch. Law in 2002 summarily banned any church agencies from holding meetings at Cuenin's parish because of the popular priest's criticism of Law's handling of the sexual abuse scandal, so this is sweet revenge. Cuenin had to go, and they were going to find a way to take him out (why didn't they just go ahead with concrete shoes for him?).

The Ratzi-approved mouthpiece has been installed. The announcement that Rev. Christopher J. Coyne was to take Cuenin's place was not met with joy by parishioners. In fact, they took to the streets in a protest vigil.

Amanda Forster, 9, attends a vigil last night in support of the Rev Walter Cuenin. (Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel)

Protesters at Our Lady Help of Christians began what was to be a 12-hour vigil last night. Newton's Jewish mayor and an openly gay Catholic senator spoke to a spillover crowd in support of Cuenin.

Newton Mayor David Cohen called Cuenin "a leader, a teacher, a healer, a mentor.'' State Sen. Jarrett Barrios (D-Cambridge) said that when priests protested the handling of the sex-abuse crisis, "The leader of those priests was your priest Walter Cuenin . . . while others did nothing, he stood up.''

Reacting to the news of Coyne's appointment, parishioner Donna Giovannini said, ``We want to keep Walter Cuenin here. He is the spirit of this church and the leader of this community.'' Christina Jameson, one of many Catholics who came from other parishes to Cuenin, said of Coyne, ``If there is anything they could do that would be more offensive, that is it.''


Lesbian wins top political party post in Canada



Our friends to the North make the U.S. look like knuckle-draggers. Again.
Allison Brewer has become the first out lesbian to lead a political party in North America. Brewer won a first ballot victory to become leader of the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick. If her party wins the next provincial election she would become the first out premier in Canada.

Calling it "an historic day for the lesbian and gay community", she said she intends to lead her party to a majority government. "I will make my presence felt and I want Bernard Lord and Shawn Graham to know that I am on my way," she said after her win. Lord is the leader of New Brunswick's Conservative Party and the sitting premier. Graham is the Liberal leader. Both are ahead of the New Democrats in the polls.

Following her win, Brewer's 20 year old son gave her a hug and declared, "You're my leader. You will always be my leader."


'Threats' from Concerned Women for America

Tuesday, September 27, 2005



The bleating of the wingnuts for Bush to remain hardline on the next SCOTUS pick has me laughing. Do I detect desperation? (AgapePress):
Concerned Women for America is urging President George W. Bush to ignore what it calls the "Left's predictable threats" to filibuster his next U.S. Supreme Court nominee. The pro-family group says Bush must not allow selecting the right nominee to be jeopardized by partisan threats.

CWA chief counsel Jan LaRue says, "Any nominee who thinks the text of the Constitution should be taken more seriously than a supermarket tabloid is filibuster fodder. It isn't about the nominee -- it's about the President. And the seven Republicans in the 'Gang of 14' need to remember that." Democrats are demanding their version of a mainstream nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, but LaRue says if Bush's opponents reject his first pick, he should let them know they will not be seeing any acceptable "moderates." What is needed, the CWA spokeswoman says, is "another nominee with a strong record that proves it's the Constitution that must weigh in the balance, not policy-making poorly disguised as judging." Several outstanding jurists fit the bill, LaRue adds, including Judges Janice Rogers Brown, Emilio Garza, Edith Jones, Michael McConnell, Priscilla Owen, Samuel Alito, and Michael Luttig, to name a few.


AmTaliban wants to make sure casinos don't return to Mississippi


Professional bible beater (and fag-hater) Don Wildmon wants to spar with Gov. Barbour over sinful gambling on the Gulf Coast.

Since the dollars have stopped rolling in from casino revenues, Governor Barbour is hot to get that source of revenue back online. The bible-beaters at the American Family Association and the Mississippi Baptist Convention would like changes to state law to put gambling up for public referendum. It's going to be an interesting catfight. Meow.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has called a special session, beginning today (September 27), during which state lawmakers will debate letting Gulf Coast casinos build on land -- one of a number of Hurricane Katrina recovery issues the governor hopes the lawmakers will resolve quickly. The August 29 hurricane that killed some 219 people also ravaged the state's 80-mile coastline: Katrina's powerful winds and storm surge tossed many of the state's floating casinos ashore and severely damaged others. Mississippi legalized casino gambling in 1990 but limited it to tourist areas along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River.

The coast gaming industry was generating $500,000 a day in tax revenue before the hurricane, with 12 casinos operating on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and another set to open this month. State Gaming Commission chairman Jerry St. Pe and executive director Larry Gregory recently met with casino executives in Las Vegas to discuss their companies' future in Mississippi. St. Pe says most of the casino officials want Mississippi laws changed to allow casinos on land rather than only over water, although "differences of opinion" exist about how far casinos should be allowed inland.

Harrah's Entertainment released a statement yesterday, saying the company "believes it is critical to move quickly to rebuild the Gulf Coast as a major tourist and entertainment destination," but that the gambling industry must respond to forecasted future disasters with "safeguards" and needs to "be allowed to implement safer design and construction of casino resorts by allowing them to reside on shore adjacent to current locations." But according to Associated Press, a Mississippi Baptist Convention spokesman told reporters after Katrina that the convention might press the legislature to outlaw casinos altogether.

Meanwhile, chairman Don Wildmon of the Mississippi-based American Family Association, is hopeful the special session in Jackson will open the door for other possible changes to state law, such as allowing a referendum on gambling, letting the voters vote casinos out (current law does not give voters the option), raising casino taxes, or putting a freeze on where casinos can locate. "Perhaps," Wildmon notes, "this is a political debate regarding gambling in Mississippi which has been needed for years."
Perhaps Don and the Baptist Convention can replace that revenue with some slamming church bingo.


New Orleans police chief calls it quits


New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass, right, turns away from the microphones as Mayor Ray Nagin, left, looks on after Compass announced his retirement.

Heck, you have to wonder how many other municipal officials will move on -- as if they are getting a paycheck any time soon. It had to be hard to watch your department fall apart during a natural and man-made disaster, let alone control the situation once it got out of hand.
Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

"I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it's time to hand over the reins," Compass said at a news conference. "I'll be going on in another direction that God has for me."

As the city slipped into anarchy during the first few days after Katrina, the 1,700-member police department itself suffered a crisis. Many officers deserted their posts, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. Two officers Compass described as friends committed suicide.

Neither Compass nor Mayor Ray Nagin would say whether Compass was pressured to leave.
Thanks to Blender Cat for the pointer.



Why does the Left hate George W. Bush?


I've been corresponding with a Writ reader who asks a very poignant question:
I went back to your blog yesterday and read some more. It was very interesting. Since you were kind enough to answer me and send more communication today, I'll ask you because I trust that you will give a well reasoned response.

George Bush is far from perfect, but why does the left "hate" him so much?
First off, who's this "the left" I keep hearing reference to?

Second off, "hate" is a strong word. I don't hate the man. I figure he even might be a swell fella, fun to hoist a brew with while watching a football game.

The proper feeling is "despair". George W. Bush makes me despair for my country. I can't speak for everyone on "the left", but it is my feeling that Bush is the Worst President Ever, a man who never met a corporation he wouldn't benefit and a little guy he wouldn't screw over. He is the great and powerful Oz, a sham of a leader acting as the puppet for Grover Norquist, Dick Cheney, Halliburton/Bechtel/KBR, ChevronTexacoExxonMobilShellBP (why don't they just get the mega merger done already?), EliLillyMerckPfizerBristolMyersSquibb (again...), and the babbling biblical literalists who think the earth is 6,000 years old (dinosaur bones, oil, and all) and the omniscient maker and shaper of the Universe is deeply concerned about what we do with our pee-pees.

Or, as one of blog friends on "the left" (Days) so elequently puts it:
By any objective standard, this administration is a dismal failure and has made a mockery of all the things I love about America. Things like fair elections, habeus corpus, privacy, separation of church and state, care for the less fortunate, protecting our homeland, respecting the environment, curbing the power of corporations, standing for human rights, transparency in government, respect for our military, and so many many more. Bush is steering our country back to the pre-New Deal rich-man's playground of the Robber Baron era, while simultaneously squandering any post-9/11 worldwide goodwill and alienating what few allies we have left.

But I will say one thing good about Bush: he never got oral sex from an intern and lied about it to America.

(Huge hat tip to Jed at Days)


Jeff Gannon attends pro-war rally



Go to PageOneNews for an exclusive pic by Joe Tresh of Jeff Gannon at the pro-war rally. He's holding a sign that says "Let Our Troops Finish Their Mission." Barf.

There are also photos from the Cindy Sheehan arrest. How incredible that Jeffy Lube keeps resurfacing.

Read about JimmyJeff "coming out" as bisexual in my post, "Perhaps the most ridiculous column ever."


Anglican schism threatened -- over transsexual priest


Sarah Jones and Bishop Priddis.
"What's important is that she's a person made by God, loved by God and given gifts by God who feels that she's called to be a priest and that's a call that's been checked out by the church rigorously."
-- Bishop Anthony Priddis, on transsexual Sarah Jones ordination as an Anglican priest
At least outside the church, you can't call the Anglicans boring. They are really stirring the pot in a big way. The American church is already reeling from the election of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire; the worldwide conservative element in the church has already severed ties with the Church of England.
The Bishop of Hereford has defended the decision to ordain a transsexual woman as a priest.

Assistant curate Sarah Jones, 44, from Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, spent the first 29 years of her life living as a man. Evangelical group Evangelical Alliance said there was no "Christian acknowledgement" of gender realignment.

But the Right Reverend Anthony Priddis said Ms Jones - being ordained on Saturday - was "made and loved by God".

Ms Jones was a "superb candidate" who had the gender realignment surgery "many years ago - long before she explored the possibility of being ordained", Bishop Priddis said.

...But Don Horrocks, of the Evangelical Alliance, said the Bible made it "absolutely clear that God created human beings as male and female". "Therefore there is absolutely no Christian acknowledgement of the 21st Century human idea that it's possible somehow for a person to take charge of their own destiny and to decide what their own sexuality is," he added.

"Someone who does that... is therefore actually perpetuating an illusion or masquerading and any Christian is clearly not going to be supportive of someone who purports to be what they're not."


Jamaican homo-bigot charged with hate attack



As I've said before, gay rights struggles are tough here, but in Jamaica, it's so much worse. The violence against gays and lesbians is out of control, ignored by the government, encouraged by some musicians. One singer decided to act on his hate lyrics. (365gay.com):
Buju Banton, one of Jamaica's most famous singers, has been charged with assault in connection with a vicious attack on six gay men. Police allege that Banton was one of about a dozen armed men who forced their way into a house in Kingston last year and beat up the occupants while shouting homophobic insults. Several people were taken to the hospital following the attack.

Banton, whose song Boom Boom Bye Bye threatens gay men with a "gunshot in ah head", was identified by several witnesses. He will appear in court on Friday to answer the charges. In the meantime Baton is out on bail.

"This trial is test case on whether gay people can get justice in Jamaica," said Brett Lock of the UK-based gay human rights group OutRage, which has spearheaded an international campaign against homophobia by reggae singers. "Some Jamaicans fear that Mr Banton’s celebrity and the strongly homophobic attitudes that exist in Jamaica will deny justice to the victims of what was a horrific homophobic assault," said Lock.

Gay sex is illegal in Jamaica, punishable by jail, with the possibility of hard labor.

Last year, a concert in London by Beenie Man, another Jamaican singer who calls for beating and killing gays, was cancelled. One of Beenie Man's songs contains the lyrics: "I'm a dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays."


Please let this be true - Brownie behind Enquirer story


Brown defended his response to the disaster and said 'My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional.' -- WHAT? (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Newly hired FEMA consultant Brownie is on C-SPAN testifying at the sham GOP "investigation" into how he f*cked up before, during and after Katrina.

What I seemed to have missed is this interesting scuttlebutt (from Jane at Firedoglake), courtesy of a Shakes Sis post today (my emphasis):
Brownie, as you'll no doubt recall, did a heckuva job according to the man whose boozing he allegedly revealed to The Enquirer in a fit of pique as payback for the scapegoating he got, but this morning has told the committee he made "specific mistakes,” such as not persuading Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to better coordinate their efforts.
Whoa. That's hot gossip, and certainly he's a prime candidate for leaking about The Boozing Chimp. That would explain the brain-dead PR decision to hire him as a FEMA consultant after the whiz-bang job that got him sh*tcanned. Maybe that Medal of Freedom really is in the mail too.

Also see: You may have to remove the 'dry' from dry drunk


'Love Embraces All' event counters 'ex-gay' conference in Birmingham

House Blender Kathy sends in a report on a conference on "reparative" therapy, "Love Embraces All" held earlier this month, at Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC) in Birmingham, AL. It took place on the same day as James Dobson's "ex-gay" road show Love Won Out.


Faces of LWO in their own words: "Ex-gay" Mike Haley is director of the Homosexuality and Gender department for Focus on the Family's Public Policy division; fastidious Alan Chambers "left homosexuality" in 1991 and is now the President of Exodus International.

Below are pictures of the "Love Embraces All" event, which was sponsored by Equality Alabama, Communities of Faith for Full Inclusion, and several local churches and organizations. Kathy's report on the conference:
We had about 50 people in attendance with a very short lead time and little publicity. We also had a film crew from the United Kingdom that came in at the end to get some footage for a documentary on reparative therapy. They had attended the "Love Won Out" conference that morning and told us there were only about 400 people there. I understand the Dobson folks typically bus in people from out of state to inflate their numbers. I'd say we won that contest. I don't have any pics from their conference; the local news didn't cover either event, and none of our people wanted to register and pay $50 to listen to drivel.

I was struck by our attendees' need to talk. We only met from 9 am to 2:30 pm, but I believe we could have gone on for an entire weekend. What came out of our discussions was the need for safe spaces, particularly for youth, to be able to tell stories and be affirmed. I think we'll do this, or something similar, again soon.



Therapist panel, listening to the stories of those that had been through "ex-gay" programs.


Kathy: "Two men told their stories of experiencing reparative therapy. Zach, on the left, is our adopted nephew. He's only 22, but his parents put him through all manner of hell -- therapy, religious counseling, laying on hands to drive out the demon, then disowning him) while he was still a teenager. The other gentleman, Patrick, is a good bit older and put himself in for treatment back when psychiatrists routinely gave shock treatment to "cure" gayness. He says the doctors thought he would forget he was gay, but mostly he just forgot big chunks of his life."


Kathy said that this is an empty chair representing several people who were asked to share their stories but were afraid of the repercussions.


The panel of clergy and lay people discussing their experiences ministering to the LGBT community and advocating for more inclusive faith communities.

All involved in this conference deserve a huge pat on the back for countering the brainwashing of the Dobson crowd and creating an open and safe space for those willing to come forward. One can only hope that news about this success can spur on more events to help people come out from the shame and blame. Thanks, Kathy.


Interesting survey: American Catholics and party politics

This is from the National Catholic Reporter. The information is particularly surprising to me, but it's still fascinating to see it broken down like this. I wonder how the Democrats and Republicans will digest this information and target this group in campaigns.

Actually, the person who should be taking a hard look at this is Ratzi and his Vatican hit squad. He's not on the same page as American Catholics at all, and the numbers detect real potential for a backlash as he attempts to rein in the flock.
American Catholics played an important if not decisive role in the 2004 national elections. Abortion, same sex marriage and stem cell research were all important issues on the minds of voters, and all indications are that they will continue to be. These issues have become part of a culture war in which two opposing views of the good society have increasingly spread across secular and religious lines. The lines are clearly drawn within the U.S. Congress, where conservative Protestants and Catholics form the core of the Republican Party while progressive Catholics, Jews and African-Americans form the core of the Democratic Party.

For American Catholics, the roots of this growing polarization, and with it a questioning of moral authority of the Vatican, are multifold. They are found in the rising level of formal education of Catholics, in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, in the decision of Pope Paul VI to reject the recommendation of his Birth Control Commission to change the church’s teaching on birth control, in the failure of U.S. bishops to support the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s effort to open a national dialogue on “the consistent ethic of life,” in the efforts of Pope John Paul II to refocus the church’s moral authority back to the Vatican, and most recently in the sex abuse scandal.

Thus, just as the Catholic church’s moral authority has been weakened by its teaching on birth control, its teachings on abortion and same-sex marriage have drawn attention away from its teachings in support of issues such as poor families without health insurance. Increasingly, knowing a person is Catholic does not predict her or his attitudes on these issues.
Here are some of the demographics on party affiliation:

* 41 percent of Catholics are Democrats
* 37 percent are Republicans
* 22 percent Independents

* Catholic women that are Democrats: 57 percent
* Catholic women registered as Republicans: 51 percent
* Catholic women who call themselves Independents: 54 percent

* Republicans are slightly more likely to be married, but also divorced
* Democrats more likely to have never married.
* Republicans have more members with college and graduate and professional degrees
* Democrats have more who had a high school education or less.

There is a distinct generational difference that is meaningful, with more drift away from hardline thinking:
Post-Vatican II Catholics were significantly more Republican than Democratic. However, when we break down the post-Vatican II generation into Gen X, all those born between 1961 and 1978, and the new Millennials, the youngest group of Catholics born between 1979 and 1987, we find a striking difference:

Generation X: Republicans, 49 percent; Democrats, 34 percent; Independents, 17 percent.
Millennials: Republicans, 29 percent; Democrats, 58 percent; Independents, 13 percent
Here are the findings on church teachings.



And here's a little info that is going to make Pope Ratzi's head explode. Only 29% of the flock think celibate male clergy is important, and:



Plus, the laity wants to decide where the money goes. If Ratzi doesn't watch out, the cash flow is going to dry up.



What does it all mean? Who knows. I'd love to see data on the black faith community like this.



Male SUV drivers more likely to hate homos

I'm wondering how many of these "rugged individualists" are also Viagra consumers. (365gay.com):
The ad shows a ruggedly handsome man behind the wheel of a four-wheel-drive all terrain vehicle, portaging a river, climbing a rocky hill. He's hip, urbane, and a trendsetter. But a new study shows the guy in the ad bears little resemblance to the men who buy SUVs.

The study, by the Australia Institute, indicates the average 4WD driver is a male city dweller in his late 40s or 50s, and far from cool. The institute based its study on a Roy Morgan Research survey of 24,718 people aged 14 and over.

It found that the drivers were more likely to be homophobic than other drivers. It also discovered they were not community minded and less likely than drivers of other vehicles to give to a charity. The study additionally found they were more likely to suffer road rage. According to the institute four-wheel-drive vehicles also had a higher rate of being involved in accidents that kill or maim people in other vehicles.


Raleigh wingnuts worried about yoga corrupting kids

Watch out, that deep breathing is going to corrupt your kids. I'm sick of Called2Action, a group of professional AmTaliban protestors and activists. Usually these folks spend their time homo-bashing. C2A promoted a state marriage amendment here in NC, but since that failed to get out of committee this year, I guess the wingnuts have some time on their hands so the next big issue is...yoga in schools. Yawn.
...A Christian group says some stress-reduction classes for elementary school students promoted "New Age" religion and were unconstitutional in a public school. Called2Action says it received complaints from a mother whose children were asked to do breathing exercises, chant and use their "life forces" last month at Partnership Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. The group has sent a letter to Wake County's school board and superintendent asking them to make sure this kind of "spiritual and religious program" does not happen again.
I had to go to the C2A web site to see the "Action Gram" for myself. This, Blenders, is a howler of bullsh*t wingnuttery. My emphasis on what made me laugh out loud.
Friends,

In August we received an email from one of our members regarding an incident that took place at Partnership Elementary School in Raleigh. This member's children were disturbed by some odd things they had been taught in class. A New Age "Elder", Ms. Emily Gunter, had been invited in by the school Principal to teach K-5th graders about dealing with "stress" via her Rites of Passage Youth Empowerment Program. Activities such as "Conscious Breathing for a Relaxed Mind", "Unity Circle", "What Are Your Colors and Values", as well as something along the lines of chanting (non-english words/sounds) were taught to children as young as Kindergarten. A brief note in the school newsletter informed parents that there would be a class on dealing with stress, but it did not elude to the new age nature of Ms. Gunter's teachings.

As a Christian, you may be most offended by the teaching of a false religion to children, whether they are yours, a friend's, a neighbor's or a stranger's...but the issue runs to matters of law as well and should be troubling to people of all religions, or those with none at all.

We immediately did some fact checking and paid a visit to Ms. Gunter's website where her mission statement reads: "Bringing peace to our world through the personal development and spiritual empowerment of the youth". The new age basis of her teachings is easily discerned when you spend just a few minutes going through her site. Not knowing exactly what we were dealing with, we placed a call to the Christian Law Association and law firm of David Gibbs III, who you may recall was the attorney for Terri Schiavo. They put together a very detailed evaluation and came to the conclusion that the Wake County Public School System (via Partnership Elementary) had, in fact, broken the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At this point, we knew we had to pursue some course of action.

We have sent a letter to Superintendent McNeal, as well as all of the School Board members, asking them to do two things:

* Issue a formal reminder to all Wake County Principals and Administrators regarding these types of religious activities in the classroom.
* Inform all of the Partnership Elementary parents of this incident and and what they are doing to keep it from happening again.

We gave them copies of the Overview and Legal Opinion Memorandum provided by Mr. Gibbs' firm, as well as Guidelines for Religious Freedom in Public Schools which was put out by the Department of Education in the 90's to every school district in the nation. In most cases like this one, the school officials simply do not understand the law. Our prayer is that Superintendent McNeal will take strong corrective action to see that it does not happen again. Here is what we are asking of you:

* Pass this email on to people you know who have children in the Wake County Public School System so that they can be on the "lookout" for this kind of activity in the future.
* Take the time to download and read the overview/legal memorandum so that you will fully understand the facts surrounding this incident.
* If you have children in the WCPSS, download the Guidelines for Religious Freedom because you need to know the facts... remember, Christmas is right around the corner.
* Please inform us if anything like this has happened at your school.
* Pray that this will be well received by our WCPSS leadership and that they will act accordingly.

Last but not least, VOTE in the School Board Elections on October 11th for those candidates who support our values! We will have a non-partisan voter's guide available online by October 1st for you to download and distribute. We have also started a Political Action Committee (Called2Elect) which will be endorsing individual candidates in these critical races. We must act to protect the innocence of our children (more information on the election will be coming soon).

As always, thank you for your prayers and action. Together, by the grace of God, we are making a difference.

In His Service,


Steve Noble
Chairman
(Photo by Sher Stoneman, N&O)
This guy is outrageous, but hey, he's a rising star in the AmTaliban, catching the eye of James Dobson of Focus on the Family and invited to join the super-secret Council for National Policy (a group that includes Paul Weyrich, the co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and Mother Phyllis Schlafly).

I'm curious as to how far this effort will get in Raleigh. You can check out the list of churches that work in partnership with C2A here. One is the virulently homophobic Upper Room Church of God in Christ, home of our local bigot black pastor, Patrick Wooden, who said "We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals. They are not gay. We've got to use terms like 'deviant' and 'abomination.'"


Patrick Wooden.

I also located another of C2A's partners. King's Park International Church, just a few miles from my house, geez.

***

That reminds me, when I'm feeling better, I have to go take a picture of a house that's about a mile from ours; it is the apex of wingnuttery. I have no idea why these people built their compound here in Durham, amidst the homos.

They have a heinous life-size white statue of a white couple embraced in an ode to traditional marriage, with a "Jesus is Lord" banner strung along the iron fence gating in their property PLUS the Ten Commandments mounted at the driveway gate. Our jaws dropped one day when we finally saw someone emerge out of the compound as we drove by (it's on a main road) -- a black family lives there.

And people say that the Religious Right isn't making inroads with black evangelicals. Alrighty then.


Watch the Kerry '04 campaign implode

Monday, September 26, 2005



After learning about the release of Inside the Bubble, I have to agree with Shakes Sis -- "reason #1,336,892 why Bob Shrum needs to be exiled to Loserville, Nerdovia, pronto." It sounds like Steve Rosenbaum caught the slo-mo mess on film. John Kerry should have been able to kick the Chimp's ass all the way back to Texas in a landslide, yet it all came unraveled with cameras rolling. I don't think I could watch this without hurling or wanting to throw something at the screen. (NY Daily News):
Kerry spinmeister David Wade - one of the senior staffers who allowed Rosenbaum to film his private moments - tried to dismiss Rosenbaum's effort as "a childish home movie destined to be forgotten."

Wade E-mailed me: "The 20 poor souls subjected to this movie will be reaching for caffeine and begging for old Lamar Alexander tapes on C-Span 2. Michael Moore has nothing to fear. I think the working title was 'The Snore Room.'"

But people who've screened the documentary say it's compelling and revealing.

It features, among other not-ready-for-prime-time moments, Clinton scowling and rolling her eyes over an apparent Kerry gaffe during a presidential debate; Kerry pretending to interview himself and babbling in Italian while waiting for a real interview to begin; Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) cursing at reporters during a campaign stop, and Kerry message guru Robert Shrum confidently declaring a few days before the 2004 election: "Zogby [a prominent pollster] just announced who's gonna win. Us!"

Shrum told me he personally didn't cooperate with the movie, which captures him on camera only a couple of times. Asked if he plans to see it, he answered: "Absolutely not."

...A press release claims the movie - which won't be shown publicly until Thursday - "turns a harsh but deeply revealing mirror on the campaign ... a disorganized, contentious, self-absorbed team that thought they could win by 'not making mistakes,' and keeping their candidate in the public eye without clarifying a position on anything."

Director Rosenbaum, meanwhile, told me: "I'm a lifelong Democrat and I supported Kerry. I think people will see the film as fair, and maybe searing."


CBS: Brownie rehired by FEMA as 'consultant'


Guess he can wear the shirt while he's freelancing.

Only in Washington can something this stupid happen. Brownie's now a hired gun, contracted to help investigate how he f*cked up. Who authorized this contract?
CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports that Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate it's response following Hurricane Katrina.


Maxwell Smart's shoe phone goes offline



Don Adams of TV's Get Smart passes away at 82.


Fun with strep

Felt really bad yesterday, having a hard time swallowing, painful, as if it was obstructed. Woke up today and it wasn't any better. Anyway, a short trip to the doctor revealed I likely have strep throat (and I was walking around with a 101 degree fever). So I came back with penicillin and will stay home tomorrow, since I'm contagious for 1-3 days after starting meds. That's great. I probably exposed everyone in my staff meeting today...

The weird thing is that the doctor didn't perform a test to confirm strep. As long as I met three out of four criteria - fever, swollen glands, sore throat and no cough/congestion, she could just dole out the antibiotics. I asked her about this and she reiterated the guidelines. That seems kind of hit or miss, no - is this some sort of cost-saving measure? Aren't we supposed to be using as few antibiotics as possible since so many resistant strains of bacteria are cropping up?

Anyway, this should be ten days of fun, knowing what antibiotics usually means for me. Bleh.


Lynndie England convicted



She may have done it for love, but now she gets to think about that decision behind bars. She faces a max 10 in the clink.

Sick U.S. forces pay tribute with their own version of "Doing a Lynndie".


250K bullets for each insurgent downed

The U.S. is firing so much ammo that the military is turning to Israel to keep up. Do they need more target practice? (Independent):
US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan - an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed - that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand. As a result the US is having to import supplies from Israel.

...A government report says that US forces are now using 1.8 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition a year. The total has more than doubled in five years, largely as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as changes in military doctrine.

...Estimating how many bullets US forces have expended for every insurgent killed is not a simple or precisely scientific matter. The former head of US forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, famously claimed that his forces "don't do body counts".

But senior officers have recently claimed "great successes" in Iraq, based on counting the bodies of insurgents killed. Maj-Gen Rick Lynch, the top US military spokesman in Iraq, said 1,534 insurgents had been seized or killed in a recent operation in the west of Baghdad. Other estimates from military officials suggest that at least 20,000 insurgents have been killed in President George Bush's "war on terror".

John Pike, director of the Washington military research group GlobalSecurity.org, said that, based on the GAO's figures, US forces had expended around six billion bullets between 2002 and 2005. "How many evil-doers have we sent to their maker using bullets rather than bombs? I don't know," he said.

"If they don't do body counts, how can I? But using these figures it works out at around 300,000 bullets per insurgent. Let's round that down to 250,000 so that we are underestimating."


How to address mail to same-sex couples


Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners

It's nice to know that Miss Manners is up to speed with the homo thing...
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work for a company that specializes in wedding products for gay and lesbian couples and, because we offer wedding invitations and bill ourselves as "mother-approved shopping," we often get questions about proper etiquette when addressing envelopes and wedding gifts to gay and lesbian couples. However, I have found myself stuck in how to best answer this question:

How do I address a wedding invitation to a lesbian (gay) married couple who have the same last name? Can one add in both names with something along the lines of Mrs. Sally & Betty Jones, or is it most proper to drop one name (Mrs. & Mrs. Betty Jones)? If so, how does one determine which name to drop?

GENTLE READER: "Mrs. and Mrs." not only encounters the problem you mention, but it is jarring to those who know the traditional rule that "Mrs." is never used with a lady's first name. Furthermore, those who violate that rule do so to indicate divorce or widowhood, neither of which is appropriate here.

Miss Manners has a simple solution:

Use the plural form of "Mrs." or, in the case of two gentlemen, the plural form of "Mr." These are, respectively, "Mesdames" and "Mssrs" ("The Mesdames Sally and Betty Jones," "The Messrs. Trevor and William Cartwright").

All right, Miss Manners admits that these are odd plurals. But they are at least traditional and dignified.


BlogActive outs another White House hypocrite


Self-loathing homo-bigot Berkowitz.

Mike Rogers of BlogActive uncovers another loser fighting against gay civil rights. This time it's Bush's liaison to the Jewish community, Jeff Berkowitz, a 26-year-old from the president's scheduling office.
In addition to speaking extensively with two of the four original tipsters, this information has been confirmed by five independent, separate, corroborating sources, including:
-A source inside of the White House
-A lobbyist for a top conservative lobbying firm
-An individual who had a sexual encounter with Mr. Berkowitz; and
-Two personal acquaintances of Jeff.

...Jeff Berkowitz has had his hand in building the current anti-gay majority in Congress. And, on top of the many sources above, this story has been confirmed by an individual who used to work with Mr. Berkowitz at, get this, Generation GOP. GenerationGOP is the organization created to recruit young people to the GOP platform (including the denial of civil marriage equality) and candidates.
To add special flavor to this sell-out, Jeff is also an Eagle Scout and Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. How about that for complete bullsh*ttery? How can he support that bigoted organization when he's a big old homo?

Mike has action items in his post to write Berkowitz and editors of major Jewish media outlets.


Iraqi women say freedoms are slipping away

Bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq. Wasn't that one of Chimpy's prime justifications to overthrowing Saddam? Women's rights groups have been warning that without specific constitutional protections, women in the "New Iraq" were going to suffer a rollback of rights. The radical zealots are making sure that the modern Iraqi woman knows her place, and the culture of anti-feminism is being fomented. (Middle East Online):
"Women cannot walk freely out in the street," said activist Ban Jamil, who directs the Rasafa Branch of Assyrian Women Union, a local non-governmental organisation in Baghdad.

"Women face lack of respect when they walk uncovered," said Jamil, a Christian, who said women are insulted if they show too much skin or walk in public without wearing the Islamic veil, or hijab, to cover their hair. She blamed "imported extremist doctrines, which were never experienced in the past" for the new restrictions.

The tide of Islamisation has risen in Iraq as fundamentalist Shiite parties have come to power following the ouster of former leader Saddam Hussein. Although not enforced by the newly established laws, which were written under US patronage, a conservative dress code is widely observed in much of the war-torn country.
The backsliding begins, and is this being covered in the press? Nope. As the calls for a pullout mount, it's clear that people are willing to let Iraqi women pay the price for a failed war, as extremism casts a shadow over their freedoms -- with U.S. approval.
"We cover and change the way we dress unwillingly due to pressure," said Jinan Mubarak, a Muslim who heads the Iraqi Centre for Training and Employing Women in Baghdad. She said some neighbourhoods are off-limits for women if unveiled, saying that women like herself are forced to change their behaviour in such environments.

Iraqi state television - a shopwindow of the new regime - allows some female presenters to appear unveiled, despite a clear Shiite influence in its programmes.

However, religious zealots who were curbed under Saddam's secular grip can operate freely now, as evidenced by one notice billboarded in a Baghdad street near a church, Jamil said.

"To all unveiled Muslim sisters and Christian sisters: You should wear a veil because Virgin Mary used to be veiled," it said.

Women are also concerned that the American influence in running post-Saddam Iraq plays a major role in protecting women rights, and that a future departure of US troops might result in further radicalisation. "This might regrettably be the case, as much as we would like to see the Americans out of Iraq," said Mubarak.
The fig leaf that the U.S. government clings to is the claim that the Iraqi constitution, as drafted, is that is one of the most progressive in the region. To the women, the language is murky, and their ability to participate fully in government affairs is limited.
US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has called Iraq's draft constitution the most progressive document in the Muslim world, claiming it ensured women's rights.

"Women have the right to participate fully in public activities," he said in August, pointing out that 25 percent of parliament seats were reserved for women. But activists say that the current female MPs do not represent women's advocates and were brought in by male-dominated political parties to fill the 25 percent quota.

"These were voted in to fill the quota... None of them serves in the politburo of any of their parties... They are mere mouthpieces," Jamil said. "We fear the same might happen in the next elections," she added, claiming that independent women have very slim chance of making it into the national assembly.
It's quite easy to cut and run when you have equal rights that you take for granted. The Iraqi women have few advocates as their rights slip away due to the cowboy decision of our President to ride in and get the man that wanted to kill his daddy. He had no exit plan, he had no plan that really amounted to ensuring freedom for all Iraqis. It falls by the wayside as the polls dive, and the body count rises.

W is for women left behind.

See my earlier post, "The Iraq mess and the rights of women."


Sick military Iraqi death porn

John at AmericaBlog has up what has to be some of the sickest sideline action of this immoral war -- alleged soldiers trading photos of dead Iraqis and Afghanis for fun and games. Is this part of some sick military culture that is condoned by Rummy and Co? After all, it's floating out there for all to see on the web -- someone at the Pentagon has to know about this. If they don't, they do now, so John's archived the filth at NowThatsFuckedUp.com in case it "disappears."

The soldiers on this site are offering up the death porn in exchange for hardcore porn. Here's just one photo John has up:



It's a burned Iraqi body. Here we have an update on the Abu Ghraib "doing a Lynndie" theme -- the title of it is called "Cooked Iraqi." Uncensored version.

Particularly disgusting is the treatment of a dead woman.
The page titled "Nice puss / bad foot" is devoted to the photo of a nude woman laying down on a table, her foot has been blown off by a land mine, blood, muscle, skin and bone are dangling in its place, and her naked crotch is clearly visible in the photo (thus the reference to "puss").
It's mind-blowing that they are so stupid as to share this heinous crap on the internet - have they learned nothing from Abu Ghraib? I don't doubt this kind of sickness occurs and we just don't find out about it. Witness the stories about soldiers cutting off ears as trophies in Vietnam. It's the underbelly of war - how does one cope with the stress of seeing human beings blown to bits each day? What will the parents of these guys think when some family friend sends them a few linkees to this disgusting site. How is Jr. going to explain this one away? Sick.

Now it's simply broadcast to anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection.

Someone is going to need to confirm or deny the authenticity of these sites -- the Pentagon better think fast.


Moderate Repubs promise no 'free pass' on next SCOTUS nominee

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The NYT has a story today on Republicans that plan to take a hard line on the next SCOTUS pick, to ferret out any nominee that is too far left or right. Clearly the current political climate has humbled some of these boobs on the fringe and emboldened the few moderates that have been sitting at the back of the GOP bus.
..both socially conservative and more liberal Republican senators say they may vote against confirmation of the next nominee if the pick leans too far to the left or the right on prominent issues like abortion rights.

Any Republican defection could provide cover for Democrats who want to oppose confirmation, protecting them politically in Republican-leaning states. Democrats have vowed to dig in for a tough fight over the nominee to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor because she was a pivotal swing vote on the court.

"It is going to be different," said Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, who is socially liberal and has said he will vote to confirm Judge Roberts. Mr. Chafee said he would apply a more skeptical standard to the next nominee because of the balance of the court and might even oppose a jurist similar to Judge Roberts. "I will be looking very carefully" at the next nominee's views on privacy rights, "separation of church and state," and the scope of federal power, he said.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, a Republican who supports abortion rights and has said she will vote to confirm Judge Roberts, took a similar view. She previously voted to confirm some of Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees who met stiff liberal opposition, like Judge Priscilla R. Owen and Judge Janice Rogers Brown, two people said to be on Mr. Bush's shortlist. But Ms. Snowe said she might not support either one for the Supreme Court.

"This is certainly a different level of evaluation," Ms. Snowe said, "especially because of the balance of power on the court."
This news, of course, has set off shrieking in Freeperland. They would love to bite their rotting fangs into Chafee and Snowe. Some even want to sidle up next to Holy Joe Lieberman for support of a conservative nominee.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Add together Snowe, Chafee, Collins, and Specter, and we're down to 51 votes. Note that Snowe is telegraphing that the RINO caucus will vote "no" for Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown. She's also decided that a "different standard" applies for the Supreme Court, and hence opened the door for a Democratic filibuster of any nominee approved under the "Gang of 14" deal.

But Brown has already been approved by this Congress. Difficult to say that now she's no good. Snowe be damned. 06 is coming up.

The gray hag never misses an opportunity to drive a wedge between Republicans. Show the world how divided we are....

The President needs to nominate a conservative .... and make it known that with each nominee struck down, the next nominee will even be more conservative!!! Tell them that the first one will be the most moderate... Start with Owen, then go to Rogers Brown, then Luttig. We won this damn election!!!

Sounds to me they are trying to dictate. That is just what the Democrats are trying to do. The President ran on the idea of choosing conservatives and he should stick to it. We have to much judicial activism and now we have legislators trying to circumvent to process and choose for the President.

That's true but Snowe knows what she is doing when she speaks to the NY Times. I think that she's making a real threat, and she may have just enough RINO pals to keep an anti-Roe judge off the Court.

As far as I am concerned, Snowe, Collins, Chafee, and Specter are all definite "no" votes against a solid conservative nominee. So it comes down to John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Warner, George Voinovich, and Mike DeWine. Snowe needs 2 of those 5.

Basically, the Supreme Court Justice will have to pass the "Voinovich Tear Duct Test." [He cried while opposing the nomination of the ambassador to the United Nations (John Bolton) ]

The NY Slimes lies. This story is an assumption disguised as a fact. Once again, the NY Slimes will try to set an agenda. Expect a FAKE POLL to back up their FAKE STORY within the week.

The bigger problem is that we might need 50 votes to invoke the "nucular" option to stop a filibuster. If Republican Senators like Snowe and Chafee aren't willing to confirm a nominee, then I don't see how we get past a filibuster. I just don't think there are 50 Republican Senators willing to do that over a nominee with total 'Rat opposition AND some Republican defectors.

The Republican Party in Maine IS NOT and WILL NEVER BE Conservative. We are virtually a one-party State- that's reality in Maine.

A question we should be asking ourselves for 2006: would our party be in a stronger position WITH 53 votes and WITHOUT Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee, or is it better to have 55 votes and have to listen to this nonsense?

The President ran on the idea of choosing conservatives. Naw he ran on the idea of sticking a stake in the Heart of Reagan's party. Looks like he might make it. If he has the little demons lined up as well as it sounds.

We can even lose one of the worms from Ohio and have the VP break a tie. The President MUST give us the most conservative person he can find. If this works out right we will have at least one of the nelsons voting with us. If it's Ben we win big. We'll beat him anyway and wooden head will be gone because of his vote. This will be close but it need not be a worry. We hold the aces here. All we have to do is act like we do.

Reagan, the great conservative, put O'Conner and Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Two points: 1. Don't forget McPain. 2. Specter had to sell his nuclear option soul to Frist to get the Judiciary chairmanship. I cannot believe that he would go against the majority if this comes to a vote. This assumption was the basis I used for arguing in favor of giving Specter the job - even though we all know the guy is a lefty at heart. We need his vote on the nuclear option.

We don't even know who the nominee is yet. This NY Times article is constructed for the sole purpose of dividing Republicans. If they want to exert pressure on Chaffee and Snowe and their ilk then we must counter with equal pressure on Red State Democrat Senators like Pryor of Arkansas and the Nelsons. We can do it. We have our right-leaning groups that can persuade conservative democrats. We conservativers need to be untied and make sure we let our senators know how we feel. And when the nominee is named, it wouldn't hurt to send some letters to Lieberman and some other Democrats with a quarter of a brain.

Don't forget John Warner. He's retiring in 2008 and will do whatever he feels like. Maybe he can call his ex-girlfriend Barbara Walters over at ABC News for some advice.

I want to tell you that if the RINOS draw a line in the sand on this one, they will lose in a big way. This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. This is a life vs. death issue and a Constitution issue. The wrath of conservatives will hit on all side if Snowe, Chafee, Collins and Specter decide this. They will not know what hit them.

Olympia Snowe is the most popular politician in Maine and according to a recent poll has the highest approval rating of ANY Republican Senator. Losing Jeffords was no loss as his voting record was solidly Left. Snowe and Collins and Chafee and Specter and other Moderates do vote with our Party about half the time, and they allow us to run the Committees. Run them all out, and we'd have maybe 40-45 Senators. Snowe isn't going anywhere.

If you want to reduce her influence, elect more Senators in Red States. Expecting Conservatives in the Northeast is unreasonable and political suicide. Why can't we get Republican Senators in ND, for example?

Vermont - Leahy and Jeffords.
New York - Chuckie and Shrillary
Mass - Mr. Ed and Ted.
Conn - Lieberman and Dodd.

Maine looks pretty good in comparison. Hell, I might even trade DeWine and Voinovich to Maine to get those gals here. At least we'd never see Olympia cry like a little bitch on the Senate floor.


NC Pride and meeting the Log Cabin folks


Above is the Mad Hatter Bakery, dressed up for the occasion.

It was a great day out at the state-wide NC Pride Saturday. Kate and I had a great time; I actually had a chat with some Log Cabin Republicans, too! I marched with my old neighborhood association (Old West Durham, which is the host neighborhood of the annual parade - below). From the N&O:
In Saturday's parade, participants marched from Duke University's East Campus to the Ninth Street retail strip and back, forming a rainbow-colored stream of floats, church groups, high school students, drag queens and local leaders including Stormy Ellis, an assistant district attorney in Durham, and Carrboro city councilman Mark Kleinschmidt, who gave a speech earlier in the day.

Buzzing kazoos and barking dogs wearing rainbow flower leis added to the din of hooting and clapping.

"Most of us are the only gay person at work, or the only gay person in the family," said Keith Hayes, spokesman for the NC Pride Committee that organized the event. "It's an unusual and uplifting experience to be in a place where you're not the only one."

The crowd was a mix of singletons and parents pushing their children in strollers. They clustered around vendors peddling gay pride symbols and entertainment, as well as information about gay-friendly churches and gay marriage.

The Durham community has been welcoming of PrideFest, Hayes said. Though anti-gay groups have visited Durham in the past, there haven't been any protests to PrideFest that Hayes can recall. In most larger cities, anti-gay protesters frequently appear at such events, he said.



Several local organizations wanted to make sure participants in the parade knew they were welcome in the Bull City, including the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association, a group whose residents live in areas bordering Duke's East Campus. "What this parade is about is what our neighborhood is about," said Phillip Barron, an Old West Durham resident. "It's about being inclusive and neighborly."

The NC Pride Marching Band.

Coverage in the Durham Herald-Sun:
It can be hard to stand out when you're marching in a parade behind floats with dancing drag queens, shirtless bikers donning leather vests and adorable dogs sporting rainbow-colored bandanas.

But one group of gay marriage supporters carrying poles with hundreds of dangling hearts had no trouble eliciting cheers from the scores of people who lined up along Duke University's East Campus wall Saturday to watch the 21st annual N.C. Pride Parade.



Hundreds of people hollered and applauded when the group from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh walked down West Main Street raising poles covered with foam hearts decorated with messages like "love should not be legislated" and "love is for all."

"We're showing that there is a significant amount of support for marriage equality within faith communities," said Tracy Hollister, the project leader for the Equal Hearts campaign.

Durham has been the backdrop for the parade and festival for the last six years. The event offers a "a real sense of solidarity" to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, said event spokesman Keith Hayes.



Raleigh resident Josh Runyon, 23, and his boyfriend snagged a spot on the rock wall facing West Main Street to watch the parade. Runyon's 21-year-old partner has yet to tell his family he's gay, but he welcomed the opportunity to kiss Runyon and hold his hand in public without being stared at.

"I don't have to worry about homophobic people, gay bashers, stuff like that," Runyon's boyfriend said.

Fourteen-year-old Ashley Felts told her parents earlier this year that she is a lesbian. The Jamestown resident said her dad was supportive and drove her to Saturday's festival so she could carry a flag in the parade.

"It's a right-of-passage coming out somewhere where there's a lot of people like you," Felts said.
You can see Kate's other pictures from Pride here.

***

Meeting the NC Log Cabin folks

So look at who else was in the parade -- the NC Log Cabin Republicans.



We were perplexed at the group's appearance here, given they probably wouldn't get a wildly popular reception. I was marching in the parade so I didn't see firsthand the reaction to the LCR, but I was told that they were booed.

That's really too bad. I kind of feel sorry for them, especially the NC chapter. They have zero traction in trying to return the state party to the center, given the fringe wingnuts in the North Carolina General Assembly (the Dems are in control of the legislature). If I were in the LCR, I'd be pretty pessimistic.

The LCRs had a tent up in the vendor area, and there was little traffic at the booth. It was sad. I thought I'd go over and chat them up. Kate snapped a pic of the encounter.



I went up to Jami Taylor, secretary of the LCR chapter. She's on Equality NC's board of directors, and a PhD student at North Carolina State University, her research focused on transgender related public policy. I asked her what kind of progress they are making, given the hostility with which the party hierarchy despises homos. We're talking about a party that wouldn't even allow the LCR to set up a table at the state convention last year or this year. N.C. GOP Chairman Ferrell Blount was famously quoted as saying:
"I reviewed what the Log Cabin national Web site was advocating and promoting and in my opinion, it is diametrically opposed to the values of the North Carolina Republican Party... As state party chairman, I support the definition of marriage as being a union sanctioned by God between a man and a woman. That is what the Republican Party talks about in its platform and will talk about this weekend."
Jami did manage to find a positive note on the slight by saying that the LCR aired a 30-second response commercial in Asheville where the convention was held this year to spur discussion by challenging the party not to "follow Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum's lead by dividing the GOP with an intolerant social agenda based on fear and exclusion."

Jami also pointed out that the LCRs did have a hospitality suite at the hotel where the convention was held, and that they had quite a bit of traffic and interest because of the controversy. I asked whether if any legislators came to the room, and she said that some did. I then asked whether any were willing to go on the record and comment one way or another about it. She said no.

I told her that the LCRs have a LOT of work to do in NC, since there are zero prospective GOP candidates worth backing in 2006 that aren't good-old-boy homophobes. Her last attempt to convince me of any meager progress to bring the party from the twilight zone of wingnuttery is that Republican Senator Stan Bingham of Denton signed on to a bill in March which would add sexual orientation to the protection from discrimination employees of the North Carolina General Assembly would receive. The LCR site notes that two other Republican senators signed on that day, but later withdrew their support.

Sad, sad, sad, but as much as the LCRs drew catcalls from the progressive crowd in Durham, they deserve credit for trying in the Reddest of state GOPs. Someone's got to confront the bigots from within.


White supremacists pulled over, bomb found

As Blender Janean asked as she pointed me to this article, "What do you think would have happened if these guys had a little color in their skin?" Hmmm. Anyone venture to guess they would have been whisked away for a little Homeland Security hospitality?
Las Vegas police arrested two "admitted white supremacists" during a traffic stop Friday after discovering an explosive device in their vehicle, police said.

Police stopped a 2002 Chevy Blazer at the intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and Marion Drive about 5 p.m. because the vehicle had expired plates. The Blazer's occupants, David Jones, 34, and Darrell Cooper, 22, behaved suspiciously and were asked to exit the vehicle, police said.

The men consented to a police search of the Blazer, which turned up the device, police said. The bomb squad transported it to a remote area where it was "rendered safe," police said.

Jones and Cooper, whom authorities described as "admitted white supremacists," were arrested for possession of an explosive device. Jones, the vehicle's driver, was also charged with transportation of an explosive device and manufacture of an explosive device.


How many more Mike Browns are in the Bush Admin?

The Raw Story has the goods on other unqualified cronies holding posts, notably at the FDA, Procurement and Immigration.


Time to play 'spot the homo'

Mike Tidmus is at it again...



Mike asks: "The Vatican cracks down on gay priests. Who’ll be left to ring the bells and swing the burning purse?"

The rest of his post is a howler.


Bush, you are majorly f*cked...

...when a fundraising appeal for your Iraq reconstruction only raises $600. It's bad enough that the Yellow Elephants won't enlist, but they and the rest of the Chickenhawks and Religious Right minions won't open their wallets for their president's war either, ha ha ha ha. Hey Hannity and O'Reilly -- did you each contribute $300?
An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337), The Observer has learnt. Yet since the appeal was launched earlier this month, donations to rebuild New Orleans have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars.

...It is understood to be the first time that a US government has made an appeal to taxpayers for foreign aid money. Contributors have no way of knowing who will receive their donations or even where they may go, after officials said details had be kept secret for security reasons.

USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little helps,' she said.
Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


100,000 protest against Iraq War in DC

I'm sure Chimpy wasn't paying attention to this as he was working hard on monitoring the hurricane from the safety of NORAD's US Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs and down in Austin.


A large rally of anti-war demonstrators gathers on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument (Rear) in Washington D.C., September 24, 2005. Thousands of protesters flooded Washington on Saturday to stage dual demonstrations against the U.S.-led war in Iraq and economic globalization, and to demand that President George W. Bush bring troops home. REUTERS/Jim Bourg


Anti war demonstrators carry posters as they march past the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


Anti-war protesters wearing prison uniforms and masks depicting from left to right Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, sit among crosses and flag draped coffins during protests on the National Mall. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Here's your president working hard (next to fastidious Gov. Rick Perry) thanking emergency personnel in Texas on Saturday, courtesy of the White House:


"I'd like to thank you all for the hard work you're doing. I appreciate Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, Congressman DeLay, Governor Perry. First of all, the people of the state are counting on you. I know you're working hard."

***

Meanwhile, an interesting WaPo story suggests something amounting to mild panic in the Bush White House about the fact that the well-crafted image has peeled away, revealing the "dry" drunk Chimperor. I love the headline -- President Struggles to Regain His Pre-Hurricane Swagger.
A president who normally thrives on tough talk and self-assurance finds himself at what aides privately describe as a low point in office, one that is changing the psychic and political aura of the White House, as well as its distinctive political approach.

In small, sometimes subtle but unmistakable ways, the president and top aides sound less certain, more conciliatory and willing to do something they avoided in the first term: admit mistakes. After bulling through crisis after crisis with a "bring 'em on" brashness, a more solemn Bush now has twice taken responsibility for the much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina.

Aides who never betrayed self-doubt now talk in private of failures selling the American people on the Iraq war, the president's Social Security plan and his response to Hurricane Katrina. The president who once told the United Nations it would drift into irrelevancy if it did not back the invasion of Iraq last week praised the world body and said the world works better "when we act together." A White House team that operated on its terms since 2000 is reaching to outside experts for answers like never before.
Time to throw another one back, huh, Chimpy? It doesn't help that Daddy Cheney's back in the hospital for "elective surgery." No need to worry, right?



After all, Darth has only had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant a special pacemaker in his chest.


Fred Phelps weighs in on Rita

Saturday, September 24, 2005



Predictably, the storm hits land and the Westboro Baptist "Church" damnation publicity machine of the Rotting CryptkeeperTM churns out a release. From his viewpoint, Rick Perry has a lot of feces-eating faggot Texans responsible for pushing the storm front toward the Lone Star State. Who knew? For your pleasure (I've retained the precious formatting)...

Viva Rita!

Thank God for Hurricane Rita! Another Direct & Immediate Visitation of the Wrath of God Upon Sinful, Sodomite America - Avenging America's Abuse of WBC!

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew sentenced Earl Krugel, 62, to 20 years for merely PLOTTING to set off an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) at a mosque in Culver City. Krugel pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of worshippers. Mind you, he set off no bomb, or other act of violence.

In the night hours of August 19-20, 1995, several fag students at Topeka's Washburn Univ. actually set off an IED at our church - and the federal government did nothing. And, the state court sentenced the ring leader to 16 days - not years!

Last week in the night hours some fine Americans again vandalized our church and did thousands in damages in an attempted aggravated burglary- the latest in a long line of hundreds of unsolved, uninvestigated, unpunished, violent crimes against us.



"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." Luke 18:7,8.

"And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Rev, 6:10.

Gov. Perry says, "Say a prayer for Texas." Bush says, "May God bless America." Listen up, you blaspheming atheists, God Almighty does not hear prayers for this evil, feces-eating faggot nation. And it is a sin to pray for America. Jer. 7:16;11;14.

For weeks, front page news is only about the wrath of God. Hurricanes in America. IED-killed soldiers in Iraq. As God pours his vengeance, see this: God is laughing, mocking and taunting His victims; worse and more is on the way; and, no power on earth can stop the slaughter. Retaliation for your 15-year reign of terror against Westboro Baptist Church.

"And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood."
(Isaiah 2:15)



Rita update and open thread



Storm weakens to Category 2 after hitting as Category 3.
At 8 a.m. ET, Rita was downgraded to Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, the National Hurricane Center said. It was centered between Jasper and Beaumont, Texas. Rita's sustained wind speed has reduced to 100 mph as it moves northwest at near 12 mph.

NHC Director Max Mayfield said the storm could produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over the next day or two and it may stall and remain stationary.

Lake Charles police said they had received reports of severe damage to a terminal at the Lake Charles airport, and also a report that an Interstate 10 overpass had collapsed. Conditions weren't safe enough to check on the reports.

In Lumberton, Texas, police had to rescue a family trapped in their home when a large tree fell on it. No injuries were reported. Earlier, Port Arthur Mayor Oscar Ortiz said he was concerned about Rita moving across Sabine Pass and pushing a large surge of water toward the city. "If that's true, it will be under water," Ortiz said. "I hate to see what my city's getting right now."

...In downtown Galveston, Texas, two historic residences and a commercial building were engulfed in flames. Winds of up to 70 mph fanned the flames and caused a blizzard of blowing embers as firefighters fought the blaze.




Today is NC Pride



It's the big queer event in the Tar Heel State, with events in Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Greensboro. More on the testivities here.

We were at last year's Pride, and here are some pictures and other posts on the Blend.


Bush Disapproval Map

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ah, there's nothing like the power of graphics to soothe my liberal soul. This one's for all the righties who beat me over the head for weeks with the red/blue map of the Electoral College votes from the 2004 election. "See," they'd type with glee, usually abusing punctuation along the way, "you lefties are so far out of the mainstream. The whole country is almost all red! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

So I stumble upon this website, SurveyUSA, that tracks polling data from all 50 states. They have this nifty chart showing the Net Approval Rating of President Bush, broken down by state. And for my rightie friends, it ain't pretty.

The Red states represent the states where Bush's Approval numbers are greater than his Disapproval numbers, giving him a positive Net Approval. Utah leads the pack at 63% Approve, 36% Disapprove, for a Net of +27%. Idaho follows at 57%/40%/+17%, then Nebraska (+13%), Mississippi* (+12%), Wyoming (+11%), Alabama (+7%), Texas (+7%), Louisiana* (+5%), North Dakota (+5%), Oklahoma (+5%), Alaska (+1%), & Montana (+1%). In all, there are twelve states where Bush's Approval beats his Disapproval, and only the top ten of those where Bush's Approval tops 50% (there must be some N/A's in the polling.)

*And this is polling as of Sept. 5th, when many people were unreachable by phone in Mississippi and Louisiana, and it's far too early to tell the effect of Bush's slow reaction to Katrina.

The Blue states represent the places where Bush's Disapproval beats his Approval, led by Vermont at 29% Approve, 69% Disapprove, for a Net of -40%. Thirty-eight states have a Net Disapproval of Bush, all of those states have his Disapproval at 50% or better, and 29 of those states have Net Disapproval rates in double-digits.

Best of all, when you look deeply at the tracking for those twelve remaining Red states, Bush's Net Approval is in decline over the last month in all of them except Utah, Oklahoma, Alaska, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Only 5 Red states where Bush has gotten more popular between August and September... and two of those states have yet to be polled post-Katrina.

If I may be so bold: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


Pentagon admits sending openly gay service members to war

The military has lied on the record for years. Someone confirmed the obvious. From a Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military release that I just received:
An official military spokesperson has acknowledged that the Pentagon is sending openly gay service members into combat in Iraq. Kim Waldron, of the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, said that, "The bottom line is some people are using sexual orientation to avoid deployment. So in this case, with the Reserve and Guard forces, if a soldier 'tells,' they still have to go to war and the homosexual issue is postponed until they return to the U.S. and the unit is demobilized."

Waldron's comments follow the discovery of a controversial regulation halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized. That regulation, contained in a 1999 "Reserve Component Unit Commander's Handbook" and still in effect, states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested "prior to the unit's receipt of alert notification, discharge isn't authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit." The 1999 document was obtained by researchers at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Although the "don't ask, don't tell" policy remains in effect, Waldon's acknowledgment appears to confirm that in some cases, the Pentagon ignores the law by retaining service members who say that they are gay. Statistics confirm that during the present war, as has been the case in every war since World War II, gay discharges have fallen during the conflict and then increased during peacetime. However, prior to Waldron's acknowledgment, official spokespersons often denied that the military intentionally sends gays to fight despite the existence of a gay ban.
Also see the Blend post, Gays OK when the recruiting runs dry.


Diary reveals vote tally for Pope



When Ratzi was voted in after JPII kicked it, there was a real horse race. So says a cardinal's unauthorized diary that was published Friday. (Guardian):
The anonymous diary appeared in the respected Italian political magazine Limes. The magazine said it obtained the diary from a ``trustworthy'' source it had known for years...A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, declined to comment.

In the first round of voting, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, received 47 votes and [Cardinal Jorge Mario] Bergoglio, the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, received 10. Italian cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Camillo Ruini had nine and six votes, respectively.

...Ratzinger needed 77 votes in the final round to win the necessary two-thirds majority of the 115 voting cardinals. He got 84, Bergoglio got 26, and three other cardinals also registered one vote apiece in the last round: Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi and American Cardinal Bernard Law, according to the diary.

Who the f*ck was the maniac that voted for that bastard, pedophile-hiding Cardinal Law?


This hurricane theory takes the cake


Former KPVI-TV weatherman Scott Stevens is a freakshow.

We've heard that homo decadence in NOLA was responsible for Katrina (the jury's still out on what the Right will say is the cause of Rita), or a change in the climate due to global warming, or maybe a cyclical weather pattern, but out in Pocatello, Idaho, a former weatherman knows the real reason --

Hurricane Katrina was caused by the Japanese mafia using a Russian electromagnetic generator.

So not kidding. (SeattlePI.com):
Scott Stevens' last appearance on KPVI-TV was Thursday.

His departure comes after station officials learned a link labeled "Make a Donation" on Stevens' Web site, http://www.weatherwars.info, where he expounds on his theory, opened a payment form connected to Stevens' KPVI e-mail address.

Stevens believes a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms using a Cold War-era weapon allegedly made by the Russians in 1976. The nine-year KPVI weatherman said he's received 120,000 hits on his Web site in two days, now gets about 100 e-mails a day and has 15 radio bookings in the next five days. [Do you think he might have some Freeper fans?]

"I needed more time to do everything that's been put in front of me," said Stevens, 39. "I have not been able to dedicate the 40 hours a week to this place."

Earlier this week, scientists told the Idaho Falls Post Register the theory was bogus. "It's laughable to think it (Hurricane Katrina) could have been manmade," said Rob Young, a hurricane expert at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.


School expels girl for having gay parents

First of all, I do have to say that this California lesbian couple should have checked out this Christian school for wingnuttery and intolerance before placing their child there. As a religious school, they are within their rights to set who qualifies for admission. (365gay.com):
A 14-year-old student was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians, the school's superintendent said in a letter.

Shay Clark was expelled from Ontario Christian School on Thursday.

"Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother.

Stob wrote that school policy requires that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship," The Los Angeles Times reported in Friday's edition.

Stob could not be reached for comment by the newspaper. Shay and her parents said they won't fight the ruling.

School administrators learned of the parents' relationship this week after Shay was reprimanded for talking to the crowd during a football game, Tina Clark said.

Clark and her partner have been together 22 years and have two other daughters, ages 9 and 19.
You have to ask, would the school reject a child if one of the parents was an exotic dancer, or ate shellfish and the meat of a beast with cloven hooves? Come on. What are the knuckle-draggers thinking?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Two things: 1) Congratulations to the school for standing on solid, moral, principle.
2) A BS article in that the liberal writter doesn't understand that the child can not have two parents of the same sex. The writter must understand that the child would not have been born with "parents" such as this.

"So a person can become wicked because of a choice someone else makes that they are powerless to stop? If the school wants to have a code of conduct for it's students and require them to agree to certain teachings, fine, but to punish a kid for something they are not accountable for is wrong and stupid. This kid will have enough troubles in life without so called Christians pushing her away from the thing that would give her peace."

"What about the influence on all the other students when those parents show up to school functions or just when it is found out her parents are gay?"

"This kid will have enough troubles in life without so called Christians pushing her away I didn't miss your point. I got it exactly. Your touchy-feel goodism isn't Scriptural, though. Jesus didn't condemn the harlot. He told her to go and sin no more. Paul made it perfectly clear, (see my quote from Scripture above) that you, as a Christian are not to have fellowship (eating, etc) with unGodly people. By allowing the child to remain, the Church would not be obeying Scripture by associating with the two moms. My biggest interest is in how these two dykes, of 22 years, have ACQUIRED three daughters, of less than 22 years age?"

"I think the kid certainly got educated about a certain kind of Christian. The kind that think it's a good idea to punish children for the sins of their parents. At least up to several generations."

"So we should all run background checks on the families of people we associate with? If you are running a Christian school, or any other Christian association, you should be able to control your membership. I don't condemn the girls, but I would not want my 16 year old daughter visiting their home..."

"I find it funny because in an earlier thread you said, "The Catholic School system has become a refuge for all Christians sick of the relentless PC garbage in the public school system." Why would lesbians send their children to a Christian school but as a ploy to legitimize their lifestyle? And obviously this Christian school doesn't consider them Christians so why should they give them refuge?"

"And this girl may be lost to religion for the rest of her life. I'm all for a private institution making their own rules, but it's a sad situation."

"So you can't see how students will be influenced seeing a fellow student(who they may be friends with and go to sleep overs, social functions, etc) with lesbian parents. Give me a break."

"I don't understand what influence you are concerned about. The only I can think of is that they lesbians would attempt to seduce the daughter's friends, is that what you mean? Or is it that the ki So what are the chances that this student would grow up to see homosexuality as a sin?"

"I swear, this reminds me of the case where a child was expelled because their mother was a stripper. That school was demonized by practically everybody because they see it as punishing the child. Nobody takes into the concerns of the other parents."

"These two dykes have used these innocent children to promote their agenda. The school just prevented them from using other people's"

"Seriously, were you home schooled? Do you no longer remember the social structure of schools? When word would have got out that her parents would be lesbians that is exactly going to be known for. It will be mentioned often during her tenure of a school student. THERE IS NO GOOD THAT CAN COME OUT OF HER STAYING THERE. NONE. Not for the child, and not for the school."

"There is a boy in my son's school with lesbian parents. He doesn't get teased. And another on another son's soccer team. The kids even care (and they are 14, so they understand.)"

"I fully support the school's RIGHT to refuse any student. Heck, I fully support my kid's school kicking out a few, too. I just think this girl will have a dim view of Christianity for the rest of her life. Agree with them or not, the women raising her are the girl's family and she loves them."

"Well, at least they didn't burn her at the stake."

"I'm glad the parents were punished for putting their kid in a Christian school. The two shouldn't have been allowed to get their hands on a child in the first place.
Thanks to Blender Sonda for the pointer.


Perhaps the most ridiculous column ever

Jeff "Rent Boy" Gannon has his defenders on the Right, but you will not believe who's not only sticking up for the faux journalist, but is blaming the gay left for picking on the poor little man-toy: the Washington Blade's Chris Crain. This is incredible:
Gannon, of course, made headlines earlier this year after a softball question he asked President Bush at a press briefing led members of the White House press corps to do some digging into his background. They discovered that Gannon’s legal name was Jim Guckert and the media outfit he represented, Talon News, was owned by a wealthy Bush backer and published reports severely slanted in the president’s favor.

Then things got really interesting, when liberal gay blogger John Aravosis got a tip that before entering journalism, Gannon had advertised online as a gay male escort. Gannon largely evaded questions about the claim, suggesting he merely owned the sites or provided web consultation services.

Gannon also avoided questions about his sexual orientation, leading this newspaper to report in February that he attended a gay sex party in Virginia. A week later, we apologized for the story, saying that while accurate, we had unnecessarily reported on private details of Gannon’s life that were not critical to the story.

Since then, Gannon has become a target celébre for liberal bloggers, one of a handful of shorthand symbols they use for all they see wrong with George W. Bush’s America. [Uh, yes, hypocrisy. Boinking other men for pay while railing on the evils of homosexuality and the pious purity of the Right is, perhaps, a teensy reason to point out this little issue.]

So it came as a surprise to many readers when the same Jeff Gannon showed up on the opinion pages of this gay newspaper and its affiliated publications, arguing in his debut column that liberal gay bloggers were too far on the fringe of American politics, dragging down the rest of the gay rights movement with them.

...The job of any good opinion section is to challenge readers, not just preach to the choir. For that reason, our Forum pages are open to anyone, gay and non-gay, whether or not they support the goals of the gay rights movement. [Yes, I can deal with opposing opinions, but not from a two-faced, professional GOP pole smoker that eggs on politicians that would enact legislation taking away rights from gay citizens. [The guy's a lying sack of sh*t, not a journalist. He was playing politics to advance his career on the backs of openly gay people that are taking the heat for fighting for his right to live a queer life.]

But Jeff Gannon doesn’t represent that sort of challenge. He doesn’t oppose gay equality. In fact, he confirmed just this week that he is bisexual. Even still, he is very clearly a conservative who supports the policies of the Bush administration, and that plus his headline-grabbing past has been more than enough to enrage some gay liberals.
And then, this paragraph, which indicates a large consumption of Mehlman Kool-Aid:
Our activists groups have grown quite fond of talking about the “conversations” we need to have with straight America. Well half of that conversation involves listening, not talking. And if we won’t even listen to the heretical views of our own kind, then how can we be open to one of “them”?
Gee, you regular readers of the Blend have had plenty of stories to peruse about AmTaliban nuts that have no interest in dialog. These people would prefer us dead, in "ex-gay" programs, fired from our jobs and unable to adopt or foster kids, to name a few. There's not much wiggle room for dialog.

About the only figure of note that has moderated his position at all has been Jerry Falwell, who now believes that gays are entitled to basic civil rights. I'm sure that coming close to meeting his maker had more to do with this realization, rather than any dialog with gay leaders.



In any case, Kenny, please pass Chris another glass of Kool-Aid, pour one for JimmyJeff and make a party of it.

***

Read more fresh House Blend here.


NOLA: Lower 9th Ward levee breached, possibly others

Water is pouring into the poorest section of NOLA again, with 3-8 foot surges expected from Rita yet to come. Only about 1/4" of rain has fallen; this is from the weakened levees, as the brunt of the hurricane hasn't hit.

Live pictures show a rushing torrent running over from the Mississippi River-fed canal into the Ward, it's bad.
Hurricane Rita's steady rains sent water pouring through breaches in a patched levee Friday, cascading into one of the city's lowest-lying neighborhoods in a devastating repeat of New Orleans' flooding nightmare.


Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

"Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard. "We have three significant breaches in the levee and the water is rising rapidly," he said. "At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they've grown larger."

Dozens of blocks in the Ninth Ward were under water as a waterfall at least 30 feet wide poured over and through a dike that had been used to patch breaks in the Industrial Canal levee. On the street that runs parallel to the canal, the water ran waist-deep and was rising fast. Guidry said water was rising about three inches a minute.

The impoverished neighborhood was one of the areas of the city hit hardest by Katrina's floodwaters and finally had been pumped dry before Hurricane Rita struck. Throughout Friday morning, water began rising again onto buckled homes, piles of rubble and mud-caked cars that Katrina had covered with up to 20 feet of water.

...Mitch Frazier, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said contractors were being brought in Friday morning to repair the new damage. The corps had earlier installed 60-foot sections of metal across some of the city's canals to protect against flooding and storm surges.
Clearly, that didn't do any good; in shoring up part of the canals it's likely that more pressure was shifted to weaker parts of the dike system. They can't possibly work fast enough to avert even more of a disaster.


That's it -- NOLA's the dykes' fault

Paul just put up a good one (my photo embellishments):
President Bush announced today that after an exhaustive review of the tragedy in New Orleans the primary cause has been pinpointed.

"I personally sat down and reviewed the DVD of the news footage that my staff prepared for me in the days immediately following the flooding" the president said "The cause was apparent from early on. As the newscasters kept repeating; the dykes failed."



President Bush said that this only proves that the gay and lesbian community is irresponsible. "Everyone knows that all that lesbians think about is softball, motorcycles and their Subaru cars."


Texas bus fire with evacuees on board kills as many as 24


Emergency crews investigate the scene where a bus caught fire and exploded on northbound Interstate 45, Friday, Sept. 23, in Wilmer, Texas. The bus carrying elderly evacuees from Hurricane Rita caught fire and was rocked by explosions early Friday on a gridlocked highway near Dallas, killing as many as 24 people, authorities said. The bus, with about 45 people on board, had been traveling since Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Just heartbreaking. The tragedy just keeps on coming. (KHOU):
The bus was engulfed with flames, causing a 17-mile backup on a freeway that was already heavily congested with evacuees from the Gulf Coast. By early Friday morning, the bus was reduced to a blackened, burned-out shell, surrounded by numerous police cars and ambulances.

"The early indications are this is a mechanical issue," Peritz said. "The driver did survive the accident. It's my understanding he went back on the bus several times to try to evacuate people."

Rescue crews were trying to get to passengers trapped by the flames, but multiple explosions -- apparently caused by oxygen canisters -- kept them away. "Deputies were unable to get everyone off the bus," spokesman Don Peritz said. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.

Tina Jones, a nurse from Ennis, was driving behind the bus when she saw it start to smoke and pull to the side of the road. "I saw the smoke and then there was an explosions," said Jones, who pulled over and helped treat cuts and bruises. She said she saw at least six dead bodies.

"I'll probably go home and have a good cry," she said
Thanks to Blender Paul of Paul's Rants for the pointer.


Bloggrrrl: Bye, Blue? (redux)

Shakes Sis has a good follow-up to her March post on whether it makes sense for progressives to continue supporting the Democratic Party and whether to go Green or Independent.
Why the hell are we sticking with the Dems?

I don’t know about you, but I invested time, energy, and money into the Democratic Party during the last election, and I’m not getting much of a return on my investment. In fact, lately I’ve been feeling like the party to whom I’ve been loyal for my entire life is giving me the finger.

The confirmations of Condi Rice, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Chertoff … the slow response to broaching voting accountability legislation … the passage of a measure to limit class-action lawsuits … the bankruptcy bill … the constant move toward the center … and on and on and on. I complain about the idiocy of the Dems almost as much as I do the Republicans, and I’m starting to get more than a little pissed off.

If you are, like me, a true progressive, you’re being let down by the Democrats. They can’t pull together an effective opposition, they can’t deliver a concise message, and they sell out liberal interests in a heartbeat as they make a break for a muddy middle, which they inexplicably remain convinced will help them win elections. I’m finding myself increasingly required to defend positions (such as gay rights or legal abortion)—to other Dems—that shouldn’t even be in question. And to boot, many career Dems are just as beholden to special interests as the GOP and are motivated little by the needs of the people they are meant to represent.
Good rally, Sis. I think a third party can allow some voices to rise above the focus group, poll-loving Dem establishment talking points addiction, but I think the most effective tactic is to very publicly (gay folks and allies, are you listening?) withhold raising money for and giving time to Dem candidates that refuse to publicly support progressive issues with the vigor that they ask for dough.

Money talks. Be loud about asking for our rights and sound policies -- they need our progressive dollars and foot soldiers to turn it all around. And they use the Right Wing Boogeyman to scare us into supporting them. For all the coddling and head-patting (and accepting of our money) in terms of solidarity, what do we have to show for it? Repug control of the House, the Senate and two appointees by a dumb*ss, corrupt, not-so-dry drunk president to the Supreme Court.

I don't like getting patted on the head and told to be patient while the Dem buggers have their hands out looking for cash to try to win over "soccer moms" and Joe Six Pack, playing to their fears instead of educating them. We've made it easier on Dems to suck up to these demographics than to explain that it's more relevant to their lives that corporate greed, malfeasance (and dare we say unpatriotic actions) -- Bush's "base" -- are ripping them off. That's certainly more important than a gay couple that wants to marry. The Dem establishment is too f*cking lazy and spineless.


Some worthy thought pieces

Drop by writer and blogger Leonce Gaiter's pad for some really insightful writing. He pointed me to two interesting pieces:

* MLK was Wrong: The Jewish Model, on a rethinking of the civil rights model: "We must free ourselves from the civil rights movement idea that the majority can effortlessly, or organically achieve "colorblindness." This suggests that being an Afro-American means nothing more than skin color. This is what has allowed conservatives to use the civil rights movement rhetoric AGAINST civil rights for us. The civil rights movement insisted that we were "just like" white Americans, except black. Subtly embedded in this is the idea that there's something wrong with being 'unlike.' "

* Fags and Witches, on the gay purge by the Vatican: "The Church’s hatred toward gays has nothing to do with religion. The Church is seeking to squash that which it hates. The Church and those like it consider gay men, and gay sex, the ultimate expression of “untamedness.” Thus, they cannot believe that we live in stable relationships and make good parents. To them, freedom from the strictures of heterosexual marriage means chaos and licentiousness. If you’re straight, those bonds can be replaced by the bonds of the priesthood. If you’re gay, however, no bonds are strong enough. For no voice so different from theirs can be allowed to flourish."


Pious Bill Frist -- is he going down?


Image from BlogActive.

Ol Cranky at Disenchanted Forest points out the feds are going after the Good Doctor.
Wow, the feds actually issued a subpoena to HCA related to an investigation of Bill Frist's order to unload HCA stock holdings. Frist called to unload holdings for himself, his wife and their children on June 13 (the stock peaked 6/22/05 at $58.40/share) just prior to the stock taking a 16% tumble in July. Frist claims the sudden move was an effort to avoid conflict of interest, but he'd been criticized for years for refusing to sell due to that same conflict of interest. I expect his anti-abortion rhetoric will increase substantially now that he's no longer profitting from abortions performed at his family's hospitals and his urgent need to get the repubevangelicals to forget his flip-flop on stem-cell research.
For an unbelievably keen in-depth analysis of the Cat Killer's little dealings, please surf over to Big Brass Blog for The Dark Wraith's excellent post, Questions Surround Frist Blind Trust Stock Sale. A graphic from it, showing some interesting timing (click to enlarge)...



No planning


Interstate 45 is jammed with traffic moving at 100 yards an hour.

This morning's laughably unfunny news was that all those military tanker trucks with gas to help folks stuck on the highway didn't have the right nozzles to fit civilian vehicles. I sh*t you not. How is it possible no one thought of this before they got on the road?! The Guard had to fly in a 1-inch fuel nozzle.

Really makes you want to move to a coastal city, huh? I think of the Outer Banks of NC, and the evacuation routes there. There are no seven-lane highways to get folks out. If something happened during the height of tourism season in NC, the area would be just as f*cked as what you're seeing in Houston, even with fewer people in this state out at the beach.

Never mind, of course, if NYC or DC needed to be evacuated for an unplanned event like a terrorist attack. Where's the plan? People should be asking their state officials and city governments about how ready they are for a mass evacuation for a natural or man-made disaster. I'm sure we wouldn't like the answer.

I did see a clip on the news this AM that indicated some intelligence at work in Houston. Dr. Sanjay "Papal Fluids" Gupta was interviewing an administrator at a Houston hospital that was prepping for the hurricane. This hospital had:
* generators located throughout the hospital, not just on the ground floor, where they could short out in a flood
* floodgate barriers that close off to keep out rising waters
* plenty of extra fuel to run the generators
* satellite phones so they can communicate when power goes out
* wireless communication devices like PDAs to put medical information on.

It makes you wonder why NOLA hospital administrators weren't required to think about these, given the city is below sea level.


Group flips on whether religion lets doctors refuse to inseminate lesbians


Guadalupe Benitez (right), with partner Joanne and son Gabriel, sued her doctors, saying they would not perform artificial insemination because she is gay. (John Gastaldo/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Like the pious pharmacists unwilling to fill prescriptions for birth control pills, we have doctors now ready to decline artificial insemination services to lesbians because of "religious beliefs." The California Medical Association (CMA) filed legal papers in support of two San Diego doctors who refused the services to Guadalupe Benitez on religious grounds, but they have withdrawn the brief, citing the Golden State law that treats same-sex partners as married couples. (AP):
Benitez sued the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group for discrimination after alleging doctors Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton refused to inseminate her because of her sexual orientation. She turned to another doctor outside her health plan and eventually gave birth to a son.

The clinic's doctors have argued that they should not have to treat women like Benitez because inseminating an unmarried woman contradicts their religious convictions.

Oral arguments are scheduled before the state's Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Diego on Oct. 11. The California Medical Associated wants to file a new brief arguing that neither Guadalupe Benitez's sexual orientation nor her marital status was medically relevant to whether her doctors were obliged to treat her.

...The CMA's new brief states that legal and ethical standards prohibit physicians from discriminating, but says they can refuse to perform certain procedures on religious grounds, if they refuse such treatment for all patients.


St. Pete city council candidate attacked for being white, gay


Darden Rice is having to take heat, not only because she is running in a black majority district, but because she is a lesbian. The homo-bigots came out to blast her.

The black AmTaliban comes right out in the open again. I guess the saving grace here is that it can be exposed and discussed, right? The attack on a candidate for city council, Darden Rice because she is white, is not surprising either. She is the only white candidate in a primary where fewer than 4,000 votes could decide the outcome. Black voters account for more than 54 percent of registered voters and nearly 60 percent of residents. (St. Pete Times):
A town hall meeting with City Council candidate Darden Rice turned ugly after some audience members criticized her for being white and a lesbian. The meeting, held at the Enoch Davis Center Tuesday night, attracted about 40 people. Among them was Theresa "Momma Tee" Lassiter, an outspoken city activist.

During the question-and-answer session, Lassiter asked Rice if she was gay. When Rice replied that she was, Lassiter stormed out of the building.

"I answered her question, but she didn't want to listen to what I had to say," Rice, 35, an organizer for the Sierra Club who is running for the District 6 council seat, said Wednesday. Lassiter said she didn't approve of Rice's answer. "God's not down with that," she said.

... Also in the audience at the town hall meeting were several members of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement. Group members believe a white person is unfit to represent District 6, which includes parts of downtown and Midtown and has a predominantly black population.

Karl Nurse, a Rice supporter who was in the audience, said several Uhurus shouted at Rice because of her race. One person called her family "murderers."

"This is just straight up racism, and I don't think we should roll over for it," Nurse said. "It's evil. It's a very offensive argument."
Just about every community has a self-styled, self-important community "activist" like "Momma Tee" Lassiter, who adds nothing to attempts to problem-solve, spending time showing up at community meetings and exacerbating race relation problems (both real and imagined), stroking their own egos for attention. Heaping the anti-gay nonsense onto the fire is the latest divisive tactic. It's sad, and leaves all parties feeling defensive and more embattled.

It should be noted that Lassiter has been used in the past by Lockheed Martin to serve as a "community liaison" to conduct a smear and harassing campaign against whistleblowing government workers on behalf of the defense giant. Why does that not surprise me either. Sigh.

Whatever real tensions that exist in St. Pete won't be addressed until all sides can communicate in a civil manner about hard topics -- and misunderstandings that perpetuate the tensions. There is common ground to be found by all people that want to build a community, but it's not going to happen with flamethrowing like this.


Dumping of L.A. homeless suspected



This sounds like our country's plan for dealing with the ills of society -- dump it in a corner and hide it away, you know, corral it all on skid rows and in ghettos and let "losers" fend for themselves along with the criminal element. That's how it's being done in L.A. (and likely, many other cities). (LA Times):
For decades, it's been an enduring urban tale about downtown Los Angeles, often talked about but never proved: Police departments wanting to get rid of society's lost and neglected — the homeless, mentally ill and criminals — simply drove through downtown and dumped them in skid row. But on Tuesday, evidence landed in the lap of the person who most needed it: Capt. Andrew Smith, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division.

Smith said he was out on patrol with his partner about 10 a.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Los Angeles County sheriff's car driving down 6th Street. The cruiser, he said, turned south on San Pedro, then west on 7th Street to San Julian Street. There, Smith watched in disbelief as two deputies "pulled over, took a guy in handcuffs out of the car. They took off the cuffs and handed him a bag," Smith said.

The captain and his partner immediately got out of their car and questioned the man and the deputies. Smith said the deputies told him that the man had been released from the Men's Central Jail and was standing outside on the street when a supervisor ordered them to take the man to a downtown mission.

"But there was no mission nearby," Smith said. "Only a line of guys sitting on milk crates."

...To the captain, the incident reaffirmed what he believes has been going on downtown for years. Other police agencies, Smith said, and even some hospitals, "are dumping homeless, drunks, narcotic addicts and the criminal population into the downtown area…. We're fed up with it," he said.
And yes, it seems like police departments from more tony locales are doing it...it's easy just to dump the small-time dealers, junkies and other criminal elements into the urban areas, where they can terrorize citizens there. And lo and behold, then it's also easy to later point fingers at these neighborhoods and demonize the whole population of black and brown people as criminals as the more gated-away well-to-do blame the victims for their own ills of living in a ghetto.
Sheriff's officials deny that the deputies were trying to keep Harris downtown or prevent him from going back to Long Beach.

But LAPD officials and downtown community leaders aren't so sure. They have long been concerned about the possibility of dumping by other agencies — so much so that for several months, officers patrolling downtown have been under orders to stop and question any out-of-town police car they see cruising the area.

Smith said they enacted the policy after his officers reported seeing police cars from far-flung communities in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and South Bay letting people off in downtown.
No one is saying that these problems aren't complicated (and expensive) to solve, but this is clearly not the answer. It was thrust upon us during the aftermath of Katrina in NOLA, when it was clear what happens when you concentrate the criminal element with those that cannot afford to wall themselves -- or drive themselves -- away from it.


So many lessons to learn in evacuation planning

Thursday, September 22, 2005


A Houston resident waits on the road to Dallas as thousands in cars evacuate ahead of Hurricane Rita in north Houston September 22, 2005. Evacuees jammed Texas highways and Louisiana braced for its second major hurricane in less than a month as Rita roared through the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday toward the center of the U.S. oil industry. The path of Rita, downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane when its winds fell to 145 mph, shifted northward and appeared to be headed slightly east of Galveston and Houston, the National Hurricane Center said. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

This is piss-poor planning in Houston, as it was in NOLA, just different mistakes. What brainiac waited until today to open both sides of the highway for outbound traffic? One report had it taking ten hours to go six miles. It's a mandatory evacuation you dumb*sses. You've got people sitting in bus terminals with no way out, and drivers running out of gas in 14-hour traffic jams.

CNN just announced (9:32 PM) that the Mayor of Houston, Bill White has urged people that have not yet left to stay home rather than getting caught in the traffic.

On the air travel front, Houston, we have a problem.
Mayor Bill White says most of the airport's federal Transportation Security Administration personnel didn't show up for work today. Those are the security people, including the ones that screen passengers. White says the loss of those essential workers means delays for travelers of possibly four or five hours.
If states don't work on better planning after these two disasters, citizens will just assume that we're on our own.


More faith-based BS: School Readiness Act allows gays to be fired

This is more of the AmTaliban agenda rolling through, opening the door to all kinds of discriminatory nonsense by employers. An Ohio winger tacked on the provision, which is backed by the White House. (365gay.com):
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed an extension of the Head Start early childhood program but an amendment added at the last minute could put the jobs of LGBT education workers at risk.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, aims at improving teacher quality in preschool programs. About 900,000 preschoolers from low income families currently take part Head Start. The extension passed Thursday seeks to increase that to more than 1 million.

The School Readiness Act, which is backed by the White House, passed 231-184 with most Democrats and a handful of Republicans voting against it after an amendment was added that would allow taxpayer funded faith-based organizations to discriminate in employment.



The amendment put forward by Rep. John Boehner (R Ohio) will allow faith-based Head Start providers to hire exclusively on the basis of adherence to a particular religion. The provision could allow an employer to use "religion" as a proxy to fire a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Head Start teacher. The amendment also threatens to override local and state nondiscrimination laws that protect workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The White House backed the amendment to the bill, saying it would protect religious groups from having to "forfeit their religious hiring autonomy."

During debate, Rep. Maxine Waters (D Cal) called the amendment divisive. "A faith-based initiative has no place in Head Start. Don't start the resegregation of America."


Wingnut Lou Sheldon unhinged by 'Stealth Homosexual Hate Crimes Bill'


How can anyone take this lunatic seriously?

Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is a whack job who's a little slow on the uptake. He missed the news about the House passing a hate crimes act in a bipartisan vote last week, and he's hopping mad.

The homo agenda, it seems, slipped one in on him. Muuwahahahahahahaha...his hysteria is over the f*cking top!
While the nation’s attention was focused on the Judge John Roberts confirmation hearing and on aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina, pro-homosexual forces in the U.S. House of Representatives snuck through a pro-homosexual hate crimes bill by attaching it to legislation designed to protect children from sexual predators.

Democratic Congressman John Conyers (MI) attached as an amendment, the homosexual hate crimes bill known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act to the Children’s Safety Act (H.R. 3132) last Wednesday. See how your Congressman voted: GovTrack: H.R. 3132: Children's Safety Act of 2005 Pro-family groups had no prior notice that this was happening.

... the hate crimes law will add “sexual orientation,” “gender,” and “gender identity” to federally protected categories. “Gender identity” is code for transgenders (individuals who think they are the opposite sex, cross-dressers, or drag queens.) If passed, this legislation will provide federal protection for homosexual behavior, placing anal intercourse on a par with race or religion. It will also be used to normalize drag queens, cross-dressers, transsexuals, and she/males (individuals who choose to remain female from the waist up and male from the waist down with the help of hormones).

...This Kennedy-inspired bill is a threat to free speech, freedom of religion, and association. Homosexuality is a behavior, not a fixed identity. It is similar to smoking or drug use, not an immutable characteristic like race or ethnicity. There are no “former” Hispanics or Caucasians, but there are ex-homosexuals. The existence of ex-homosexuals is clear evidence that homosexuality is behavior-based, not an unchangeable characteristic. It should not receive special minority rights protections in federal law.

The persecution of pastors, therapists, and others will be inevitable if the Kennedy hate crimes legislation is passed.
There we go with the "persecution of Christians" meme again. The Freepi are frustrated that it's in a bill that they like.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Talk about a poison pill. If it doesn't pass they can claim that "Republicans are soft on sexual predators.""

"They just keep getting what they want."

"Too bad they wont prosecute the homosexuals, since they must hate themselves to be that way in the first place."

"Hit their pocketbook and they'll take notice. What this country calls "leadership" is no more than a sick group of pansies. I truly hope every Represenative who voted for it gets anal intercoursed for their vote."

"Now this is downright nasty."

"Time to communicate with those who have some influence with the clowns in DC. I want to know how many Republicans voted for this knowingly. It must be taken off the final bill or President Bush has to veto it, or it's all over but the shouting."

"It's not stealth if we all know about it."

"Do we all know about it?"

"And, who is responsible for the failure of any advanced noticed on this? The party that controls the House?"

"Freep the GOP Reps who voted "aye" on special rights for gays"

"In regards to our last debate about the murdered transvestite: Looks like your soluton of punching the guy in the nose will now become a federal crime. Now these perverts will basically get a free pass to trick drunken men into sodomy."

"Giant waste of time writing and calling senators. Didn't they pass this in the previous senate and house never took it up? If it has passed the house, it will sail through this senate. We can sit home in '06 and put the ones who voted for this out of a job, but there won't be anybody to vote for to replace them. Don't think they don't know it.
And here are some Freeper reactions to the original news, "U.S. House backs hate crime measure protecting gays."
"I had better get this off my chest now. Against nature, queer, fag, abomination!"

"If I state that I believe homosexuality to be abnormal and an abomination can I be jailed for hate speech? If I say a two parent heterosexual marriage is superior for raising children can I be jailed?"

"When do they start jailing my pastors for reading from the Bible?"

"Homosexuality is a fetish, not a lifestyle."

"ChiMark you are a homophobe and I support you! Here in MA gays have rights over and above the MAJORITY, what happened to MAJORITY RULES? MA is already okaying sodomy, gay marriage is legal here."

"I don't think Bush will sign anything like that."

"I didn't think a Pubbie-led House would pass it either."

"

So posting the above picture could soon be a federal "hate crime"?
Oh, give me a break..."

"This is BAD, BAD, BAD. Very, very bad. I am disgusted. The House has stood up to this vileness for some time even though the good ol' boys in the Senate kept shoving it at them. Now the principle-less so-called Republicans have surrendered without a shot being fired. I am steamed, angered, sickened, repulsed, and we need to email, write, call President Bush. He has to veto this. Has to."

"Yea. I can't believe I'm reading this story. Guess they had to one up the Judge that threw God out of the pledge today."



So Many People, So Few Buses


(or, "Hortense Hears a Who WTF?")

From the Hurricane Rita blog at the Houston Chronicle:
Hortense Davis is waiting at the Houston Greyhound station for a bus that may not be coming.

The 73-year-old woman called the Red Cross today to find out what she should do about the storm. She said she was told to go to the bus station and tell them she had no money and needs to get out of the city.

"But when I got here, they said they couldn't help me," she said. "So now I'm just sitting here."

Davis is trying to evacuate to Lufkin because she is scared hurricane Rita is going to causing major flooding in Houston.

"I'm stuck here," she said. "I don't have anywhere else to go."

Hundreds of people packed the downtown Greyhound station tonight hoping to get a ticket to safety.

Carolyn Rivera, 62, said she bought a bus ticket to Dallas today, but when she arrived at the station she discovered all the buses were filled. So she called her daughter and the two women plan to drive to Arkansas tonight.

"There are so many people and so few buses," she said.

Rivera said she has been through two hurricanes and numerous tropical storms, but Rita has her worried.

"I think this one is going to be stronger than those others," she said.
Don't worry, Hortense, every thing will be okey-dokey fine and dandy. I mean, Bush isn't on vacation during this hurricane, and even the coke-addled brain of a dry drunk can remember and understand cause and effect with only four weeks' gap from Katrina. Besides, the governor of Texas is a Republican and... uh, oh, the mayor, Bill White, is a popular Democrat! Run for the hills, Hortense!


I smell an AmTaliban Amazon boycott in the air...


Woohoo! I hope the wingers waste precious time and effort on trying to punish Amazon, since it won't have any impact. These folks are just tired and looking silly (and besides, we all know they are buying and using those toys anyway. (AgapePress):
Sex sells -- so perhaps that's why retail Internet pioneer Amazon has quietly expanded its offerings of "adult sex products" over the past few months. That observation comes from eMarketer.com -- which also wonders if the addition of the new product category under "Health and Personal Care" will be tolerated by Amazon regulars like Toys R Us and Tommy Hilfiger. An Amazon spokeswoman apparently has no problems with the online company's bid to become perhaps the largest sex-toy store in the world. "It is just another of our selections for customers in all categories," Patty Smith tells Financial Times. "Whatever you want to buy, you would be able to find it on Amazon." The retailer's expansion into the arena of sex products has gone relatively unnoticed, says another report. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Amazon added the new product category "with zero fanfare and zero marketing -- and zero apparent intolerant outcry."


Is that a gun in your pocket?



An actual NOAA image. AmTaliban sheeple, avert your eyes, those Red Gulf States look like they really are going to be f*cked in more ways than one.

This reminds me of the "Penis or L.A. County" post.



Thanks, Holly for the pointer (from AmericaBlog).


Amnesty Int'l: alarming police abuse of LGBT community in U.S.

"The police are not here to serve; they are here to get served…every night I'm taken into an alley and given the choice between having sex or going to jail."
-- Amnesty International interview with a Native American transgender woman, Los Angeles
Several Blenders sent this one in; it's the release of an Amnesty International's report, Stonewalled: Police abuse and misconduct against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S..

The findings are not news to a lot of people, especially gay folks living in hostile Red areas of the country. (via PageOneQ)
In the most comprehensive report of its kind to date, Amnesty International (AI) reveals that police mistreatment and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is widespread throughout the USA and goes largely unchecked due to underreporting and unclear, under-enforced or non-existent policies and procedures.

"Across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people endure the injustices of discrimination, entrapment and verbal abuse as well as brutal beatings and sexual assault at the hands of those responsible for protecting them ­ the police," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).

"Some, including transgender individuals, people of colour and the young suffer disproportionately, especially when poverty leaves them vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation and less likely to draw public outcry or official scrutiny.

"It is a sorry state of affairs when the police misuse their power to inflict suffering rather than prevent it," he added.

..."Police officers are hired to protect and serve all of their communities, not only the ones they deem worthy," said Michael Heflin, Director of Amnesty International USA's OUTfront program, which focuses on LGBT human rights.
Some examples from the report:
* A Native American transgender woman reported that two Los Angeles police officers handcuffed her and took her to an alleyway. One officer reportedly hit her across the face, saying "you fucking whore, you fucking faggot," then threw her down on the back of the patrol car, ripped off her miniskirt and her underwear and raped her, holding her down and grabbing her hair. The second officer is also alleged to have raped her. According to the woman, they threw her on the ground and said, "That's what you deserve," and left her there.

* Two lesbians of colour reported that two men in Brooklyn, NY, followed, harassed and threatened them, saying, "I'm going to kill you, bitch. You’re not a man….I’m gonna put you in your place." The verbal abuse escalated to physical abuse; the two women called 911. When police were told this was a homophobic crime, the officers reportedly left without further investigating the incident or taking a complaint, telling the ambulance attendants responding to the women’s call to leave. One woman reportedly was bleeding from the head due to a blow from one of the men. Her companion stated, "It was ridiculous. There she was running down the street bleeding and chasing after the ambulance."

* Young gay men and advocates in Chicago told Amnesty of a police officer who, according to one man, will "remove his badge, gun and belt and then beat you unless you give him a blowjob, after which he’ll just leave you there."


The Vatican's got to pay the bills somehow...



Bishop admits church has received drug money. Where's the bible-beating crackdown, Ratzi?
A Mexican bishop has admitted that the local Catholic church receives donations from drug traffickers, but claimed these are "purified" through good works.

Bishop Ramón Godínez said "bad money shouldn't be burned it should be transformed". He said the church should ignore the origins of donations just as Jesus showed no curiosity about the expensive perfume Mary Magdalene used to wash his feet.

Government officials have said that receiving illicit money is illegal, but shied away from opening a money laundering investigation into the church.
Yes, it should be transformed into legal fees and settlements, pronto, hmmm?

Hat tip, Mike Tidmus


Ready for $5 gas?


On the bright side, perhaps the lack of digits for the gas station signs will force companies to start measuring and dispensing gasoline by the liter, and we can finally join the rest of the world in adopting the common sense and standardization of the Metric System. Well, maybe not. Imagine pulling up at the pump where the sign says "$1.25", only to find out that was "per liter" and your fill-up just cost $100.
(CNN/Money) Katrina damage was focused on offshore oil platforms and ports. Now the greater risk is to oil-refinery capacity, especially if Rita slams into Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas.

"We could be looking at gasoline lines and $4 gas, maybe even $5 gas, if this thing does the worst it could do," said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover. "This storm is in the wrong place. And it's absolutely at the wrong time," said Beutel.

If Rita hits the Houston-Galveston area, as well as the Port Arthur-Beaumont region near the Texas-Louisiana border, that could take out more than 3 million barrels of capacity a day, according to Bob Tippee, editor of the industry trade journal Oil & Gas Journal in Houston.

"Before Katrina, the system was already so tight that the worst-case scenario was for a disruption that took 250,000 barrels of capacity out of the picture. That would have been considered a major jolt," said Tippee.

"We're already in uncharted territory now. We can't project what happens from another shot the size of Katrina or worse."
Some loonie American Taliban think God is punishing us for our sinful, decadent ways, like homosexuality, pornography, and abortion. They could be right, but perhaps the sins God is thinking of are remaining dependent on foreign sources of oil, propping up cruel dictatorships so we can keep getting the oil, and dirtying up His magnificent creation by not developing clean alternative fuels.

(But since I'm an atheist, I prefer to think that this is just our global warming chickens coming home to roost. Except, of course, global warming doesn't exist... heh heh...)


NJ: both candidate for governor oppose marriage amendment


Forrester and Corzine are dodging.

That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that both Doug Forrester (R) and Jon Corzine (D) oppose same-sex marriage and won't say what they would do if the courts ruled that the right to marry extends to gay couples. Do I smell a spineless Dem -- AGAIN -- punting on gay civil rights? (Newsday):
In a debate Tuesday, gubernatorial candidates Doug Forrester and Jon Corzine found common ground on the issue. Both said they oppose same-sex marriage, but that they would oppose a constitutional amendment banning it.

Their positions could be tested next year, when the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on a lawsuit from several same-sex couples who claim the state Constitution gives them a right to marry. Arguments have not been scheduled in the case and are likely to be heard sometime after the Nov. 8 election.

In the debate, both candidates gave a nuanced and nearly identical view on gay marriage.

From Corzine, a Democrat: "I believe (that) the fundamental and traditional view of marriage is between a man and a woman. On the other hand, I don't believe constitutions are about taking away rights. That's why I wouldn't have supported an amendment in the federal government and I won't support one in New Jersey."

From Forrester, a Republican: "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that a constitutional amendment isn't the right tool to make that defense."

When pressed for clarifications on Wednesday, the campaigns had little to say.

Lower courts have twice held that gay couples do not have the right to marry in New Jersey, but court-watchers on both sides of the issue think there's a good chance the state Supreme Court will overturn those rulings.

Wednesday, Corzine spokeswoman Ivette Mendez said she would not answer questions about what Corzine would do in that case, saying they were "hypothetical." [So, he just has no opinion on the matter? Come the f*ck on.]

Forrester spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester said Forrester believes the gay marriage decision should be made by elected lawmakers, not appointed judges. And if judges allowed same-sex matrimony, she said, he would "take any steps to return the debate to the Legislature, where he believes the decision should be made."


Give this man his own Klan sheet

I'm just going to toss this one out there, because here is the New Black Right, laid out for all to see. From WorldNetDaily - the Delusional Bush/Mehlman Self-Loathing NegroTM, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny:

If whites were to just leave the United States and let blacks run the country, they would turn America into a ghetto within 10 years. The audience, shall we say, disagreed with me strongly. Now I have to disagree with me. I gave blacks too much credit. It took a mere three days for blacks to turn the Superdome and the convention center into ghettos, rampant with theft, rape and murder.

President Bush is not to blame for the rampant immorality of blacks. Had New Orleans' black community taken action, most would have been out of harm's way. But most were too lazy, immoral and trifling to do anything productive for themselves.
He's spouted sh*t like this before, most recently here. He goes on to blame blacks generally, and Mayor Nagin in particular. I agree that Nagin was a moron who lacked the will to do anything for the underprivileged in his city, but it isn't because he's black, which is dumb*ss Peterson's argument, it's because Nagin cannot identify with someone that can't get a ride out of town because of classism.

Anyway, most of the rest of Peterson's essay is so offensive that I won't post any more of it. White power to you, "brother," pass the Kool-Aid.

From the Klan store, Jesse (no, I'm not going to link back to it):
This is an authentic Klan Robe complete with hood, mask, cape, belt and stripes!

Each robe is tailored made, by hand to your exact specifications. No rack room products small, medium, and large here! These robes are not made until your order is completed. This assures a custom fit for you, and no one else. You choose the color and number of stripes, and you choose the color of the cape. Most places that you can have robes made (which is very few and sold as a novelty) wont even give you the stripes or cape, much less sew them on!. Here at Klan Store not only will we do this, but we’ll even sew on any patch that you purchase from us (MIOAK, Blood Drop, etc) at no additional charge!



The maker of these fine robes is a professional tailor, and is rumored to be third generation Klan, (you’ll get no straight answer from Klan Store about that subject) so you can just image the high quality of these custom, hand tailored robes.

The shipment time on this product, due to the custom tailoring for each individual, will be approximately 6-8 weeks. Please remember, that these are not made until you complete your order, so it will be custom fit.

Please print out the Measurement Chart (the picture to the top right) to use as a guide while measuring each reference point.

Note: ALL MEASUREMENTS MUST BE DONE IN U.S. INCHES.

Each Point is as follows:
Do you want the mask portion of hood to be detachable? - Yes or No
Do you wear glasses? - Yes or No
Do you want an extra lining added to the inside of robe? - Yes or No
Hood size - Circumference of Head
Point 1 to Point 2 - From Neck to 8 inches above Shoe
Point 3 to Point 4 - Across Back Shoulders
Point 5 to Point 6 - Diameter around Waist
Point 7 to Point 8 - Diameter around Hips
Point 9 to Point 10 - Shoulder to Wrist
Point 11 to Point 12 - Right Shoulder to Left Hip
Point 13 to Point 14 - Diameter around Chest

While we're at it, let's give minister Peterson extra bigot points for his anti-gay and anti-feminist outlook on life.
It should come as no surprise that the homosexual lobby has launched a campaign to use black America for its pernicious purpose of promoting same-sex "marriage." Blacks have proven time and again to be a useful tool in promoting the sick desires of black leaders, the Democratic Party and the elite white feminist movement (yes, most feminists are upper-class angry white women) – why shouldn't radical homosexuals continue the trend?

If we fail at this time to expose the homosexual movement and its malicious goals, then its agenda will carry the day. Thus, we must clarify what is at stake in its argument, and why it must be strongly opposed.
Yes, a true moral leader -- and man of the cloth.


You may have to remove the 'dry' from dry drunk

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Bruise from the "pretzel choke incident."
"The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him - but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months. The war in Iraq, the loss of American lives, has deeply affected him. He takes every soldier's life personally. It has left him emotionally drained. The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope.And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."
-- unnamed Washington source about the Chimperor falling off the wagon
Oh boy. Blender Cat pointed me to this National Enquirer piece on the Chimp being back on the sauce. Normally, of course, people dismiss the Enquirer because they pay sources, but more often than not, its reporting on high-profile people turns out to be true, particularly regarding politicians (Clinton/Lewinsky, Gary Hart/Donna Rice) and celebrities (Whitney Houston and cocaine) -- and just about anyone that's been outed. It's just that the MSM won't touch the stories because they cannot get anyone to go on the record or get independent verification. What do you think -- BS or the real deal?
Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal. Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.


U.S. President George W. Bush (R) and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan share a toast at a luncheon at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, September 14, 2005.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

...Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!"



...Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink.

...Another source said: "I'm only surprised to hear that he hadn't taken a shot sooner. Before Katrina, he was at his wit's end. I've known him for years. He's been a good ol' Texas boy forever. George had a drinking problem for years that most professionals would say needed therapy. He doesn't believe in it [therapy], he never got it. He drank his way through his youth, through college and well into his thirties. Everyone's drinking around him."



Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is 'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of gatekeeper."

Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, told The National Enquirer: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."
See this earlier Blend post about Justin Frank's book, which I've read. If even a fraction of what he says is on the mark, we'll be lucky to survive the next few years before the psycho is finally out of power.

Gawker and Wonkette also give some time to this one.


No end to the corruption in this Administration

Dave Sirota on the criminal Bush Admin's protection of the oil companies as they pick your pockets. Expect more when they come crying to him after Rita takes out some of their resources:
Good news: Democratic governors have embarrassed the federal government into acknowledging the oil price gouging issue, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a formal probe.

Bad news: President Bush made sure to preempt any real investigation into price gouging by his financial backers in the oil/gas industry when last year he appointed a former ChevronTexaco lawyer, Deborah Majoras, to head the FTC.

Some would argue that any investigation - no matter how rigged - is better than no investigation. But, then, I'm not so sure, especially when we inevitably see in a few weeks an oil-industry-written FTC report that gives a government stamp of approval to oil industry profiteering.

Some would argue that any investigation - no matter how rigged - is better than no investigation. But, then, I'm not so sure, especially when we inevitably see in a few weeks an oil-industry-written FTC report that gives a government stamp of approval to oil industry profiteering.


Lynndie England 'did it for love'



Pathetic. Her boyfriend, the sadist bastard Graner, is doing 10 years in prison -- and get this -- he's since married another woman that was Graner to ten years in prison earlier this year, and get this -- since his incarceration he has married another woman who pleaded guilty in the scandal.

I just don't want to hear any more about "depraved" gay folks being ruled by their "impulses" from the bible beaters.
Isolated amid the chaos and often bizarre life inside Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Lynndie England posed in now notorious abuse photographs because she loved and trusted the scandal ringleader, her lawyer said at the start of her court-martial.



England, 22, who was pictured holding a leash to a naked Iraqi prisoner, was lured into posing for the photographs that caused worldwide outrage by Charles Graner, the father of her baby, said military attorney Capt. Jonathan Crisp.

"What mattered to her was her relationship to Corp. Graner," said Crisp, who added that Graner was her superior officer, was 14 years older than England and had worked as a prison guard.

"She thinks: 'I love him, he loves me, he's not going to do something to hurt me,'" Crisp said in opening arguments.

The Army reservist faces a maximum penalty of 11 years in jail if convicted on all seven counts on charges of conspiracy, maltreatment of subordinates and indecent acts.
See earlier Blend post, Lynndie England pleads guilty, and surprise - top brass get away


Florida school settles lesbian tuxedo dustup

"I’m just relieved it’s over and that no other student in Clay County will have to go through the embarrassment, humiliation and frustration I went through. I hope the new policies will help the faculty understand it’s their responsibility to intervene when kids are being picked on because they’re gay or because they don't meet society’s stereotype of how they are supposed to look or act."
-- openly gay student Kelli Davis, whose picture was rejected as "unfeminine" by the principal of Fleming Island High
Back in February I blogged about Kelli Davis, a senior at a Florida's Fleming Island High (with 4.0 grade point average) who committed the heinous act of wearing a tux instead of the traditional frou-frou femme outfit for her HS yearbook picture.

Her principal wigged out and rejected the above cute photo.

Kelli, who is now a student at the University of South Florida, and her HS agreed to settle -- with a great outcome. A big thumbs up to Kelli for standing up for her rights! (365gay.com):
A Florida school district has settled a discrimination claim by a lesbian student whose picture was removed from the yearbook because she was wearing "boy's clothes".

The dispute arose in February when Principal Sam Ward of Fleming Island High School ordered the picture removed when he was proof reading the year book before it went to press.

...The county school board and its superintendent backed the decision, which was debated at a School Board meeting attended by about 200 people. Fifteen of the 24 people who spoke at the meeting were in favor of Davis and nine supported the principal's decision.

Davis contacted LGBT civil rights groups and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a demand letter to the school threatening a lawsuit.

In the settlement agreement, the school board agreed to change its senior portrait policy, add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy for both students and teachers, distribute a copy of the new non-discrimination policy to all secondary school students, provide annual non-discrimination training that includes sexual orientation to all faculty and staff, and provide diversity training that includes sexual orientation to all junior high and high school students in the district.


JetBlue with crippled landing gear successfully lands



9:18 -- he's trying to land right now...the back wheels are down. Now the front tires are burning up as it slows down and it's coming to a stop safely; the front gear didn't collapse. Good night. That was scary. The passengers are coming off of the plane through the front door normally. (CNN):
A JetBlue airliner with its front landing gear stuck sideways safely landed Wednesday, balancing on its back wheels as it slowed on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.


Anne Heche unloads on 'ex-gay'-promoting mom


Her daughter may be an alien, but Dr. Nancy Heche, a counselor and psychotherapist, is a homo-bigot.

I hesitated about posting something about this because there was no way to tell that the message was indeed from the actress, but the story seems to have made it onto the news sites now, so someone must have verified it's Anne.

Anne Heche's board has a post by the actress blasting her mom and the "ex-gay" movement. Nancy Heche has been traveling in the James Dobson 'ex-gay' roadshow known as Love Won Out, telling audiences that the power of prayer made Anne "go straight." Thank goodness Anne came out of her mental fog to set the record straight -- pun intended.
This post is meant to address a couple of questions some people have about my mother, Ellen and me. I realize that the break up with Ellen made a lot of people feel many things, but hopefully this will help you have more of an understanding of it.

Ellen and I had a three and a half year relationship that ended sadly, not because we were both women, but because we both wanted different things for our lives.

This NONSENSE about my mother praying for me is really making me angry. My mother never approved of my relationship with Ellen. Her hatred for our relationship is one of the many things that ultimately led to my breaking off all communication with her. (My mother, that is, not Ellen.)

The "Ex-gay" events that are going on right now make me sick. The fact that my mother is using my name to promote this movement makes me even sicker. I could not disagree more adamanty with what she and her group of unloving, unaccepting, Bible preaching hate mongers are doing. I do not believe that homosexuality is something that should be brainwashed out of someone. I do not believe that homosexuality should be anything but celebrated if that is the thing that makes an individual feel good about their life. I believe, as I have always said, that people should love who they want to love.

And for anyone who ever thought that Ellen and I broke it off becuase of sexuality, you couldn't be more mistaken. And for anyone who thought my mother's prayers had anything to do with me marrying a man, forget it. I can safely say that my mother has nothing to do with any decision I make. It has always disturbed me the way religion can twist something to make people feel badly about themselves. Isn't a loving heart an accepting, caring heart? Certainly my mother has never been "loving." But that's just my humble opinion.

Anne
It should be noted that Nancy's husband secretly lived a gay life during their marriage. He died from complications due to AIDS.

See this other Blend post on Nancy Heche.

Hat tips to Jennifer of ReddTurtle and Jeremy of Good As You.


Rita's a nightmare 5



This is so f*cking bad, from just about any point of view you can imagine. The human toll, the possible wiping of cities clear off the map, the political nightmare for this Administration.

I don't want to get petty, but damn, I have to agree with John at AmericaBlog: "Why does God hate George Bush, Tom Delay and Rick Perry?" Where are all the bible-beaters now?
Gaining strength with frightening speed, Hurricane Rita swirled toward the Gulf Coast a Category 5, 165-mph monster Wednesday as more than 1.3 million people in Texas and Louisiana were sent packing on orders from authorities who learned a bitter lesson from Katrina.

...With Rita projected to hit Texas by Saturday, Gov. Rick Perry urged residents along the state's entire coast to begin evacuating. And New Orleans braced for the possibility that the storm could swamp the misery-stricken city all over again.

Galveston, low-lying parts of Corpus Christi and Houston, and mostly emptied-out New Orleans were under mandatory evacuation orders as Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys and began drawing energy with terrifying efficiency from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Between 2 a.m. and 4 p.m., it went from a 115-mph Category 2 to a 165-mph Category 5.

Forecasters said Rita could be the most intense hurricane on record ever to hit Texas, and easily one of the most powerful ever to plow into the U.S. mainland. Category 5 is the highest on the scale, and only three Category 5 hurricanes are known to have hit the U.S. mainland - most recently, Andrew, which smashed South Florida in 1992.

By late afternoon, Rita was centered more than 700 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. Forecasters predicted it would come ashore along the central Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi. But with its breathtaking size - tropical storm-force winds extending 350 miles across - practically the entire western end of the Gulf Coast was in peril, and even a slight rightward turn could prove devastating to the fractured levees protecting New Orleans.

...Galveston, a city of 58,000 on a coastal island 8 feet above sea level, was the site of one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history: an unnamed hurricane in 1900 that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people and practically wiped the city off the map.
Shakes Sis pointed to a Reuters story that reminds you that if you thought Katrina was bad re: short supplies of gas, wait until Rita takes its toll on oil rigs along the Gulf near the Lone Star state -- and the refineries, the lack of which has been declared the "official" reason gas prices have spiked over the last year (price gouging, what's that?):
Valero Energy Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Greehey said Hurricane Rita's impact on U.S. crude oil production and refining could be a "national disaster."

"If it hits the refineries, and we're short refining capacity, you're going to see gasoline prices well over $3.00 a gallon at the pump," Greehey said in a Tuesday night interview.

..."It's going to be coming across the (U.S.) Gulf (of Mexico)," Greehey said. "There's a lot of oil platforms, oil rigs, (natural) gas platforms, gas rigs. It could have a significant impact on supply and prices, and then, depending on what it does to the refineries, there are still four refineries that are shut down. So this really is a national disaster."

Map of strike area and where oil refineries and rigs are. Click to enlarge. (CNN)


Soulforce board member attacked


Photo of Paul Dodd recently speaking out against the Texas constitutional amendment that would discriminate against GLBT people. He was beaten by two men in his apartment.

House Blender Kathy sent me this release from Soulforce, the gay answer to the religious right run by Mel White (former ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson). It's sad news to see violence against Paul Dodd, a member of an organization that has a mission to work for "freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance."
Soulforce board member Paul Dodd was attacked in his apartment in Austin, Texas, Tuesday night, September 20, by two men who beat him severly. Though evidence points to this being a hate-crime, police are continuing to investigate.

Paul is currently hospitalized. Though his physicians say his injuries are not life threatening, stitches were needed to close deep gashes in his face.

Soulforce staff member Jeff Lutes is with Paul in the hospital and will report as he hears directly from Paul's doctors.

Besides being a Soulforce board member and a front lines activist in our attempt to Stop Spiritual Violence against GLBT people, Paul, a former Army Chaplain, is also an active member of the Service Members Legal Defense Network's Honorary Board.


Report torches Philly Archdiocese for abuse cover up

"The evidence is clear. This reaches the top -- the very top of our archdiocese. Regrettably, the perpetrators of these crimes and the people that protected them will never face the penalties they deserve."
-- Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham
More sickness in the Catholic church, this time in the City of Brotherly Love, where heinous abuse was covered up yet again. I'm sure Ratzi, with his newfound sense of morality, will get right down to the bottom of this -- after he's through with homo purges at the semenaries. (NYT):
Leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese including two cardinals concealed sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests for four decades, a grand jury has found, but no criminal charges can be brought against the church or its clergy because of the limits of state law.


Depraved criminals Krol and Bevilacqua.

The grand jury, convened more than three years ago, issued a scathing report Wednesday that documents assaults by more than 60 priests. It also alleges a cover up by the late Cardinal John Krol, archbishop of Philadelphia from 1961-88, and his successor Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who retired in 2003.

"To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits -- while keeping abusive priests active -- the cardinals and their aides hid the priests' crimes from parishioners, police and the general public," the report said.

The grand jury explored the possibility of charges against the archdiocese, but said the organization can't be prosecuted because it is an unincorporated association rather than a corporation.

"Archdiocese leaders have endangered and harmed children in parishes and schools by keeping known abusers in ministry and transferring discovered abusers to assignments where parents and potential victims are unaware of the priests' sexual" behavior, the report said.

The report names 63 priests "whose abusive behavior was well-documented in archdiocese files and by witnesses who testified" before the grand jury.

Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham convened the grand jury investigation in April 2002 amid the nationwide scandal following the disclosure of widespread abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. In the Philadelphia area, church officials have said that 44 priests had been "credibly" accused of sexual assaults since the 1950s but only one priest in the archdiocese has been indicted.
Thanks to House Blender and Julien's List contributor Holly for the pointer.


Take those homo mags out of the library

"Our children coming into the library have fragile minds. They're in a critical state of being formed, and they're vulnerable, sexually confused, and wondering about many things in this period of their life. And this kind of explicit moral debauchery or filth -- it's pornography -- has no place in our library or in the minds of our children."
-- "former lesbian" Deb French, who wants "provocative homosexual magazines" out of an Ohio public library
Toss another AmTaliban log on the fire...this time the fuss is about two magazines I've not heard of that are poisoning the minds of children. When I looked to find the online versions of these mags, what I found was so tame that you have to wonder what kind of threshold for arousal this chick has? Hmmm. Let this "ex-lesbian" show the way.
A former lesbian who became a Christian is among several residents calling on a local library to remove two provocative homosexual magazines from its shelves. The Board of Trustees for the Upper Arlington Public Library recently voted unanimously to continue displaying and distributing the publications Outlook Weekly and Gay People's Chronicle.

The decision was made despite the concerns of individuals who object to the sexually explicit content of the two magazines. One such individual is Lancaster resident Deb French, a former lesbian, who believes the publications have been strategically placed in the library by "the enemy" to seduce the young minds of children.

As a former lesbian who is now a follower of Jesus Christ, French feels it is her duty to warn people that homosexuality is anything but a "gay" lifestyle. In fact, she contends, it is a "death lifestyle." At a recent public forum, the Lancaster resident implored the Upper Arlington Public Library to remove the two offensive magazines from circulation or, at the very least, put them out of children's eyesight. However, the library's board refused both options.

French says one of the main reasons she attended the forum was that "this is an issue that's dear to my heart, because God walked me, personally, out of homosexuality 16 years ago. And I know there's power to change in Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 6:11 even says, 'such were some of you.'"

But in spite of the objections of French and other concerned area residents, the Upper Arlington Library Board of Trustees decided to keep both Outlook Weekly and Gay People's Chronicle in sight and in circulation. The board argued that neither of the two homosexual magazines meets federal obscenity standards.


Young NC wingnut sucks up to geezer wingnut


Guess they rolled the pre-corpse coot into his Raleigh office for this photo op with Congressman Patrick McHenry.

Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) is the youngest member of the 109th Congress (born in 1975). Little Pat's your garden-variety asshat Southern conservative -- anti-choice, against same-sex marriage, for the "sanctity of life" -- and also an ace brown-noser, as you see in the above photo with the barely-breathing retired five-term Senator Jesse Helms. Read the shameless butt-kissing. (NC Rumors):
"As a strong fiscal and social conservative, I look to those who have served before me for guidance, and there is no greater conservative of our time than Jesse Helms," Congressman McHenry stated. "I am keenly aware of the role that Senator Helms played in getting Ronald Reagan elected, helping bring about the fall of communism and in defending our moral values that are under attack every day in this country."

...Senator Helms also took the opportunity to sign a copy of his new autobiography, Here's Where I Stand, for Congressman McHenry. The book, which the Senator spent the last two years writing, will debut in bookstores this week and a Washington, DC gala will be held to celebrate its release. Congressman McHenry was honored to be asked to deliver the invocation at the event. "I am deeply humbled to be asked to participate in an event of this magnitude honoring our State's greatest senator ever," McHenry commented.
Pass the barf bag, please. While McHenry has Mr. Helms on the pedestal, here's a little reminder of the brand of conservatism Jesse represents, courtesy of The Independent Weekly piece on him, describing his WRAL-TV editorials that spewed the most bigoted crap imaginable.
What he doesn't say is that the 2,751 editorials were based in some of the most venal bigotry of the times. "Are civil rights only for Negroes?" he asked in 1963. "White women in Washington who have been raped and mugged on the streets in broad daylight have experienced the most revolting sort of violation of their civil rights. The hundreds of others who had their purses snatched last year by Negro hoodlums may understandably insist that their right to walk the street unmolested was violated."

In his five-minute editorials, Helms condoned lunch-counter segregation; said civil-rights protesters were "no less an affront to society" than the Ku Klux Klan; and accused civil-rights marchers of participating in "sex orgies of the rawest sort." He also insisted that four Alabama Klansmen who murdered a Detroit woman in 1965 were responding to "deliberate provocation" by Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson. If Helms feels any remorse for inflaming racial tensions in North Carolina during the 1960s, he reveals none of it in his new autobiography.
By the way, all of Helms's closest winger friends showed up to pay tribute to him the other night at a big shindig (my earlier post on that is here). Even Chimpy sent a video air-kiss:
President Bush appeared in a video message, listing Helms' accomplishments, including his sponsorship of legislation calling for regime change in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

"When Jesse Helms came to Washington in 1973, conservatives were a lonely crowd in Washington," Bush said. "But over the course of three decades in the Senate, the world moved in his direction."


Angie Paccione taking on Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado


Angie Paccione (l) has a chance to unseat the unforgivable FMA homophobe.

Colorado Rep. Angie Paccione (D-Fort Collins) is going to try to unseat the pathetic homo-bigot FMA sponsor Rep. Marilyn Musgrave.

The GOP machine has always been a strong supporter of this witch Musgrave, with Darth Cheney raising an estimated $200,000 for her reelection campaign back in May, so Paccione has an uphill battle with fundraising.

The good news is that Musgrave is on shaky ground and vulnerable, even to the point of toning down her drumbeat for a marriage amendment. She is also facing a challenge from her own party, in Eric Eidsness.

Angie has plenty of practice dealing with the wingnuts in the state legislature, so she'll be well-equipped to deal with the DeLay losers on the Hill. A snippet of the unhinged thinking that she has had to stand up to (from an April post):
Two Colorado lawmakers got into a shouting match when one of them marched into a news conference the other was holding to denounce same-sex marriage. Rep. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Rep. Jim Welker (R-Loveland) called the news conference to tout their proposed amendment to bar gays and lesbian from marrying. Colorado already has legislation that blocks same-sex marriage. But, Lundberg said that it could be overturned by judges. Lundberg called it "the most significant domestic issue of the decade."

At that point, Rep. Angie Paccione (D-Fort Collins) had enough. "We have over 700,000 Coloradans without health care," she said, her voice rising, she yelled as she marched up the podium. "How could we possibly say that gay marriage is more important than health care?" Paccione, who is half black, also reminded him that interracial marriage used to be illegal in Colorado. She said denying gay people the right to marry is no different.
Her website: http://www.angie2006.com/

More info:
* DKos diary
* Q&A on Unbossed
* Biography

Angie Paccione, Ph.D.
State Representative
House District 53
Majority Caucus Chairwoman
Vice Chair House Committee on Education
P.O. Box 1182
Fort Collins, CO 80522
(970) 495-0407
angie@angiepaccione.com


Feds: the Sierra Club caused the levees to fail

The below internal email, obtained by the MS Clarion-Ledger, shows that the Bushies, in an attempt to shift the blame ANYWHERE, decided to go after environmentalists as the source of the disaster in NOLA.

A small problem -- the levees that failed were not the ones in question that involved retaining Lake Pontchartrain, but ones that are still standing, holding back the Mississippi.
E-mail sent to various U.S. Attorney's offices:

SUBJECT: Have you had any cases involving the levees in New Orleans?

QUESTION: Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps' work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation.

District: __________
Contact: _________
Telephone: ________
What kind of horse manure is this?
Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

The Clarion-Ledger has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the U.S. Department of Justice sent out this week to various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."

Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, remarked, "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?" The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said. "It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups. It doesn't surprise me at all."

Federal officials say the e-mail was prompted by a congressional inquiry but wouldn't comment further. Whoever is behind the e-mail may have spotted the Sept. 8 issue of National Review Online that chastised the Sierra Club and other environmental groups for suing to halt the corps' 1996 plan to raise and fortify 303 miles of Mississippi River levees in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

The corps settled the litigation in 1997, agreeing to hold off on some work until an environmental impact could be completed. The National Review article concluded: "Whether this delay directly affected the levees that broke in New Orleans is difficult to ascertain."

The problem with that conclusion?

The levees that broke causing New Orleans to flood weren't Mississippi River levees. They were levees that protected the city from Lake Pontchartrain levees on the other side of the city.
Thanks to Blender Laura for the pointer.


The Heretik takes on a big blogging dog



You must surf over to The Heretik to leave a comment on the post IN VAGINASTAN TODAY, taking on the Lefty blogosphere status quo. Whew -- it's harsh...
Kos, the recently and freely elected King of Penistan, only has the most kindly thoughts for the tribe of Uteri. While the Uteri may think themselves proud citizens of an indepedent Vaginastan, kindly King Kos knows you are but the misguided children of a province of a greater Penistan. All praise to mighty Kos as he swings heaven's hammer.

With the power of right given to "the left," kindly and all knowing King Kos shall take heaven’s hammer and a mighty big tent erect with his most excellent exertions.  Many a pole will hold up this great tent for all of Penistan to take comfort in, both the Uteri and the Peni.  But some of the poles should be acknowledged by all as larger and more important than others.
The Heretik has links to other bloggers that are discussing the issue (including my post here); check it out.


PA wingnuts: ban Gay-Straight Alliance or face God's wrath

This happened in Little Ricky Santorum's state. An unhinged AmTaliban couple mouthed off bible versus and promising disaster would befall their little slice of heaven if the school board continues to allow Gay-Straight Alliances.

They get bonus points using Katrina to bolster their case and for reading propaganda from the American Family Association about "ex-gay" ministries. (Lebanon Daily News):
A local couple addressed the Cornwall-Lebanon school board last night with a demand for the abolition of the high school’s Gay/Straight Alliance, asserting that Hurricane Katrina was retribution for homosexual behavior.

...Carl and Abigail Jarboe claim the alliance encourages homosexuality. “We shouldn’t tell them (students) it’s acceptable behavior. It’s not acceptable behavior,” Abigail Jarboe said.

In their most shocking claim — one that drew dumbfounded stares from the board — Abigail Jarboe suggested that Hurricane Katrina may have been God’s way of punishing New Orleans in advance for a large, homosexual event that was scheduled to held shortly after the storm hit the Louisiana city.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” she said.

The Jarboes, who say their opposition to “sodomites” comes from their strong Christian faith, gave the board several examples of people who have left the homosexual lifestyle in an attempt to prove that being gay is a conscious choice people make.

While the board listened patiently and politely, Carl Jarboe handed out an article from the American Family Association Journal that told the story of a young girl who claimed she stopped being a lesbian after becoming a Christian. The story said that part of the reason the girl became homosexual in the first place was her involvement in an organization that supported homosexual and transsexual youth. “These clubs promote this behavior,” Carl Jarboe said.

Abigail Jarboe continued where her husband left off, citing three individuals she said she has known who have make a choice to stop being gay. She also said the school promotes homosexual activity — which she called an “abomination” — by allowing the Gay/Straight Alliance to exist.


Slick Willie gets immortalized as a condom


Go with a name you can trust, eh?
A condom maker in southern China's Guangdong province is marketing its products under "Clinton" and "Lewinsky" brands and has registered the names as trademarks, state press said.

The Guangzhou Haojian Bio-science Co is selling its wares under the Chinese spelling of the names that read "Kelintun" and "Laiwensiji," the New Express reported.

...The Clinton brand is set to be the company's top product selling for some 30 yuan (3.7 dollars) for a pack of 12, while the Lewinsky brand was expected to fetch 18 yuan.


Rita is Cat 4 and heading for TX

This storm is so big that Louisiana is going to get drenched again. Bush, meanwhile, is trying to look effective as this one heads toward buddy Rick Perry's state. (AP):
Rita intensified into a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with wind of 135 mph, deepening concerns that the storm could devastate coastal Texas and already-battered Louisiana by week's end.

Mandatory evacuations already have been ordered for New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, one day after Rita skirted the Florida Keys as a Category 2 storm, causing minimal damage.

The storm is expected to remain a Category 4 storm until it makes landfall, meteorologist Chris Landsea of the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. That's now predicted for Saturday somewhere between northern Mexico and western Louisiana, most likely in Texas. "But our ability to forecast wind speed is limited," Landsea said. He said the storm could strengthen to Category 5 with wind in excess of 155 mph or ease to Category 3, with wind less than 130 mph.

Acting Federal Emergency Management Agency Director R. David Paulison said the agency has aircraft and buses available to evacuate residents of areas the hurricane might hit. Rescue teams and truckloads of ice, water and prepared meals were being sent to Texas.

Stung by criticism of the government's slow initial response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush signed an emergency declaration for Florida and spoke with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about planning for the storm's landfall.


This is one piece of evidence you don't want to handle

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Perhaps former Judge Donald Thompson needed to "prime the pump" to stay alert during those two murder trials.

Jurors Will See Judge's Alleged Sex Toy.
Jurors hearing the case against a former judge accused of exposing himself in his Creek County courtroom will be allowed to see the sex toy at the center of the state's allegations, a judge ruled Tuesday in rejecting a defense motion.

They also can hear testimony that a second "penis pump" was seen under former District Judge Donald Thompson's bench, among other evidence Thompson's attorneys sought to have barred from next week's scheduled trial.

"It's so fantastic and so unconnected to factual support, and so prejudicial," attorney Clark Brewster complained in trying to convince Judge C. Allen McCall to suppress some state evidence. Thompson, 58, who spent more than 20 years on the bench before stepping down more than a year ago, faces three counts of indecent exposure.

Prosecutors allege he masturbated with a penis pump under his robe while presiding over two murder trials and a civil trial in 2003. Thompson denies the allegations and said the penis pump seized in the case was a gag gift from a friend.

Brewster argued that the state should be prevented from submitting the device as evidence, contending that not only did it not function but that it also was sawed in half while in the state's custody.

...Tuesday's hearing offered a glimpse at the lurid details jurors can expect to consider and even see if the judge decides prosecutors can admit a photo they say will be used by a witness to identify Thompson's penis.


If Chimpy's taking it, it isn't working.



I was surfing over at that queen Matt Drudge's site, and I saw this nutty ad shilling fish oil capsules using a picture of the Chimperor. I went ahead and clicked on it to see what kind of nonsense was there. The only connection to Bush is this screaming headline: "President Bush's most recent physical showed that he is in near perfect health. His doctor revealed he takes only one supplement a day – it's Omega-3."

Blaylock blathers on and on in a breathless manner and says a variety of Omega-3-rich foods and supplements can:

* Help treat bipolar disorder
* Restrain anger, anxiety and fear
* Block depression
* Counteract a variety of autoimmune diseases
* Prevent and treat cancer
* Inhibit stroke
* Reduce arrhythmia
* Combat brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
AND
* Cut the risk of heart attack

OK, I'll buy that Omega-3 is good for you, but there's no damn way you can tell me that it's working on the Chimp, because his unhinged, detached behavior signals he needs something a little stronger -- his brain is clearly diseased, and he has a terrible reputation for his anger. Who knows, he may have a few others on that a la carte menu up there.

I think that if I were a quack like Blaylock, I'd find a better subject to do the shilling for my fish oil.


Corporations and straight folks support workplace equality for lesbians and gays

Findings from fourth annual the latest national Out & Equal Workplace Summit survey are going to be presented in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, and the news is good -- if you're not a right-wing asshat. This should make some Freeper heads explode. (Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications):
* 76% of heterosexual adults strongly agree that employees should be measured by their job performance, not their sexual orientation

* More than half (55%) of heterosexual adults feel that regardless of sexual orientation, all employees are entitled to equal benefits on the job, such as health insurance for their partners or spouses.

The survey also shows that in the last three years, heterosexuals and LGBT adults increasingly consider diversity to be an important factor when deciding which company to work for.

* Nearly seven out of 10 (69%) heterosexuals consider it extremely or very important that a company offer equal health insurance benefits for all employees, compared to 57 percent in 2002.

* Fifty-seven (57%) of heterosexuals consider it extremely or very important that a company have a written non-discrimination policy that includes race, ethnicity, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability, compared to only 43 percent in 2002.

* Almost nine out of 10 (88%) LGBT adults consider it extremely or very important that a company have a written non-discrimination policy that includes race, ethnicity, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation and disability, compared to 66 percent in 2002.

* More than eight out of 10 (81%) LGBT adults consider it extremely or very important that a company offers equal health insurance benefits for all employees, compared to 71 percent in 2002.

“Regardless of how Americans feel about LGBT issues, majorities still support fair treatment for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peers in the workplace,” said Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “Employers are demonstrating leadership in providing parity for LGBT people, helping all employees understand the value of diversity in the workforce.”

In addition, the survey also found that LGBT adults are more comfortable with “being out” at the workplace today as compared to 2002 when the same survey questions were asked for the first time.

* Sixty-nine percent (69%) now report that they are comfortable – including those saying “extremely comfortable” (31%), “very comfortable” (13%) and “comfortable” (25%) – discussing their “after work” social life, including details about who they share time with, such as spouses, dates, friends or partners in their current or most recent job, compared to 53 percent overall – including those who said “extremely comfortable” (11%), “very comfortable” (24%) and “comfortable” (18%) – who said this in 2002.
The online survey involved 2,242 U.S. adults, six percent self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

***

Also released today is the Human Right Campaign 2005 Corporate Equality Index, which "rates Fortune 500 and other major companies on a scale from zero to 100 percent on seven key indicators of fair treatment for GLBT employees. Indicators include policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as equal health care benefits." Some of these findings:
* A record 101 companies score 100 percent, which is attributed to a sharp increase in gender identity non-discrimination policies. In 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect rating.

* Today, 5.6 million people work at the 101 companies that score 100 percent. In 2002, approximately 690,000 people were employed by the 13 companies that scored 100 percent.

* Eighty-one percent of scored companies offer health benefits to the domestic partners of employees, up from 70 percent in 2002.
100 percent ratings: companies that fully support workplace equality for LGBT employees
-- Prudential Financial
-- IBM
-- defense giant Raytheon (a first for its industry)
-- BP and Chevron (the first oil companies to hit this mark)
-- Dow Chemical -- also the first in its industry to do so
-- Citigroup
-- J.P. Morgan Chase
-- Met Life, which touts its 100 rating in a press release

Black hat corporations -- shown to be actively working against equality include:
* Emerson Electric with a 29 percent score
* Entergy with 36 percent
* Exxon Mobil with 14 percent
* Perot Systems with a 14 percent score.

In electronics retail:
-- Best Buy offers full protections to GLBT employees
-- Circuit City holds a 43 percent score
-- Radio Shack scores only a 29 percent rating.


The caption says it all


Via impeachbush.org. (Thanks to Blender Carolyn for the pointer).


Recruits Sought for Porn Squad


Hey, all you red-blooded straight Red State guys who voted for Bush because he was going to rid your world of those disgusting homosexuals? Pastor Niemöller* is holding for you on the white courtesy phone:
(Washington Post) Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.

"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing. "We must not need any more resources for espionage."

Among friends and trusted colleagues, an experienced national security analyst said, "it's a running joke for us."

A few of the printable samples:

"Things I Don't Want On My Résumé, Volume Four."

"I already gave at home."

"Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves."
It's sort of like shooting fish in a barrel to point out that the Bush maladministration's priorities are way out of whack, considering that they are pushing for their Medicare Prescription Drug (Companies Will Really) Benefit (By Screwing Over Senior Citizens), a permanence to Bush's Tax Cut (To The Wealthiest 1% of Americans), and an elimination of the (Paris Hilton Might Have To Pay Some) Estate Tax, all in the face of massive deficit, funding Iraq, and rebuilding New Orleans.

But now they want to take vital resources that could be working on some serious terrorism investigations (how about capturing bin Laden or al Zarqawi?), domestic security, or crime fighting issues to concentrate on the legal production of legal pornography consumed by consenting adults legally in the privacy of their own homes?

The article goes on to point out how difficult it is to get obscenity convictions due to varying "community standards" and First Amendment concerns. So...
Applicants for the porn squad should therefore have a stomach for the kind of material that tends to be most offensive to local juries. Community standards -- along with a prurient purpose and absence of artistic merit -- define criminal obscenity under current Supreme Court doctrine.

"Based on a review of past successful cases in a variety of jurisdictions," the memo said, the best odds of conviction come with pornography that "includes bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior." No word on the universe of other kinks that helps make porn a multibillion-dollar industry.
Of course, the Just-Us Department puts forth the oft-repeated line about how pornography is harmful to women, children, and other living things (like poor Jenna Jameson, pictured, who's burdened by the oppression of a successful career and millionaire status), but it's really about the Religious Reich losing the culture war. They can't stand sex and they can't stand that you like it.
Popular acceptance of hard-core pornography has come a long way, with some of its stars becoming mainstream celebrities and their products -- once confined to seedy shops and theaters -- being "purveyed" by upscale hotels and most home cable and satellite television systems. Explicit sexual entertainment is a profit center for companies including General Motors Corp. and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (the two major owners of DirecTV), Time Warner Inc. and the Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt hotel chains.

But Gonzales endorses the rationale of predecessor Meese: that adult pornography is a threat to families and children. Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called "a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general."
Good luck with that, AbuGhraibo Quaintzalez. For some reason, you see, stripping people, smearing them with sh*t, forcing them into oral sex, strenuous positions, and naked human pyramids, that's good old-fashioned American intelligence gathering activities... unless the participants engage in those activities, film them, and attempt to sell them over the internet or on DVD.

Pastor Niemöller was a pastor in the German Confessing Church who spent eight and one-half years in a Nazi concentration camp. His famous poem reads:

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out--because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out--because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Or as I reworded a few months ago...

First they came for the homosexuals and transgendered, and I said nothing, because I was not a homosexual or transgendered.
Then they came for the swingers and fetishists, and I said nothing, because I was not a swinger or fetishist
They they came for the cohabitators and the divorced, and I said nothing, because I was not cohabiting or divorced.
Then they came for the married men who masturbate to internet pr0n, and there was no one left to speak up for me.


Gay man beaten and lashed in Iran


From UKGayNews: Amir escaped Iran after the authorities threatened him with execution for being gay - but not before he was subjected to the barbarism of 100 lashes, which left his back covered in huge bloody welts.

PageOneQ has an exclusive interview with this young victim of the anti-gay crackdown in Iran. Amir recently escaped from Iran -- and advance excerpts from the interview by Senior Contributing Editor Doug Ireland for New York's Gay City News conducted the interview with a translator. A snippet:
"There was a metal chair in the middle of the room -- they put a gas flame under the chair, and made me sit on it as the metal seat got hotter and hotter. They threatened to send me to an army barracks where all the soldiers were going to rape me. There was a soft drink bottle sitting on a table -- Ali Panahi told one of the other basiji to take the bottle and shove it up my as, screaming, ‘This will teach you not to want any more cock!’ I was so afraid of sitting in that metal chair as it got hotter and hotter that I confessed. Then they brought out my file, and told me that I was a ‘famous faggot’ in Shiraz. They beat me up so badly that I passed out, and was thrown, unconscious, into a holding cell.

"When I came to, I saw there were several dozen other gay guys in the cell with me. One of them told me that, after they had taken him in, they beat him and forced him to set up dates with people through chat rooms -- and each one of those people had been arrested, those were the other people in that cell with me.”

"We were eventually all taken to court, and cross-examined. The judge sentenced four of us, including me, to public flogging. The news was printed all over the newspapers that a group of homosexuals had been arrested, with our names. I got 100 lashes -- I passed out before the 100 lashes were over. When I woke up, my arms and legs were so numb that I fell over when they picked me up from the platform on which I’d been lashed. They had told me that, if I screamed, they will beat me even harder -- so I was biting my arms so hard, to keep from screaming, that I left deep teeth wounds in my own arms."
More of the graphic images of torture are here.


This one's for you, Russ...

Large marijuana farm found in Duplin County (NC): Don't get too much news of this kind in these parts. I wonder how they even locate it in some of the rural areas of the state. As if they don't have better things to do.
Authorities have discovered a 10- to 15-acre pot farm near Wallace, valued in the millions of dollars and considered the area's biggest marijuana bust in recent memory.

"I don't recall a bust this big in southeastern North Carolina in my time," said Sheriff Blake Wallace, who worked for the State Bureau of Investigation for 11 years before he became the Duplin County sheriff in 2002.

The marijuana recovered Sunday morning, which weighed in at 4,160 pounds, has a street value of about $9.9 million, Wallace said, adding that the numbers were likely to increase as deputies continue their recovery work on Monday.

No arrests had been made as of late Sunday.

...Deputies went to the location about 2 a.m. Sunday and said they found themselves in fields of pot plants, some as tall as 13 feet.


Rita's big and on the move



Rita Strengthens Into Category 2 Hurricane.
Hurricane Rita strengthened on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, heading on a path that may threaten the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana devastated by Katrina three weeks ago.

Rita, a so-called Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, is moving south of the Florida Keys today into the warm waters of the Gulf, the National Hurricane Center said. It will gain power as it moves over the warm water, and will be a Category 3 storm with winds of at least 111 mph when it reaches the Texas coastline by the weekend, center meteorologist Chris Sisko said.

While Rita is forecast to come ashore anywhere from Corpus Christi to Galveston, there is a chance it may veer to the east and strike Louisiana's coast, Sisko said. This threat to the coastal region already devastated by Hurricane Katrina prompted New Orleans's mayor to suspend plans for residents to reenter the city and for officials in Texas to call for some evacuations.


Breaking: Benedict to approve gay seminarian ban

"If this is true, it's a disaster. I know many celibate gay priests who feel they could not live with any integrity in a church that treats gay men like this. And I know many gay seminarians who have been living celibate lives with ease, who would simply leave."
-- a gay priest, who asked not to be named, in a Newsday article
[UPDATE: added an item at the end about married priests asking Ratzi to lift the celibacy ban.]

What a f*cking criminal enterprise. He's the head of a church that conspired to hide the mass molestation of children. This man is going to be responsible for the destruction of his own church.

His document will state that all gay men have a personality disorder which disqualifies them from serving. This is complete bullsh*t. And what will the "test" be to rule out the homos?

I hope that Ratzi's happy when 1) all the good gay priests get out, 2) all the heterosexual pedophiles keep on destroying the lives of children, 3) there aren't enough men willing to serve in the priesthood because of this unfair, ignorant witch hunt; and 4) American Catholics shut their wallets.

From Catholic World News, which Newsday reports, is "an independent news service with links to the pope's American publisher." (CWN.com):
Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests.

The new document-- which was prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education, in response to a request made by the late Pope John Paul II in 1994-- will be published soon. It will take the form of an "Instruction," signed by the prefect and secretary of the Congregation: Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Michael Miller.


So Father Mychal Judge, the hero priest who died in the ruins of the World Trade Center ministering sacraments to fallen NYFD, was unfit to have been a priest in the eyes of Benedict?

The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers.

Priests who have already been ordained, if they suffer from homosexual impulses, are strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity, and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood.
And from the Newsday piece:
"I believe it would have a strong impact, but I'm afraid it would be negative," said the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former seminary rector who wrote a book several years ago describing how the priesthood "is, or is becoming, a gay profession."

"The number of seminarians is already dramatically down from 40 years ago," Cozzens said. "This may make the situation even more dire than it already is. And I'm also concerned that it might drive out men who might be destined to give very fine service to the church."

Also critical is how the directive is enforced, a process likely to vary from seminary to seminary.

"How one goes about making these determinations will be key," said John-Peter Pham, a papal scholar at James Madison University. "In some places, I could see witch hunts and anonymous accusations. In others, I'm sure it will simply be observed in the breach, much like the ban on contraceptives."
In other, related news, our government seeks protection for Ratzi from prosecution for covering up molestations. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston covered up abuse with his help during the mid-1990s...
The United States government has told a Texas court that Benedict should be given immunity from a lawsuit accusing him of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian, court documents show.

Assistant attorney general Peter Keisler said in Monday's filing that, as pope, Benedict enjoys immunity as the head of a state - the Vatican. He said allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be "incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests".
And while we're on the morality tip, how about this Vatican action:
War crimes chief accuses Vatican.

Pope Ratz photo illustration by "evilgenius" Doug at Reality Stick.

Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, has said she believes Gen Ante Gotovina is hiding in a monastery in Croatia.

Ms del Ponte's spokeswoman told the BBC News website that the Vatican had refused to help in the search for him, despite being in a position to do so...Ms del Ponte wrote to Pope Benedict XVI in July this year in an effort to secure the Vatican's co-operation, her spokeswoman told the BBC News website.

The Pope has yet to reply to the prosecutor's request for a meeting, the spokeswoman said. Ms del Ponte earlier told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph she believed Gen Gotovina was "hiding in a Franciscan monastery and so the Catholic Church is protecting him".

"I have taken this up with the Vatican and the Vatican totally refuses to co-operate with us," she said.
***


Pope Ratzi via Agitprop

It's been a real Vatican Celebration day at the Blend, with all the spirit-uplifting news about Benedict about to approve a gay seminarian ban, and the Bush Administration seeking to give the sex-obsessed Pope immunity from a lawsuit accusing him of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys in Texas.

Here's an interesting item on the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests, which is calling for Benedict to lift the ban on marriage for priests. The odd thing is that Ratzi has signaled some softness in this area, according to the organization.
The federation draws its optimism from a rumoured account of remarks by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in summer 2004, well before his election as pope, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

He reportedly asked a delegation of U.S. bishops, "What would your people think about a re-introduction of the tradition of married priests?" The Americans were supposed to have been speechless for a moment with surprise.

According to the federation, this means that Benedict recognizes that priests were often married in the early church. A council of the church imposed the rule of celibacy in 1139, along with the requirement that clergy who marry abandon their priesthood. Former priests have also been keenly aware that Pope Benedict made no mention whatever of celibacy when he addressed 600 seminarians gathered in Cologne during World Youth Day.
I think whoever is spreading that rumor must be hallucinating.

Thanks to House Blender and Julien's List contributor Holly for the pointer.


TN Love in Action 'ex-gay' camp ordered closed


Love In Action spokesman, "ex-gay" Gerard Wellman, says the organization will comment "when the time is right" about its doors being shuttered by the state.

Thank goodness Tennessee is taking action against this snake pit. This sick organization made the headlines as the place a teen blogger was sent to by his parents to "de-gay" him. Exodus International's Love In Action, ran the camps, and it caught the eye of state investigators. (AP):
The state Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities has ordered the closing of what it calls two unlicensed personal care facilities run by a Christian group that counsels gays to give up homosexuality.

The state inspected two facilities in Memphis on Aug. 19 and determined Love In Action International Inc. was providing housing, meals and personal care for mentally ill patients without a license, according to a subsequent letter to the organization from the Department of Mental Health.

The department gave Love In Action until Sept. 23 to cease operation of the facilities and apply for a state license.

Love In Action spokesman Gerard Wellman declined Monday to answer questions about the state's allegations. "We will be commenting when the time is right," or when the case is past its initial stage, Wellman said.

Lawyer Nathan Kellum responded to the state on Sept. 14 with a letter acknowledging Love In Action had received the state's notice and promising to respond fully by Sept. 23.

"The issue is these being supportive care facilities," state spokeswoman Lola Potter said Monday. "Supportive care must be licensed."

Former Love In Action client Peterson Toscano said Monday that a house manager for the program told him one of the manager's responsibilities was dispensing drugs that had been prescribed for participants.

"He told me that it was to keep people from misusing the drugs," said Toscano, who is now a writer and performer living in Hartford, Conn. Under state regulations, facilities that dispense medication to patients require a license.
Earlier Blend posts on Love In Action are here.

Hat tip, Wayne Besen.


We get freep mail

I don't get too many hate mails or psycho diatribes in my inbox here at the Blend. The classic one was the "monitor your Bevis" email back in July.

Today's entertainment comes from "dan," who seems to have a little problem with the content here...


Actual Freeper-like Mail™
This site has no integrity. It cannot be trusted. You misrepresent the evidence and assume things that are not true. Hmmm you must be a liberal! It's ironic how the very things that you accuse these conservative of doing the liberals actually don't think are a big deal (i.e. adultery, homosexuality etc.). You should be praising some of these conservatives for upholding your values! The same old tiresome attempt to bring down our honest president (a real leader) by repeating that he did not report for duty when he was in the national guard has been proven over and over again to be a lie (where's Dan Rather these days?). But you insist on retelling the lie...hoping that someone would believe the lie to be true.

I also love the lie about Bill Bennett as well. If he likes to gamble (it is legal you know) this in no way means that he is an addict. He's not. He can do what he wants w/ his money. Keep your nose out of his and other people's business. He didn't spend the "milk money" (since you're a liberal I'll explain...this means he's not taking money away from his family that would be needed to provide for them). You want him to be an addict in your own mind so you can put him on your web page. In fact many of those you have on your site would be removed if someone with a knowledge of current events were running it...but that wouldn't be you.

You are just proving what most Americans know...that the democrats and liberals are out of touch w/ America and reality. They don't seem to be the intellectual type...since they have to spread lies instead of dealing w/ the truth. Liberals can only criticize yet have absolutely no plans or ideas that would be better. All of you just fill our country with negativity and hinder progress. You take away our freedoms by enslaving us to barbaric ways of living. You cry child abuse when a mother spanks her child in love to correct him/her but then you run to a pro-choice rally to fight for a mother's "right" to slaughter her child (i.e. no child abuse). I know, if you're really for choice why not let the baby be born, let him/her grow up just enough to make the decision on his/her own, and if he/she wants to be slaughtered then let the mother do it That's more logical than killing a human being w/o even giving him/her a chance to speak up for his/her own right live or die. You also enslave women in hatred towards men (division) and enslave them to the idea that if you are a stay at home mother there's something wrong with you...."you could be so much more." You limit their capabilities and creativity by shoving them into a business suit and an office. You enslave blacks to poverty by assisting them w/ handouts (in return for votes) instead of an education that will lead to a job. You label them "stupid" in your treatment of them but blame the Republicans for the problem. We need to examine this wellfare failure. It's not working (except for the Democrats..to get votes).

You enslave homosexuals to a less than human lifestyle and encourage them to be animals by telling them to be "themselves" and that they were born this way. You have enslaved them to AIDS & death. The Conservatives are the only ones who care about them as people (ask what the homos think of conservative & former surgeon general Koop!!). We don't need money for a cure for AIDS...they need to be taught that homosexuality is abnormal (anus is exit only!) and immoral. They need to be counseled emotionally to heal their broken relationships w/ their parents. You also enslave people to broken families by demeaning the family...by redefining the family. You have no right to define anything.

I find it very humorous that people like you will passionately tell people that you can believe and live anyway you want just don't push it on someone else. But this is exactly what you're doing. You're really saying that you shouldn't push your beliefs on anyone else except for the belief that you should not push your beliefs on anyone else (can anyone say 'illogical'). But this is totally fine for the liberal. He/she lives illogically all the time and the hilarious thing is....they're comfortable there!! They may not be bright enough to notice.

All this to say that your web site is filled with typical liberal lies, confusion, inconsistencies, propaganda, and bias. I think you know it...but again maybe you don't. This is the sad part....living outside of reality. I wonder what it's like...but again I don't really want to know. I can just watch you...and laugh (i.e. Bush caused Katrina; there's actually global warming; Bill Clinton was a good president...yeah if he was planning for 911 to be a huge success...for more on this read Bill Gertz's book "Breakdown"; Also for Clinton & Gore selling nuclear weapons secrets to our deadliest enemy China in return for huge donations to the Democratic party read Gertz's book "The China Threat"; for a reality check read "Bias" by Norman Goldberg..a liberal who couldn't take working for Dan Rather and CBS anymore b/c of the lies and bias of the media...he exposes it all...the media hate him & he no longer has a job..just for voicing his opinion...who is it that really has too much power?!!; if you have an open mind you'll read these books that are well documented as facts not opinions or imaginary stories like those that come from the liberal and the liberal media. Thank God for conservative radio (Rush, Hannity, Levin, etc.) and Fox news that give us a balanced viewpoint..which scares the hell out of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, & Al Franken. Why do you think Air America was started? The fear that Rush and Hannity were exposing the liberal lies...so now Franken is a liberal Rush wannabe. He's pathetic & rather simple minded (i.e. the Downing Street report was real he says!).

Well, now that I've convinced you to become a conservative (haha, I don't expect you to read the above books or consider the opinions since liberals are extremely narrow-minded) I'm heading to a Christian right wing extremist conspiracy meeting to plan more ways to screw up the left (i.e. same agenda every meeting: "Leave the liberals to themselves, they'll take of themselves for us!!).

Sincerely,

A husband (male) of one wife (female) who cooks, cleans, submits, &takes care of our two biological children (ours...really!)


Lesbian's name change freaks Alabama judge


Elmore County Probate judge Jimmy Stubbs says he was hoodwinked into issuing a marriage license to a lesbian couple.

It's a legal name change, so what's the problem? You don't have to have a sex-change to use a traditionally male name. The marriage license was rescinded, but why didn't the judge check things out before issuing it?
A suburban Montgomery judge has invalidated the marriage of a couple he says misled him. In December 2003 Elmore County Probate judge Jimmy Stubbs issued a marriage license to Joseph Cutcher and Patricia Hammon.

But, following an anonymous telephone tip last week Stubbs discovered that Cutcher was a woman.

Born Juanita Cutcher she legally changed her name to Joseph two years earlier. "To me, they just falsified to the court, or to this office, what they [were] doing." Stubbs told WSFA television.

Elmore County's District Attorney and its Sheriff are trying to determine if any law has been broken. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is also investigating. A spokesperson for District Attorney Randal Houston said that although Cutcher had changed her name she has never applied to have her birth certificate or drivers license amended indicating she does not regard herself as transsexual.

Houston's office believes Cutcher changed her name for the sole purpose of entering into a same-sex marriage. Alabama has a 'Defense of Marriage Act' which bars same-sex marriage. This November voters will decide whether to enshrine that in the state constitution.
Hat tip, to bloggrrrl Ms. Julien, who is not in Miami enjoying Rita's "visit."


Ohio State's Queers on Wheels affirms the destructive homo lifestyle

Monday, September 19, 2005

"There's a long history here in Columbus of homosexual activism, and very powerful homosexual faculty at OSU that goes back three and four decades. So this is a longstanding situation. It's very unfortunate. Many people have tried to do various things about it."
-- Linda Harvey of Columbus-based wingnut group Mission America on the Ohio State University deviants running a sexuality workshop for the disabled
Yet another case of asshat wingnuts with too much time on their hands. It's actually good to see queer visibility and activism in Ohio, given the attempts by the Right to squash gay rights there.
Ohio State University is being criticized for sponsoring two October workshops on homosexuals with disabilities. In an effort to celebrate both National Coming Out Week and Disability Awareness Month, OSU is holding a "Queers on Wheels" sexuality workshop.

The pro-homosexual event is being billed as a workshop that "will cover sexuality issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual people with disabilities." Ohio State also plans to hold a "Queers on Wheels" disability sensitivity training, which will include lectures on "using proper people-centered language," "etiquette dos and don'ts," and a "general discussion about disability and the GLBTQ community" -- that is, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and queers.

Linda Harvey of the Columbus-based conservative group Mission America says such events are par for the course on the homosexual-friendly OSU campus. "This is not doing people with disabilities any favors at all by encouraging or affirming them further in the destructive homosexual lifestyle," she asserts. "I think it's a real tragedy that student fees and tuition money or any money at all goes toward something like this."

...Harvey is urging outraged Ohio taxpayers to write a letter of protest to OSU's Board of Trustees and to the state's governor, Bob Taft.
See another post on Linda Harvey, Another wingnut ties ACLU to the Homo AgendaTM


Alaska's Don Young: not sacrificing his $223 million bridge to nowhere


The senator on giving back some of his pork to help pay for NOLA reconstruction and Katrina victims: "They can kiss my ear!"
"Surely Rep. Don Young, the Alaska Republican who is chairman of the transportation committee, might put off that $223 million 'bridge to nowhere' in his state's outback. It's redundant now -- Louisiana suddenly has several bridges to nowhere."
-- The New York Times


"That same half a billion dollars (for the two Alaska bridges) could rebuild thousands of homes for suffering New Orleans evacuees."
-- The Wall Street Journal
This $223 million bridge that the Repug Young deems essential will connect Gravina, a town with less than 50 people, to Ketchikan, population 8,000. He's not in the charitable mood to trim the fat to pay for his man Chimpy's reconstruction efforts. (adn.com):
In any case it won't die: the idea that Alaska, to help Hurricane Katrina victims, should forfeit the dough it got in the federal highway bill for the Knik and Gravina bridges.

...No doubt to make Alaskans look bad, city leaders in Bozeman, Mont., are investigating whether they can give Katrina victims the $4 million they got in the federal bill for a downtown parking garage.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised the charitable pork idea on the Senate floor last week, although he stopped short of endorsing it. So, how about it, Mr. Chairman?

"They can kiss my ear!" Young boomed when Sam Bishop, Washington correspondent for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, asked him about the many pleas to redirect the bridge money.

"That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard," Young went on, noting that Louisiana did quite well in his highway bill.


NOLA Mayor Nagin is insane



I'm sorry, but this man was irresponsible to encourage people to return to New Orleans this week, with the lack of power, water and well, toxic sludge all over the place.

He wouldn't listen to anyone until he saw that there's another storm coming.

"I am concerned about this hurricane getting in the gulf. ... If we are off, I'd rather err on the side of conservatism to make sure we have everyone out," Mayor Ray Nagin said.

The announcement came after repeated warnings from top federal officials — and the president himself — that the city was unsafe. The mayor reversed course even as residents began trickling back to the first neighborhood opened as part of Nagin's plan, the scarcely damaged Algiers section.

The mayor said he had wanted to reopen some of the city's signature neighborhoods over the coming week in order to reassure the people of New Orleans that "there was a city to come back to." He said he had strategically selected ZIP codes that had suffered little or no flooding.

But "now we have conditions that have changed. We have another hurricane that is approaching us," he said. He warned that the city's pumping system was not yet running at full capacity and that its levee system was still in a "very weak position."
Anyone that thinks this man cares about the poor in his city (too many on the Left are trying to give him a pass), needs to wake up.

After all, Nagin appeared on the DVD that never made it into the hands of the poor, saying they "were on their own" to save themselves in case the "Big One" hit.
"Everybody needs to have their own plans. Check with your neighbors, check with your relatives."

...Some 275 public buses had been lined up to carry the most vulnerable from the city, but drivers were in short supply. Recruitment of bus drivers was barely underway when the storm shut it down.

A plan to warehouse life vests and rubber rafts also remained on the drawing board. Truehill said he had intended to submit an acquisition plan to the city. But even then, city leaders had been counting on federal funding to put much of the plan into place.

At least one goal had been met: the distribution of 700,000 pamphlets specifying what items to bring during an evacuation. Red Cross officials say the pamphlets' advice apparently was heeded by many who fled the storm.

Even if the entire plan had been operational, it contemplated 72 hours' notice to get everyone out. Only half that time was left when mandatory evacuation orders were issued by Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
His evacuation plan only considered those with cars and the means to get out. That's not a plan.


What will it cost to "finish the job"? And what exactly is "the job"?


There is a car parked outside my work that has a self-made laserjet printout taped to the inside back window. It is a silhouette of the outline of Iraq, and some pithy statement like "Don't dishonor our soldiers - Stay and finish the job!".

I've heard that line, usually when some dispassionate conservative is speaking about Cindy Sheehan. The logic, I suppose, is that over 1,899 soldiers have died in Iraq, so we need to have more soldiers die in Iraq so that the ones who are already dead will not have died in vain. Because, you know, they died to prevent Saddam from using his weapons of mass destruction against us. I mean, to topple a cruel and vicious dictator who tortured his own people in Abu Ghraib prison. I mean, to liberate the Iraqi people and bring them sovereignty, security, electricity, water, schools, and the vote. I mean, to make Iraq into the model democracy of the Middle East where Shia, Sunni, and Kurd live in blissful harmony and the entire region cascades into America-lovin' capitalism like falling dominoes.

Hell, I don't know what I mean. I think last I heard it was to protect the oil fields and pipelines from the terrorists who weren't there until we went and invaded. Whatever. As long as those boys don't die in vain.

So, all I ask is this: What is "the job" and how much is it going to cost? We heard "overthrow a dictator with WMDs, about six months, very few lives, and the country can pay for its own reconstruction." Now we've heard ever-shifting rationales, it's 29 months later, we've lost 1,899 lives (actually more) and thousands of limbs, and it's cost $200 billion. So what is it?

Let's even give them the "We have to fight them there so we don't fight them here" point for the sake of argument (as if terrorists can't multi-task). Let's even dreamily delude ourselves into the idea that the three ethnicities who've hated each other for centuries and all desire their own land can somehow be cobbled together into the shining beacon of Middle Eastern democracy. Even ceding those ridiculous pipe dreams, I still ask "what's it going to cost?"

What's the answer, untax-and-overspend conservatives? Bush said "whatever it takes?" What is that? Three more years? Five years? Ten years? Twenty years?

How many lives? Another 2,000? 5,000? 10,000? A Vietnam-like 50,000?

How much treasure? Another $200 billion? $500 billion? A couple trillion?

I wouldn't let a contractor remodel my house without nailing him down to at least some sort of estimate. Yet we're supposed to "stay the course" in Iraq, giving the president a blank check, an open calendar, and neverending pool of twentysomethings, even after every previous estimate has been shown to be fraudulent, even after two-and-a-half years of proven failure and incompetance?

An American serviceman never dies in vain. The act of sacrificing oneself for the ideal of protecting one's county is never a misbegotten act. We must have a military and we must have people willing to volunteer to follow orders without question, or else that military cannot function. In trade for absolute obedience to elected authority, all the military ever asks is that the mission be clear, the goals be achievable, and the deployment of lethal force be used only as a last resort. The serviceman who dies in the line of duty is always noble, even if his leadership is not.

Withdrawing from Iraq would not be a failure of our military. It would not render any dead serviceman's sacrifice unworthy. It would only be a recognition of the failure of our administration and render our leadership unworthy. But since this is the gang that can never admit any mistakes, I have a feeling that many, many more servicemen are going to not die in vain before this is over.


Little Ricky enjoys a little Man-Dog



Mike Tidmus is at it again. Little Ricky is trying to subscribe to one of his new favorite magazines, Man-Dog.
Maybe Santorum was right when he suggested that if you give the gays an inch the next thing you know you’ll have hot man-dog sex action. As evidence take a close look at the cover of the latest issue of Man-Dog magazine. Disgusting. Repulsive. Silly! Precisely what Pennsylvanians will get if they vote for Bob Casey and send Lil Rickie to the dog house. And it seems the voters are not getting that message. Santorum continues to slump in the polls — down by 14 percent.

Maybe the right-wingers would do better if they could settle on a consistent man-species-relationship-threat to traditional marriage:

Santorum says dogs. O’Reilly says ducks or goats. Colorado state Representative Jim Welker says horses.

I say, oy! Serious psychiatric intervention warranted.
Mike's also launched a CafePress site featuring some of his handiwork that you've seen on the Blend. Check it out.


Someone misdialed a fax from Karl Rove's office

Oopsie. Guess incompetence reigns, even at the administrative assistant level on the Bush team.
An immigration memo intended for embattled White House advisor Karl Rove arrived instead on the fax machine of a Democratic congressman, RAW STORY can reveal.

The congressman who received the fax opted not to comment, and asked that his name not be used.

The focus of Smith's memo, addressed to "Hon. Karl Rove," is on immigration politics.


"Immigration needs to be considered in the context of: (1). Media Bias, (2). Animosity toward the president and (3) the feelings of the Republican base," Smith's memo states.
Turdblossom's approach towards the Left is simple: "Liberals can easily and accurately be painted as opposing enforcement."


How influential are political bloggers?

Check out Peter Daou's thought-provoking essay "The Triangle: Limits of Blog Power." It's an interesting analysis of what kind of real effect bloggers are having on politics.
How influential are bloggers?

It’s a difficult question to answer. First, there’s no consensus on metrics. Second, blogs serve many purposes, some of which are more social than political. Third, the use of the Internet in political campaigns cuts across so many areas that it’s easy to confuse netroots influence in the communications and messaging realm with other Internet-based political applications such as organizing and fundraising. Fourth, "influence" is a hazy term.

It might be easier to approach the question by setting a more specific, and admittedly somewhat arbitrary, definition of political influence: the capacity to alter or create conventional wisdom. And a working definition of "conventional wisdom" is a widely held belief on which most people act. Finally, by "people" I mean all Americans, regardless of ideology or political participation.

...Looking at the political landscape, one proposition seems unambiguous: blog power on both the right and left is a function of the relationship of the netroots to the media and the political establishment. Forming a triangle of blogs, media, and the political establishment is an essential step in creating the kind of sea change we've seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Simply put, without the participation of the media and the political establishment, the netroots alone cannot generate the critical mass necessary to alter or create conventional wisdom. This is partly a factor of audience size, but it's also a matter, frankly, of trust and legitimacy. Despite the astronomical growth of the netroots (see Bowers and Stoller for hard numbers), and the slow and steady encroachment of bloggers on the hallowed turf of Washington's opinion-makers, it is still the Russerts and Broders and Gergens and Finemans, the WSJ, WaPo and NYT editorial pages, the cable nets, Stewart and Letterman and Leno, and senior elected officials, who play a pivotal role in shaping people's political views. That is not to say that blogs can't be the first to draw attention to an issue, as they often do, but the half-life of an online buzz can be measured in days and weeks, and even when a story has enough netroots momentum to float around for months, it will have little effect on the wider public discourse without the other sides of the triangle in place. Witness the Plame case, an obsession of left-leaning bloggers long before the media and the political establishment got on board and turned it into a political liability for Rove and Bush.
Influence is not something you can easily measure, but the former netroots emissary for John Kerry has some thoughts regarding how the Right and the Left differ on their approach to obtaining and controlling influence through the netroots.
Working within the triangle construct (netroots + media + party establishment = CW), bloggers and netroots activists on the left and right have very different strategic imperatives.

With a well-developed echo chamber and superior top-down discipline, the right has a much easier time forming the triangle. Fox News, talk radio, Drudge, a well-trained and highly visible punditocracy, and a lily-livered press corps takes care of the media side of the triangle. Iron-clad party loyalty – with rare exceptions – and a willingness of Republican officials to jump on the Limbaugh-Hannity bandwagon du jour takes care of the party establishment side of the triangle. The rightwing netroots, therefore, is already working within the triangle on most issues. Their primary strategic aim is to prevent the left from forming its own triangle, as occurred with Katrina. It’s a defensive posture, with the goal being the preservation of the status quo. Which explains why the right is profoundly hostile to dissent and why the pretense to libertarianism is common: "independent thinkers" don’t like to be seen as defending the powers that be.

The triangle construct also explains rightwing bloggers’ relentless attacks on the "MSM" and on anyone who contends that the media is conservative. In a nation dominated by shrill rightwing voices, with all branches of government in the hands of Republicans, and an ineffectual press corps, the "liberal media" myth is so absurd that it requires no rebuttal. But the right desperately needs to keep the media from doing what they did in the aftermath of Katrina: tell the unvarnished truth. They need to block the left from building the kind of triangle that Katrina generated, where outspoken left-leaning bloggers are joined by leading Democrats and reporters who have no choice but to describe the catastrophic results of Bush’s dismal leadership. The result in Katrina’s case is a major political crisis and a dramatic shift in public perceptions, a body blow to the long-standing conventional wisdom of Bush as a "resolute leader" and a protector.
I think his analysis is spot on regarding the formula (netroots + media + party establishment = CW), and the Right's charge to keep the triangle from forming on the Left. They've done an excellent job, and headily feed on disagreements on the Left to bolster their fraudulent positions. As you stated, dissent is squashed on Right-leaning blogs (no comments enabled, or banning when dissent is expressed -- Free Republic is a good example.)

The weakness on the Left that I notice, is the schism in the lefty blogs between men and women. By and large most big bloggers don't cite female political bloggers often -- Peter doesn't cite any in his piece either (though he does a whiz-bang job of promoting women on the Daou Report). I noted to him that bloggrrl Shakespeare's Sister deserves equal visibility with many of those male bloggers he mentioned (Kos, Digby, Oliver Willis, Atrios -- you know, the usual go-to guys), because her political writing is second to none. This lack of inclusiveness of female political bloggers is reflected in what seems to be the eternal conflicts on gender issues such as reproductive freedom and gay rights issues, which are seen by many larger, male lefty bloggers as political liabilities if discussed, let alone promoted.

It's certainly a phenomenon that I don't know how the Left blogosphere can address, when it's clear that the Right benefits from promoting its Michelle Malkins and, have mercy, Ann Coulter, keeping them highly visible (it hurts to even type those foul names) to deflect charges of sexism. They do the same with their black Republicans columnists and paid-off pastors, trotting them out as tokens to deflect charges of racism. On the Left, it's more about fighting for visibility at all, so there's a ways to go.

It's all about getting a notch in the "Win" column, the move toward the political center, appeasing the middle rather than educating the sheeple. They seem to forget that these sheeple have been carefully molded by the Right -- by the political party, Faux News and right-wing radio. This didn't happen overnight, but the Right was persistent. The Republicans have built an excellent good spin-down machine in place to deflect the Left.

Katrina was a prime (and tragic) example of an issue that the Left could galvanize and build upon to point out the political disaster that is the Bush Administration. This event merged social and economic issues that could be successfully and easily blogged on the Left that the Right couldn't dismiss. It's actually kind of sad that an event of this magnitude is what is able to uncover the incompetence and malfeasance that the Bush Administration has papered over for years. But that's where things stand now.

Head over to Peter's Daou Report to read more.


Porn-addicted pastors in the pulpit


Former pastor Jody Burgin (now with Dynamic Living for Men) preached sexual purity in church, but couldn't stop surfing for porn at home.

I'm shocked...SHOCKED that there are good Christian leaders that are ardent consumers of porn. Who knew? There's a lot of beastly things going on in this article. It's hard to feel sorry for these hypocrites. It's a long article worth reading in World Magazine.

This particular pastor blames life stressors for undoing his ability to compartmentalize his two lives. Oh, so if he hadn't been found out by his wife and outed, he would have just continued his bible beating and guilt-mongering at his parishioners about porn each week.
Jody Burgin drawls with melodious deliberation, littering conversations with first-name references as if every stranger were an old friend. "Hey John," he might say in a first meeting. "Let me tell you something."

Folks find Mr. Burgin's accessible personality easy to trust, his counsel easy to revere, his authenticity easy to believe. For 20 years, churchgoers first in Birmingham, Ala., and then Cincinnati, Ohio, trusted, revered, and believed the impeccable reputation Mr. Burgin built from his pulpit. But beneath the thick varnish of smooth oration and doctrinally sound sermons, this conservative pastor secretly harbored a monster. "I was a master of duplicity," he said.

Six years ago, the shadow-dwelling beast got out; Mr. Burgin was addicted to internet pornography. For the entirety of his ministry and even before, Mr. Burgin tumbled silently through a cycle of shame, repentance, and broken vows. Seasons of apparent victory collapsed in times of stress, when the comfort of habit proved too difficult to resist. Despite a guilt-ridden conscience, Mr. Burgin often preached on sexual purity, slogging through such sermons undetected. "I compartmentalized it in my mind," he said. "I rationalized. I minimized. I would stop while preaching and teaching on it."

Mr. Burgin's exposure came during a spell of particularly high internet activity. A series of stress-filled events—his father died, his eldest son left for college, and he relocated to a new church—drove him to new levels of daring. He left undone the practiced ritual of covering his tracks, failing to delete his computer's history and temporary internet files. "I got sloppy, and I got caught," he said.

Mr. Burgin's wife of 25 years did the catching and unlocked the cage of her husband's secret monster by releasing printouts of his activity to various church leaders. She then chose divorce, taking the couple's young daughter with her. His ministry and family lost, his reputation soiled, Mr. Burgin turned to the church for help and found little. "Churches didn't know how to handle me," he said.
The numbers in several studies indicate that a lot of bible beating, church going pious folks are getting down and dirty in front of their monitors with their pants down at their ankles.
The Bible likens lust to adultery and fornication, both expressly forbidden. Nevertheless, Mr. Burgin's disaster is far from unique:

• A 2003 survey from Internet Filter Review reported that 47 percent of Christians admit pornography is a major problem in their homes.

• An internet survey conducted by Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in 2002 found 30 percent of 6,000 pastors had viewed internet porn in the last 30 days.

• A Christianity Today Leadership Survey in 2001 reported 37 percent of pastors have viewed internet porn.

• Family Safe Media reports 53 percent of men belonging to the Christian organization Promise Keepers visit porn sites every week.

One in seven calls to Focus on the Family's Pastoral Care Hotline is related to internet pornography.

• Today's Christian Woman in 2003 found that one in six women, including Christians, struggles with pornography addiction.
These moral high ground claims of the Right have no merit when you've got numbers like these exposing the two-faced "moral leaders" that have such a warped relationship with sexuality. All the praying in the world didn't stop them from logging on to view what they condemn from the pulpit on Sundays.


Balls or dumb*ss -- 'Brownie' already shopping resume



Aside from waiting till his profile was lower, perhaps he should have taken some time to at least rewrite the fraudulent resume -- or go with a legal name change, which is about the only way Brownie's going to land a job. (U.S. News & World Report via Raw Story):
Ex-FEMA Administrator Michael Brown, was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows, seems to be doing for his career what he did for the beleaguered agency. Less than a week after FEMA's dismal Hurricane Katrina response forced Brown out of the agency, he has been shopping his resume to headhunters and Washington PR firms.

And it's not working.

"He's radioactive," said one exec. An ally of Brownie in the PR world said he should have waited a month before starting his job hunt. "It's just a bad play.


The new poll tax


Good old boy, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's feeling a little nostalgic, I guess.

Both Outrage of the Day and Facing South covered this one. Instead of the South's poll tax on blacks, we have the New South's requirement for a driver's license or an ID card that you must pay for to be able to vote. This time, it's Georgia rolling back the clock. Outrage:
...The state's Republican governor, Sonny Perdue, has just signed "a new voter ID law that requires many people without driver's licenses - a group that is disproportionately poor, black and elderly - to pay $20 or more for a state ID card." The [NYT] article points out that not only is there no facility in the largest metro area of Georgia - Atlanta, selling these cards, but out of 159 counties in the state, only 58 are set up to sell these ID cards.

Georgia's Republicans insist the new requirement for a State ID is just a way to prevent voter fraud. But really, isn't this just a way to prevent voting? Certainly, it's a way to keep a certain populous away from the polls. When faced with the choice of paying $20 to vote in a Presidential election, or, applying that same $20 to a month's rent or grocery bill-- the whole voting idea seems a little extravagant, doesn't it?

Possession of a driver's license isn't a right-- yet, the Georgia legislature has made it a litmus test for who is qualified to vote. Sadly, if the ACLU doesn't succeed in it's challenge of the law, other states will certainly follow Georgia's lead.
Hat tip to Kris of Classic Dykes Online.


Phelps protests Rehnquist's funeral



Raw Story has exclusive pix of the Phelps clan picketing Rehnquist's funeral and celebrating Katrina. These folks are just plain uncreative at this point.


TX bible beaters hold voter drive for marriage amendment, Rick Perry re-election

"We will have Citizenship Sundays that are intended and designed to encourage the voters then registered to turn out and vote and to vote as Christians, to vote not on the basis of their party affiliation or their economic status or their ethnic background but as Christians."
-- Laurence White, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, ready to register voters to re-elect Rick Perry

"If the governor is going to use clergy and churches to build his reelection machine, he should be open about who is paying for it. After all, Texans have a right to know what big-dollar special interests are dragging our churches into partisan politics."
-- Kathy Miller, of the Texas Freedom Network
Rick Perry and his band of Texas Taliban supporters continue to pump up voters for his re-election. No doubt the churches will be trying to register the Katrina evacuees that are now permanently settling in the state, trying to convert a natural response to the governor's generosity in their time of need into votes for the gay-bashing Perry. (Houston Chronicle):
About 2,000 socially conservative ministers across Texas will be collecting more than tithes today as they call on their congregations to register to vote so they can be ready to add a ban on gay marriage to the state constitution in the November election.

Texas Restoration Project, which organized the voter-registration drive, says the effort is an attempt to bring morality to government by empowering Christian voters, regardless of party. But critics say the Texas Restoration Project is nothing more than an adjunct of the state Republican Party and Gov. Rick Perry's re-election campaign.

The political consulting firm handling the Texas Restoration Project's logistics is a company that did $3.2 million in business last year with the state GOP and Republican candidates for office. It is headed by the former spokesman for a Republican congressman and the former executive director of the Texas Republican Party.



...At the core of the current voter-registration drive is Proposition 2, a proposed state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would define marriage as the union of one man with one woman and would prohibit civil unions. Texas already has a law banning gay marriage.

If the amendment is adopted, its supporters say, it would safeguard that law from judicial challenges.
The Texas Freedom Network, which is fighting the influence of the Religious Right in the state, is calling for transparency in the operations of the Restoration Project.
The president of the Texas Freedom Network today called on Gov. Rick Perry to reveal who is paying to recruit hundreds of Texas pastors to hear him and his political backers at campaign-style events around the state.

"It’s time for Gov. Perry to come clean," said TFN President Kathy Miller. "Texans have a right to know who is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get pastors to support the governor’s reelection campaign."

...More than 500 pastors attended the first "Pastors’ Policy Briefing" in Austin. Hundreds of others attended this week’s event. Organizers have not revealed who is paying for the pastors and their wives to attend these events for free.

At this week’s event, however, wealthy San Antonio businessman Dr. James Leininger sat at the front and was repeatedly thanked by speakers. East Texas chicken tycoon Bo Pilgrim introduced the governor today. Together, Dr. Leininger and Mr. Pilgrim have donated or loaned more than $1.6 million to the governor’s election campaigns since 1997. Each donated $50,000 to the Gov. Perry’s reelection campaign in June of this year, according to records from the Texas Ethics Commission.
Thanks to Blender Adrian for the pointer.


Posse Comitatus: going down in a blaze of glory?

On my drive home from work on Friday, NPR was broadcasting a piece on the effort by the Bush administration to revisit the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from being deployed in a law enforcement capacity domestically.

It was enacted after the Civil War to prevent federal troops from supervising elections in former Confederate states, but it has been an issue that fires up the militia/survivalist/fringe Right crowd, who have pointed to various incidents (Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidians) as a sign that the government is bloodthirsty in its contempt of the Act.

Bush's speech on Thursday started raising hackles on the Right when he said the military is "the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice." In this case, a repeal of this Act would give the already criminal, incompetent, meglomaniacal Bush Administration even more power to f*ck the country up under the guise of "caring" for the sheeple. Sounds familiar?



Karl Rove, after all, revealed in an off-the-record gathering in Aspen, Colorado this weekend that the Katrina mistakes were simply a problem of the feds not being able to override the local government.

I wonder how much support there will be in Congress for this. After all, they rolled over and played dead for The Patriot Act, all because of fear, ignorance and laziness. (AP):


Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is reviewing a wide range of possible changes in the way the military could be used in domestic emergencies, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said Friday. He said these included possible changes in the relationship between federal and state military authorities.

...Di Rita said Rumsfeld has not made recommendations to Bush, but among the issues he is examining is the viability of the Posse Comitatus Act. Di Rita called it one of the "very archaic laws" from a different era in U.S. history that limits the Pentagon's flexibility in responding to 21st century domestic crises.

Another such law, Di Rita said, is the Civil War-era Insurrection Act, which Bush could have invoked to waive the law enforcement restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act. That would have enabled him to use either National Guard soldiers or active-duty troops - or both - to quell the looting and other lawlessness that broke out in New Orleans.

The Insurrection Act lets the president call troops into federal action inside the United States whenever "unlawful obstructions, combinations or assemblages - or rebellion against the authority of the United States - make it impracticable to enforce the laws" in any state.

The political problem in Katrina was that Bush would have had to impose federal command over the wishes of two governors - Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi - who made it clear they wanted to retain state control.
I was wondering what the Freepi were thinking of this little move by their demi-god in the White House. They are not happy -- some are turning on one another.

Actual Freeper Quotes

"The failures at the state level should not be solved at the federal level. Alabama and Mississippi handle Katrina well, it was the Louisiana State government that failed. Regardless, I don't want to see the National Guard in a foreign country, and the US military in our streets."

"Calm down...they're just continuing to lay the foundation for the Police State 1984 style. Don't worry. I'm here from the government and I'm here to help."

"Slippery sloap... alert!"

"I knew this bullchit was coming...thanks to an absolute incompetence of the lousyana dembos"

"I strongly suspect the Pentagon's lawyers will seek to limit any changes to the Posse Comitatus themselves. We in the military don't WANT to be the police. We don't train to be police officers and don't want to. To put soldiers who don't train for policing in policing roles is as dangerous a situation for the soldiers as it is for the civilians. If we'd wanted to be police officers, we'd have joined the police."

"The Possee Comitatus Act should be left the way it is... the only thing that needs to be changed are the people in charge of the cities and state of Louisiana."

"If they want to patrol the borders, I'm all for it, but you just can't trust the gubmint."

"The Dims will raise a great cry against this in an attempt to style themselves defenders of liberty."

"The only solution to anything seems to be more power to the government. Someone is enjoying this crap!"

"They told 70 y/o Patricia Konie,"We are here to help you" before they tackled her, disarmed her, and drug her out of her stocked house to a 2.5x6 foot cot."

"If I were still in the military and I saw another soldier confiscating a gun from a civilian, I would shoot the soldier, shoot to kill. I don't think I'm the only one. Perhaps it would even be legal to do that."

"And not to worry: the Republicans won't let this happen . . . heh-heh."

"If the law is amended to allow the military to perform law enforcement it will be a bad day for the nation. One of these day the republicans will loose to the democrats and I fear the use of the military and the patriot act powers by people who will use them to go after conservative groups.The lack of exposure of how the Clintons went after the right using then existing powers is leading to this. No one is afraid of a Hillary presidency with her having the powers of the Patriot Act II. Its my nightmare."

"At least he understands what happened in NO. The Constitution was shredded and pissed on by every governmental agency imaginable."

The Dims will raise a great cry against this in an attempt to style themselves defenders of liberty.

"Well at least somebody will. I don't care what letter they have by their name. Anyone supporting this possible action by the administration can't be considered conservative by any sense of the word"

"Is it just me, or is every single thing all the lawmakers are proposing lately -- particularly Bush -- NORMALLY immediately followed by the phrase 'in direct confrontation with the explicit wishes of the founding fathers'????"

"This act needs to be strengthened, not weakened. When the military turns to domestic law enforcement we're on a short road to a police state."

"Well, if this sterling patriot advocates shooting US troops carrying out a legal order (yes, disarmament can be a legal order in a declared disaster zone).....I'm sure he'd be welcome over at Aryan Nation."

"Is it just me, or is every single thing all the freepers are proposing lately -- NORMALLY immediately followed by the phrase 'in direct confrontation with the explicit wishes of the founding fathers'???? The Bush administration and this site are losing it."

"On the other hand, the enemy has already infiltrated the nation, with our open borders and non-enforced immigration laws. What the hell do we have to lose either way?"

"I predict that a great many FR posters will support the idea."

"You remember when this site was dedicated to the support of the Constitution? It is now a haven of Bill O'Reilly goose stepping morons."


Lapdog Blair licks Bush's wounds over BBC Katrina coverage

Sunday, September 18, 2005



Tony. Such a loyal pup, defending Chimpy when he's at a low moment with Katrina. It's a wonder your country can stand your toadying behavior. It's sad. Kate and I were looking at the BBC Katrina coverage on public TV, and I don't know what he's talking about - it wasn't Bush-bashing, it was simply reporting of the obvious, horrible truth. (Guardian):
Tony Blair has denounced the BBC's coverage of Hurricane Katrina as 'full of hatred of America' and 'gloating' at the country's plight, it was reported yesterday.

Blair allegedly made the remarks privately to Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, which owns the rival Sky News.

...The disapproval will come as a blow to BBC executives, who had declared themselves delighted with the hurricane coverage, led by Matt Frei. They believed they had learnt the lessons from the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia, when the BBC was regarded as being slow off the mark.

Blair's reported comments were strongly criticised last night by Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent and former MP. Bell said: 'Assuming it's accurate - it may of course be that Tony Blair was simply telling Rupert Murdoch what he thought he wanted to hear. If he really does have a gripe with the BBC coverage, there is no shortage of forums in which he can say so publicly. But the last time he picked a fight with the BBC, as I recall, the government came off rather badly.'

He added: 'I think Matt Frei's reporting was absolutely immaculate and reflected the fact that one of the things the BBC is there for is to report events as they happened rather than as politicians may want them perceived to have happened. If Tony Blair does want to confront the BBC over this, I'd be surprised - because he would find absolutely zero support, except perhaps among his usual henchmen.'
***



Bill Clinton, who cannot decide whether he loves the Bushes or not, was equally dismayed at the BBC coverage, but today he was ripping the admin a new one over its Katrina failures and especially the non-plan to pay for the reconstruction.
Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."

....On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included.

"What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq,
Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts," he said.

"We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else."

Clinton added: "We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense."


Christian Coalition fading fast


Well-lacquered current Christian Coalition head Roberta Combs is trying to pick up the pieces. Russ, here's the tiny violin playing for the CC...

That's the title of the article in South Carolina's paper, The State. And it's a pitiful tale of how far the once-mighty organization has fallen since Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed flew the coop.
Rocked by financial debt, lawsuits and the loss of experienced political leaders, the Christian Coalition has become a pale imitation of its once-powerful self.

Some say the group — now based in Charleston and headed by a South Carolinian — is on life support, having been eclipsed by higher-profile, better-funded groups such as Focus on the Family. “The coalition as we knew it doesn’t exist,” says Lois Eargle, former chairwoman of the Horry County Christian Coalition.

The 16-year-old organization once was a political juggernaut. But it has been in steady decline since it lost one of its most effective national leaders, executive director Ralph Reed. Reed left in 1997 to form his own political consulting firm in Atlanta. “He was a great media figure, able to convey his particular message,” says Corwin Smidt, professor of political science at Calvin College, a Christian liberal arts school in Michigan. “But he was also a very bright young man and was able to articulate and make arguments effectively on behalf of the coalition.

“Today, the coalition doesn’t have anyone of that caliber. Once Reed left, the organization never recovered.”
As the piece says, much of the religious right power base has flocked to James Dobson's rancid organization as the Christian Coalition has had to fight off lawsuits, further depleting the coffers.

One interesting suit that it settled out of court was a discrimination suit by CC black staffers in 1999. They filed a $39 million racial discrimination suit against the Christian Coalition, alleging the administration forced them to use a separate entrance at its headquarters. The CC paid out $300,000 to the employees. How Christian of them.

After Reed saw this organization flagging, he bolted, and Roberta Combs took over as national executive director. She had previously headed the coalition’s South Carolina chapter, and the HQ relocated to the state. Robertson stepped down as coalition president in February 2002, again Combs took over.
“It hurt fund-raising,” she says of Robertson’s departure. “There’s never enough money.”

The coalition is looking for a media spokesman — someone of Reed’s caliber — to be a talking head on the television news shows and to put the organization back on the map.

“We have not had a media spokesman for a good while now,” says Drew McKissick, a Columbia-based political consultant and coalition activist. “You’ve got to show the flag these days. It makes a big difference in people’s perception. We need to boost our profile so folks know we exist.”
Interestingly, SC is also the home of the Christian Exodus movement, Its' mission, according to its Web site, is "to scrap the 'tyrannical authority' of federal government in favor of a constitutional republic, with the Ten Commandments rather than the U.S. Constitution as government's guide."

These two organizations really should be bedmates.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


This shocking man is his own natural disaster

Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction. Don't tell me there isn't such a thing as spontaneous human combustion (SHC); if someone trains a camera on this guy for a while, we're likely to get some solid proof of the phenomenon, lolol. This Aussie was definitely dressed to kill.
An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.

Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together. When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet.

"It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday. "Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt."

Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building. "There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside and outside the building," said fire official Henry Barton.

Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the burns might have been caused by a power surge. Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned to seek help from the firefighters.

"We tested his clothes with a static electricity field meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have self-ignited," Barton said. "I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said.
And Kate asks me why I only like wearing cotton. The feel of 100% polyester or wool, even though that is a natural fiber, makes me nuts -- never mind the irritating static apparent SHC threat, lol. She thinks it's funny, but I can even look at an item on the rack and know whether I want to touch it or not. Just one of my eccentricities, which by no means rise to "Monk" levels. It's just that tactile/fiber thing...like you needed to know this. :)


Unhinged TX priest potentially exposes children to HIV in bizarre Mass incident


Strange things were going on at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill, TX.

We've got a psycho priest on the loose in Texas, who thinks it's fine to poke children with an unsterilized needle during Mass. (Austin-American Statesman):
Words were not enough for the Rev. Arthur Michalka to impress upon his parishioners the pain Jesus suffered during crucifixion. So on Wednesday, during evening Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill, he called about 15 children to come forward so he could prick their palms with an unsterilized pin.

"What I was trying to teach them is that suffering is a part of life," said Michalka, 78, on Friday.

But the Catholic Diocese of Austin and the parents of one child who was pricked did not think it a prudent lesson. The diocese is conducting an investigation into the incident, though doctors say the risk of exposure to disease is probably low.

"What were you thinking?" said Debbie Sybert, a Jarrell resident whose 11-year-old daughter, Amanda, was pricked during Mass. "Apparently our father has lost his mind."

...Helen Osman, communications director for the Austin diocese, said workers at the Williamson County and Cities Health District will conduct confidential interviews with the Mass attendees to find out whether they have any communicable diseases and whether skin was broken. Then, officials will determine whether the children might be at risk for exposure to diseases such as HIV or hepatitis and whether a blood test is needed."


Self-loathing homo Congressman Dave Dreier gets deserved grief


Dreier's been solidly outed a number of times, on BlogActive, Raw Story, and in Hustler magazine -- but the MSM won't do anything with that information. Graphic: BlogActive.

Mike Rogers at BlogActive roasts California homo-bigot fag, Repug Congressman David Dreier of California, with an action item. If this can be believed, self-loathing Dreier, when faced with the recent Hate Crimes Prevention Act, voted against it -- the historic bill passed the House without this loser's vote. Mike's pissed (in the most fabulously wry way):
Clearly David is subservient to the hateful leadership (I'm no petite guy, but not even I could stand to bottom for House Speaker Denny Hastert the way David Dreier bending over on a daily basis.). Or is it that he hates himself THAT much?


[Oy, the imagery of Denny Hastert having his way with the Congressman from the 26th District -- the "foothills of California"...ugh.]

...David did not vote against the entire bill. He voted only against the Conyers amendment that added SEXUAL ORIENTATION. In my opinion, this is actually WORSE. I mean come on your self loathing fag. You vote FOR the bill, but you wish it DIDN'T include gays? What a sad, sad man(?) you are.
Here is the contact info to complain about this dude: Dave's DC office at (202) 225-2305. California office: 626-852-2626.


O'Reilly: obsessed with inter-species marriages

Saturday, September 17, 2005



Bill O'Lielly is quickly heading onto the insanity path that Crazy Pat Robertson is on. Media Matters caught this crap that aired on the cretin's radio show about gay marriage.
From the September 14 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: The secular progressive movement would like to have marriage abolished, in my opinion. They don't want it, because it is not diverse enough. You know, that's what this gay marriage thing is all about. But now, you know, the poly-amorphous marriage, whatever they call it, you can marry 18 people, you can marry a duck, I mean --

LIS WIEHL (co-host): A duck? Quack, quack.

O'REILLY: Well, why, you know, if you're in love with the duck, who is the society to tell you you can't do that?
This is not the first time that O'Reilly has expressed concern about the threat of marriage with farm animals. He has repeatedly warned that in the future, "[y]ou'll be able to marry a goat."


'Ex-Gay' into leathermen

Wayne Besen, blogger and author of Anything But Straight, an exposé of the ex-gay movement, has a real mind-blower of a post up.



Apparently, one of the more prominent ex-gay proponents, Richard Cohen, (above, left) president of Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (P-FOX) was testing the limits of his reclaimed heterosexuality on Howard Stern Show, frolicking around with a leatherman (above).
Former Moonie and naked cult member Richard Cohen was on Howard Stern this morning to make an ass of himself, talking about his bizarre "transformation" from gay to straight. In typical fashion, he was a buffoon and a self-promoting media ho, who plugged his book every six seconds. Two things he failed to bring up:

1) He was kicked out of the American Counseling Association for malpractice (whoops!)
2) He once left his wife and child to have sex with men in New York City (Yikes!)

Sounds like a real success story!
As Wayne mentions, Cohen, was "expelled for life" out of the ACA for unethical conduct, so a little homo falling off the wagon is not far-fetched, considering this guy's past (and present). P-FOX is the outrageous group that goes around to schools encouraging the formation of ludicrous "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Clubs -- "The purpose of an ex-gay & everstraight club is to provide a safe environment for all students to discuss alternatives to homosexuality and find ex-gay resources. Clubs can be started by students who have never been gay (everstraights), ex-gay students, and those struggling with unwanted same sex attraction."

Looks like Richard might be the one struggling.

You know, I wonder if Richard Cohen has ever run into Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, at a leather event. After all, Peter is well-versed on the scene because of all of his "undercover experiences." Perhaps they can compare notes -- or share experiences. After all, it's just a couple of straight guys sitting around talking...Look at what Petey shared with his fellow fundamentalists:


Sadistic/masochistic "leather" sexuality often includes consensual sexual violence (beating, whipping, or otherwise inducing pain as part of sex) and "consensual" degradation and humiliation between "partners."

...I decided to go down to Chicago on Memorial Day, the last day of IML [International Mr. Leather], to gather evidence on this twisted event. As you can imagine, this idea didn't go over too well with my wife.

...I paid my two-dollar entrance fee and passed by a femmy "leather" guy who was happily greeting visitors with the line, "Welcome to the WalMart of porn!" At the vendors' area, I found booth upon booth--there were over a hundred--selling whips, handcuffs, electric "torture" devices, leather "hoods," etc., a veritable cornucopia for the deviant.
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Classic Hollywood teen idol Tab Hunter comes way out in autobiography


Tab Hunter then and now. Photo: Stephanie Diani for The New York Times

Interesting profile in the NYT about Tab Hunter, a star from the good old days of 50s Hollywood soapers, a time when fully realized gay characters weren't on screen -- but a whole lot of closeted gay actors were. (NYT):
Next month "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star," an autobiography written with Eddie Muller, in which Mr. Hunter chronicles his life in public as America's golden boy and his life in private as a gay man, will be published by Algonquin Books. As Mr. Hunter stepped out with starlets like Ms. [Natalie] Wood in movies, magazines and Hollywood night spots, he pursued relationships with actors like Anthony Perkins, who eventually stopped seeing him, married and later died of AIDS.

Mr. Hunter, like many celebrities who become international obsessions, is fairly simple in person. At 74, he says he prefers horses to people. He can swear with the best of them. He has lived quietly in a small cottage in this small town outside Santa Barbara for 12 years with his partner of 23 years, Allan Glaser, a producer. Oprah Winfrey has a place down the hill, 42 acres that she paid $55 million for, but that's entertainment. Nicely kept 230SL's buzz among the old-growth olive-grove roads like hornets. No one pretends that Montecito is Middle America.

There's more to life than success, Mr. Hunter said last week, sitting in his garden with Mr. Glaser, talking about being Tab Hunter. One of their two whippets, Olivia, chewed on an acorn by his chair. Mr. Hunter has an actor's habit of holding one's eye with consequence as he answers questions, as if it were a camera.

"Rock? No," he said, asked if he had had sex with Rock Hudson, one of Hollywood's other A-list homosexuals in the 1950's. "Not my type." Mr. Hudson and Mr. Hunter shared an agent, Henry Willson, who was known as the gay Svengali for the beefcake stars he created.

...Mr. Hunter said that Hollywood in the 1950's had its version of "Don't ask, don't tell," which was "Don't complain, don't explain." Or, let the studio take care of you, and let the public draw its conclusions.

"There was a lot written about my sexuality, and the press was pretty darn cruel, but people believe what they want to believe," he said. What moviegoers wanted to hold in their hearts were the boy-next-door marines, cowboys and swoon-bait sweethearts he portrayed.
The article includes comments from John Waters, who was responsible for "rediscovering" Hunter resurgence, casting him with Divine in Polyester. Waters, in talking about today's gay Hollywood, is of the firm belief that none of the top box office stars are gay, including Tom Cruise, lololol.

Thanks to House Blender Holly for the pointer.


Support for Iraq war at all-time low


Iraqi youngsters shout and clap their hands walking on the tread of an US army tank damaged by a road side bomb in Ramadi, 113kms (70miles) west of Baghdad, Saturday Sept. 17 2005. Saturday's attacks occurred after three straight days of bombings and shootings in Baghdad and elsewhere, in which more than 200 people were killed and 600 wounded in an stunning outburst of sectarian violence. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The speeches and spin aren't doing any good. Forgive me for being pissed, but where were these sheeple back in 2004 when it was still all going downhill? (Reuters):
Only 44 percent of those surveyed said the United States did the right thing by invading Iraq, the lowest rating since the question was first asked by the poll more than two years ago, the poll showed, according to The New York Times.

Furthermore, more than eight in 10 Americans are very or somewhat concerned that the war is costing money and resources needed in the United States, the poll showed.

...The poll also showed sharp racial divides in how the war is perceived by Americans. Only 36 percent of white Americans felt the war was having a negative impact in their communities, compared to 58 percent of black Americans.

Nearly 60 percent now disapprove of the president's handling of the Iraqi conflict and nearly half of all Americans are not proud of what the United States is doing in the war, the poll found.


This is the real extreme makeover

Doctor Pushes for First Face Transplant. I saw a program on the Discovery Health Channel about this and it creeped me out, even though logically, this is no different medically than many other transplants. It is however, a gray area of discomfort for lay people. I do understand why doctors would want to forge into this territory. One of the patients in the documentary was Jacqueline Saburido, who was severely disfigured when hit by a drunken driver.
Jacqui was pinned in the front seat on the passenger side. She was burned over 60% of her body; no one thought she could survive. But Jacqui lived. Her hands were so badly burned that all of her fingers had to be amputated. She lost her hair, her ears, her nose, her left eyelid and much of her vision. She has had more than 50 operations since the crash and has many more to go.
In the show she expressed her desire to have a transplant if one were available. After all, people with severe disfigurement from accidents, burns, disease and birth defects would benefit greatly by being able to receive a new face or parts of one, since today's reconstructive surgical techniques are still not good enough to be able to render a "normal" facial appearance for someone after a catastrophic deformity. (AP):
Ultimately, it comes to this: a hospital, doctor and patient willing to try it. The first two are now in place. The third is expected to be shortly.

The "consent form" says that this surgery is so novel and its risks so unknown that doctors don't think informed consent is even possible. Here is what it tells potential patients:

Your face will be removed and replaced with one donated from a cadaver, matched for tissue type, age, sex and skin color. Surgery should last 8 to 10 hours; the hospital stay, 10 to 14 days. Complications could include infections that turn your new face black and require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts. Drugs to prevent rejection will be needed lifelong, and they raise the risk of kidney damage and cancer.

After the transplant you might feel remorse, disappointment, or grief or guilt toward the donor. The clinic will try to shield your identity, but the press likely will discover it.


The clinic will cover costs for the first patient; nothing about others has been decided. Another form tells donor families that the person receiving the face will not resemble their dead loved one. The recipient should look similar to how he or she did before the injury because the new skin goes on existing bone and muscle, which give a face its shape.

All of the little things that make up facial expression — mannerisms like winking when telling a joke or blushing at a compliment — are hard-wired into the brain and personality, not embedded in the skin. Some research suggests the end result would be a combination of the two appearances.

...Surgeons wished they could have done a transplant six years ago, when a 2-year-old boy attacked by a pit bull dog was brought to the University of Texas in Dallas where Dr. Karol Gutowski was training.

Other doctors had tried to reattach part of the boy's mauled face but it didn't take. The Texas surgeons did five skin grafts in a bloody, 28-hour surgery. Muscles from the boy's thigh were moved to around his mouth. Part of his abdomen became the lower part of his face. Two forearm sections became lips and mouth.

"He'll never be normal," said Gutowski, now a reconstructive surgeon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Surviving such wounds can be "life by 1,000 cuts." Patients endure dozens of operations to graft skin inch by inch from their backs, arms, buttocks and legs. Only small amounts can be taken at a time because of bleeding. Surgeons often return to the same areas every few weeks, reopening old wounds and building up skin. Years later, many patients are still having surgeries. A face transplant — applying a sheet of skin in one operation — could be a better solution.

Despite its shock factor, it involves routine microsurgery. One or two pairs of veins and arteries on either side of the face would be connected from the donor tissue to the recipient. About 20 nerve endings would be stitched together to try to restore sensation and movement. Tiny sutures would anchor the new tissue to the recipient's scalp and neck, and areas around the eyes, nose and mouth.


Jeb's boy picked up for DUI, resisting arrest


John Ellis Bush, 21, shown in this photo provided by the Austin, Texas Police Department, was arrested early Friday morning, Sept. 16, 2005, in Austin and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, a Travis County Sheriff's Department spokesman said. Bush is the youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (AP Photo/Austin Police Department)

His uncle's allegedly off the sauce -- Chimpy had his own DUI at 30. Jeb's kids, sadly, seem to be having some difficulties with substance abuse as well. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before there are mug shots for the Bush twins -- at the very least party girl Jenna. (Reuters):
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Capt. David Ferrero told the Austin American Statesman that Bush, 21, approached a group of police officers on a street corner in downtown Austin at 2:30 a.m. on Friday to ask about an earlier arrest of people he knew.

He appeared to be drunk, so police detained him and tried to handcuff him. While they put the cuffs on young Bush, he pushed against the officers and ended up suffering a cut on the chin, the newspaper said. "He was observed to be a danger to himself and others," Ferrero told the Statesman.

Alia Faraj, spokeswoman for the governor, said: "Governor Bush and First Lady Bush are concerned about this incident. This is a personal family matter which they are dealing with privately." It is not the first time one of the governor's children has had a run-in with the law.

Jeb Bush's daughter Noelle was sentenced to 10 days in jail in 2002 after cocaine was found in her shoe at a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program.


Sanctity of marriage



It lasted four months. Renee, baby, the man's a homo* -- I know you don't have gaydar, but he sets mine off big time. The man needed this marriage to boost some album sales, and well, we know he had a "crush" on you, but it is possible for homos to have straight celebrity crushes, silly.

After all, my straight celebrity crushes are Bruce Willis and Chris Meloni -- but I doesn't mean I'd marry either of them. Girl, you've been had. He had to do it -- he's in Country music for god's sake!

Meanwhile, this is just another in the string of eye-blink-long marriages as the wingers crow about the sanctity of marriage that needs protection from the homos.

Is there anyone openly gay in Country? Who's in the rumor mill? I heard rumors about Aaron Tippin years ago, but no confirmation on that one either. Wasn't one guy caught propositioning some cop in a rest stop, and then he "found Jesus" and got "back on track?"


Kenny.

Shakes Sis has commentary on Kenny and Renee as well.

* I have no proof, just my gaydar.

***

Speaking of gossip, has anyone checked out the delicious A-List? Lots of rumors about a whole lot of famous people. Love the entry on Chimpy:
Bush, George W. Recovering drunkard (and probably a dry drunk) and cokehead. Not the brightest bulb in the lamp, and in fact couldn’t spell cat if you gave him the “c” and the “a.” The best argument against participatory democracy I know. Hypocritical moralist; Bill Clinton without the brains. Funded a girlfriend's abortion. At odds with his wife over how to treat his daughters' alcoholism. Believes (according to his own words) that only "believers in Jesus" will go to Heaven. Given his performance since being elected, it's now clear that the man is either a pathological liar or holds the American public in such contempt that he doesn't even bother to make his lies credible.


Open thread for a Saturday...


UNC columnist: strip those Arabs naked to fight terrorism


Jillian Bandes is a racist, bigoted moron. She's also likely to hit the right-wing speaking tour shortly.

This Ann Coulter wannabe wrote an interesting column about racial profiling in the war against terror. She really does have the subtlety of our bed-worn, plagiarist b*tch of the right wing.

Did she not get the memo that Ann's brand of politics is getting her dropped from papers and speaking engagements because she's tired and offensive? I guess not. This nonsense is unbelievable; remember, someone at this paper made an editorial decision to run this. (Daily Tar Heel):
I want all Arabs to be stripped naked and cavity-searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport. I don’t care if they’re being inconvenienced. I don’t care if it seems as though their rights are being violated. I care about my life. I care about the lives of my family and friends.

And I care about the lives of the Arabs and Arab Americans I’m privileged to know and study with. They’re some of the brightest, kindest people I’ve ever met. [Good god.."some of my best friends are..." is this her mitigating statement for the rest of this horsesh*t?]

Tragically, they’re also members of an ethnicity that is responsible for almost every act of terror committed against the West in the recent past. And in the wake of the anniversary of 9/11, I think it’s important to remember not only those who died, but how they died, why they died and where we stand now compared to where we stood then.

Four years and two days ago, we stood somewhere between apathy and ignorance. Sure, there were heinous acts of terrorism being committed in far-away lands, and sure, there was always the threat that some psychopath might do something. After all, we’re the generation of Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber and Columbine. The news was littered with coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nerve gas on Japanese subways and terror in the Balkans.

But those attacks weren’t in the same buildings we toured on our eighth-grade class trips. They didn’t kill 3,000 of our relatives. They weren’t in our face.

So Bushie waged war on ’em. He set out to knock the evil off its axis, and we’re still there, duking it out.

And for good reason. You can debate a lot of things about post-9/11 foreign policy, but one thing you can’t debate is that taking out terrorists — or blatant human-rights violators — is a good thing. You also can’t debate that of the 19 hijackers on those planes, all 19 were Arab. And you can’t debate that while most Arabs are not terrorists, sadly, most terrorists are indeed Arab.

Given this combination, I want some kind of security. Done in a professional, conscientious manner, racial profiling is more likely to get the bad guys than accosting my 12-year-old pipsqueak of a brother on his way to summer camp.

When asked if she had a boyfriend, Ann Coulter once said that any time she had a need for physical intimacy, she would simply walk through an airport’s security checkpoint.

I want Arabs to get sexed up like nothing else.
She was, thankfully, fired, not for the above inflammatory crap (after all she does have a right to her diseased opinion), but for passages later in the column where she quotes Arab students at UNC portraying as being in agreement with the above bullsh*t. The public editor at the Daily Tar Heel, Elliot Dube, says this:
“I want Arabs to get sexed up like nothing else.

“And Arab students at UNC don’t seem to think that’s such a bad idea.”

Following these statements were quotes by three separate sources. A reasonable person could infer that the “that’s” in the second sentence refers to the getting “sexed up” in the first. He or she also could infer that the sources actually relayed a belief that Arabs getting “sexed up” wasn’t “such a bad idea” — and the average reader would have no way of knowing whether or not Jillian actually shared the “sexed up” concept with her sources.

After contacting the sources, the DTH leadership found that none of them had come close to stating such a belief. Seeing as how a reasonable person could make the aforementioned inferences, Jillian’s column not only misrepresented these sources, but it also put them in a false light.

It’s true that DTH leaders fired Jillian to protect certain interests of their own. But not included was the interest that coincided with any involved party’s political beliefs or the one that coincided with anyone’s desire to quell the anger that had arisen among many readers.

It’s in their interest to maintain an operable relationship with current and future sources — one in which those sources aren’t concerned that the meaning of their words will be altered and that they will be misrepresented in articles read by thousands of people.
You should head over to Dube's response, because there are unhinged comments by readers about the firing. The Freeper crowd there is holding her up as a martyr to the "censorship" occurring on "liberal" campuses. I think the DTH editorial staff is trying to have it both ways on this one, so they are getting grief.

BTW, my brother taught at UNC, and trust me, while the place is fairly progressive (remember, this is still the South), some of the things that came out of the mouths of the socially conservative undergrad students he taught there would curl your hair -- so I don't doubt she has local support for her views as well.


Poll: Americans embarrassed by military's gay ban

I'm not surprised at this poll, given the strain on the miltary at this time, with recruiting falling through the floor. When is the Pentagon going to realize the public is tiring of the duplicity about gays serving? The fact that official documents surfaced this week, exposing the policy of retention of homos during wartime (with a gay purge afterwards) adds ammunition to the argument that Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to be booted.

Even conservatives agree, and because the respondents were all between 18-24, the common dumb notion that recruits are going to be worried about "soap dropping in the shower," is blown out of the water. Some of the findings:
Barring out gay men and lesbians from serving in the armed forces makes more people embarrassed by the military than proud of it, according to a new University of California poll.

* 24.2% of respondents said that the policy makes them embarrassed by the military
* 17.5% said that the policy makes them proud
* 56% said the policy has no impact on their feelings about the military.

Conservatives were heavily overrepresented in the pool of respondents because the sample was designed to match the characteristics of a cohort of new military recruits. Among respondents to the survey:

* 53.1% were Republicans
* 29.8% were independent/other
* 17% were Democrats
* 81.6% were male
* 18.4% were female
* all were between the ages of 18 and 24.

These characteristics closely match the profile of a cohort of new military recruits.

The survey was designed by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a research institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to test how the gay ban is perceived among individuals whom the military seeks to recruit. "The fact that even conservatives are embarrassed by the gay ban suggests that the policy is harmful to the military's reputation," said Aaron Belkin, director of the group.
This is sure to set off Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness in Livonia, MI. She has been on the warpath for years talking about how being gay disqualifies one from military service.

She's 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. She's run articles about Canada, implying it has a pansy military because gays can enlist. She's ridiculous, but she spouts the party line - she want's DADT dropped too, but for completely different reasons. From one of her columns:


The law affirming that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service" deserves continued support. After 12 comprehensive hearings, Congress passed the law with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. There was, and still is, a need to protect good order, morale and discipline in the armed forces.

...The law recognizes that living conditions are often "spartan, primitive and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy." It also respects the normal human desire for sexual modesty. Servicemen and women should not have to expose themselves to persons who might be sexually attracted to them. It would be unfair to force the homosexual agenda on young people whose lives are difficult enough.

...Retention of Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy has caused untold confusion and a waste of resources that could have been avoided. At the Defense Language Institute, homosexual students who were not eligible for the Army were enrolled in the place of other trainees who were. The Bush administration should clarify the meaning of the law and enforce it, while dropping Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy/regulations.

Legislation or a court order mandating acceptance of homosexuality, similar to that imposed on Britain by a European court, would harm our military and make recruiters' jobs harder. [BUZZZZZ. Wrong answer. Gays aren't keeping the numbers down, it's the senseless war your president started.] Everyone can serve their country in some way, but not everyone is eligible to serve in the military.


Maybe Condi should help him dress as well as give him potty breaks

Friday, September 16, 2005


Sometimes he just makes my Photoshopping way too easy. (Hat tip: AMERICAblog)


Read my lips: no new taxes! - Part II


$200 billion for Iraq... so far. $60 billion for Katrina... so far. A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about some real money!
(CNN) -- President Bush said Friday his plan for federal projects to rebuild the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina will be expensive, "but I'm confident we can handle it and our other priorities."

The nation will "have to cut unnecessary spending," he said.

He added, "We should not raise taxes."
...Cuz that would unnecessarily and negatively affect my Rangers and Pioneers. And Uncle Dick and Uncle Karl told me not to.


Operation Rebuild New Orleans Bush's Poll Numbers


If the president's speech didn't convince you that his plan for rebuilding New Orleans is really a plan to rebuild his sagging approval numbers and the hopes for a continued GOP Congressional majority in 2006, maybe this will:
(NY Times) Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
Karl Rove. The Turd Blossom who committed treason by leaking a CIA agent's identity, in charge of the largest federal reconstruction effort in history. Because, you know, Karl has "Brownie"-level experience in dealing with such an undertaking.

You mean to tell me that in a nation of 300 million, Karl Rove has the most successful record and experience in managing environmental and urban disaster recovery? Not, perhaps, someone like Peter Ueberroth, or Rudy Guiliani, or any number of former FEMA directors, civil engineers, former military leaders, former governors, or anyone else who's had the remotest connection to a tornado, earthquake, mudslide, blackout, or wildfire recovery effort?

Naw, because what Karl Rove is really really good at is spin and creating images and scaring voters and political dirty tricks and winning elections. Arianna Huffington put it this way:
So here is the White House's Katrina Plan in a nutshell: block any independent examination of its failings, put the Einstein of damage control in charge of reconstructing New Orleans, keep the dead bodies out of sight, try to get away with general platitudes and palliatives, offer watered-down acceptances of "responsibility" while trying to pin everything you can on local yokels and fall guys like Brownie, and let Bush's corporate cronies get fat on hefty no-bid reconstruction contracts. [And let's not forget about paying the workers less than the prevailing wage and not having to fulfill any affirmative-action requirements.]

So get ready for the New New Orleans -- Karl Rove's Big Easy -- featuring the Halliburton French Quarter, the ExxonMobil River (formerly the Mississippi), Lake MBNA (formerly Pontchartrain), and Eli Lilly music (formerly jazz).

With deals like that shimmering on the horizon, it's no wonder the president's pals in Congress are doing everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into House Democrats' efforts to investigate the Plamegate scandal, and the Boy Genius' involvement in it -- shooting down a pair of bills that would have required Antonio Gonzalez and the Justice Department, and Condi Rice and the State Department to turn over all documents and information pertaining to the outing of Valerie Plame.

God forbid! Mustn't allow anything to get in the way of Reconstruction Karl's efforts to rebuild the president's poll numbers, eh?
I don't know what pisses me off more; that they don't even try to hide their shameless political opportunism, or that more of my fellow Americans aren't as pissed off about it as I am.

(Hat tip to Ms. Julien's List)


Homo witch hunt by the Vatican could blow up in Ratzi's face

"Why stop at seminaries? Why not deacons, priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals? Are they going to be asked if they are homosexuals and if they are, be forced to resign their positions?" he said. "If that happens, there will be many empty offices, many empty parishes and many empty sees."
-- anonymous priest on the "inspections" ordered by Pope Benedict

Via PageOneQ, the Chicago Sun-Times has another piece on the Vatican's "investigation" of seminaries to uncover homosexual activity. Basically, Pope Ratzi is doing a census to see whether the homo purge throughout the church is going to leave him high and dry of warm bodies. One can only hope that this purge nonsense will backfire.
While some church leaders insist the visitations are meant to examine how well priests are being trained spiritually and intellectually, others say the inspections are a thinly veiled attempt to root out homosexuals in the clergy.

"They are basically checking to see if we are in compliance with what the church has asked us to do," said the Rev. Thomas Baima, provost of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, the largest seminary in the United States. Nine "apostolic visitors" are to begin their examination of Mundelein's 205 seminarians and 40 faculty members the first week of October. The visitors will also interview about 100 men who have graduated from Mundelein in the past three years, Baima said. "The issue is, if we're training men for chaste celibacy, we want to make sure there's no sexual activity going on at all."

...It is not known what the rumored Vatican document will say, but some observers see hints in comments made recently by Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the American prelate who is coordinating the apostolic visitations for the Vatican. "Anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary," even if the man has been celibate for more than a decade, O'Brien told the National Catholic Register.

Such remarks belie the true intent of the apostolic visits, according to one Chicago-area Catholic priest who is gay. "Flying in the face of reality and scientific evidence, rather than dealing with the real issue of psychic immaturity in priests who are either gay or straight -- which is clearly the problem for pedophiles . . . -- they are going on a witch hunt to get rid of all the gays," said the priest, who requested anonymity. "It would be funny if it weren't so sad."


Katrina homeowners and renters getting the big screw

I have to agree with Chris over at Facing South. Insurance companies are trying every which way to weasel out of their obligations, and people are raising hell with legitimate concerns.
Our friends at Alabama Watch, a consumer watchdog group, are members of Americans for Insurance Reform, which has set up a toll-free Katrina Insurance Hotline (1-888-450-5545; staffed M-F, 10 am to 6 pm EST). AIR reports they're getting a flood (pardon the expression) of calls from people having problems with their insurance companies (surprise, surprise). Among the problems:

*** "Insurance companies are waffling about whether they will pay policyholders for certain types of damage. For example, many policyholders have policies covering wind and rain damage, but not flooding."

*** "AIR has received many calls from Louisiana and Mississippi residents who are insured by smaller insurance companies (not the major companies like State Farm, Allstate or Travelers). Their insurance carriers are saying they are unwilling to supply policyholders with immediate living expenses until a claims adjuster has inspected their property. At the same time, these insurance representatives are unwilling to provide policyholders with even a broad estimate of when such an inspection might happen."

This is why the issue of financial hardship for Katrina victims -- especially those going deeper into debt in the shadow of the bankruptcy bill -- is such a big deal, and why the right-wing response that "they can just collect insurance" is not the answer.
Kate's sister (washed out of Ocean Springs, MS by Katrina) reports that run-arounds are going on in Mississippi. While homeowners deal with the above nightmares, think about people living in apartment complexes They are being screwed over by the management and left with little information. At first she was notified that her building was condemned. Now she has learned that they intend to "fix" the building, which has significant damage.


This building will be "repaired"; who's going to monitor this construction, and what will happen to the people in the rest of the building when there's no power? How long will it take - no one knows? Getting answers from the complex management has been mostly a fruitless exercise.

She was planning to moving to another town before the storm, so it's not relevant in her case, but for those staying in that complex, they are left with little idea about what is going to happen, when they will have power, and well, that little matter called rent while the construction is going on. Some of the buildings don't even have tarps on them, so the next rains are going to pour in, leaking through to the lower floors.

You have to wonder what kind of "fix" is actually going to take place in these complexes, with legitimate contractors in high demand, and with building inspectors stretched to the limit. There's going to be a lot of shoddy work performed, and you best believe there are going to be electrical fires as a result.

Do you think all that work will be done to code?


What a freakshow conservative personals ad looks like

It's Friday, and so I have to post something randomly bizarre, it's a Blend of the serious and not-so-serious, after all...

House Blender 'Bean sent me the most awful link today.

In his boredom he was checking out some wingnut ads on a Personals site and sent me to a gawdawful profile that made me want to hurl (it should be noted, he was NOT looking to date these knuckle-draggers, lol). He said: "I searched for "man-seeking-man" and political views 'VERY Conservative'. Pee first if you have to: you will not stop laughing for hours!" This is one real DL winger on the prowl:
I am just looking for some hardcore unprotected gay sex. I am not capable of LOVE, so if that is why you are reading this, then stop. Muscle bound black men preferred, but will settle for a nebishy jew bottom.
I reproduced the page and anonymized the horrible picture. Don't say I didn't warn you if you click here. For those that make the trek, 'Bean eagerly awaits your comments.


Hurricanes don't care if you think "the jury is out" on Global Warming


In the wake of Katrina, the subject of Global Warming has come back into the news. Hurricanes get their power from the a variety of factors, but central among them is the existence of ocean waters heated up to above 79° F.

Some, like Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, want to downplay the role of Global Warming in causing more severe hurricanes:
At the 27th annual National Hurricane Conference, University of Colorado atmospheric scientist Dr. William Gray explained that nature is responsible for hurricane cycles, not humans. Periodically changing ocean circulation patterns, he explained, led to the cycle of increasing hurricane activity that the world is currently experiencing. 2004's above average hurricane season was part of a completely natural and normal cycle that scientists have monitored for more than 100 years. In fact, for about the past 25 years there has been a relative lull in hurricane activity in the U.S.

We have recently begun to emerge from that cycle into a more active cycle of hurricane activity like those from the 1930s through 1950s. Indeed, according to the National Hurricane Center, category 3, 4 and 5 hurricane numbers peaked in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s with an average of 9 per decade. In the 1940s alone, 23 hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland, 8 were category-3 or stronger storms. By contrast, since the 1980s when environmentalists first began to argue that humans were causing catastrophic climate change, the number of category 3 or higher hurricanes have averaged 5 per decade.
Well, such an authoritative statement from an avowed right-wing think tank is certain to be free from a pro-corporate, pro-pollution bias, right? But then others, as noted in an article in today's Oregonian, beg to differ:
Climate experts who examined records of hurricanes during the past 35 years reported this week that the strongest hurricanes -- categories 4 and 5, and Katrina was a 4 -- had increased sharply as a percentage of all hurricanes arising worldwide. That's over a time period during which tropical ocean surface waters rose about a half a degree Celsius.

"The potential for more Katrina-type events is on the trend," said researcher Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "Who knows? Had this trend not been there, Katrina might have been a Category 2 or a Category 3."

Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in August published a study in the journal Nature that signaled the trend to more destructive cyclones resulting from warmer oceans.

... Still, it is the mix of warmer oceans and more people along coastlines that leads Emanuel to say, "Global warming is loading the dice."
Loading the dice and risking people's lives. So, what do we have to look forward to?
The surface layer of tropical oceans has warmed by about a half-degree Celsius since 1970, but it's impossible to predict how much warmer the oceans will become as the heat-trapping greenhouse gas carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere from the increased burning of petroleum and coal. Advanced computer simulations of the earth's climate predict that tropical sea surface temperature will rise an additional 1 or 2 degrees over the next 80 years. As a result of that projected warming, the latest and most detailed climate simulations also predict an increase in highly destructive Category 5 hurricanes.

As early as 1987, climate scientists theorized that the warming of the earth's oceans due to our rising output of greenhouse gases could boost the destructiveness of hurricanes. By 2004, many computer simulations of the earth's atmosphere have predicted the same effect. Then in August, a study by Emanuel put forth evidence of a near doubling of hurricane power since the mid-1970s, based on records of hurricanes since the 1950s in the Atlantic and Western Pacific. Emanuel showed a tight link between storm intensity and sea surface temperatures -- as predicted by theory and computer modeling.

A newer study reported today in the journal Science found a pronounced shift toward more intense hurricanes in all of the world's oceans. Researchers analyzed hurricane records based on satellite images made since 1970. The frequency of cyclones varied from year to year and over longer cycles in some oceans, such as the Pacific, where activity peaked in the mid-1990s and then dropped steeply. They found no overall global trend in frequency. But in every ocean basin they found a shift toward stronger hurricanes. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have almost doubled in number and in proportion, rising from 20 percent to more than 35 percent.
Ooh, fun stuff!

In this whole debate about Global Warming (if by "debate" you mean "damn near full consensus of the scientific community, desperately trying to talk some sense into corporate-polluter interests") I keep trying to tell remind people that we are talking about massively complex, highly unpredictable systems that defy any sort of short-term prediction. We only have reliable weather data going back about one hundred years, and we're talking about Global Warming effects that may take hundreds more years to fully realize and measure. We have geologic and paleontologic data going back eons, but we've only had the massive pollution and environmental degradation of human industry for a little longer than a century.

When an anti-Global Warming position is offered, stating that there's "no scientific evidence" of the harms of Global Warming, they may be technically correct, just as there is no definitive scientific evidence that the Big Bang occurred or humans evolved from lower life forms.

So I look at the issue in a common-sense manner. Does it make good sense to recklessly spoil the air, water, and land for short-term gain with no perspective on the long-term consequences? Even animals know it's not wise to shit where you eat.

I also think of the weather in my lifetime and the anecdotes told by my parents and grandparents. Nampa, Idaho, my hometown, used to get maybe one or two days of 100°+ F days per summer; now streaks of 15 days over 100° F are not uncommon. Snowfall used to be very common during my childhood; now Idaho's Treasure Valley rarely gets any snowfall that sticks.

Maybe human industry has a great effect on global weather patterns. Maybe it only has a tiny effect. But when we're talking about our very civilization, shouldn't we err on the side of caution? If 98% of Global Warming is caused by factors out of our control, wouldn't it still be wise to reduce the 2% we're contributing to our own destruction?


Wingnut: Justice Thomas not hard on porn


Bob Peters of Morality in Media can't imagine Clarence Thomas curbing "indecent material." I wonder why?

Actually, I think he's personally quite well-acquainted with porn and getting hard, if memory serves me well. ;) There was that little matter of Long Dong Silver... Guess this pious boob wasn't paying attention to Clarence's confirmation hearings back in 1991.
The head of an organization dedicated to curbing obscenity in the media says if he had his choice, high court nominee John Roberts would become an associate justice rather than chief. Some observers have wondered why Bush did not choose one of the experienced strict constructionists on the court, such as Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas to head the bench.

However, Morality in Media president Robert Peters thinks he knows why President Bush did not try to elevate Scalia to the chief justice position. "My only explanation in terms of a defense of Bush," Peters says, "is that he was told in no uncertain terms that Scalia is not going to get through, so don't waste your time. If there was any other explanation, I think he sold us down the drain a little bit."

On the other hand, the Morality in Media spokesman says he does not feel Justice Thomas has been a friend when it comes to curbing indecent material on television and the Internet. "It's not that I'm going to become a total enemy of Justice Thomas," Peters says, "but unless he has a change of heart on this issue, I don't want the man to have more influence."


Baylor pinheads pull 'gay' Starbucks cup



Mind-numbingly dumb. A simple Starbucks cup with a quote from Armistead Maupin gives the sheltered administrators of Baylor University the vapors?!
Baylor University officials told Starbucks to remove a cup in the store they felt promoted homosexuality.

...Baylor University refused to comment on the issue. Starbucks employees said none of their customers had complained about the cup, but they did remove it.
Hat tip to John Howard at Upon Further Review..


What was that about small government?


The Chimp lugging his tired, sorry, hot-air-blowing, flopsweating ass back on Air Force One after last night's tour-de-force.

Spending money is easy -- especially when it isn't your own. Talking about smaller government is easy, before you get up to your rear end in a war of your own making, and your country is hit by a natural disaster of epic proportions. Then the taxpayer looks like a nice piggy bank, ready to raid for that rainy -- you don't have any Kool-Aid left to dole out to the sheeple to make them believe that all is well. The jig is up -- terrorism prevention and "homeland security" are a farce. Your poll numbers are sinking like a stone. What else is there to do but put on a show.

Last night's exercise in futility, a grand production with a backdrop lit by generators brought in for the occasion, was to reassure the American people that the president gives a damn.



When I heard "Gulf Opportunity Zone" emit from his pie-hole, I also heard the sucking sound of money leaving my wallet and getting deposited into all of his thieving contractor friends' bank accounts.
"Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief for small businesses, incentives to companies that create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and running again."
There really was a frightening moment last night, a real sense of meglomania when he launched into this portion of the speech. he took responsibility for the f*ckup, but his solution sounds like it's going to be a big problem with the "states rights" crowd.
It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice.

Four years after the frightening experience of September 11th, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution.
Haley Barbour, for instance, didn't like what he heard.
That comment concerned Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, whose state was hard hit by the storm. "We don't need the federal government to come in and take over what we're doing," he told CNN.
If Karl Rove was looking for a slam-dunk, he didn't get it.

Check out Shakes Sis and The Heretik on Bush's flopsweat.


Katrina evacuees called 'yard apes' by college official

And I thought 'yard ape' referred to the President strolling across the grass last night to give that lead balloon speech on live TV.

The woman serving as associate vice president for student services at Greenville (SC) Technical College "resigned" after multiple brain malfunctions in her job there. She's "numb" and "shocked" that calling children evacuated from the worst natural disaster in our country's history as "yard apes" -- in two separate briefings last week -- might be a teensy bit beyond the pale. (IslandPacket.com):
"I'm just numb and in a state of shock," Holcombe told The Associated Press. When asked if she meant the comment as a racial slur, she said: "Heavens, no." [Yes, I call all little darkies yard apes - doesn't everyone?]

A message left for school president Tom Barton was not immediately returned Wednesday. Barton said Tuesday that Holcombe had apologized in a separate meeting. He said the comments were reported to him by staff members who attended the meeting last Thursday. "We're going to rectify the situation and make it very much known that we won't ever tolerate that kind of situation - ever," Barton said.

Barton said Holcombe, associate vice president for student services, made the comment at a briefing to inform college employees of their roles as Greenville Tech bused hurricane refugees from the Palmetto Expo Center for registration. "It's even hard for me to repeat because I can't imagine anybody that would make such an asinine statement," Barton said.

"It was stated that 'We will take these yellow buses and go pick up these yard apes.' My God, how bad can bad get?"

..."It's not like she just came to work," he said. "She's been here and she knows our philosophy and she knows the institution. I just can't imagine why she did it."

Holcombe said Wednesday she did not want to discuss the incident because she didn't want "to add fuel to the fire," but she said she looks forward to the day her side of the story can be told.
And what might that side of the story look like? This, my friends, is an example of someone that belongs with the knuckle-draggers in the White Power movement. May I direct her to the Stormfront message board, where she can mingle with this breed of apes...


Actual Stormfront Ape Quotes

"A local church here in our small town in Arkansas has decided to take in 198 of the refugee blacks from New Orleans. Now let me start off by saying there is not one single black in this town, and now they are bringing in 198 of these raping, murdering, thieving, blacks. What the he** can we do? Damn, i just starting buying our house here, and have only made 5 payments so far. I need advice please....."


"Where the heck is the local Klan when ya need em ?!!"

"Believe it or not, we called the local Klan about 2 weeks ago, and they actually admitted that they don't do anything anymore, because they are broke...."

"If everyone in your town feels the same way. Just act like they aren't there. Act like they're invisible. Everybody. Do it long enough and the nature of the attention starved negro will come out in such ways to deserve arrest, but none will be able to blame Whitey."

"Yea man, I know how you feel. The little town that I live in which is in Utah is 98% white at least, and now we have these blacks being moved here . Im not saying all of them, but the majority of them are low life druggie criminals who live off of welfare. I would also like to know what to do."

and more...

"There can be no confusion as to what to do concerning these negro beasts, these savage rapists who defile our young with inhuman brutality, put them up against the wall and put a bullet in their head. If they were to even touch my daughter they would be decapitated and hung by the feet off the corner streetlight for all to see, we cannot give any quarter to these predators, violent savage beasts, thrust upon us, dispose of them like the trash they are."

"White Community: Helping the Forgotten Victims of Katrina"

and more...

"In order to keep everybody here well informed and prepared on where all the negros be headed and endin'up as a result of bussing them around the country, I think it would be a good idea to have a thread listing just where they are being accepted...by stupid mayors and their ilk. I imagine it to be more widespread than we are being told and I don't trust the local media outlets to be very eager to let us know about it, lest it result in racial discord. As far as I know there aren't any here yet in NE PA."

"So far none here in north Indiana, coons don't like the cold. I'm buying some guns to prepare myself for them, I'm sure some will make it up here."

"115 due to land in Tucson this morning! Time to print out my listing of the dangers these negroes will face in this area of the Sonoran Desert and infiltrate the leaflets in their Welcome Wagon handouts."

"Unless these niggers get krystaaal and fried chicken, they will start rioting and raping whites. If they do get their demands, they will still rape and kill, just not riot as much."

The real humanity: Edgar Hollingsworth, 74, is lifted onto an ambulance gurney in front of his home in New Orleans, found unconscious and emaciated 16 days after Katrina.(photo: Bruce Chambers)

Blender Coturnix noted in the comments that Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon has an excellent, eloquent piece up on Alternet, "The Shame of Blaming the Victims" that you should definitely check out.

Thanks to Blender Cat for the pointer.


The South rises again: Tyson Foods sued for discrimination

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Chris Kromm at Facing South was on this story Wednesday, and it's a doozy -- and a reminder that the "New South" label is barely papering over the Old South in parts of the region.
Consider this August dispatch:
A lawsuit filed today alleges that Tyson Foods, Inc. is responsible for maintaining a segregated bathroom and break room, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era, in its Ashland, Alabama chicken processing plant.

Twelve African-American employees filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleging that a “Whites Only” sign and a padlock denied them access to a bathroom in the Ashland plant. The complaint states that numerous white employees had keys to the bathroom that were not provided to African-American workers.
True, Arkansas-based meatpacking giant Tyson is one of the most egregious violators of labor and civil rights law in the country. But they're definitely not alone.
You may recall that Tyson had a buddy-buddy relationship with the Clintons during his administration, but Chris notes that the company is in bed with the Bush crime team, donating $100,000 towards Bush's 2005 inauguration. That buys access.


Tennessee Love in Action 'ex-gay' camp may be shut by state

“Tennessee is rightfully and responsibly protecting its citizens from unscrupulous and unlicensed practitioners posing as genuine mental health professionals...Prayer is not a replacement for professionalism, and that is unfortunately what is happening with these faith-based ministries.”
-- Wayne Besen, author of Anything but Straight, about the LIA 'reperative' facilities
This sick place made the headlines as the place teen blogger Zack was sent to by his parents to "de-gay" him. The Exodus International facility, Love In Action, ran the camps, and it caught the eye of state investigators. (SoVo):
Amidst the outpouring of concern for the teen, reports surfaced that Love in Action clients had been traumatized by their treatment at the program. Questions arose about whether the facility was operating within the law.

On Sept. 12, the state of Tennessee announced that its Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities had determined that Love in Action is operating two “unlicensed mental health supportive living facilities.”

“The [state] went in and visited and found that they were providing room, board and personal care for mentally ill people,” said Rachel Lassiter, deputy press secretary for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D). “The clients were determined to be mentally ill because some of them had been treated by psychiatrists and were on medication.”

It appears that Love in Action has taken on responsibility for the care of these people, Lassiter said, and unlawful operation of a personal support service is a class D misdemeanor in Tennessee.



Lassiter explained that the department sent a certified letter to Love in Action executive director John Smid, advising him that he must stop operating the homes or apply for a license within seven days. Smid did not respond to the letter, and a second letter was issued informing him that if he does not stop operating the homes or apply for a license by Sept. 15, the department would recommend that a cease and desist order be issued.

If the order is issued, state authorities will demand that Love in Action immediately stop operation of its residential facilities and will offer assistance in relocating the residents.
Blender Ol Cranky of The Disenchanted Forest adds this updated info:
The folks at LIA/R claimed they had just received the notification that day and would need the 7 days granted in the letter to determine how they will proceed...I'm surprised they were granted the seven day extension. It seems as though, in addition to the possible insurance fraud issue, LIA/R may have been prescribing medications without a license as well.


Earlier Blend posts on Love In Action are here.


Papers naming Atta a terrorist destroyed on Pentagon's orders

Uh oh. The 9/11 intelligence cover up is going to be exposed.
A Pentagon employee was ordered to destroy documents that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks, a congressman said Thursday.

The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to name the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

Weldon declined to name the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" - as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.

...Pentagon officials said this month they had found three more people who recall an intelligence chart identifying Atta as a terrorist prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. Two military officers, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have come forward to support Weldon's claims.


More women experimenting with bisexuality

May I be the first to say: yippee!
(MSNBC) More women -- particularly those in their late teens and 20s -- are experimenting with bisexuality or at least feel more comfortable reporting same-sex encounters, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey, released Thursday by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, found that 11.5 percent of women, ages 18 to 44, said they've had at least one sexual experience with another women in their lifetimes, compared with about 4 percent of women, ages 18 to 59, who said the same in a comparable survey a decade earlier.

For women in their late teens and 20s, the percentage rose to 14 percent in the more recent survey.
Remember the old saw about some girls going to college to get their MRS (Mrs.) degree? Apparently this female bisexuality fad has spawned its own cute acronym -- LUG.
But some experts who study sexuality say it's even more likely that many college students simply see experimentation as a rite of passage.

The trend among college women has prompted some sexual behavior experts to light-heartedly refer to the term "LUG," or "lesbian until graduation," said Craig Kinsley, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond who studies the biology of sexual orientation and gender.
So, are more women actually experimenting with their sexuality, or do they feel freer to express what's always been going on? Are women more naturally bisexual than men, or are men just too stigmatized by society's rampant homophobia to admit it? Have the high-profile lesbian relationships of Ellen deGeneres, Portia di Rossi, Rosie O'Donnell, Melissa Etheridge and others softened society's view of lesbian experimentation, any more than female gays have always suffered less slings and arrows than male gays? Do I have any idea what I'm talking about, or am I just using this opportunity to post a sexy picture of two women kissing?


This is what a Cat 1 hurricane can do


Jack Borinski, of Richmond, Va., videotapes the damage caused by Hurricane Ophelia in Salter Path, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The damage is worse because the damn storm just keeps spinning and not moving. We were thinking of spending Christmas out at Emerald Isle, but I don't know what kind of damage is down that way, but it was hit hard. Beaufort is a beautiful, historic town and it's a flooded mess. (AP):
As Ophelia's eyewall scraped slowly ashore Wednesday night near Morehead City, Carteret County authorities reported widespread coastal flooding and uprooted trees.

"It's a mess," said Jack Veit, assistant county manager. "We're hoping it's out by morning. That's a long time. That's one of our concerns. It's just going to saturate the ground."

Streets in Morehead City and in historic Beaufort nearby were flooded and thousands were without power. Authorities were investigating a report that a fishing pier went out to sea on Emerald Isle.

"This is not that bad of a storm if it got in and got out," said Mark Powell, making his fifth trip of the day into a horizontal rain to secure fishing boats straining at moorings in Carolina Beach. "It's the longevity that's killing us." Alongside him was Rocky Stone, sampling his first hurricane after moving to the coast six months ago from High Point. "If this is a Category 1," he said, "I don't want to see a 3 or a 4."
More than 81,000 are without power.


EPA's NOLA water-testing methods under fire

Delusional Mayor Nagin's so hot to get people back in that festering pool of disease and filth that he plans to open the French Quarter and business district next week, even if the water's only good for flushing toilets.

How long before the EPA says it's ok to drink the water in NOLA -- and would you believe them? The EPA's internal critic and others say the testing methods are highly questionable.
The agency's sampling program has just begun, but already it has been criticized by EPA employees, by scientists advising the agency on how to conduct the sampling program and by environmental groups, who say the agency hasn't moved quickly enough to protect the health of emergency personnel and residents who have stayed in or returned to New Orleans.


Mmm..mmm...good.

New water samples released Wednesday were similar to those released by the EPA last week, except the levels of e. coli and coliform, were 10 times higher. Several samples contained as many as 18,000 colonies of bacteria, compared to the 200-colony EPA standard for recreational swimming.

...Several samples also showed significant levels of lead and small amounts of toluene, a volatile organic compound often associated with gasoline or refineries.

Conspicuously absent, however, were any readings of benzene, a chemical used in the manufacture of gasoline to boost octane, or other chemicals found in crude oil or gasoline.

That led longtime EPA internal critic Hugh Kaufman, senior policy analyst for the agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, to call the results "bogus."

"Benzene and compounds like benzene are in the oil products in the water that everyone can see," Kaufman said. "If they come up zero on readings of benzene, the sampling is bogus. Whether it's incompetence or malice, I don't know, but there's no way to have all that oil in the water and have zero benzene."

Kaufman urged the agency to conduct detailed investigations of the water and the sediment left behind before allowing the public back in and urged that emergency workers be provided with protective clothing and respirators until it's clear there are no toxic chemicals in the water.
Thanks to Paul's Rants for the pointer.


AFA wingnut: homo students are 'setting up' the schools


American Family Association state director Scott Lively sees a gay conspiracy.

It's "social engineering through activism," according to this bible-beating attorney. Homos are "forcing schools" via lawsuit to adopt anti-discrimination policies. Yes, all those kids getting abused and discriminated against must have paid those folks to beat the crap out of them and piss in their bookbags to help them push the homo agenda in the schools. Right.
Scott Lively is a Christian attorney in nearby Temecula (CA). He says he has noticed a trend during his years of following lawsuits filed by homosexual students against schools. The trend, he says, shows that the students typically set up schools for litigation by intentionally behaving provocatively on campus. This, Lively contends, creates a no-lose situation for the homosexual students.

"They either win and usually get a settlement from the school," the attorney says, "or even if the gay and lesbian students don't win, they create a lot of pain for the school officials who have to deal with the lawsuit." According to Lively, such cases rarely ever make it to trial because schools will "cave in and give ... a fairly sizable award." He adds that "there's nothing schools fear more than litigation."

In a very real sense, he says, the homosexual students are "setting up" the school. "They'll file a complaint with the school saying that they're being harassed, somebody's calling them names, or whatever; they'll make several complaints," he explains. "Then they'll file a lawsuit alleging that the school is not doing enough to protect the gay and lesbian students from harassment."


The fertile Federlines procreate

Just because you needed to know. It's a boy. May it be the end of the line for those genes.

As I mentioned in the comments, the hygienically-challenged Brit and K-Fed will be passing on some handy tips to the little one.



As Below the Belt noted: "Only a true yo-boy could hold his "Shorty" in the rain with one hand while still keeping his other hand on his nuts. That takes skilz."


Here's one event I know you want to attend



Conservatives to Salute Senator Jesse Helms. Perhaps the ground will open up and swallow this motley crew.
On Tuesday September 20, 2005, national conservative leaders will gather to celebrate the publication of the newly released memoirs of Senator Jesse Helms, HERE'S WHERE I STAND, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA.


Surgically preserved Empty Wig Dole, and Senator for Sale Burr.

The dinner event will be hosted by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).


Novakula, Mother Schafly, embalmed Beverly LaHaye and Paul Weyrich will be paying tribute to the racist, senile Helms.

Speakers for the event will also include Bob Novak, Phyllis Schlafly, Beverly LaHaye, Paul Weyrich, David Keene, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Reed Larson. Dr. James Dobson and Franklin Graham will offer video tributes in addition to other surprise guests. Many of the senator's former and current staff will attend the event along with a host of national conservative leaders and activists.


Repugs: remaking NOLA in their own perverted image

It's worse than you can imagine. Shakes Sis has the goods on the master plan to create a social experiment of the worst kind in post Katrina NOLA., as she says, Grand Old Party Experiment (GOPE).
The Wall Street Journal (subscription only; no link available—Sept. 15 edition, page B1) reports:
Congressional Republicans, backed by the White House, say they are using relief measures for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf coast to achieve a broad range of conservative economic and social policies, both in the storm zone and beyond.

Some new measures are already taking shape. In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices. Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.
Waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region?! So, basically, Halliburton (you know, just as a random example, ahem) gets a no-bid reconstruction contract, doesn’t have to pay a prevailing wage, and can hire whomever they bloody well please without being constrained by affirmative-action requirements. Mm-hmm. All the rightwingers who howl about illegal immigration from Mexico are intractably stupid if they don’t see that this is exactly the kind of shit designed to allow corporate friends of the administration to exploit cheap labor.

Now, Republicans are working on legislation that would limit victims' right to sue, offer vouchers for displaced school children, lift some environment restrictions on new refineries and create tax-advantaged enterprise zones to maximize private-sector participation in recovery and reconstruction. Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would offer sweeping protection against lawsuits to any person or organization that helps Katrina victims without compensation.
The list of good ideas for the Grand Old Party Experiment just goes on and on and on, doesn’t it?
Go read her post for much more. I think I'm going to be sick.

Just when you didn't think it could get any worse, we have the news that Karl Rove is in charge over message AND reconstruction. Dan Froomkin in the WaPo:
All you really need to know about the White House's post-Katrina strategy -- and Bush's carefully choreographed address on national television tonight -- is this little tidbit from the ninth paragraph of Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson's story in the New York Times this morning:

"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort."

Rove's leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration. More specifically: With an eye toward increasing the likelihood of Republican political victories in the future, pursuing long-cherished conservative goals, and bolstering Bush's image.

That is Rove's hallmark.

Rove, Bush's long-time political adviser and the "architect" of Bush's ascendancy, was rewarded after the 2004 election with a position at the White House with overt policy responsibilities. But whereas in some previous White Houses, governance took precedence over campaigning once the election was safely over, Rove has shown no sign of ever putting policy goals above political ones.


Homo litmus test for future seminarians?

Scott over at Big Brass Blog has a really funny post up on the article, Vatican to Check U.S. Seminaries on Gay Presence. He's got the list of "clues" the Vatican might need to use to determine the level of queerness in candidates.



My response is that perhaps the Vatican should hand out to potential seminarians the "Masculinity" tape that Kevin Kline's character used to try to work the "gay" out of him in "In and Out."


Bush labeled 'a--hole' in Google bomb


Just a couple of images from the hilarious work by Film Strip International; it has a catchy tune too.

Thanks for the pointer, WorldNetDaily! This will get the word spread far and wide for sure now. Lots of Admin goons, past and present make the slideshow, along with O'Reilly, mAnn Coulter and more. Definitely worth the clicks.

I'm particular pleasure out of reading the WingNutDaily article, knowing writer Joe Kovacs was probably cringing as he typed out each "vulgarity."
President Bush is the target of a new "Google bomb" where he's labeled an "a-- hole" in a vulgar filmstrip when the graphic term is entered into the popular search engine.

A song and video critical of the president, his Cabinet and high-profile conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter appear as the sole result in Google searches when the words "a-- hole" with a space between the words are put into Google's engine, and the "I'm feeling lucky" button is punched.

...For instance, Bush is shown along with the caption "Saddam has ties to al-Qaida." A photo of Vice President Dick Cheney is included, with the caption, "Still says there are WMD." Former Attorney General John Ashcroft's caption reads, "A--holier than thou." Conservative analyst Ann Coulter's caption states, "Ann-hole (she hates your freedom)."

...The accompanying song, titled "A--hole," is by the Boston-area band Jim's Big Ego, whose website is also designed by SLAB. The band's leader, Jim Infantino, describes himself as a "genius of [a] songwriter, poet and Wi-Fi cafe lurker."

His lyrics to the song, actually penned last year, include:

It's a valuable muscle
near the base of the spine
and I know I'd be sorry if I ever lost mine
but it stinks when you're always full of sh--
all the time
'cause you're an a--hole.


Kansas ban on gay adoption stalls

The homophobes are having a hard time mustering support for a gay adoption ban in Kansas when so many children deserve a loving home.
On Wednesday, the chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Children’s Issues said she had no plans to bring up the proposal. The committee met all day in Topeka to discuss adoption issues, and it was expected the proposal would be discussed.

It will not be coming out of this committee,” said Rep. Willa DeCastro, a Wichita Republican who is chairwoman of the committee.

Legislative leaders sent the proposal to the committee for study after Rep. Steve Huebert, a Valley Center Republican, suggested a ban. Huebert said children were better off in homes with two heterosexual parents.


AOL may get eaten by Microsoft

Time Warner's been ready to unload this for a while -- hence the "AOL" being dropped from its name some time ago -- and now, unbelievably, Microsoft wants this dinosaur? (NYP):
In a deal that would unite two of America's corporate giants as partners in the Internet business, Time Warner is in advanced discussions to sell a stake in America Online to Microsoft, The Post has learned.

According to two sources familiar with the matter, Time Warner is in talks with Microsoft about selling the stake in AOL and then combining it with Microsoft's Web unit MSN. Under the plan being considered, Microsoft would pay some money to Time Warner for the AOL stake, leaving the two companies approximately equal partners in the venture.


Picture of the day - Presidential potty break

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


This is not a joke. Actual note caught by Reuters photographer.

[UPDATE: Reuters confirms this is the real deal. The Freepi see conspiracies...]

The caption: "U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking"

I'm still thinking about how Condi was going to assist him on that front.

Feel free to add your own "very special caption."

***

I'm sorry, but I had to see if the Freepers were going to react to this. I was not disappointed.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Well it's a wonder he needed a bathroom break. With all of the bullshiite going on in the UN, it's enough to make anyone puke."

"Those Reuters reporters never use toilets. They just pack it in~!"

"Not only a poor editorial choice, but the photo is deceptive on top of that. Perfect MSM B.S. storm"

"Explains why they're always full of it."

"That memo will surface out of Durbin's pocket tomorrow in the Roberts hearing."

"Seriously though why does rueter think this is news worthy?"

"Low-life media. Was it REALLY necessary to publish that, or was it published simply to make Bush look weak or dumb? Is that picture ANYWHERE near approaching something newsworthy? No, of course not, but we know the MSM's agenda. Pathetic."

"The President pees like the rest of us...I'm SHOCKED."

"In the past, this kind of thing would be considered bad form. But it's Bush, so decency is out the window."

"I would have relived myself on the carpet as the smell would have been covered by the background stench."

"I'm curious who they let in there with cameras that can zoom that close."

"Is this like that secret prompting device he wore during the 2004 debates?"

"For all we know...it could be "code" to Condi for wanting to signal something to her like 'they're full of ..." and that's their code cause he couldn't write what he really wanted to share with her."

"IF THIS IS BUSH-- could he be writing a reply to someone who was asking HIM for a break?"

"1) Why is this "news?", 2) Should I feel concerned that a photographer can get a photo of what the President is writing to his Sec of State? Did we doge a bullet, in that it could have been something sensitive?"

"That picture and note is a phoney. He would have never written that many words. He would have just said; "Gotta Pee" or "Gotta Poop""

"Pardon me while I whip this out"
Also check out The Heretik's response to this topic.


Arnold in the hot seat: calls for meeting with gay leaders

He must be getting an earful out there, especially with today's good news in Massachusetts.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Wednesday for a meeting with leaders of California's gay community, angry over his threatened veto of legislation to allow same-sex marriage.

The meeting will take place in the governor's Sacramento office next Wednesday. It will include Equality California executive director Geoff Kors and two other members of the EQCA board. Also taking part will be senior staffers for the governor. The meeting will be chaired by the governor's chief of staff, but Schwarzenegger has not committed to be there himself.

...EQCA spokesperson Eddie Gutierrez told 365Gay.com that its pressure tactics are have an effect. "The wisdom of our message is working, and our ‘12 Days of Equality’ project to educate the Governor about our families is certainly on the right path toward full equality," Gutierrez said.


Blender goes 'picnicking with the patriots'

I love this. House Blend reader David reports in from Illinois, where the Repugs held a "Patriot Day Picnic" for those that couldn't make it to Rummy's little 9/11 "Freedom Walk" propaganda extravaganza over the weekend to get their dog tags.

To me, the Wheaton, Illinois bash sounded like it was the big pro-military war rally event to attend, since our leather-loving, AmTaliban investigator of man-love, Peter LaBarbera was one of the headliners scheduled to appear...


Peter recently did a lot of research at the bathhouse during his undercover work at the International Mr. Leather conference because he needed to educate his Christian audience about the inner workings of "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men."

You'll recall that Miss Peter, founder of Americans for Truth and Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, specializes in "gathering evidence" on the deviancy of the homosexual male (he seemingly has no interest in lesbos). His selfless and tireless work is for his Christian brethren, ostensibly so that they can all pray with confidence that they are aware of what sins are being committed in the bathhouses and on Chicago's streets.

I was disappointed to learn that LaBarbera was a no-show at the pro-family, pro-military rally. Maybe he was on another "investigation." In fact, most of the self-anointed patriot politicians scheduled to grandstand and pontificate with the teeming masses didn't show. Actually, the teeming masses didn't show either...

Gee, it sounds like this Illinois wargasm was about as satisfying as the one in DC.

With that in mind, here's what our dear reader David found at the Patriot Picnic, which he attended with his partner Paul.
Pam,

Sadly, my partner, Paul and I were not able to attend the "America Supports You Freedom March" in Washington D.C. last Sunday, but we were able to attend the GOP-sponsored "Patriot Day Picnic"/war rally held in nearby, ultra-conservative Wheaton, Illinois.

The promoter promised the participation of several local Republican candidates, as well as a representative from Concerned Woman For America and -- best of all --Peter ("I love the smell of leather in the morning") LaBarbera, himself! My partner and I knew we couldn't miss this exciting event and the opportunity to meet Leather Boy himself, so we put on our ACLU T-shirts and headed to Wheaton.

Upon arriving, we quickly surmised that the event had not turned out as well as expected. There were, at most, about 150 people there, mostly for the free food (Which sucked, BTW. I managed to get two bites out of a barbecue pork sandwich that looked like it had been made in a blender, and my partner forced down a Polish sausage and some melted ice that later gave him indigestion), with the crowd thinning down to less than 100 for the start of the (incredibly boring) speeches, and less than 50 by the end of the (incredibly boring) speeches. Most of the politicians, as well as the rep from CWA and Mr. LaBarbera were no shows.



We did get to see some clones from the Protect Marriage campaign who were fairly hostile to us, although one of the marriage-protectors promised to pray for us (Or is that "prey" for us? It's so hard to tell with these people.)



Our biggest thrill was meeting Mrs. Illinois, who looked unhappy and bored. She was dressed in a very hot-looking (and not in the good way) dress and tiara, loaded down with a stack of unnecessary headshots. When I approached her and asked her if I could take her picture she seemed uncomfortable and confused but relented, anyway.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that, not only was the turnout low, but there were other sane people (i.e., liberals), besides ourselves, in attendance. We met one angry young atheist liberal who was as surprised to see us there as we were to see him. We also met a nice gentleman who was a local Catholic peace activist who asked us to help him hold up his "Pray For Peace" banner during the speeches, and we were more than happy to oblige. We even managed to get interviewed by a public radio station, WBEZ, allowing us to express our evil, anti-war, Bush-hating views.



Oh, and another high point was the unintentionally hilarious life-size cardboard cutout of GWB that graced the stage, although I'm sure the irony of a cardboard president was lost on that crowd.

After the speeches were over, some bitter, aging war veteran came over to argue with us, but by then my arm was too tired from holding up the "Pray For Peace" banner to fight much, so we left that honor to the angry young atheist liberal and we split.

All in all, we had a nice time and felt that we somehow managed to make a difference. And I can't think of a better way to memorialize 9/11 than by pissing off a lot of idiotic war-lovers.

David and Paul





A Rabbi tosses in his two cents on Katrina as a moral "cleanser"



Another religious leader jumps on the bigot bandwagon? Good grief. Hand in hand with the rest of the AmTaliban.
An Orthodox Jewish rabbi contends Hurricane Katrina may have been an act of God's judgment for rampant sin in America. Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Jews for Morality believes some parallels can be drawn between the flooding of New Orleans and the biblical flood in Noah's day.

Levin, a vocal leader in the pro-family movement, asserts that God does not visit significant calamities or punishments on the world in a merely coincidental way. According to Levin, although people may never completely know what God had in mind with Hurricane Katrina, he still judges sin. Also, the rabbi points out that a horrified public saw "in the aftermath of the flood that there was a significant amount of sexual crime, rape going on there. We know the Days of Decadence immorality, homosexual immorality -- they were expecting at least 125,000 people literally at the time that the flood struck. I mean, I don't think it takes a spiritual rocket scientist to make the connection." But while some Jewish leaders have suggested that God may have sent Katrina to punish the U.S. for urging the evacuation of thousands of Jewish settlers from their land in Gaza, Levin is quick to dismiss that notion. Although there were many reports of violence and depravity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Levin notes, "We can understand that that sort of represents some of the worst attributes -- or aspects, I should say --of America, and it's definitely something to be very introspective and repentant about."


Why do Senate Republicans fear an independent Katrina Commission?


The president has taken responsibility for mistakes made at the federal level in response to Katrina. So why do the Senate Republicans not want to find out why those mistakes occurred?
WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans on Wednesday scuttled an attempt by Sen. Hillary Clinton to establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response to Hurricane Katrina.

The New York Democrat's bid to establish the panel -- which would have also made recommendations on how to improve the government's disaster response apparatus — failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to overcome procedural hurdles. Clinton got only 44 votes, all from Democrats and independent Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Fifty-four Republicans all voted no.
Well, this cannot stand! What of the "will of the people" the Repugnicans are always touting?
The 9/11 Commission was established in 2002 after resistance from Republicans and the White House, and opinion polls show the public strongly supports the idea. In a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll taken Sept. 8-11, 70 percent of those surveyed supported an independent panel to investigate the government's response to Katrina. Only 29 percent were opposed.
What is it that the Repugs suggest we do?
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has rebuffed a bid by House and Senate GOP leaders to create a committee patterned after the 1987 Iran-Contra panel that would have a GOP majority — reflecting their dominance of Congress.

Reid has instead vowed that any bid by Republican leaders to establish a special bipartisan committee involving lawmakers from both House and Senate will go forward only if Democrats have equal representation.
Yeah, that Iran-Contra commission sure brought justice to the government heads who told us they'd never trade arms for hostages or negotiate with terrorists, and then went ahead and traded for hostages, negotiated with terrorists, and pumped up the black ops budgets by funnelling CIA-controlled crack cocaine into the inner cities. Oh, wait, my bad, nobody ever did get punished for Iran-Contra, because they all got pardoned by Bush Sr., and Reagan and Bush Sr. remained untouched.

History is about to repeat itself. Again. Expect pardons for Karl Rove over the Turd Blossom Leak, and for Brownie and Chertoff to get their Medals of Freedom any day now.


AmTaliban: fast food ads full of perversion


"Coq Roq" sells hard-ons with its chicken, says the American Family Association.

Truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to big-time AgapePress wingnuttery. There's no point in making sh*t up anymore.

First of all, this is a dumb ad campaign by Burger King -- look at that picture up there. A fake metal band to shill your chicken fries -- come on. Who thought up this campaign to reel in hungry teen guys? And then to have the wingers get inflamed over it is just over the top.
Apparently Burger King thinks vulgarity sells hamburgers. At least that's the message that visitors to its "Coq Roq " website would assume.

"Coq Roq" is a fictional heavy metal band created by Burger King as an advertising gimmick to reach young people. The website has sample music -- with lyrics that promote Burger King's new chicken fries -- and brief biographies for the band's members. As of July 26, according to AdAge.com, the site also contained photographs with captions that were obviously meant to be taken as sexual double entendres. One photo, for example, showed a group of young ladies who are apparently enthusiasts for Coq Roq, with the caption: "Groupies love Coq."



...The vulgar campaign follows on the heels of a similarly sexed-up ad push by CK Enterprises, which owns the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's hamburger chains. That company ran a TV ad containing "a bump-and-grind car wash by bad-girl heiress Paris Hilton," said USA Today. "In a sexy black swimsuit, she seductively washes down a Bentley and herself, working up an appetite for a Spicy BBQ sandwich."



A spokesman for the American Family Association wonders why fast-food chains are taking this approach in their advertising. "What is it with these hamburger chains? Are they so desperate to pump up lagging sales that they're resorting to vulgarity and strip teases to gain attention?" asks AFA's director of special projects Randy Sharp, who has followed both ad campaigns. "It's like Carl's Jr., Hardee's and Burger King have perverted seventh-grade boys running their ad campaigns."

Carl's Jr. spokesman Brad Haley defended the Hilton ad against criticism, claiming, "This is exactly what [young guys] respond to."
See my earlier post on the AFA's campaign against the bony-*ss Paris Hilton ad.


MA: amendment defeated in landslide

Crowds erupted into cheers at the defeat. Marriage equality forces needed 101 votes to defeat the amendment, but they garnered a 56-vote margin of victory. (365gay.com):
A joint session of the House and Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage while allowing civil unions, but another anti-gay amendment looms on the horizon.

Today's vote was the second of a two part process to get the proposal onto the ballot in 2006. With less than two hours of debate lawmakers voted 157-39 against the measure.

Last March when it passed the first phase, it did so by only a handful of votes and after heated debate. Many Democrats opposed the measure and many Republicans who object to gay marriage voted against it because it would permit civil unions.

But as more and more same-sex couples married in Massachusetts support for the measure dwindled.

"Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry," said state Sen. Brian Lees, an East Longmeadow Republican who had been a co-sponsor of the amendment. "This amendment which was an appropriate measure or compromise a year ago, is no longer, I feel, a compromise today."
BayWindows has minute-by-minute description of events as they unfolded.


OMFG: 'Separate but equal' rises again


Margaret Spellings: reality-based, post-Katrina solutions for the young darkies.

From Think Progress via Atrios:
"SEPARATE BUT EQUAL" EDUCATION: The Wall Street Journal reports that Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will ask Congress to waive a federal law that bans educational segregation for homeless children. The Bush administration is arguing, along with states like Utah and Texas, that providing schooling for evacuees – who, in this case, are likened to homeless children — will be disruptive to public school systems, so they want to have sound legal backing for creating separate educational facilities for the 372,000 schoolchildren displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The State of Mississippi is opposed to waiving the Act because they argue the law helps evacuees enroll in schools without red tape. [WSJ, "Schooling Evacuees Provokes Debate," 9/14/05]


Pledge of Allegiance in schools ruled unconstitutional

[UPDATE: Ask and you shall receive -- Freeper comments below...]

Yes, I'm sure there is wailing coming from the swamps of Freeperland even as we speak. (CNN):
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
Hear the wailing and read the threats...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"And now, we ALL start paying attention to the confirmation hearings!"

"It has always been respected for people like Jehovah's Witnesses that refused to PLEDGE Allegiance, we allowed silence during this important event. So WHY the big deal, if the parents don't want their kids to pledge allegiance...just cough...when others say UNDER GOD. Why make a big fuss?"

"I think Congress should impeach at least one judge every year. Let's get some turnover."

"One???? Shizzle, let's turn over HALF of them every year."

"Waiting for one to rule that The Constitution is unconstitutional."

"Yeah Kalifornia...ye reaps what ye sows!"

"The judge was a Carter appointee - what a shock, huh? He's been out of office for 25 years, and the damage that Jimmy C. did to the US just keeps going on and on...."

"Again? geez, doesn't this guy have anything to do in his life? The judge should have told him to tell the people either don't say "under GOD" of don't say the pledge at all. If judges like this guy think they can tell us NOT to say the pledge, they will have to have us all arrested! another judge with delusions of grandeur..."

"Perhaps the parents of the rest of the children who are now having their freedom of expression oppressed should start filing suit."

"Send him to China to complete his term."

"The decision was not overturned by SCOTUS it was thrown back into the system. They basically said that the atheist father was not able to bring the case on behalf of his daughter and to go get more plaintiffs. Basically, SCOTUS side-stepped the issue. The fact-of-the-matter remains that when a public school REQUIRES the recital of the Pledge of Allegience it IS unconstitional due to the fact that the school is a part of the government and paid for by the people."

"Because its considered INTOLERANT for the rest of us to not do what the minority insist on."

"You don't have to recite it. You can recite it even if it's not required. But when it's required it becomes a constitutional problem. Same with prayer in school. Would you want your kid going to a public school that mandated a daily prayer to Allah? No, and it would be unconstitutional for them to do so."

"So...you are proposing murdering them?"

"Nope...we are not in a state of war, and despite the lateness of the hour and the breadth and depth of the assault, we still have legal, civil recourse. Until that is totally exhausted, as it was with our founders, then we are obligated to civilly, tierlessly...even loudly if necessary...and perhaps with civil disobedience (as we will do here in Idaho) fight this and get it turned over. If they come with guns drawn to stop citizens doing so at a football game or at school, things may get interesting. But that will not happen here in Idaho on this issue IMHO."

"Judges running amuck in the blue states."

"Asphole"

"Total insanity from the s@@thole of liberalism. This leftist judge did not have to be bound by precedent. While precedent does play a part, she could have fought it, but chose not to, because of HER OWN POLITICAL STANDING....Liberalism is a disease of the mind -- and it permeates our judical system, which continually urinates all over our Constitution..."

"So what's that next to the lady's right foot? Could that be the 10 Commandments -- on the homepage of the ultra left, no religion in public life, 9th. Circuit?"

but you can write or call this traitor scumbag judge karlton at:
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton
501 I Street, Suite. 4-200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 930-4000
and let it know what a traitor he is to our country. Declaring the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional. I thought I heard it all...

"We need to preemptively invade SF"

"We need to preemptively NUKE SF..............."

"Time for a new pledge..I pledge allegiance to myself and screw everyone else in America. And to the Republic, whatever that is. One nation, no god. Multi-cultural, with political correctness for all."
Thanks to Blender Carolyn for the pointer.


Ophelia pounding away



Again, things are fine here in Durham. Here's more information on the storm's "progress," for lack of a better word. Sustained winds are 85 mph, up from 75 mph earlier, hurricane-force winds extending 50 miles inland from the eye.
The eyewall of Hurricane Ophelia continues to hammer the southeasetern North Carolina coast with high winds and blinding rain this afternoon. Wrightsville Beach was pounded by wind gusts as high as 78 mph this morning. At 2 p.m. EDT, the center of Ophelia's broad eye (about 40 miles in diamater) was locatead about 30 miles east of Cape Fear. The slow NNE movement of Ophelia will result in heavy rainfall and flooding persisting in southeast North Carolina through this evening. Doppler radar estimates suggest rainfall totals approaching 12 inches just south of Wilmington, N. C. Rainfall totals of over 15 inches in localized areas are not out of the question.
FEMA has at least 200 workers on the ground. A lot more folks are now without power since last check in this AM. (AP):
Some 50,000 homes and business were without power in eastern North Carolina, including the entire barrier island community of Kure Beach — population 1,700 — south of Wilmington, Gov. Mike Easley said.

Northeast of Wilmington, Onslow County reported some docks underwater near the New River Inlet and 215 people in shelters.


Damon Wayans on the Bush twins



Hilarious blurb in the NY Daily News...
That was funnyman Damon Wayans in Orlando the other day going nuclear on President Bush - and twins Jenna and Barbara - over the war in Iraq and the possible reinstatement of a military draft. "I'll send my sons if he sends his daughters," Wayans told the crowd, including Daily News contributor Jawn Murray, at Tom Joyner's Family Reunion in Disneyworld. "Put those two drunk b-s on a plane and let them go fight. At least I know my sons would be getting some on the way."

By way of White House reaction, First Lady Laura Bush's press secretary, Susan Whitson, gasped yesterday and told me: "I wouldn't dignify that with a response."


Prodding Arnold



House Blender Chris wants to remind folks that there is still time to let the Governator know how you feel about the marriage proposal passed by the California legislature that he plans to veto in a little over a week when it will reach his desk.
At a Equality California meeting last night I learned of a website that's just been started, www.deararnold.org, dedicated to posting the letters of protest that people are writing to the Governator. Thought I'd let you know, if you want to spread the word. There are only a few letters on there currently.

He's made his statements about the "will of the people". Well, I'm trying to find everything I can do to take advantage of the ten days remaining before it lands on his desk to encourage those people to speak, and spreading the word about this site seems like a good idea.
There's incentive to do so, as the Freepi are just sitting pretty (while simultaneouly as dumb as rocks) over this.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Arnold won't mess with these girly-men. They delude themselves thinking leaving it to the last minute will change his mind. I love the smell of VETO's in the morning."

"You mean he hasn't done it yet? Can't find his pen or something?"

"They're sure afraid to send it to his desk, that's a good sign, unless his wife and her family hide his pen.."

"They are democrats. They don't respect the laws of the state, which allow the governor to veto. So they are holding up their own bill for as long as they can before sending it to him, in the hopes that in the meantime they can persuade him to change his mind. Of course, if he left the state for a minute, the lt. Governor would take over and they'd send the bill and sign it. I note the story didn't seem to say that, maybe they are hoping Arnold doesn't know this. (I presume this is still true in California). Anybody know if Arnold had any important scheduled appearances in other states in the next week?"

"You know, Arnold will actually be doing the Gay Rights activists a favor: by vetoing the bill, he'll prevent the public backlash that would probably result in consequences that gays wouldn't like very much at all."

"by vetoing the bill, he'll prevent the public backlash that would probably result in consequences that gays wouldn't like very much at all. It wasn't vetoed in Massachusetts and there wasn't a backlash, they just started handing out sodo-marriage license and pro homo "diversity" literature to the grade schoolers."

"LOL!!!!! The sniveling homosexual activists are enraged!"

"I don't think Arnie is going to change his mind about the veto. He knows how we voted, and he knows how he got elected."

"Hope he holds to his campaign promises. The sodomy lobby wants to overturn the will of the people and I can guarantee you they voted for Ahnuuld because he said he wouldn't pass such trash."

"I'm glad Texas only lets legislators meet for 140 days every two years."

"I hear that. They still manage to foul things up!"

"Sometimes, but we don't have to worry about the governor being out of state when a bill gets passed by the legislature and the lieutenant governor gets ot sign legislation."

"Why? The Arnoldbots said all social issues were "irrevelant" in California and the ONLY important thing is that Ahnuld will magically "bring the buisnesses back" and "deliever" the state to other Republicans. ::snickers::"

"How come he hasn't signed it yet? What's holding it up? anyone know? Seriously does anyone know. No jokes or remarks welcome."

"If you had read the article you would know that he cannot veto the bill until it is physically in his possession, and they are delaying sending it to him until the Sept. 23 deadline, just for that reason."

"Details, details... (ready to receive dunce cap)"

"It wasn't vetoed in Massachusetts because no law was passed. Nothing to veto. Four activist judges made a law and the slack-jawed solons in the legislature (and the governor) allowed them to do so..."


DeLay declares 'victory' in war on budget fat



That's the headline...please stop me from falling out of my chair, I'm dying laughing at the balls of this. Is Tom DeLay f*cking serious or just deluded? This bloated, pork-laden government is out of control and he's patting himself on the back?

Smaller government is not what you'd describe the activities that have gone on under Repug rule. Whew. I need some fresh air behind that stench of manure... (WaTimes):
Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."

...Republican leaders have been under pressure from conservative members and outside watchdog groups to find ways to pay for the Katrina relief. Some Republicans wanted to offer an amendment, including cuts, to pay for hurricane spending but were denied the chance under procedural rules.

"This is hardly a well-oiled machine," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican. "There's a lot of fat to trim. ... I wonder if we've been serving in the same Congress."

American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene said federal spending already was "spiraling out of control" before Katrina, and conservatives are "increasingly losing faith in the president and the Republican leadership in Congress."

Mr. Keene said annual nonmilitary and non-homeland security spending increased $303 billion between fiscal year 2001 and 2005; the acknowledged federal debt increased more than $2 trillion since fiscal year 2000; and the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill is estimated to increase the government's unfunded obligations by $16 trillion.


Chertoff's *ss is grass



I think Skeletor better start cleaning out his desk and polishing up his resume (One can only hope his isn't as uniquely padded as "Brownie's").

After all, if the Chimpster had to get out there and "take responsibility" (see the video), Bush is going to make sure he opens a can of Whoop Ass on the rest of the folks that "made him look bad." Based on this report, Skeletor's in the official Administration crosshairs now. It's all in a memo indicating Chertoff didn't shift power to act to Brown until a day and a half after the hurricane.
The federal official with the power to mobilize a massive federal response to Hurricane Katrina was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, not the former FEMA chief who was relieved of his duties and resigned earlier this week, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show.

...As thousands of hurricane victims went without food, water and shelter in the days after Katrina's early morning Aug. 29 landfall, critics assailed Brown for being responsible for delays that might have cost hundreds of lives.

But Chertoff - not Brown - was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government's blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by President Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homaeland security director.

But according to a memo obtained by Knight Ridder, Chertoff didn't shift that power to Brown until late afternoon or evening on Aug. 30, about 36 hours after Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi. That same memo suggests that Chertoff may have been confused about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department.


Ophelia lashes the NC coast



We're fine here in the Triangle (it's cloudy, with some rain), but the beaches are getting pummeled. This storm is moving really slowly, so the low-lying areas are going to get a ton of rain and will flood. (AP):
The storm had sustained wind of 80 mph Wednesday morning, up from 75 mph a few hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center said. A hurricane warning was in effect from about Georgetown, S.C., to Oregon Inlet in North Carolina's Outer Banks, about 275 miles, and a tropical storm warning extended from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia line.

One side of Ophelia's eyewall — the circle of strongest wind surrounding the eye — was expected to move along North Carolina's southeast coast late Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Farther up the coast, on the Outer Banks, officials warned that Ophelia could bring 11 hours of hurricane-force wind to exposed Hatteras Island as it gets there Thursday.

A 50-foot section of street was washed away by heavy surf at Brunswick County's Ocean Isle Beach, about 100 miles northwest of the storm's center, and other streets were under water, emergency officials said. A message at the police department said the island's bridge to the mainland was closed.

Some 5,800 homes and business were without power in eastern North Carolina, Progress Energy reported.


Latest 'news' from the Rotting CryptkeeperTM

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Haven't checked out Fred Phelps and his hate machine lately. He's losing his subtle touch, as you can see. Here's his take on John Roberts for the Supreme Court...



The next little feature he turns his attention to is Chimpy's little Day of Prayer...



LA Congressman uses National Guard to get to home during NOLA chaos


Rep. William Jefferson got Guard curbside service while people were dying at the Superdome.

More crap by the haves steamrolling over the dying have-nots in NOLA. Class trumps race in this outrage, as you can obviously see -- there's no excuse for this heinous behavior. This congressman's ass should be beaten raw. (ABC):
Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a local congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings — even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops, ABC News has learned.

On Friday, Sept. 2 — five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken.

Military sources tells ABC News that Jefferson, an eight-term Democratic congressman, asked the National Guard that night to take him on a tour of the flooded portions of his congressional district. A 5-ton military truck and a half dozen military police were dispatched. Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request.

...The water reached to the third step of Jefferson's house, a military source familiar with the incident told ABC News, and the vehicle pulled up onto Jefferson's front lawn so he wouldn't have to walk in the water. Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.
Guess we can pair up this act of selflessness with Chimpy's photo-op using firefighters as props on his tour of the damage area, when they could have been saving lives:



Katrina body counting duties given to firm tied to Bush family


And to think, the Administration's biggest worry was the photography of the bodies of victims. However, it's A-OK for a firm with a history of dumping and desecrating bodies to take on this job. Good call, Blanco; how hard did Chimpy twist your arm?

[Welcome Buzzflash readers. I've added more information below.]

And to top that off, it's a company with a history of illegally dumping and desecrating corpses. How about them apples? Good god, and what's worse, LA Gov. Blanco signed a contract with these creeps. (Raw Story):
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has hired Kenyon International to set up a mobile morgue for handling bodies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, RAW STORY has learned.

Kenyon is a subsidiary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a scandal-ridden Texas-based company operated by a friend of the Bush family. Recently, SCI subsidiaries have been implicated in illegally discarding and desecrating corpses.

...The Menorah Gardens cemetery chain, owned by SCI, desecrated vaults, removed hundreds of bodies from two cemeteries in Florida and dumped the gruesome remains in woods frequented by wild hogs, investigators discovered in 2001. In one case, a backhoe was used to crack open a vault, remove corpses and make room for more dead bodies.

SCI paid $100 million to settle a lawsuit filed by outraged family members of the deceased.
The Austin Chronicle has a story on the SCI ties to Bush during his days as governor of Texas, when the company was under fire for what was known as "Funeralgate." It's ugly, and sadly, familiar territory of the Chimp going to bat for the corporate thugs.
On April 15, 1998, funeral magnate Robert Waltrip talked with Gov. George W. Bush in the Texas Capitol. That much is not in dispute. However, the content of their discussion is the subject of considerable dispute. And the actions taken by the governor's staff members, a half-dozen legislators, and Texas Attorney General John Cornyn after that April 15 meeting are part of what may be the biggest influence-buying scandal in recent memory.

The politicos and the funeral company are at the heart of a whistleblower lawsuit filed March 23 against the state, funeral home giant Service Corporation International (SCI), and Waltrip, the company's chairman and CEO. The suit alleges that Bush and other politicos worked to thwart an investigation by the Texas Funeral Service Commission (TFSC) into improperly licensed embalmers working out of SCI funeral homes in Dallas.


Caption from the Austin Chronicle cartoon at the time: "Led by Governor Bush, the Funeralgate cast includes Sen. John Whitmire, SCI CEO Robert Waltrip (in hat), Bush aide Joe Allbaugh, Rep. Kyle Janek, Sen. Kenneth Armbrister, and Attorney General John Cornyn." (illustration by Doug Potter)

What began as a citizen's complaint against SCI in January 1998 has since grown into a scandal revolving around campaign contributions, and the influence they may buy. All of the politicos who intervened on SCI's behalf received major contributions from SCI's political action committee, or PAC. Did that money convince them to help SCI -- the world's largest death care company -- and to punish the agency that investigated SCI? Whether that was the reason or not, the state officials took positions that may hurt consumers. SCI's prices are routinely among the highest in the funeral business. One consumer advocate, Lamar Hankins, the president of the Funeral & Memorial Societies of America, says the company routinely engages in "price gouging." But campaign cash, not consumers, is at the heart of this scandal. And the scandal promises to grow as the lawsuit -- filed by former TFSC director Eliza May -- works through the discovery process. The suit alleges that May was fired because she "repeatedly and in good faith reported violations of the law and conduct that she reasonably believed to constitute violations of the law."

As May's suit goes forward, Bush and the other politicos who helped SCI are scrambling for cover. May's lawyers want to depose Bush. But the governor missed a requested July 1 deposition date because he was busy campaigning for the presidency in California. Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who appears to have gone out of his way to help SCI in its battle with the TFSC, is ducking May's deposition request by claiming legislative privilege, a law that protects legislators from revealing communications they have had with citizens.
Salon has a great timeline that tracks the sleazy dealings. Bush is man practically incapable of telling the truth and it shows in this snippet.

Austin Chronicle: SCI CEO Robert Waltrip is the world's highest paid undertaker. (photograph by F. Carter Smith).

June 16, 1999: Waltrip's attorneys issue a "supplemental" interrogatory saying that Waltrip didn't talk to Bush, that they "exchanged pleasantries" and that their discussion was "not substantive; they did not discuss the content" of Waltrip's letter about the TFSC.

July 9, 1999: May's attorneys send a subpoena to Bush regarding the TFSC matter. Bush's office says the governor will fight the subpoena.

Aug. 5, 1999: Cornyn issues a motion to quash the subpoena. The motion is accompanied by an affidavit from Bush saying he "had no conversations with SCI officials, agents or representatives" about the state's investigation.

Aug. 9, 1999: A Newsweek article appears in which Rogers says that while he and Waltrip were in Allbaugh's office on April 15, 1998, Bush stuck his head into the office and asked Waltrip, "Hey Bobby, are those people still messing with you?" Rogers' quote appears to contradict Bush's statement that he has "had no conversations with SCI officials" about the investigation.


Nursing home owners charged with 34 counts of homicide


Debra Marshall of Violet, La., looks around the Senate chambers of the Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Sept. 12, 2005, as she seeks information regarding the status of her 85-year old mother Laura Lae, who was a resident of St. Ritas Nursing Home in lower St. Bernard Parish. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

They had a plan to get the elderly patients out, but they didn't do it (Bloomberg):
Louisiana's attorney general filed 34 criminal charges against the husband and wife who own St. Rita's Nursing Home in St. Bernard Parish, where 34 decomposing bodies were found after Hurricane Katrina swept through the state. Salvador A. Mangano and Mable Mangano surrendered to authorities in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today and are being charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide, Attorney General Charles C. Foti told reporters today at a news conference in Baton Rouge. Attorneys for the couple couldn't immediately be reached by Bloomberg News.

"Thirty-four people drowned in a nursing home when it should have been evacuated,'' Foti said. `"They didn't follow the standard of care of what a reasonable person would follow.''

St. Rita's Nursing Home had a plan to evacuate its 60 residents before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on Aug. 29. The couple failed to evacuate the elderly residents though they were required to do so, Foti said. Because of that decision, 34 bodies, perhaps including some staff, have been recovered.

... "The pathetic thing in this case is that they were asked if they wanted to move and they did not move,'' Foti said. "They were warned repeatedly.''


More Bush economy: Northwest, Delta preparing for bankruptcy

Guess who'll be picking up the pensions if they tank -- you will.
Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are both preparing to seek bankruptcy protection as soon as Wednesday, people close to both companies said today. Northwest and Delta are each finishing the details of their bankruptcy cases, including the financing that they will require to operate under bankruptcy protection, these people said. That could cause delays, but the fundamental work of preparing each bankruptcy case is complete, they said.

...If Northwest and Delta both file, that would mean four of the industry's seven biggest airlines were operating under bankruptcy protection, reflecting the deep competitive issues that have battered the airlines since the year 2000.

United, which is the second-biggest airline behind American, has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since December 2002. Last week, it submitted a reorganization plan and said it hoped to emerge from court protection early next year. Meanwhile, US Airways, which sought bankruptcy protection last year for the second time in two years, expects to emerge from court protection this fall, when it plans to merge with America West. Those airlines will operate under the US Airways name.

That would leave American, the industry's biggest carrier, Continental, the fourth largest, and Southwest, the sixth largest, as the major airlines operating outside bankruptcy protection.
Also see: "United Airlines can dump pension plans"

[UPDATE: Northwest Misses $42M in Debt Payments. Oops..."Conserving cash," the story notes.]


Anderson Cooper outed...



Mike Rogers at BlogActive points to a New York Magazine article that pretty much confirms the scuttlebutt that our man Anderson is "family." He doesn't deny it.
Obviously, the other downside to his growing fame is that it serves to ratchet up the interest in his personal life, something he has been very careful to keep out of the press. There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet about the fact that Cooper may or may not be gay, and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto has taken pleasure in quoting the gay magazine Metrosource, which has referred to Cooper as "the openly gay news anchor." It has been assumed in certain circles in New York partly because he lives what looks to some to be a gay social life. He's often seen at parties with Barry Diller, and he's friends with the lead singer from the outre gay rock band the Scissor Sisters. And then there was the tempest in a teapot regarding a slightly heated interview last fall with Jerry Falwell about gay marriage. Some Cooper-obsessed bloggers insist that the anchor outed himself on the air, taking the gay side of the debate and saying, "We pay taxes." They claim CNN originally posted a transcript with the "we" and then later changed it to "You pay taxes." Cooper has maintained all along that he said "you."

When I bring up the sexuality issue with Cooper, he says, "You know, I understand why people might be interested. But I just don't talk about my personal life. It's a decision I made a long time ago, before I ever even knew anyone would be interested in my personal life. The whole thing about being a reporter is that you're supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you"re in, and I don't want to do anything that threatens that."


Gays OK when the recruiting runs dry

Isn't this special? Commanders Ordered Not To Fire Gays Until War's End. So what ace reporter is going to ask Rummy about this one? Double dare.
Scholars studying military personnel policy have discovered a document halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized. The document was made public Tuesday by Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was found during research for a story for the ABC news program Nightline.

The regulation was contained in a 1999 "Reserve Component Unit Commander's Handbook" and is still in effect, according to the Center.

It states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested "prior to the unit's receipt of alert notification, discharge isn't authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit."

The document is significant because of longstanding Pentagon denials that the military requires gays to serve during wartime, only to fire them once peacetime returns. According to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, gays and lesbians must be discharged whether or not the country is at war.

Gay soldiers and legal groups have reported for years that known gays are sent into combat, and then discharged when the conflicts end. Discharge statistics corroborate a pattern of rising expulsions during peacetime and plummeting rates during military conflicts, and Pentagon statistics confirm that, as has been the case in every war since World War II, gay discharges have declined during the current conflict in the Middle East.

...Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a Pentagon spokesman said that the military was not modifying its regulations on gay troops. And a May, 2005 study by the Congressional Research Service says that although gay discharges do decline during wartime, the decrease is the result of "random fluctuations in the data," not an intentional Pentagon policy of retaining gays during wars".

Meanwhile, the Pentagon acknowledged Tuesday that it would again fail to meet its monthly recruiting goal and for the first time since 1999 would not meet its goal for the year.


Undocumented aliens rebuilding Biloxi, say they deserve visas

This is going to send the Freeper crowd over the edge. Can't wait to see the comments on this story.

With the requirement relaxed regarding the need for contractors to pay more than the prevailing wage for employees rebuilding in the hurricane-affected states, I commented that the influx of illegal workers would begin in earnest, and welcomed by those contractors. I knew it wouldn't be long before you would hear of worker abuse, severely low wages and who knows what kind of hazardous conditions these folks would have to work under.

This is the Bush economy, and the Freeper fringe goes nuts every time that the subject of immigration and undocumented workers flooding across the border comes up. I'm sure that Bush will push for the visas, and this is going to piss his Rethug base off big time. (MS Sun Herald):
As Biloxi rises from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it is doing much of it on the backs of undocumented foreign workers. Some are starting to suggest that their contributions are worth at least a temporary visa.

"If we are working and helping to raise this city, at least they should give us a work visa," said Manuel Armenta, a 44-year-old Mexican who came to Biloxi five months ago to do cleaning work at a hotel.

His old workplace - and his apartment - are now in ruins, but the hurricane created plenty of new jobs: cleaning up the hotels and casinos that fed much of the economy and putting new roofing on buildings of all sorts. President Bush long ago proposed allowing more immigrants to work in the United States legally, but so far his ideas haven't gotten past Congress. Many migrants living here illegally constantly worry about being detained and expelled.

A visa "would help us to not have fear," said Hugo Martinez, 37, who has been working alongside Armenta. So far, there's been little risk. The Department of Homeland Security has announced a 45-day period in which employers would not be fined for hiring undocumented workers. It said that was because many people had lost their proof of citizenship or legal residence in the storm.

Martinez said that many of the people he knows working in hurricane cleanup and roofing are undocumented.
It should also be noted that even as they rebuild areas for U.S. citizens to move back to, undocumented workers are not entitled to help from the FEMA if they've lost the roof over their heads.

While his evangelical base is easy to corral, the Chimp's real base is the long list of friends in corporate goons that want to pay as little as possible in taxes, screw the workers and buy as many homes and yachts as possible -- this move is their pay day.

The Freepers will be up in arms, and Rove is going to have to put up another smokescreen like the deviant homos, to distract them from turning on his master.


Bush 'takes responsibility,' Freepers are listless



They are licking their festering wounds in Freeperland. The man that could never make a mistake, let alone admit to one finally says he f*cked up with the Katrina aftermath. Some want the blame laid elsewhere, others are glad and want to leave it all behind. Like we're going to let up on the bastard? No chance.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"too little waaaay too late! You accepted responsibility for a disaster that was not the Feds fault! The pooch has been screwed!"

"He is a true leader who accepted any failure for the federal government no matter how little it is, and it is very little compared to the real screw up of state and local government. The majority of people already know this fact and only the extremely rabid Bush haters are blaming him for the hurricane problems. PS: You do not have to watch President Bush address to the nation next Thursday which I think it is a great PR move. You can watch wrestling which I think fit you mentality."



"Ordinarily I wouldn't want this to happen, but knowing how the MSM hates him and holw disrespectful they're likely to be in their accusations I think that W. will come away from this press conference vindicated and appreciated by the American people. Most folks are smart enough to know that this current round of Bush bashing is just more of the same from rabid 'Rats and a complicit MSM."

"You've got an incompetent Louisiana governor and N'awlins mayor and W claims he screwed up??? Well, nothing like giving the 'Rats someone to blame! "Hey, Bush admits it!" "It's Bush's fault!" gezzzzzzzzzzzzzz..."

"Pres. Bush should simply get up and read from Mark Steyn's column that appeared yesterday."

"Here is what I don't want.I don't want some maudlin drivel about rebuilding that God forsaken sewer. That place is beyond repair and you can't do it without bankrupting the nation. I want no tax increase at all.NONE. If you choose to live below sea level--You suffer the consequences--not me."

"Jeebus, did he move down there or something?"



"This is 2 weeks too late. On top of his stunningly stupid admission of "responsibility" for the blunders, the President has sunk himself in all of this. I know he only accepted responsibility for the federal side of things, but that is not how the mainstream media, the common idiot, or the Democrat Party will see it. The President's handling of this whole thing from a communication aspect has been horrendous."

"I think I know how this will play out. Bush accepts responsibility for the federal government' "slow response". The MSM headlines "Bush Admits Mistake". The same federal government rebuilds New Orleans in record time, there are far fewer deaths than predicted, Mardis Gras is held as scheduled and the MSM headlines read: "Bush's Mistake Corrected in Record Time.""

"The same federal government rebuilds New Orleans in record time"

"rebuild on what? ROFLMAO they don't print enough Ben Franklins for me to move in there! And it would be criminal to allow anyone to attempt to build in that mess! why hell even if you were to construct a whole new levee system, it wouldn't take but one terrorist and one explosive device and you'd have the whole mess all over again and again and again! Enough already, they should have moved the city after the 1927 flood for pete's sake!"

more...

"I do not like this move because now the Libs will be yelling for Impeachment based off of this. The Republicans in congress will probably implode since they have no back bone, and act as if they are in the minority. I just do not see what Bush did wrong. I see plenty of what the Governor and Mayor did wrong. I just do not like this move."



"Saw a bumper sticker today produced by an anti-Bush outfit-- Incompetence Kills.

That's the strategy--all-out attack blaming everything on Bush. They have to do it that way to prevent blame from being placed where it belongs, at the feet of Blanco and Nagin."

"Yup---I can see the Dems tshirts now...a picture of Bush saying 'I admit it---it's my fault all those people died".Just great....."

"This action by President Bush, taking responsibility for the departments he controls, is exactly what one should expect of a top executive and honorable person. It makes Blanco and Nagin look sooooooo tiny. Those two are at risk of being squashed like bugs in comparison."

"I agree that this was smart...but also honest. When a person runs for the highest office in the Federal Government, they also are "responsible" for what happens within that Government. Admitting responsibility is easy for this honest man, because he knows that he IS responsible. This is not the same as "at fault". Also, I believe this absolutely rips the rug out from under most of the bashers."



"Seems a guy named Michael Brown just said that and he is ... wait a minute! Where is he?"

"Bush has jumped the shark..."

"Well, maybe he jumped it before but this was a blunder too. MSM, dems, and Louisiana officials have struggled ardently to keep this a totally federal blunder. That in the context where FEMA's PR before and after the cane portrayed themselves as supermen of sorts. Now the refrain "Bush's Fault" has been legitimized from his own mouth. Another Rove idea? He could have said "It's my responsibility to correct the errors and fire people..." He didn't.

"I am just waiting for the MSM to call for impeachment. You know its coming..."


Wha... wha... what!?! Bush takes responsibility for Katrina failures?!?

Oh my non-existant Supreme Deity, did Bush just do the impossible?
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday said he takes responsibility for the federal government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
You don't suppose that has anything to do with this, now, does it?
(CNN) -- A majority of Americans surveyed in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday said they disapproved of President Bush's handling of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Conducted September 8-11, the poll said 54 percent of respondents expressed disapproval of Bush's handling of the crisis, compared to 43 percent who said they approved.

Seventy percent of respondents said they favored forming an independent panel to study the government response to the storm.

Fifty-five percent said Bush's initial response was poor and 44 percent said it was good.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said that federal agencies did a poor job and 36 percent said their initial response was good.

Fifty-nine percent said state and local officials' initial response was poor, while 38 percent said it was good.
The poll also shows that people feel the response now by the feds is good, but no one can forget our cowboy president playing guitar while New Orleans drowned.


Eleven Children Found Caged in Ohio Home

Yes, it's another depraved, straight couple, torturing their adoptive and foster children, this time in Ohio. These children were treated worse than animals. How does any of this make sense -- children have the right to live and grow in a loving home. The parents' orientation has nothing to do with whether they are fit to care for a child, as we see here.
Sheriff's deputies removed 11 children from a home where they were locked in cages less than 3 1/2 feet high, authorities said.

The children's adoptive and foster parents, Mike and Sharen Gravelle, denied that they'd abused or neglected the children during a custody hearing Monday in Huron County. No charges had been filed as of Monday night. "The impression that we got was that they felt it was OK," said Lt. Randy Sommers of the Huron County Sheriff's Office.

The Gravelles said a psychiatrist recommended they make the children — ages 1 to 14, with conditions that included autism and fetal alcohol syndrome — sleep in the cages at night. The cages were stacked in bedrooms on the second floor of their house, said prosecutor Russell Leffler, who was reviewing the case.

The children were found by a children's services investigator on Friday when he stopped by the Gravelles' home outside Wakeman, about 50 miles west of Cleveland. Deputies returned to the house that evening.

Some of the cages were rigged with alarms, Sommers said; others had heavy furniture blocking their doors. The children didn't have blankets or pillows.

One of the boys said he'd slept in the cage for three years, Sommers said.
Unfortunately, too many states are moving to prevent sane gays and lesbians from adopting and fostering - yet this goes on (remember John and Linda Dollar?). It makes you sick.


Focus on Family tries soft sell on anti-gay tactics in Maine

Monday, September 12, 2005


Professional heterosexual Melissa Fryrear of Focus on the Family: "No one has ever walked out of homosexuality without a hand extended."

Dobson's bigoted outfit is trying a new spin cycle to "inform" people about the "dangers" of homosexuality, since it's hard to make inroads in more independent states like Maine. They need a better tactic than hellfire and brimstone.

Daddy Dobson is trotting out some of his "ex-gays" to make the case. The unfortunately-named "former lesbian" Melissa Fryrear, gender issues analyst at Focus on the Family is one of the folks pushing the new line of bull. (Portland Press Herald):
Mike Haley encouraged pastors in Maine who condemn homosexuality to put away signs quoting Leviticus and stop using sayings like, "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

"We as Christians have to throw out that phrase. It does not translate," said Haley, a microphone clipped to his bright green shirt as a Power Point presentation glowed behind him.


James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family and supporter of "ex-gay" ministries like Exodus International. Mike Haley, right, is chair of the Exodus board and manages the "Homosexuality and Gender" department for Focus on the Family's Public Policy division, and also speaks at Love Won Out conferences.

Haley and Melissa Fryrear of the national conservative group Focus on the Family met with about 200 religious leaders from Maine's evangelical community last week. Their message on the issue of homosexuality was to focus on love and support as much as sin and scripture. They encouraged balance in churches, communities and public policy debates. That mix could be key for Maine's Christian conservatives trying to win support for a November ballot question. They hope to overturn a pending state law that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A righteous or hateful tone could steer undecided voters away, while one of kindness and compassion could help win supporters, said Mark Brewer, assistant professor of political science at the University of Maine. "You have to avoid coming off in any way as hateful. If they can't do that, they won't succeed," Brewer said.

But gay-rights advocates question how much love and support conservative Christians can muster while they condemn same-sex relationships as morally wrong.

The seminar that Focus on the Family held at First Baptist Church in Portland promoted its program "Love Won Out," which paints homosexuality as a struggle like drug addiction - a struggle that people can overcome.

...Christian conservatives in Maine have been successful in the past by walking what Brewer described as a fine line between advocating a point and coming off as uncaring. They've swayed voters on the anti-discrimination measure before. Mainers in 1998 sided with conservative Christians and repealed a law that would have outlawed discrimination against gays and lesbians. Two years later, lawmakers did not pass the measure, but asked voters to decide. Mainers rejected it in a close vote.

...Fryrear, of Focus on the Family, described at the seminar what she called the "Jonah syndrome," in which conservative Christians focus more on vilifying gays and lesbians and defeating them politically than drawing them to conservative churches. She talked of her own experience as a lesbian and how a church welcomed her and helped lead her away from "living homosexually."



ConvergeSouth blogging conference to be held in Greensboro

In what has to be the worst timing ever, I'm not going to be able to get to the ConvergeSouth bloggers conference October 7 & 8. It looks like a blast.
A group of Greensboro volunteers recently announced that Greensboro has organized to host the inaugural year’s edition of ConvergeSouth, the South’s first free conference focused on moving North Carolina toward breakthroughs in creativity and diversity on the Internet. Exploring the digital revolution in publishing and expression, ConvergeSouth focuses on radical digital publishing and entertainment. A two-day event on the campus of historic NC A&T State University, ConvergeSouth will focus on journalism and multimedia “web blogging” for everyone. Additional ConvergeSouth features include a nationally-known keynote speaker, multimedia and music in multiple downtown venues to which the entire community is invited.
Some big names will be there, the one recognizable to most of you is Duncan Black (Atrios). It looks like a good mix of local (NC) bloggers will attend, some fairly well known, certainly more so than yours truly, and many more just checking out this thing called blogging.

The reason I won't be able to go is that I'm traveling to Asheville to receive an award for an organization I used to volunteer for. [I can't say much more than that since the award has not yet been publicly announced.]

Thanks, southernrants for the heads up.


Over 40 bodies discovered in NOLA hospital

MSNBC just showed the dozens of bodies, sheets covering them, in the Memorial Medical Center. One can only hope that some of these patients were mercifully put down by doctors before they died this horrible death. (AP):
At least 40 bodies were found Sunday at the 317-bed Memorial Medical Center, but the exact number was unclear. Bob Johannesen, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Hospitals, said 45 patients had been found; hospital assistant administrator David Goodson said there were 44, plus three on the grounds.

Also unclear was exactly how the patients died.

Steven Campanini, a spokesman for the hospital's owner, Tenet Healthcare Corp., said some of the patients were dead before the storm arrived, and none of the deaths resulted from lack of food, water or electricity to power medical equipment. He said many were seriously ill.

Goodson said patients died while waiting to be evacuated over the four days after the hurricane hit, as temperatures inside the hospital reached 106 degrees. "I would suggest that that had a lot to do with" the deaths, he said of the heat.

...Dr. Jeffrey Kochan, a Philadelphia radiologist volunteering in New Orleans, said members of the team that recovered the bodies from the hospital in the city's Uptown section told him they found 36 corpses floating on the first floor.

"These guys were just venting. They need to talk," he said. "They're seeing things no human being should have to see."

Bush, in his third visit to New Orleans since the storm, made his first foray to the streets Monday and toured the city for 45 minutes aboard the back of a truck, forcing him at times to duck to avoid low-hanging electrical wires and branches.

He disputed suggestions that the government responded sluggishly because the victims were mostly poor and black.
The Freepi show their normal level of class.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"How come nobody ate them?"

"Autopsies required."

"This is the hospital the leftwing fans of Charity Hospital claimed had been totally evacuated. They demanded all efforts be turned to Charity. Apparantly they got their wish. Might not Mr. Brown have been canned as a consequence?"

"No clean Tabasco sauce."

"Indeed - i wonder if this is proof of that "mercy killing" rumor I read elsewhere. There is so much left unsaid and unreported, still, about what happened in that city after the levee broke. I think the media is trying to erase what we thought we saw, or something. Where's the investigative reporting, the interviews with doctors and nurses and policemen and tourists and bus drivers, etc? I sometimes suspect that if a person doesn't walk right past the hotel where the journos are staying, they don't get interviewed."

"i agree, and if they were overdosed with morphine to die than I think charges need to be filed asap!"

"Possibly the bodies were there before the storm hit? How many patients die in a day? I sure don't know. Not that many I wouldn't think (note to self: don't go to this hospital if sick.)"

"Could it be these bodies were killed by looters?"

"Somewhere, a social security check is being cashed for them."

"Lack of electricity, perhaps if they were on life support systems? Its all only speculation until autopsies are performed."

"I have wondered about all of the SS payments. You know that is going to be a nightmare."

"It sounds like this came as a surprise. Didn't the hospital mention this to someone in authority?"

"that is true. If these people were on life support and the electricity went off they'd be screwed. Thing is most hospitals have generators in case of this type of event. Also, most hospitals would have moved their critical patients out to other area hospital's. Something about this stinks to high heaven"

"Is this the one that looters attacked while patients were still inside?"

"Probably by the time the story is verified, it will 5 bodies found."

"Like the 10,000 dead claim is now around 200...And the 6 months to pump out the city is now down to 2 to 3 weeks. Journalism today is a joke."

"450 of the displaced N.O. residents were brought to my city on the 6 day after the event. Many were elderly and many were drug addicts who were going through dt's. If the few I saw were any indication of the ones who were sick or dying anyway, it could have just been a day in the life of that hospital. I know the problems were high and they were begging for help. I hope the TRUTH comes out on this story and not just speculation on the part of MSM."

"No doubt they'll all vote for Nagin in the next primary."

"And for this over-the-top speculation and outright fabrication, the msm is covering itself in acolades about their hard questioning of the Bush administration. I really think this was a Democrat plot to get the President, demonically conceived by someone higher up than that dunce, Kathleen Blanco. They knew that chaos and rioting would ensue if all those people had no help for 5 days, and they knew the msm would pin it on Pres. Bush. Sadly, so far it has worked, if his rotten poll numbers can be believed."

"Exactly...though the number seems high, we don't know how many had died before or during the hurricane. Obviously, people would not evacuate dead bodies...autopsies are in order here before jumping to conclusions"

"But remember, "New Orleans dodged the bullet.""

"100 found in a warehouse, 30 in a nursing home and now 45 in a hospital. I do not remember if we have been told how many in the domed dome or convention center."

"Probably because they had already left the hospital to riot, loot, get shot, fire rockets, and drown in the sea."

"Modern hospitals are filled with frail old people on the verge of death even with the heroic intervention of modern medical technology. Cut off the juice for a few days and they will slip away."

"Could it be these bodies were killed by looters?""

"Maybe, the looters were looking for drugs, so the doctors OD'ed them."


You can only go up from here...

Less than 24 hours after U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison described a list of useful items, stores in the greater Washington, D.C. area reported a surge in sales of plastic sheeting, duct tape, and other emergency items. These items, Paulison said, can be helpful after a biological, chemical or radiological attack.
-- report on CNN by Jeanne Meserve, Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Who is David Paulison?



Your new FEMA director.

Faced with the task of replacing 'Brownie', our dear leader has named this guy to clean up the mess and to be the next punching bag. Maybe he'll have that roll of all-purpost duct tape to help himself out.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Large parts of Los Angeles without power

Any idea why? Officials don't have any info yet. (AP):
A blackout hit a large portion of the Los Angeles area Monday afternoon, snarling traffic at intersections and trapping people in elevators. The city was investigating the cause of the outage. But Sgt. Catherine Plows, a police spokeswoman, said terrorism was not suspected.

The electricity was knocked out shortly before 1 p.m. after two power surges, and outages were reported from downtown to the coast and north into the San Fernando Valley, an area encompassing hundreds of thousands of residents and thousands of businesses. Los Angeles International Airport lost power, but its emergency generator kicked in promptly, and no flights were affected, said Harold Johnson, an airport spokesman.

Downtown high-rises went dark, fire officials said they received reports of people stuck in elevators, and stoplights went out at intersections across the city. Some neighboring cities also were affected.

The Police Department went on "full tactical alert," meaning no officers were allowed to leave work when their shifts were over.

The blackout came a day after ABC aired a videotape of a purported al-Qaida member making terrorist threats against Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.


Roberts told 'don't take the bait' by winger Cornyn

Day one of hearings. I haven't had access, so I don't know how it is going. I do know, however, that John Roberts got a little coaching from the fringe element of the party. He's also got some Prayer Warriors behind him and the Chimp. (AgapePress):
Shortly after sitting down to begin his opening hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts was given a bit of advice from John Cornyn: "Don't take the bait," he was told by the senator from Texas. "Decline to answer any question that you feel would compromise your ability to do your job."

Cornyn was laying the groundwork for the type of questions likely to come from several Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee, who are expected to probe for Roberts' stance on cases and issues that could possibly come before the Supreme Court. The Texas lawmaker acknowledged that the senators have a right to ask whatever questions they wish -- and admitted that perhaps all on the committee were "curious" to know how he might rule in future cases.

"But just because we are curious does not mean that our curiosity should be satisfied," Cornyn added.



Cornyn, a wild-eyed supporter of FMA made headlines for this unbelievable quote a while back.

Describing Roberts as a "man of integrity" with "impeccable legal credentials," Concerned Women for America's Wendy Wright addresses the expected onslaught of inquiry from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Become Prayer Warriors
Aside from the Roberts nomination, President Bush still must select someone to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. As he considers that selection -- and perhaps others before he leaves the White House -- one Christian leader is calling on believers to do their part to get the right persons on the high court.



"The most important thing that [Christians] can do now is pray," says Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council. "It's the president who makes the selection; it's the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate as a whole that will confirm or reject that selection. But we are left with the most powerful influence of all --and that is, to pray that God's will be done throughout the process."


'Brownie' gets the boot, er, 'resigns'


"I think it's in the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president to do that and get the media focused on the good things that are going on, instead of me."
He feared he "would be a distraction" to FEMA's relief effort. Don't let the door hit you on the way out...you can have all the margaritas you want now. (AP):
Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

"The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there," Brown told The Associated Press.
I wonder if Darth's boot print is on his ass?


Winger is mad at Sam's Club over booze


Arkansas State Senator Jim Holt is SHOCKED the "family friendly" shopping club sells liquor.

The AmTaliban doesn't seem to worry about Walmart/Sam's reputation for working folks off the clock, sexual discrimination, or forcing the lowest paid workers to get health care through the emergency room. The wingers are worried that Sam's is selling booze.
An Arkansas state lawmaker is concerned that retail giant Wal-Mart, despite its pro-family image, has no problem selling hard liquor in many of its Sam's Club Stores. Republican Senator Jim Holt represents a district that is adjacent to the one that houses the world headquarters of Wal-Mart. He believes the retailer has abandoned the intent of its founder, Sam Walton, by putting liquor stores in Sam's Club locations where local statutes permit. "When Sam Walton was alive, this was not to be," Holt says, "and if you go on Wal-Mart's website, they say the same thing -- that they are a family-run business. I've never seen family values in a bottle." But the company's Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Bob McAdam, says the Sam's Club stores are only responding to customers' desires. "We don't take a position whether alcohol is good or bad," McAdam insists. "As we do with every other product, our job is to provide what the customers seem to want. So where it's permissible under local and state laws, we will sell alcohol," he says, "and we do today in literally thousands of locations across the country."

Holt is unhappy with the policy and he suspects Wal-Mart will use its clout to expand the number of Sam's Club liquor outlets in Arkansas. "Sam's is trying to get hard liquor in every one of their stores that are supposed to be family-friendly," the Senator says. "Apparently they found a cash cow that they like," Holt adds, "and we're dealing with the world's largest retailer. I guess their philosophy is, 'We just need another dollar.'"
On that last point, the right wing is just getting around to noticing Walmart is all about the freaking Benjamins?


A few gay civil rights updates

Just thought I'd post some news I came across -- mostly good news -- out on the wires today...



Oregon: Gay marriage groups set sights on Minnis.
Gay marriage advocates lost a court battle before voters defeated a measure which would have legalized same-sex marriage. This summer, they failed to win approval for civil unions in the Legislature. Now, after dusting themselves off, the state's gay rights advocates are regrouping, galvanized by a new goal: Ousting House Speaker Karen Minnis. Basic Rights Oregon, the state's largest gay advocacy group, has singled out Minnis as enemy No. 1. In Portland last week, the group hosted a "Stick It to Minnis'' event to raise funds to oust the Republican from Wood Village. In the Legislature's final month, activists met Minnis and other legislators outside their parking garage with signs urging the House speaker to stop behaving like a tyrant.

Minnis said she doesn't mind being called "Queen Minnis." But she resents being told she thwarted the democratic process. From the beginning, she says she promised that the House would not vote on a civil unions bill.
Massachusetts: Anti-gay marriage coalition collapsing.
A coalition of lawmakers supporting an anti-gay marriage amendment is falling apart, virtually assuring that same-sex marriage will for now remain legal in Massachusetts, according to an Associated Press poll. The survey, conducted between Sept. 6-9, found at least 104 lawmakers who plan to vote against the proposed constitutional amendment, which would ban gay marriage but create civil unions.

The amendment, which is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, needs the support of at least 101 of the state's 200 lawmakers to get on the 2006 ballot.
Utah: Fight looms on gay benefits.
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's push to offer health-care benefits to domestic partners of city employees has gay marriage advocates and their opponents accusing each other of flip-flopping in their legal analyses of Utah's constitutional ban on gay marriage.

If Anderson signs an executive order extending dental and medical benefits to nonmarried domestic partners, as he has promised to do before this November, opponents have threatened to file suit. Further complicating the matter, that legal fight may be rendered meaningless if one state lawmaker fulfills his promise to introduce legislation prohibiting Anderson's plan.

And as Anderson prepares to engage the fight, he has the backing of the majority of his constituents. A new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV shows 54 percent of Salt Lake City residents favor Anderson's plan to extend health benefits to domestic partners of city employees. Still, showing the issue is controversial even in politically liberal Salt Lake City, a sizable number, 42 percent, oppose it.
California: And last, but not least, a reminder about my earlier post, "Lawmakers to delay delivery of gay marriage bill to the Governator," that it's not too late to lobby on the marriage issue - there is a two week window to weigh in. Equality California's website is encouraging not just a state-wide but also a national response to his intention to veto. Contact info:

Capitol Number, Sacramento: 916-445-2841
Fresno: 559-445-5295
Los Angeles: 213-897-0322
Riverside: 951-680-6860
San Diego: 619-525-4641
San Francisco : 415-703-2218

Governor's Office
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814


Rove to Chimp: round up the faith-based 'brothers'

As the upcoming, ridiculous smokescreen event, A National Day of PrayerTM approaches, the NYT runs a hilarious story on desperate attempt to get the recuitment of evangelical black voters back on track, "Gulf Coast Isn't the Only Thing Left in Tatters; Bush's Status With Blacks Takes Hit."

The flailing course-correction effort has Turdblossom working to corral as many of the bought-off pastors and get them out in front of the cameras as possible. At the top of Rove's list is millionaire preacher T.D. Jakes, who will be leading the Day of PrayerTM.
...behind the scenes in the West Wing, there has been anxiety and scrambling - after an initial misunderstanding, some of the president's advocates say, of the racial dimension to the crisis.

One of Mr. Bush's prominent African-American supporters called the White House to say he was aghast at the images from the president's first trip to the region, on Sept. 2, when Mr. Bush stood next to Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama, both white Republicans, and praised them for a job well done. Mr. Bush did not go into the heart of New Orleans to meet with black victims.



"I said, 'Grab some black people who look like they might be preachers,' " said the supporter, who asked not to be named because he did not want to be identified as criticizing the White House. Three days later, on Mr. Bush's next trip to the region, the president appeared in Baton Rouge at the side of T. D. Jakes, the conservative African-American television evangelist and the founder of a 30,000-member megachurch in southwest Dallas.

Bishop Jakes, a multimillionaire and best-selling author, is to deliver the sermon this Friday at the Washington National Cathedral, his office said, where Mr. Bush will mark a national day of prayer for Hurricane Katrina's victims. The bishop's style of preaching is black Pentecostal - he roars and rumbles in performances that got him on the cover of Time magazine as "America's best preacher" in 2001. More important to Mr. Rove, he has become a vital partner in the White House effort to court the black vote.
The story continues to nakedly tie the faith-based cash flow party to the Bush newfound public love of the darkies in the storm zone, as Bush made sure some face time to his shuffling minions as damage control. He had plenty of takers ready to belly up to the bar for the Chimp.
Last week, the White House continued its political recovery effort among African-Americans through its network of conservative black preachers like Bishop Jakes. Many of them have received millions of dollars for their churches through Mr. Bush's initiative to support religious-based social services - a factor, Republicans say, in Mr. Bush's small increase in support among black voters, from 9 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2004.



On Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room, Mr. Bush met with black preachers and leaders of national charities, and sat next to Bishop Roy L. H. Winbush, a black religious leader from Louisiana [and, along with Jakes, a strong supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment]. On Thursday, two senior White House officials, Claude Allen and James Towey, held a conference call with black religious leaders to ask what needed to be done. Mr. Towey is the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and Mr. Allen, who is African-American, is the president's domestic policy adviser.



One Bush supporter, the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III, the president of the National Ten Point Leadership Foundation, a coalition that represents primarily black churches, said last week that something positive might come out of the crisis. "This is a moral and intellectual opportunity for the Bush administration to clearly articulate a policy agenda for the black poor," Mr. Rivers said in an interview.


Want to take a dip in the waters of NOLA?



Contamination little threat to humans, but could destroy lawns. The Bush EPA goons don't waste their time. Did I not just post about this crap last night ("NOLA's going to be unsafe for a decade because of toxic environment")? The government's history of not revealing the toxicity of areas -- like the WTC site -- is standard operating procedure. Read this bullsh*t:
New test results released by the federal Environmental Protection Agency Sunday evening confirm that toxic chemicals contained in floodwaters in New Orleans and Metairie are in concentrations too small to be an immediate threat to humans.

But so much saltwater has entered the city that it could be very difficult to grow a lawn for a very long time, according to Wilma Subra, an independent chemist from New Iberia who often advises environmental groups.

The federal agency collected water samples from six locations on the east bank of Orleans and Jefferson parishes on Sept. 3, five days after Hurricane Katrina decimated the area. As it reported last Wednesday, EPA found very high levels of lead in water sampled at the North Claiborne Avenue exit off Interstate 10 in New Orleans. The 846 parts per billion of lead far exceeds the agency's 15 ppb standard for drinking water.

...Subra said that while the small amounts of toxic chemicals might pose no immediate risk, lengthy exposure could be a problem. And she said the test results could be an indicator that much higher amounts of some of the chemicals that don’t mix well with water could be found in the muddy remains when the floodwaters are pumped out of the city.
Any of you want to take a swig or a dip in there?

Thanks to Blender Paul for the pointer.


NOLA's going to be unsafe for a decade because of toxic environment

Sunday, September 11, 2005



The cover-up is clearly underway in this corrupt, immoral administration. That's what a government expert on toxic waste says, and he claims the Bush Admin (big surprise) is working hard to make sure the public doesn't know that NOLA will be uninhabitable for years. And low and behold, the news -- again -- is in the UK papers, not in our MSM (The Independent Online):
Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.

In an exclusive interview, Hugh Kaufman, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health.

The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analysed. "Inept political hacks" running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income migrant workers by getting them to do the work.

...Few people are better qualified to judge the extent of the problem. Mr Kaufman, who has been with the EPA since it was founded 35 years ago, helped to set up its hazardous waste programme. After serving as chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman, he is now senior policy analyst in its Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response. He said the clean-up needed to be "the most massive public works exercise ever done", adding: "It will take 10 years to get everything up and running and safe."

Mr Kaufman claimed the Bush administration was playing down the need for a clean-up: the EPA has not been included in the core White House group tackling the crisis. "Its budget has been cut and inept political hacks have been put in key positions," Mr Kaufman said. "All the money for emergency response has gone to buy guns and cowboys - which don't do anything when a hurricane hits. We were less prepared for this than we would have been on 10 September 2001."

He said the water being pumped out of the city was not being tested for pollution and would damage Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi river, and endanger people using it downstream.
As you recall, the Bush stooges hustled Christine Todd Whitman out there on the street in front of the smoldering remains of the WTC to tell everyone the air was safe to breathe. We all know how that worked out -- testing by NYC's Department of Environmental Protection showed the air downtown had more than double the level of asbestos considered safe for humans.

That's something to think about today, September 11.


Portland, OR school bans 'The Laramie Project'

WTF is wrong with this principal? Has she seen the play?

The Durham School of the Arts won an award for its production of the play, facing down the Phelps family hate brigade. Portland folks should make a stink about this principal and the school district.

"The Laramie Project" was in production at Southridge High School when Principal Amy Gordon decided to pull the plug. She could not be reached for comment. The play chronicles the true story of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student, who was killed seven years ago in Laramie, Wyo. The production — which has been performed at schools across the country including at a Hillsboro high school — pieces together the events surrounding the killing through the reactions of numerous residents of Laramie.

Members of the theater community are charging that the play is under attack because it features a gay character, not because of its sexual or vulgar content. Wade Willis, Southridge theater arts director, chose the play for its educational value and the challenge it would present student actors, he said.

"Everything I hear about presenting something 'controversial' is that you have to put forth all sides," Willis told The Oregonian. "You can't be more complete than this in presenting multiple points of view." But Maureen Wheeler, a spokeswoman for the school district, said the play is considered controversial because it contains profanities and sexual content.
Did I miss something? I didn't see anything remotely sexual going on in that play, unless the "sexual content" is the fact that people talk about a young gay man that is beaten to death. What bullsh*t.


NOLA doctors: 'We had to put down our patients'

"Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die."
--emergency official, William 'Forest' McQueen on patients euthanized in NOLA during the chaos
I think we know in our hearts that given the conditions we knew about during the darkest hours of the aftermath of Katrina, with hospitals without power, AC and clean water, that for the sickest patients it was misery. There was gunfire and lawlessness outside the hospital.

For the doctors with a conscience you know it had to come down to this. These men and women cannot be punished for doing what they had to do when it was unclear whether anyone one was coming to help them, the gravely ill, and the dying. (Daily Mail):
Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she 'prayed for God to have mercy on her soul' after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

Her heart-rending account has been corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials. ...Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana, and The Mail on Sunday is protecting the identities of the medical staff concerned to prevent them being made scapegoats for the events of last week. Their families believe their confessions are an indictment of the appalling failure of American authorities to help those in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, claiming thousands of lives and making 500,000 homeless.

..."I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul." The doctor, who finally fled her hospital late last week in fear of being murdered by the armed looters, said: "This was not murder, this was compassion. They would have been dead within hours, if not days. We did not put people down. What we did was give comfort to the end.

"I had cancer patients who were in agony. In some cases the drugs may have speeded up the death process. "We divided patients into three categories: those who were traumatised but medically fit enough to survive, those who needed urgent care, and the dying.

"People would find it impossible to understand the situation. I had to make life-or-death decisions in a split second.

"It came down to giving people the basic human right to die with dignity.
The Freepi are trying to say this is a hoax, though some of their own say this story was reported on the air on FoxNews as well.

Another paper covering this is the Daily Telegraph. American McQueen is married to a Brit, which might additionally explain why this story is not getting MSM attention, aside from the queasy, ethical issues/Schiavo factor. Guess they just cannot handle the truth...


Helms: nearing the end



[UPDATE: commenter Coturnix noted to link to the current issue of the local progressive paper, the excellent Independent, which has a great article by Barry Yeoman. See end of the post.]

The unapologetic, racist, homophobic coot is hawking his autobiography through surrogates, but the clock is finally winding down on the guy. The man was an unforgivable bigot, but he was a politician that believed in and excelled at constituent services no matter what your political persuasion was, something our current Senator, Elizabeth Dole, sucks massively at.

Sean Hannity made a big deal out of coming to interview Helms, but apparently this has not aired yet. (News & Observer):
At a bookstore appearance in Raleigh Saturday to mark the release of his memoirs, Helms did not speak to the group. Nor is he doing any live interviews to promote his book. The last speech he gave was nearly a year ago.

After a half century of vigorously articulating the conservative viewpoint, Helms' voice has been muted as he struggles with the indignities of old age, including an inconstant memory.

...Friends say Helms, who will turn 84 next month, still goes to his West Raleigh office five days a week. They say he can still be an engaging lunch companion, sharing old stories from his campaigns and his 30 years in the U.S. Senate. He still uses his office to try to help former constituents. But he suffers memory lapses, forgetting the identity of people he has long known, and confusing times and places, friends say.

...Helms, who retired from the Senate two and half years ago, is recovering from serious physical problems. He was gravely ill in 2002 when he underwent open-heart surgery to replace a worn- out prosthetic heart valve. Last year he was hospitalized for more than a month with acute gallstone pancreatitis complicated by a staph infection in his bloodstream. Other health issues have included knee replacements, four coronary bypass grafts, and radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

...Helms recently came out with his memoir, "Here's Where I Stand." Helms writes in the book about his rise from the son of a Monroe police chief to WRAL-TV editorialist to national political figure. And he writes about his many Senate battles, from his opposition to the Panama Canal Treaty and to Castro's communist government in Cuba to his battles to overhaul the United Nations.

...Helms has done a couple of carefully controlled interviews with friendly journalists, an associate at his elbow to help prompt him. One interview was with Fred Barnes, editor of Washington-based The Weekly Standard. Sean Hannity of Fox News has interviewed Helms, although the interview has yet to air.
***



The Independent's piece on Helms, Whitewash, is unrelentingly delicious. A snippet's here, but the whole piece is worth the read...
During his three decades representing North Carolina in the Senate, Helms befriended human-rights abusers around the world; stalled important treaties and appointments; and launched spirited attacks on civil rights, AIDS funding and legalized abortion. He helped mastermind a brilliant fund-raising machine, and had his fingers in everything from black-voter intimidation to a veiled threat against President Clinton's life. His name was the first thing strangers mentioned, usually with derision, when I told them I lived in North Carolina. Yet he also won all five of his senatorial races, trading in on white racial resentment, Christian conservatism, and an avuncular, countrified style.

Now, just before his 85th birthday, Helms has finally decided to share his story. This month, Random House is releasing the former senator's Here's Where I Stand: A Memoir. Its 36 chapters offer no introspection, no sense of fallibility--not even the basic elements of good storytelling. But we do get 300 pages of Helms' own words, or perhaps those of a second-rate ghostwriter. In that sense, Here's Where I Stand is an important historical document about one of America's most important 20th-century political figures.

It is also a curious exercise in political whitewash. For a senator whose very strength lay in his combative style, Helms has managed to portray himself as a lover of all humanity, from deceased Democrats Paul Wellstone ("a courageous defender of what he believed") and Hubert Humphrey (who allegedly told Helms "I love you" on his deathbed) to the entire Jewish people, "who prepared the way for the true Liberator of all mankind, Jesus Christ." In fact, he writes, the Jews were one of two peoples whose histories inspired "the freedom Americans enjoy today." The others, of course, were the Anglo-Saxons.

...Helms describes the job that catapulted him to statewide fame and launched his political career: his 12 years as an on-air editorialist for WRAL-TV. Throughout North Carolina, he tells us, "Everyone would gather around the television after dinner to hear the news and then the editorial ... In many cases no one was allowed to speak until the editorial was finished."

Reagan and Helms review the cover of a campaign mailer from the 1980s highlighting Reagan's support of Helms.

What Helms manages not to tell us, though, is the content of those editorials. He quotes a bland one on federal housing programs, and a mournful one about the Kennedy assassination. ("The manner of his death leaves America standing naked as a symbol of civilization mocked.") What he doesn't say is that the 2,751 editorials were based in some of the most venal bigotry of the times. "Are civil rights only for Negroes?" he asked in 1963. "White women in Washington who have been raped and mugged on the streets in broad daylight have experienced the most revolting sort of violation of their civil rights. The hundreds of others who had their purses snatched last year by Negro hoodlums may understandably insist that their right to walk the street unmolested was violated." In his five-minute editorials, Helms condoned lunch-counter segregation; said civil-rights protesters were "no less an affront to society" than the Ku Klux Klan; and accused civil-rights marchers of participating in "sex orgies of the rawest sort." He also insisted that four Alabama Klansmen who murdered a Detroit woman in 1965 were responding to "deliberate provocation" by Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson. If Helms feels any remorse for inflaming racial tensions in North Carolina during the 1960s, he reveals none of it in his new autobiography.
Barry Yeoman rocks. Ah, yes, it is a delicious piece of the naked truth about that man. I actually remember watching some of those awful WRAL editorial on our black and white TV set. He was a scary man to little Pam.


Damage in Ocean Springs, MS

We just received some pictures from Kate's sister in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She evacuated and rode out the storm up in Alabama and is staying with Kate's folks for now. They returned for the first time yesterday to see the damage to her apartment complex.

First, here is where Ocean Springs is in relation to Biloxi, which most of you have probably seen coverage of -- that town was pretty much destroyed. There is still a curfew so they had limited time to come in and retrieve things and get out of Ocean Springs.



Here is the bridge that connected Biloxi to the mainland and what it looked like right after the storm (Reuters):



Ocean Springs was hard hit, and a lot of buildings were destroyed. What Kate's sister discovered is that although her apartment is still standing, it has been condemned. All of the buildings in the complex are going to be bulldozed because of the water and wind damage.



Her apartment was on the first floor. Fortunately, there was only water damage down the wall, so furniture and belongings were intact. As you can see, the folks on the top floors were not so lucky, nor were the folks on the second floor, since the torrential rain came right on in with the roof gone.



This section of the town was not right on the water, so it didn't flood, but most of the cars were damaged from flying debris. Her car was drivable, but it remains to be seen what the insurance company will do since all the windows have damage and the exterior of the car is completely pitted and dented, much as you would see after a bad hailstorm. The seal on the car is broken, so it's not clear if there is moisture damage.



What this tells me is that there are a lot more people left homeless along the Gulf than we are hearing about. There are people that came back to find their houses blown away and no place to go, and those like Kate's sister that came back to learn that she can't go back either. She has to pick up and start over someplace else. She's just fortunate to have immediate family close enough and with space to bunk out with until she figures out what to do next. Do we have any idea how many people are affected in this way as well?

Our friend Kristen is close friends with a NOLA evacuee whose house apparently escaped the flooding, but they cannot get back to save anything, and she's pregnant and due in two weeks. She's staying with family as well. Kristen's partner has distant relatives that lived in Slidell, LA and the water damage is bad, but the problem there is the lack of power and clean water.

Anyone that starts spinning about things getting under control need to get a reality check in the towns that you don't see the media doing stand-ups in -- what kind of job is FEMA doing there?


Katrina exodus could change political mix

I was wondering when they would get around to talking about this. With the huge exodus of poor blacks from New Orleans, it's likely they won't be coming back, thus changing the demographic mix of Louisiana and its politics, likely shifting it strongly Republican. On the flip side, the mass entry of typically Demographic voters into Texas will affect voting blocs there as well.
Population shifts caused by the exodus of hurricane victims from the Gulf Coast could have ripple effects for years to come in Louisiana political races and perhaps beyond. How big depends on how many people stay away, which ones stay away and where they end up putting down roots.

The early thinking is that the evacuees least likely to return to their homes in Louisiana may be the poorest — and thus, Democrats for the most part. That would hurt the party in a state where Republicans already were making inroads. If the lion's share of those leaving settle in Texas, that could work to the advantage of Democrats in President Bush's home state.

"I'm believing that the greatest displacement occurs among those who are traditionally Democratic voters," said Elliott Stonecipher, an independent political consultant from Shreveport, La. "Based on sheer demographics, those who are Republican voters have the wherewithal and, we believe, the will to go home and rebuild," he said.

Stonecipher sees the New Orleans area losing Democratic voters and a political network that was of great benefit to Sen. Mary Landrieu and other Democrats. "On Election Day there is a well-oiled machine that knows how to turn those votes out from specific neighborhoods and in specific ways," Stonecipher said. Landrieu was elected in a 2002 runoff by a 52-48 margin, a difference of just 42,000 votes. New Orleans was the base of her support. "If that's compromised, that could be a problem for her," said John Maginnis, who publishes a political newsletter in Louisiana.

Landrieu is not up for re-election until 2008. Kathleen Blanco, the Democratic governor, who also won by a 52-48 margin, faces re-election in 2007. Ray Nagin, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, is up for re-election in February. No one knows if the city could even hold an election by then.

...In Texas, which stands to gain the largest number of evacuees, analysts do not expect much impact on statewide races. But local races — for everything from school boards to legislative seats and perhaps even congressional districts — could be affected. The place to watch is Houston, which has taken in the most evacuees, at least temporarily.

Richard Murray, director of the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston, said Republicans hold every elective office in Harris County, which takes in most of Houston, but do not win by much. "This could accelerate the tipping of the county, which was expected to happen in the next four to six years," he said. While politics is taking a back seat for now to the urgent needs of the hurricane victims, "my Democratic friends are smiling," Murray said. Bob Stein, professor of political science at Rice University in Houston, said the political impact on Texas depends in large part on how concentrated or widely dispersed the evacuees are.


The tiny violin for 'Brownie'



Pity party for a man that made a mess of disaster recovery, and was a lying weasel on his resume to boot. Mike Brown is crying in his milk to his family in an email. Reed and (not) weep...
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown sent a candid e-mail to family and friends this week as he was becoming the center of criticism of the handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster."I don't mind the negative press (well, actually, I do, but I try to ignore it) but it is really wearing out the family," Brown wrote. "No wonder people don't go into public service. This country is devouring itself, the 24-hour news cycle is numbing our ability to think for ourselves," the Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday.

..."It's horrible," said Mary Ann Karns, an Oklahoma lawyer who once worked with Brown in the Edmond, Okla., city government and got the e-mail addressed. "He does not deserve this as a human being."
He certainly wasn't thinking about his fellow human beings in the Katrina zone, as he made the media roundup while people drowned. He was completely clueless as to how to deploy the resources at his disposal. Pathetic POS -- he cannot admit that he was unqualified for the job -- a "vicitim" of the cycle of cronyism in the Bush White House.


Pentagon: can't find the terrorists? Just nuke 'em



Lovely. The Pentagon, as part of the war on terror, is proposing a first-use nuclear strategy. It would like to make it possible to deal with terrorism by just dropping a nuclear bomb and be done with it.

Well, I guess that would do away with the need to gather intelligence, evidence or annoying legwork to get al Qaeda, eh? It's clear that thousands of lives and an environmental disaster is no skin off of our government's nose either here or over in Iraq.
The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to preempt an attack by a nation or terror group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The document, written by the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs staff but not yet finally approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, would update rules and procedures governing use of nuclear weapons to reflect a preemption strategy first announced by the Bush White House in December 2002. The strategy was outlined in more detail at the time in classified national security directives.

... The draft, dated March 15, would provide authoritative guidance for commanders to request presidential approval for using nuclear weapons, and represents the Pentagon's first attempt to revise procedures to reflect the Bush preemption doctrine. A previous version, completed in 1995 during the Clinton administration, contains no mention of using nuclear weapons preemptively or specifically against WMD threats.

... The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.

[Given that we went to war in Iraq over phantom WMDs, a mistake of that magnitude with the Chimp's finger on the nuclear button is mind-blowingly frightening. ]

Another scenario for a possible nuclear preemptive strike is in case of an "imminent attack from adversary biological weapons that only effects from nuclear weapons can safely destroy."

That and other provisions in the document appear to refer to nuclear initiatives proposed by the administration that Congress has thus far declined to support fully. Last year, for example, Congress refused to fund research toward development of nuclear weapons that could destroy biological or chemical weapons materials without dispersing them into the atmosphere.

The draft document also envisions the use of atomic weapons for "attacks on adversary installations including WMD, deep, hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons."
Wake me up when this nightmare is over. How do we get this man out of office before he blasts his real or imagined enemies (and the lives of countless others) off the planet?


Welcome Paul's Rants back to the blogosphere

House Blender Paul Barwick is an ace newshound and has been quite active in the comments here and provided many tips to me for some time now.

After a long hiatus, his blog, Paul's Rants, is back up and running and chock full of great commentary. Paul blogs out of San Francisco. Check it out: http://paulsrants.blogspot.com/.

He's got another great "fake news from the future" piece up now.
While insurgents and troops fight, reconstruction is a forgotton dream

Officials conceeded today that reconstruction efforts have come to a near total halt due to the increased number of attacks by the insurgents in New Orleans.

Military officials, speaking only on the condition that they not be named, told this newsman that a big part of the problem arose because planners had not anticipated an armed insurrection. The Army and the National Guard went in expecting that the residents would look on them as rescuers. "We were told that the townspeople would be showering us with flowers as we drove down the street" one military police captain told us. "Instead we were met first with harsh words, then rocks, later bullets."
The insurgents, estimated at first at no more than 10,000, are now believed to number at least twice that. Officials on the ground are quietly admitting that the number grows daily as former residents of the area stream back in through city borders that the US military and private security forces have been unable to secure.

A high ranking Army officer said that many refugees are escaping from the holding camps set up shortly after the disaster. "We tried to disperse the troublemakers to different locations thoughout the country", he said "But they have managed to get out of the highly guarded holding areas, and are returning home."

In the meantime critics of the administration are questioning multi-million dollar no-bid contracts

handed to firms, such as Haliburton, with known ties to administration officials. The White House has been quick to defend those contracts, saying that no favoritism was involved. "We just chose the most qualified contractors" said White House spokesman Scott McLellan.

The White House has also been quick to downplay the growing chaos in New Orleans. In a speech before a handpicked audience of political supporters President Bush took a moment to assure the American people that "We have turned the corner on lawlessness." He went on to say that the insurgests, whom he described as "looters" were simply a small group of trouble makers who did not represent the "brave people of New Orleans".

In other news from Washington, former FEMA director and Medal of Freedom recipient Michael Brown has been spotted working as a greeter at Maryland area Walmart store. He rebuffed attempts by reporters to question him about his new position.


A black homo-bigot pastor spews, and Rick Perry does nothing

Texas Governor Rick Perry opened his state to Katrina victims. Presumably some of them were gay. I guess it's A-OK with him that one of Bush's homo-bigoted black pastors, Rev. Dwight McKissic, of Arlington's Cornerstone Baptist Church, got up and unleashed one of those "blame gays for Katrina" diatribes at public events Perry attended, tying the fate of the whole Gulf region to "decadent" New Orleans and the homos:


"They have devil worship. They advertise 'Sin City' tours. They celebrate Southern decadence. Girls go wild in New Orleans. Sometimes God does not speak through natural phenomena. This may have nothing to do with God being offended by homosexuality. But possibly it does."
Rick didn't object. As I posted earlier this week, most of the homo-bigot pastors have been MIA on Katrina, including McKissic. I'm glad to see he's stirred up the hornet's nest with some in-character commentary that exposes this faith-based pig at the taxpayer trough for who he is -- what a compassionate conservative. (Austin American-Statesman):
Gov. Rick Perry spoke at two private events this week where a Texas minister wondered if God sent Hurricane Katrina to purify the nation of sins, including homosexuality. The GOP leader didn't object at the gatherings in San Antonio and Houston on Thursday.

Gubernatorial spokesman Robert Black, contacted Friday, said: "The governor does not agree with that. But far be it for the governor to try to divine the will of the Almighty. Americans of all faiths need to come together at this point in time to help the victims of this tragedy," he said. Black said Perry speaks at hundreds of events annually and "sure doesn't do public critiques of what every speaker says." [Come on, McKissic's remarks are outrageous; there is no excuse not to respond to such hateful sh*t -- unless you agree with it.]

The Rev. Dwight McKissic, organizing pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, said he asked only if God sent the hurricane "to purify our nation."

Perry and McKissic addressed the Texas Restoration Project, which seeks to register 300,000 voters. [Do you think they hope to add the new settlers to the GOP rolls?]

...One of the attendees, the Rev. Don Wilkey of Onalaska, on Lake Livingston in East Texas, said the comments offended him, especially at a Christian gathering. The Rev. Laurence White of Houston, the project's chairman, said McKissic did not reflect the project's position. McKissic said his remarks didn't attack evacuees. His church has committed $200,000 to help victims pay a month's rent, he said.
It's not as if Rick Perry needs to hide his views on gays and lesbians and the marriage amendment that will be on the ballot in his state this year...


I love running this picture and quote. Remember Perry's godawful bullsh*t back in June? Fastidious Rick would like to ship all the gay folks out of the Lone Star State.

Also see:
* "Homo-hating TX Gov Rick Perry spams for marriage amendment votes"
* The Real Sins of Gov. Perry

Hat tip AmericaBlog


CA anti-gay marriage wingnuts are catfighting

This bodes well for California gays and lesbians on the amendment front if the wingers can't agree on which amendment to push. (365gay.com):
Fearing that courts eventually will support the rights of gay couples to marry, opponents want voters to amend the state Constitution to allow only heterosexual unions.

However, a rift among conservatives has led competing groups to promote two different gay-marriage bans and snipe at each other over which is best. Both petitions would do away with rights associated with domestic partnerships as well as same-sex unions. Conservatives worry the infighting could doom the initiatives, while gay-rights advocates say voters are not likely to discard established domestic partnership rights.

"There is obviously a rift in the family over which of the proposed amendments best protects marriage and protects the rights and benefits of marriage," said Benjamin Lopez, a lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition who tried to unite the competing groups behind one measure earlier this year. "The situation right now is delicate."


In the latest campaign, a group called Vote Yes Marriage favors a detailed, multi-paragraph amendment rescinding the marriage-like rights lawmakers granted domestic partners over the last five years while defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The other group, Protect Marriage, does it in one sentence: "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."

The sponsors have until January to gather 598,105 signatures to put the amendments on next June's ballot....Backers of the longer Vote Yes Marriage version say that while the Protect Marriage initiative might keep the courts and the Legislature from bestowing marriage licenses on same-sex couples, it would not necessarily do away with domestic partnerships.

"The people of California don't want counterfeit marriage, they don't want something that's unclear, they don't want something that would throw away marriage rights," said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families. In the war of words between the two sides, the Web site of Thomasson's group has a lengthy explanation of why its initiative is "the only true-blue marriage amendment." Pugno describes Vote Yes Marriage's offensive as "a sign of desperation."
The article also lists the states that are going to have amendments on the ballot next year: Alabama, Indiana, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, South Dakota and Tennessee. Texans get a chance to outlaw gay marriage at the polls this year.


Hurricanes by numbers

My friends at Facing South, the blog of the Institute for Southern Studies and Southern Exposure magazine has its index of interesting factoids up, this time a revealing comparison of the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.
INSTITUTE INDEX - A Tale of Two Hurricane Seasons

* Amount of aid President Bush immediately requested after hurricanes hit Florida in September 2004: $12 billion

* Number of hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall in Florida that Bush authorized federal assistance: 1

* Date in September that a FEMA consultant wrote a memo suggesting steps to ensure the Florida hurricanes not become a "liability" for the president's re-election: 2

* Days after the memo that FEMA announced the pre-storm deployment of "a powerful list of disaster response personnel, equipment and supplies" in Florida for Hurricane Frances, including 100 truckloads of ice and water: 2

* Amount of Florida hurricane aid that government investigators later concluded was "questionable," including housing disbursements to families that had not asked for it: $31 million

* Number of hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast that FEMA authorized dispatching employees to the region: 5
* Number of days they were allowed to take before arriving there:2

* Number of days after Hurricane Katrina struck that administration was "still assessing" amount of aid to request: 4

* Amount that the administration requested for Hurricane Katrina, the worst in history, after four days: $10 billion

All sources on file at the Institute.
***

Also the newsletter includes information on organizations you can give to that are on the ground in the affected areas that are doing good work:
Here at the Institute, we've received many emails and calls from people wanting to know what groups are doing good work at the grassroots level to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

We asked some of our friends and allies for suggestions, and they gave us some great ideas. Here are some resources for contributing to community/labor/progressive groups that have close ties to the region and are making a real difference. We'll expand on the list in future issues. Please be as generous as you can -- they need all the help they can get!


Baton Rouge Area Foundation
http://www.braf.org/

Louisiana Environmental Action Network
http://www.leanweb.org

Moore Community House (Biloxi, MS)
c/o Children's Defense Fund
P. O. Box 11437
Jackson, MS 39236-1437

People's Hurricane Fund/Community Labor United (Louisiana/Mississippi)
http://www.qecr.org./index.html

National Organizers Alliance
http://www.noacentral.org

Southern Empowerment Project
http://www.southernempowerment.org/

Sparkplug Foundation
http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html
Again, a plug for ISS and Southern Exposure...the organization will be sponsoring investigative reporters in Louisiana and Mississippi to cover the real stories about people affected by Katrina, and get the inside scoop on the political and economic decisions being made in the aftermath of this national story.

You can help support the effort by going to www.southernstudies.org.


NC Gov declares state of emergency over Ophelia

Funny, the storm track looks a bit less problematic than yesterday's (see below), but Easley's not taking any chances with the low-lying and vulnerable parts of the coast. (Reuters):
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency on Saturday and local officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for non-residents on the low-lying vacation island of Ocracoke on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

A hurricane watch was in effect from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, north to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, cautioning millions of residents that fierce winds and other hurricane conditions were possible within 36 hours. At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT), the storm's center was 255 miles (408 km) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Ophelia had top sustained winds of 85 mph (136 kph) and was not expected to strengthen much or even move much in the next two days, the hurricane center forecasters said.

They expected the hurricane to eventually move north and hit North Carolina on Wednesday or Thursday.Ophelia was a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, meaning it could be accompanied by a 4- to 5-foot (1- to 1.5-metre) storm surge. Such storms can flood coastal roads and damage piers, trees and unanchored mobile homes but rarely cause structural damage
Today:



Yesterday:


See my earlier post, "Hurricane."


Chimpy's approval numbers - how low can they go?

Saturday, September 10, 2005



Pretty low -- 38 percent -- and the dumbf*ck deserves every lost approval point. And it's not only over Katrina.

Bush's Job-Approval Rating Falls to Lowest of His Presidency.
President George W. Bush's job- approval ratings fell to the lowest of his presidency in two different polls taken a week-and-a-half after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

His rating dropped to 38 percent in the latest Newsweek Poll and to 42 percent in the Time Poll. Both figures are the lowest since Bush took office in January 2001.

... The Newsweek poll suggests that Bush's falling ratings can be traced to more than just his performance on Katrina relief.

More Americans than not -- 49 percent to 46 percent -- said invading Iraq in March 2003 wasn't the right thing to do. This was the first time that critics of the war outnumbered supporters, Newsweek said in a statement.

In addition, 69% of those surveyed in the Time poll said Bush hasn't done much to keep gasoline prices down, and 74 percent said the president has some control over these prices.


CNN wins - Feds won't ban media coverage

It's nice to get a win for freedom of some kind once in a while:
Rather than fight a lawsuit by CNN, the federal government abandoned its effort Saturday to prevent the media from reporting on the recovery of the dead in New Orleans.

Joint Task Force Katrina "has no plans to bar, impede or prevent news media from their news gathering and reporting activities in connection with the deceased Hurricane Katrina victim recovery efforts," said Col. Christian E. deGraff, representing the task force.


WTF is this - Lawyer fired after talking about Rove


Williams is pretty far up Bush and Rove's vindictive tushes.

The long arm of the vile, incestuous Repug machine takes this lawyer out. This is definitely not right. It also shows how spooked people are about crossing Turdblossom. (AP):
A lawyer with the Texas secretary of state was fired after she spoke to a reporter about presidential adviser Karl Rove's eligibility to vote in the state.

Elizabeth Reyes, 30, said she was dismissed last week for violating the agency's media policy after she was quoted in a Sept. 3 story by The Washington Post about tax deductions on Rove's homes in Washington and Texas.

Scott Haywood, a spokesman for Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, confirmed Reyes' firing but wouldn't discuss specifics. He had earlier told the Post that Reyes "was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency." Reyes told the Post on Friday a superior told her that her bosses were upset about the article. Williams has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Republicans, including President Bush, who relies heavily on Rove for political strategy.

While Reyes said she didn't know she was talking to a reporter, she said the press policy doesn't bar her from speaking with the media. "The policy allows us to talk to members of the media," she told the Post. "The policy says if it's a controversial issue or a special issue, it needs to be forwarded on to someone else. Just talking to the media doesn't violate it, as I read it. ... Karl Rove didn't come up. It wasn't something you could classify as controversial."

She said she sent a certified letter to Williams's office asking that her dismissal be reconsidered.

The Post earlier reported that Rove inadvertently received a homestead tax deduction on his home in Washington, even though he had not been eligible for the benefit for more than three years. Rove was eligible for the deduction when he bought the home in 2001, but a change in the tax law in 2002 made the deduction available only to property owners who do not vote elsewhere. Rove is registered to vote in Texas.

The tax office admitted the mistake, saying it failed to rescind the deduction, and Rove agreed to reimburse the city an estimated $3,400 in back taxes, the Post reported. Rove is registered to vote in Kerr County, Texas, where he and his wife own two rental homes that he claims as his residence. But two local residents told the Post they had never seen Rove there.

The Post reported Saturday that when its reporter called the Texas secretary of state's office for her story, she was told the press officer was on vacation and she was transferred to Reyes. The attorney told the reporter that it was potential vote fraud in Texas to register in a place where you don't actually live, and she was quoted as saying Rove's cottages don't "sound like a residence to me, because it's not a fixed place of habitation."


Hurricanes



Wobbly Ophelia is gaining strength as it nears the Carolinas. It's a Cat 2 hurricane now, and forecasts aren't too sure about its precise landfall, but it's heading our way...
The Atlantic storm Ophelia regained hurricane force on Saturday as U.S. forecasters placed coastal North and South Carolina under a hurricane watch.

The watch issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami cautioned that fierce winds and other hurricane conditions were possible within 36 hours in an area along the southeastern U.S. coast from the Savannah River in South Carolina to Cape Lookout in North Carolina.
I didn't really post my thoughts about Katrina's destruction as someone that lives in a state that has experienced pretty bad hurricanes in the last decade or so.



Ophelia is not well-formed, certainly not like Hurricane Floyd (Sept 16, 1999), which horrifically flooded southeastern ("Down East") NC. The hurricane made landfall on the 9/16 near Cape Fear, NC with category 2 winds of 105 mph. Total damage estimates ranged between $3-$6 billion -- damaging whole towns, but most notably, flooding industrial farms -- pigs, cattle, etc. The carcasses floated and festered for days. We didn't experience much damage here in the central part of the state, just wind and rain and some power outages. Look at the flooding caused in NC by Floyd --


Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The hurricane that I lived through and will never, ever forget, was Hurricane Fran (September 5, 1996). That was a Category 3 storm, and it was huge -- hurricane force winds were 150 miles inland from the eye. Since the massive storm struck at night (it hit the coast at 8PM), it was one terrifying, long night -- they aren't kidding when they say the wind sounds like a freight train.



The coast of NC was devastated needless to say, with complete areas were washed right off the map.


Click to enlarge.

See more photos here.

The house that I lived in at the time was a bungalow with 3 enormous trees on the property -- 100-year-old pin/willow oaks -- and if any of them fell on the house, it would have been crushed. This pic will give you an idea of the size of the trees. This is just a branch.



This pic is from 2002, of a branch that fell in my old backyard after a storm, to give you an idea of the threat and mess. Same-sized branches fell from my tree and from one on a neighbor's lot during Fran. It's typical of the damage experienced in most in-town neighborhoods in Durham.

We had no power for four days, which is no hardship compared to some areas in Wake County (Raleigh) which had no power for a few weeks; most neighborhoods have above-ground wires, so trees took out lots of transformers and lines. Some of my neighbors with equally large trees had them fall on their houses. My heart breaks for the Katrina victims. My house was still standing; my city was still intact.

As with Katrina, the weather post-storm was beautiful and clear, but hellishly hot -- upper 90s. After the four days withhout power, people were getting crabby and crazy, but there was no looting. One site has detail on the effects describes a bit of what it was like inland:
Fran also dumped torrential rain. Eastern North Carolina and Virginia suffered its worst flooding in history (until Floyd in 1999). Rainfall of 6 to 15 inches, flooded the region extensively. Several rivers and lakes in North Carolina reported their highest known flows. The one million square foot Crabtree Mall/Sheraton Hotel in Raleigh, was flooded up to the second level. Weeks later, mall merchants reported finding poisonous snakes that had climbed on upper shelves to escape the rising water. Dozens of road and foot bridges over streams and rivers were swept away.
There's more on what happened in the Triangle here. A lot of 20-foot branches littered my yard, thankfully only damaging the edge of the attached shed of my house. It took weeks to clean up. There were 8 foot high piles of branches that you'd see in front of people's houses waiting for pickup by the city. Those were there for months, because it took so long to get around to all of the areas. Some pix of damage are here.

What I cannot imagine, with the experience of living through the destruction that Cat 3 Fran caused so far inland, is why anyone that was able to leave before high-Cat 4 Katrina hit didn't get the hell out -- especially if you had pets. I also cannot fathom how the city and state officials of those Gulf states affected didn't have an evacuation plan for those that wanted to leave but had no means to do so. Bush and FEMA are completely, criminally inept, don't get me wrong, but the local officials (and the folks they elected and sent to Washington) buried their heads in the sand for years, hoping "the big one" didn't happen on their watch.

This country has seen the devastation caused by Andrew, Fran, Floyd and Hugo -- there is no earthly excuse for the "I didn't know it could be that bad" defense by the people elected to think about these things.

Any state that is in a hurricane zone needs to think about how prepared they are to take care of its citizens, given the pathetic response to Katrina, because billions of damage and displacement of people can easily occur with "just" a Cat 2 or 3 storm.


Another 'steal it' graphic



This one is from Bloggrrrl Shakes Sis.


Mike Tidmus on Iran executing gays



Mike Tidmus puts the spotlight on the government of Iran, which has been putting gays to death on a regular basis for the most flimsy reasons -- and these human rights violations continue to go on without much attention from the mainstream media drones.

He's worked up some amazing art that you can put up on your blog (click the above image). Mike:
According to Iranian human rights campaigners, since 1979, when the Ayatollahs seized control of the government in Iran and declared homosexuality a capital offense, one homosexual has been put to death every 2.5 days.

Gay Iranians, now living outside Iran, say most are tried on trumped-up charges from rape, to petty theft, to drugs, to the consumption of alcohol. Most of the executions follow months or years of imprisonment, frequently accompanied by brutal floggings and torture. It’s hardly surprising that gay refugees are committing suicide rather than be returned to Iran to face torture and execution.

...A number of European countries have stopped returning gay exiles to Iran, but continue to wheel and deal with the Islamist government rather than treat it as a pariah state.

...The new face of evil in Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is about to pay a visit to New York City, and nobody, aside from a handful of bloggers and dissident Iranian exiles, seems to think confronting this monster is necessary.
Go to Mike's blog for more, including excerpts on the state of things from the perspective of the foreign press and journalists that are spreading the word. You can too by running the art on your blogs and posting on this topic.



Pat Robertson's gravy train - Operation Blessing



House Blender Jerry pointed to an interview about Pat Robertson by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on Democracy Now that reveals more of the shadow charity operation endorsed by the White House and FEMA for Katrina relief, Operation Blessing. All the media outlets promoted the list of "approved charities, including the NYT, CNN and the AP.

Pat, it appears, took a lot of money from his Operation Blessing and siphoned it off to his religious arm -- The 700 Club. The interview, with Max Blumenthal of The Nation, alleges he favors his white evangelical friends, rather than the poor blacks in Louisiana who are suffering.
JUAN GONZALEZ: ...The reality is that Operation Second Blessing has been part of the Robertson empire now for many years. He is the chairman of the board himself. His wife is a vice president. One of his sons is a member of the board of directors. So, it's wholly a non-profit foundation that is controlled by Robertson.

Interestingly enough, when I checked their latest 990 for the fiscal year ending of March of 2004, they give hundreds of grants for a few thousand dollars to churches all around the United States, but the single largest recipient of assistance from Second Blessing is Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. It received $885,000 in grants from the charity. For what purposes, I'm not quite clear.

But the other part of it is also that Second Blessing has had a less than stellar record. Back in the mid-1990s during the Rwandan genocide, Robertson appealed for assistance for Operation Second Blessing on his 700 Club for money to fly relief supplies to the Rwandan refugees in Zaire. What he -- it turns out that an investigation later by the Virginia Attorney General's office revealed that the planes that were bought by the charity were actually ferrying mining equipment for a diamond mining operation, the African Development Corporation, and low-and-behold, who is the principal shareholder of this private corporation? None other than Pat Robertson himself. So, he eventually had to reimburse his own charity $400,000 for the fact that these planes were being used, not for charitable work, but for his own enrichment. Although that might itself -- ended up collapsing.

So Robertson's use of this charity has had problems in the past, and the fact that the federal government listed it among the top three charities before the Catholic charities, before the United Jewish Appeal, before AmeriCares, before all kinds of other charities that have been in existence for decades and decades is quite unusual.

[...]

MAX BLUMENTHAL: So we're seeing groups like -- I mean there are only two secular groups on FEMA's list, and currently, I think there's scores of secular groups doing relief work. Pat Robertson's group, Operation Blessing, is not doing relief work in Louisiana. They -- you know, I turned on the 700 Club, which is Pat Robertson's daily TV show where he called for Hugo Chavez's assassination, to get a sense of the kind of work they were doing, and what I saw were profiles of white evangelicals who had suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina. And undoubtedly, a lot of white evangelicals in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi have suffered, but when it came to covering the plight of people in New Orleans who are largely poor and largely black, I have never -- I haven't witnessed any coverage of this disaster that's so racist as I saw on the 700 Club.



...And the 700 Club also featured a reverend named Wellington Boone, who’s a far right wing black minister, who seemed like he was invited to provide a counterpoint to Jesse Jackson, who had been all over the news. And Boone declared in an interview on CBN's website, separate from his 700 Club appearance, that these people who have gone through slavery, segregation and the Voting Rights Act are doing this to themselves. So what I saw in Pat Robertson's operation was an intentional attempt to demonize the people who had been victimized by Hurricane Katrina and by the response of the government, in order to justify whatever his operation was doing on the ground, which seemed to be directed at helping only a certain subset of the hurricane victims which were in his ministry's network, as it were. And when I say network, I mean within the network of the churches who he is distributing cash grants to.
This makes me nauseous and very angry. Why is there no scrutiny here?

***

To find something to laugh about in an otherwise horrible, vile situatiion, Agitprop has a funny post up related to my earlier blogging on Pat Robertson's little tax problem with his sideline business -- "Batsh*t Pat in trouble with over 'Age Defying' diet shake."

Agitprop's wondering if using his flapjack formula might cook up something eBay-worthy...take a look.


What a contrast


President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)

Versus this...


A private citizen. Al Gore helped airlift some 270 Katrina evacuees on two private charters from New Orleans, acting at the urging of a doctor who saved the life of the former vice president's son. Gore criticized the Bush administration's slow response to Katrina in a speech Friday in San Francisco, but refused to be interviewed about the mercy missions he financed and flew on September 3 and 4.

However, Dr. Anderson Spickard, who is Gore's personal physician and accompanied him on the flights, said: "Gore told me he wanted to do this because like all of us he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has."


Open thread. What is going on?


Another wingnut ties ACLU to the Homo AgendaTM



This time it's a moron in Ohio that believes the ACLU is aiding us in creating "pro-homosexual" activists in schools, and wants to use "abstinence-only" education policies as a tool to ban Gay Straight Alliance clubs. It should also be mentioned that Linda P. Harvey is also the author of the gripping article. Heresy in the Hood II: Witchcraft among Children and Teens in America.(AgapePress):
An Ohio pro-family activist warns that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is disseminating information in an effort that is creating confrontational pro-homosexual student activists. A website for the organization's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project offers students a "Know Your Rights" card and refers to laws that purportedly protect homosexual behavior.

But Linda Harvey, head of the conservative group Mission America, contends that the information the ACLU's homosexual rights advocates are providing through the site is somewhat distorted. "They say, for instance, that you have a federal constitutional right to express your sexual orientation," she notes. "I don't think that exists, unless I'm misinformed. I don't see that anywhere in our Constitution."

Harvey feels the ACLU is putting such information in the hands of students with a deliberate purpose. "What they're doing is ... creating a situation where students are going to be confrontational, and most school boards and schools in this country are not prepared to deal with this," she asserts.

The pro-family spokeswoman believes the ACLU, in its effort to educate homosexual students of these so-called "rights," is setting up a situation in which the civil liberties organization can sue a school on behalf of a student who does not get what he or she wants at school. [Say, a safe space where they won't get the crap beaten out of them or to stop students from urinating in their bookbags, maybe?]

Meanwhile, she points out, as another part of its Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, the ACLU is encouraging homosexual students to establish "Gay Straight Alliance" (GSA) clubs, wear homosexual-themed t-shirts, and promote "gay pride" on campus. However, Harvey says schools can prevent the formation of such clubs if the schools do not have a non-discrimination policy that includes the term "sexual orientation." Also, she notes that schools have another option, "if they have an abstinence-based sex education policy; they can deny these clubs."

In that case, the Ohio family advocate points out, some investigation and documentation would be necessary for schools to make their case against the formation of student GSAs. "What [school officials] will have to do," she explains, "is go back and research clubs in the past and find the fact that clubs really do deal with sexual matters. They say that they don't, but they do. That would be another adequate defense."

Harvey says since the ACLU has a myriad of resources for homosexual students yet offers none for Christian students, the group is clearly demonstrating that its commitment to diversity is phony.
She's fixated on homosexuality generally and where it's being "forced" into the school system a big way particularly (as if no gay kids are attending classes), having also penned:

* Homosexual Agenda Escalates in Public Schools: "In the Massachusetts town of Newton, home of homosexual congressman Barney Frank, a high school history teacher taught that Alexander the Great was a "gay" man. Other teachers in Massachusetts are building lessons around the Stonewall Inn riots in Greenwich Village in 1969, an event credited by homosexual activists with kicking off the "gay rights" movement.1 In a third grade music class in a Massachusetts town, the male teacher told the children Tchiakovsky was a homosexual, and that society's "homophobia" prompted his suicide."

* The Risk of 'Gay' Activism in Our Schools: "The Girl Scouts have allowed lesbians to be leaders in the organization for a number of years. According to one source, about one third of the staff members at the national Girl Scout office are lesbians.8 The Girl Scouts are evidently not unique among youth organizations, however. Policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" have been enacted at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Camp Fire Girls, the National 4-H Council and the YMCA Indian Guides.9"

Her source, BTW, on that claim about the lesbian infiltration of the Girl Scouts, is an article at the wingnut site Cybercast News Service.

* What homosexual 'marriage' will mean to America's children: Watch out, if a teacher gets married and a kid finds out, they are going to be damaged for life, because teachers will be able to "wear wedding rings, talk about their homosexual spouses with students and introduce spouses at school functions. Your little Katie will learn in kindergarten that "Mrs." Jones is married to another "Mrs." Jones – and that she can grow up and choose to do the same if she wishes....Expect a whole new crop of young adult novels featuring same-sex romance leading to marriage to appear instantly and be adopted just as magically by middle-school and high-school language departments throughout the U.S. Your 13-year-old Kyle will be required to read and give a book report on a novel where Bruce and Jason meet, date and get married. What won't be covered is how Bruce and Jason split up a year later after cheating on each other dozens of times."

I have to send you off with this unhinged column on WingNutDaily from last year on McGreevey...it's too much!

* McGreevey is not 'gay': "No one is gay. McGreevey may be participating in "gay" behavior, with all the risks attendant to anal and oral sex with other males – let's tell the truth here – but he isn't constitutionally a human different from the other males working in those New Jersey government offices or any place else in New Jersey...What he's done is what many, many others have done: acted on a desire for unorthodox sexual activity and decided he's going to keep on doing it, regardless of the impact on others, or on himself...But much of the rise in homosexuality is among kids. Bisexuality, a straddling condition between two preferences, is a popular trend among our youth. Some are 17. Some, these days, are 10. It's easy to see why impressionable kids are falling for this. It's how they process the incessant suggestions that "You might be 'gay.'" "


CNN fights for First Amendment rights to report on body recovery

Just because public officials responsible for this disaster can't tolerate coverage of their failures to protect its citizens isn't and excuse to ban the news media from covering it. No news organization was promising to show faces of the dead, so the only possible reason for doing this is political "image control," and a judge agreed.
At the request of CNN, a federal judge in Texas Friday night blocked emergency officials in New Orleans from preventing the media from covering the recovery of bodies from Hurricane Katrina.

Attorneys for the network argued that the ban was an unconstitutional prior restraint on news gathering.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison issued a temporary restraining order against a "zero access" policy announced earlier Friday by Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who is overseeing the federal relief effort in the city, and Terry Ebbert, the city's homeland security director.


You break it, you own it.

A hearing was scheduled for Saturday morning to determine if the order should be made permanent. In explaining the ban, Ebbert said, "we don't think that's proper" to let media view the bodies.

In an e-mail to CNN staff, CNN News Group President Jim Walton said the network filed the the lawsuit to "prohibit any agency from restricting its ability to fully and fairly cover" the hurricane victim recovery process.


Low-rent talk show geek spews racism about evacuees

Crooks and Liars has a post on an unbelievable POS that got airtime on CNN. There's also video at the link. Nope, racism plays no role in views about victims...
C-list talk show host Mark Williams was on ShowBiz Tonight 9/8 and let all his racist, extremely incompetent republican talking points blather out of his mouth as a stunned Morris Reid watched on.

Williams: ..they didn't have the necessary brains and common sense to get out of the way of a Cat 5 Hurricane and then when it hit them- stood on the side of the convention Center expiring while reporters were coming and going..

Morris:...that's just sickening---that is atrocious what you are saying...

He calls Kanye West a racist while he spews racism.

Williams: The only role race plays in this is that the American black population has been the prototype for an entire race of people being, being turned into a group of dependents of the government--trapped there, I'm using that word very loosely are screaming we want help, we want help..

Mark, the people were locked in the Convention center and armed personnel wouldn't let them off of the bridge you fool.
Thanks to House Blender Paul for the pointer.


WingNut Daily boob: Katrina victims = doomed fetuses


Good grief. This is an imitation of a bad lesbian hairdo from the past.

WorldNetDaily columnist Kelly Hollowell, is "a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct law professor of bioethics." She is also a senior strategist for the Center for Reclaiming America, a conference speaker and founder of Science Ministries Inc..


1. Center for Reclaiming America is an outfit run by D. James Kennedy, of Coral Ridge Ministries "for the purpose of mobilizing America’s Christians at the grassroots level...As a means to accomplish this mission, the CENTER focuses on five key fronts of the modern-day culture war: (1) Religious Liberties, (2) the Sanctity of Life, (3) the Homosexual Agenda, (4) Pornography, and (5) Promoting Creationism. " That says it all.

2. Science Ministries is practically the Flat Earth Society. "The mission of SMI is to tell unbelievers of Jesus Christ by attesting to the intellectual integrity of the Bible and the logic of Christian morality on issues of science and technology. It was Kepler who said the study of science was 'thinking God’s thought after Him.'"

That sets the stage for you -- there's wingnuttery ahead.

Holloway's meandering editorial manages to fling together Katrina, abortion and the Supreme Court vacancies like a tossed salad. You can go read the whole thing, but I pulled out the part that made me scratch my head. Why does the AmTaliban have to make such desperate connections to Katrina? It has been a big stretch for most sane people to read through all the apocalyptic "New Orleans was depraved and it deserved it" weirdos, so I guess Kelly should get props for originallty.
What strikes me hardest?

It will come as no surprise to regular readers. It is the plight of the children: disoriented, afraid, separated from their parents and hungry. This is an obvious and great concern to many people. For me, it also kindled a reminder of another great and not-so-obvious crisis.

The reminder came when Fox News' Geraldo Rivera showed the nation through a television camera a very young baby that hadn't eaten in days. His goal was to awaken authorities to the unimaginable human suffering of Katrina's victims. His heart-wrenching plea was answered by authorities but also by an unbelievable publicity stunt by Planned Parenthood, which said it would "help" hurricane victims by dispensing abortion pills. [This is just pandering and stupid; I'll post PP's statement on Katrina aid below.]

From that moment forward, I continue to see not only the devastation left by Katrina in its stark reality but also through the lens of the abortion crisis in America. That's because babies such as the one held before the camera lens of Americans by Geraldo are no different than those still in the womb.

So now in every camera shot of those suffering, dead or dying; every broken bone, open wound and cry of desperation; every silent body lying on the street, floating in the water or crouched in a corner of some dark attic; every reaching hand that found no one to take hold, help or protect them from the dark night of death, I also see an unborn victim suffocated, burned, mangled or dismembered inside the womb.
This woman need some meds, badly. Here is what is on the Planned Parenthood web site, which hardly sounds like a free-for-all abortion party:
Planned Parenthood clinics in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and in other affected areas, are doing everything possible to attend to the needs of patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Help the surviving Planned Parenthood affiliates and health centers in these states remain open to serve patients that are most in need at this critical time. Your tax-deductible contribution will help Planned Parenthood affiliates and health centers in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and in other affected areas. 100% of your gift will go directly to the Planned Parenthood affiliates and health centers in that region so that they can serve women and families who have nowhere else to turn.


Last known out gay Bush appointee turns in resignation


The last open queer in the Bush admin? Bahahahaha.

The director of the White House AIDS office and deputy coordinator of the president's global AIDS program, Joseph O'Neill, has stepped down. He was also the last openly-gay Bush Admin appointee (or something like that). That sure must have been one lonely club, huh?

The The Washington Blade article reports that one reason was conflict between the Bushies and O'Neill over the bogus and dangerous abstinence-only policies re: HIV prevention, but that surely cannot be the half of it, given the pressure from the AmTaliban to sweep open queers out of sight.
O'Neill was the last remaining Bush administration appointee in a high-level job who self-identified as gay. His departure has fueled speculation that he was forced to leave the administration for a variety of reasons, including opposition to gay presidential appointees by conservative religious groups and disagreements he reportedly had over the administration's controversial "abstinence-only" policies on HIV prevention.

In a statement released to the Blade, O'Neill said he completed his most recent assignment at the White House to help the president develop a set of principles for Congress' effort to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides federal AIDS funds to cities and states.

"I began my federal service to people at risk for, and living with, HIV/AIDS in 1988," O'Neill said. "It is now time for me to spend more of my energy in the aspect of public health that I have always loved - medical practice."
Actually the fun part of the article is the tortured description of this gay appointee's status in the article. It refers to him as "last remaining Bush administration appointee in a high-level job who self-identified as gay." That sets off all kinds of alarm bells, doesn't it? You start to wonder about who is left around there that doesn't "self-identify as gay," but are out there trolling for sex in DC for highly guilt-ridden same-sex action, or have "roommates," "close friends."

I wonder if any of the rest of Jeff "Bulldog" Gannon's client list will ever come out? That might shed some light on the ones that don't self-identify...

Heck, it's pretty clear that much of gay DC knows who is in and out of the closet in the Bush Admin, but it's a closed shop. Gay is OK, as long as the folks in the hinterlands don't know it -- especially the sheeple following the AmTaliban. Mike Rogers of BlogActive certainly has a field day outing the hypocrites (see former Congressman Ed Schrock and Ken Mehlman).

Oh wait, that's right. Kenny just won't admit he's straight or gay.


Russ, be honest, if Hurricane Katrina hadn't happened, you'd still be attacking the President.

Friday, September 09, 2005

You ever have one of those days where something just sets you off? Today's one of those days.

My anti-blogger, responding to one of my many Katrina-related posts, had this to say:
Now that you've resolved whose to blame, I guess that's that. No need for any investigations, as we've already made up our mind. Wait, we need a commission to grandstand.

Yeah, leaving 13,000 additional immobile people in New Orleans made things slightly worse, just a tad problematic. It makes sense to blame the President mostly for the rescue effort not going well, because at the end of the day, doesn't the saying go, "A pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure."

Indeed, under Presidnet Clinton cut FEMA funding for New Orlenas:
...and then proceeded to post the latest talking points designed to deflect, obfuscate, and deny Bush's utter failure as a leader. Then, the part that really set me off:
The American people don't blame the President, you do. Russ, be honest, if Hurricane Katrina hadn't happened, you'd still be attacking the President. It'd just be a different topic.
Oh goodie! I was waiting for the first person to tell me this was Bill Clinton's fault! Hooray! My powers of wingnut prediction are batting 1.000!

13,000 immobile people made things slightly worse. Yeah, it's just a little bit of drowning. Oh well, as Mama Bush said, they were underprivileged anyway, so they're much better off on a cot in the Astrodome.

Here's a very simple question:

True or false: Staying on vacation for three days, playing guitar, playing golf, giving speeches on Medicare, sharing birthday cake photo-ops, buying thousand-dollar shoes, attending "Spamalot!" or a Padres game, or fly-fishing in Wyoming while New Orleans is being swept off the map is a fine example of steadfast, responsible, caring leadership.

Now, yes, every president from John F. Kennedy on should have done more to shore up the levees surrounding New Orleans. But as each administration passes by, not doing anything, the responsibility grows. Unless you want to jump in a time machine and have Bill Clinton fix the levees in the 90's, then the problem is George W. Bush's, period. I'm just flabbergasted by the party of "personal responsibilty" that seems so adverse to taking personal responsibility. Personal responsibility - ha! - that's for the little people without the money and power to pin it on someone lower... ask Lynndie England.

And yes, perhaps state and local officials could have done more in advance, but the very reason we have federal emergency management agencies is because some disasters are too big for state and local government. But if state and local measures fail -- whether they did all they could or not -- we have a federal government with much greater resources and powers to ameliorate the damage. No one can deny that the federal government dropped the ball on this one; I even see Faux News commentators who agree with me. No one, that is, except the ever-loyal sycophants of Karl's Kool-Aid Krew.

Would I be attacking Bush if not for Katrina? You're damn right I would, because the man gives me so so SO much to attack! In five years, a surplus has turned to the biggest deficit ever. The World Trade center ceases to exist. Almost 2,000 American soldiers are dead and thousands of innocent Iraqis. Our standing in the world has plummeted from "loved" to "loathed" (Clinton still get standing-room-only crowds round the world). Our government has sanctioned torture. There is serious movement in teaching creationism in science classes, backed by a president who thinks it is legitimate science. Our president thinks "the jury is still out" on global warming (guess what causes killer hurricanes?) Gas prices have more than tripled since his first inauguration. This president of "limited government" and "states rights" was appointed by a Supreme Court overstepping state authority in Bush v. Gore and couldn't wait to convene Congress to write and for him to cancel vacation and fly in to sign legislation to feed and water one Florida woman contravening state authority, but 10,000 hungry thirsty black folks had to wait three days. $8.8 BILLION just goes missing -- MISSING! -- *POOF!* -- from the "adults" in charge of Iraq (the "accountability" administration some how can't handle basic accounting). The press is censored from photographing soldiers' caskets or New Orleans' dead. The man is on vacation 20% of the time. The most pressing legislative issues are keeping homos in second-class status, turning grandma's Social Security over to Wall Street, and making sure Paris Hilton doesn't have to pay taxes. A CIA agent is outed, a president promises to fire anyone involved, and then renegs. People whose incompetance leads to the biggest intelligence failure in American history and the debacle of postwar Iraq are given medals. A national security advisor who failed to keep America secure in the face of "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States" is promoted. He can't think of a single mistake he's made. I could go on and on.

I don't attack Bush because I hate Bush or Republicans. I attack Bush because I love America. This Constitutional Republic is being attacked from within by domestic enemies far more dangerous than al Qaeda could ever hope to be. As Olbermann said, "This is the administration that ran on the premise that the other guy couldn't protect you from nuclear, chemical, or biological attack. They've just shown they can't protect you from a biological hazard from standing water"

The fact that you and so many others are blind to this truly boggles the mind. Somehow, it's all Clinton's fault. Somehow, li'l George just ends up in these terrible messes that are in no way his responsibility, and we can't go about "pointing fingers" or playing the "blame game" because we've got to keep doing the "hard work" of getting out of the terrible mess li'l George got us into. 9/11 happens and the only guy who loses his job because of it is Bill Maher. 10,000 black people chanting "help, help, help" on the TV as they cling to life in the shit, sniping, raping, and looting of the Superdome while li'l George yuks it up over birthday cake with McCain and somehow it's everyone else's fault but him and his Arabian Horse qualified FEMA director.

If George W. Bush sped through California on a meth binge in a white Ford Bronco loaded with the severed heads of sixteen girl scouts, waving a flaming torch in one hand and a bloody machete in the other as the live news helicopters filmed him burning down the Redwood forests and running over disabled Iraq war veterans in a Wal-Mart parking lot, you and probably at least 25% of the country would say the New York Times planted the meth, the girl scouts were terrorists, Northern California's environment will be healthier now that all those big useless trees are gone, the war vets should've made better decisions not to recklessly wheel around in parking lots, and it's all Bill Clinton's fault because Clinton once owned a Ford Bronco. Besides, li'l George couldn't have done all that -- he's a good Born-Again Christian!

I have truly had it up to here with about half the people in this country. Is this how Northerners felt about Southerners in the 1850's? Have we been divided by this "uniter, not a divider" past the point of reconciliation?


Young winger: lefties get your hands off of my Boy Scouts



An angry young dude - and quite unhinged. I think we haven't been working hard on our Homosexual Agenda to destroy the Boy Scouts, but this dude's convinced that we've been hard at work, especially with our partners in perversion, the ACLU. (AgapePress):
The problem with Boys Scouts," Will Rogers once said, "is that there aren't enough of them." Twenty-year-old Eagle Scout Hans Zeiger agrees. And because of the current amoral climate that dominates America's politically correct landscape, Zeiger is doing his part to preserve the legacy and the integrity of the Boys Scouts of America.

It's hard for a rational person to imagine that anyone can find fault with the Boy Scouts, an institution that has trained generations of young men in life skills and moral values. But there are others -- powerful, politically correct, liberal groups -- who try to bulldoze over any group that upholds absolute moral values.

In Get Off My Honor (Broadman & Holman, 2005), the Hillsdale College student offers a history of the BSA, a thorough account of the assaults against them, and a moving defense of the Scouts. Who better to build a case for the Scouts than a young man who has benefited from its character-building programs?

...He believes Scouts have done a fair job weathering the attacks of such entities as the American Civil Liberties Union, United Way, ecumenical church groups, unions, judges and left-wing activists. However, in some places, particularly in urban areas, such groups have had their impact, chipping away until local BSA councils grow weary and are tempted to cave in to the liberal demands.

One thing Zeiger is determined to do is help prevent the BSA from going the way of other once-solid organizations like the Girl Scouts, the YMCA, and the YWCA, all of which have yielded to pressure to allow practicing homosexual adults as participating members. To spotlight the need for organizations like BSA, Zeiger describes the typical 12-year-old boy today:

He enjoys surfing the Internet, but his innocent mind is vulnerable to a sudden pop-up ad that contains X-rated material. He enjoys watching television, but the programs include such waste as South Park and The Simpsons. He goes to a public school paid for by taxpayers, but he cannot learn about the role of God in history and science .... He was born in 1992, a year of a record number of illegitimate pregnancies.

Zeiger points out that today's 12-year-old is at the ideal time in his life to find appeal in the adventure and activities offered by the Scouts, but he is also at the age to become prey to what Zeiger tabs "the radical anti-character movement sweeping our culture."

Zeiger doesn't go easy on anyone or any group when he thinks they're guilty. For example, in the chapter titled "The Flight From Manhood," he declares that the Christian church bears a major responsibility for the emasculation of men. He writes, "Manly virtue, the product of honor, has gone by the wayside .... contemporary Christianity, steeped in seeker-sensitive worship and gutless ecumenism, has made [virtue] weaker than ever before."


FEMA Chief to Be Relieved of Storm Duties


Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- and dead man walking. (Allen Fredrickson/Reuters). Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen will be taking the reins from the pathetic, lying, bogus "Brownie."

[UPDATE: Freeper commentary below...]

And now Scottie's "blame game" is realized by the masters in the dawghouse...I'm sure that even a partial fall on the sword will come at a price (Medal of Freedom?).
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being relieved of his duties in managing the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts, The Associated Press has learned.

Brown is being sent back to Washington from Baton Rouge, where he was the primary official overseeing the federal government's response to the disaster, according to two federal officials who declined to be identified before the announcement.

Brown will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts.

Brown has been under fire because of the administration's slow response to the magnitude of the hurricane. On Thursday, questions were raised about whether he padded his resume to highlight his previous emergency management background.

Less than an hour before Brown's removal came to light, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Brown had not resigned and the president had not asked for his resignation.

McClellan did not directly answer a question about whether the president had full confidence in Brown.
This NYT story makes it pretty clear that it was the light sabre of Darth Cheney that took out "Brownie." You know the Chimp couldn't do it.


There were recent signs that Brown's status was about to change. When Vice President Dick Cheney received a briefing in New Orleans on Thursday on recovery efforts by FEMA and other governmental agencies, it was Allen -- not Brown -- who led the briefing.

And even though Brown was present at least during part of Cheney's visit, he was not seen publicly with the vice president.
I love this quote from the freshly demoted Brown:
Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for a federal relief effort that has drawn widespread and sharp criticism, Brown told The Associated Press after a long pause: "By the press, yes. By the president, No."
I smell a medal, payoff, or lucrative consulting gig around the corner.

***


Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Sigh. A drop of blood in the water. The sharks are inbound en masse."

"I will be pissed if Brown is forced to leave. The stupid LA mayor and brainless LA gov need the boot though. Brown did a great job with all the other recent disasters...he served under Allbaugh, didn't he? Where the heck is that experience in the media reports? GWB: Keep Brown as FEMA head. Don't allow the stupid demodimwits to deflect the blame OR rearrange your administration appointments which they keep wanting to do."

"My opinion? Good riddance. He wasn't qualified."

"FEMA is a multitasking agency and there are other disasters to plan for."

"Pray for the USCG Admiral. He will be the next target."

"I'm thinking sacrificial lamb. I'm not totally convinced this was warranted, but it's no surprise."

"I think Michael Brown is an attorney. He'll probably go back to the private sector. He'll write a book in about three years imo. Everybody writes "their story" at some point."

"One down. Two to go: Mike Brown, Kathleen Blanco, Ray Nagin"

"Yes, but with these 'Rats, all it will take is one tiny thing in his past before he's the next target. Hope he never dunked little Janie's pigtail into the inkwell."

"I don't know about his staying. The discrepancies on his resume may be the kiss of death. It give the administration a pretext to get rid of him since he has become a lightining rod for what went wrong in the relief efforts."

"Attention media lurkers.....celebrate your great victory you got your Bush Admin scalp....but did this HELP one person in Houston or MS.... or NOLA."

"With another hurricane poised to strike the coast of FL/GA/SC, should the head of FEMA be in Washington, or mired in a swamp in Louisiana?"

"He's being replaced by Military??? There must be more to this story"

"On the one hand this is a smart move for Bush to show he's in a take-charge, serious mood on recovery...however in some ways this is like turning and running from an angry dog. The Left and the press are going to be all over Brown in the coming weeks to devour what's left of him."

"That's a darned shame. Nothing but scapegoating."

"Memo to Brown ... don't let the door hit you on the ...."

"He lied on his resume. We cannot discount that fact. He is a liability and must be removed. Harsh and correct."

"Bush will give him a medal and retire him."

"A more appropriate title might be 'FEMA Chief Relieved to Unload his Hurricane Duties'. A huge job few would want. Bush looking to put the best person in place to lead the efforts going foward."

"Thanks! I thought maybe I'd heard the Fox report wrong! This guy will be good, but that won't stop Bush-haters from going after his career, too--whatever it takes to make the President look bad, y'know. He'll need our prayers."

"Brown was fine during Florida's 4 hurricanes because Jeb bush had evacuation 3 days before hand, was visable everywhere, asked for outside guard help, didn't block red cross and fema supplies like Blanco. The responsibility lies with the governor with state rights. Why is no one talking about the ruthless efficiency of Jeb Bush vs Blanco's incompetence. Fema is not a first responder. Blanco blocked firefighters from DHS. The governor in the U.S has veto power in her state. The state rat machine in Baton Rouge is incompetent. You could have George Washington as head of Fema with Blanco and Nagin and no difference would be made."

"I click several local and cable news and each looked gleeful as they began the announcement and then their faces changed as they read on and realized he hadn't been fired at all."

"Well, GWB has closed rank before with the attempts made to can Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc., and I hope he will do it again now. Close rank, Mr. President. You can still deal with Brown but on your OWN terms and not those of the rabid demodimwits and their puppet media players."

"The President has cast off his "dead wood" as his symbolic sacrifice of good faith to act in a non-partison fashion. I would hope that the President will now expect the same from the Democrats. Maybe this is the "shot across the bow"."

"He had to go. He was an embarrassment on camera and generally out of his depth."

"He lied about being on a board of directors that never existed. He lied about being an assistant manager. He lied about being fired from his horse show duties. Plus other problems. Look I realize that MSM and lefties have overly focussed on FEMA, but in the lone case of this individual, he really is a bum steer. Get rid of him. Then on to Nagin and Blank-o."

"I say replace him w/ Colon (sic) Powell."


Vomit



The Liberal Avenger has the goods on the cute party favor that attendees of the 9/11 "Freedom Walk" propaganda extravaganza will receive this weekend. Your own dog tag, courtesy of Stars and Stripes. Feel your sense of patriotism as you march in the vicinity of Donald Rumsfeld. "Freedom," of course is a very subjective word when referring to the event:
Organizers of the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial Freedom Walk on Sunday are taking extraordinary measures to control participation in the march and concert, with the route fenced off and lined with police and the event closed to anyone who does not register online by 4:30 p.m. today.

The march, sponsored by the Department of Defense, will wend its way from the Pentagon to the Mall along a route that has not been specified but will be lined with four-foot-high snow fencing to keep it closed and "sterile," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

...Officers are prepared to arrest anyone who joins the march or concert without a credential and refuses to leave, said Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.

The event, the America Supports You Freedom Walk, is billed as a memorial to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and a show of support for those serving in the military, topped off with a concert by country singer Clint Black, known for his pro-troops anthem, "Iraq and Roll." Organizers said they expect 3,000 to 10,000 participants.

...One restricted group will be the media, whose members will not be allowed to walk along the march route. Reporters and cameras are restricted to three enclosed areas along the route but are not permitted to walk alongside participants walking from the Pentagon, across the Memorial Bridge to the Mall.


Image czar Karen 'Mommy' Hughes: bullsh*t right out of the box



As she makes her debut after taking the oath of office as the Chimperor's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department, Karen Hughes sets right off to improve America's global image by spinning Katrina in these terms. Look at these quotes, they really put the blame where it belongs, huh? It's all about the looters and criminals, and not the criminal behavior of the political officials from the bottom to the top.
"The images of crime being committed in the face of an awful natural disaster is hard for anyone to understand, people around the world and Americans. It sickens me as an American. How could criminals prey on vulnerable elderly citizens and children during a time of such horror?"

"Unfortunately, criminals exist in America. Criminals exist in other places around the world. We are going to have to address that in our communications."



"What I say is it's not about us. It's about all of us as civilized people. And we're the world's only superpower, so that comes with both respect and some resentment."

"We saw pictures on Thursday of people who were waiting to be rescued and didn't feel that we had arrived quickly enough, [the President] has acknowledged that we have to do better and we want to do better. But what I will challenge in any stories I see is any idea that we didn't want to help people. We certainly wanted to help everyone,"

"It's offensive to me to suggest that somehow, as I've seen some headlines and some reports do, that people, that Americans weren't helped because they are poor or because of their race. That is anti-American. That is not what our country is about."


Laura defends her man



I'm crying over this for the Chimp.
Laura Bush described as "disgusting" comments by rapper Kanye West and Democratic chairman Howard Dean blaming her husband for the disproportionate number of black hurricane victims.

"I think all of those remarks are disgusting, to be perfectly frank, because of course President Bush cares about everyone in our country," the first lady said Thursday in an interview with American Urban Radio Networks.

"And I know that. I mean, I'm the person who lives with him," she said. "I know what he's like and I know what he thinks and I know how he cares about people."


From BBC.


Louisiana congressman: 'God cleaned up NOLA public housing'


Representative Richard H. Baker (Repug-LA 6th) has the real solution to fighting social ills - let them wash away by God's hand.

The Louisiana Repug solution to poverty - let the poor get blown out/drowned out of the projects. From the WSJ Washington Wire, via Raw Story:
Two shaky [Louisiana] House incumbents, Democrat Melancon and Republican Boustany, hope response to hurricane rallies voters behind them. House Republican campaign chief Reynolds touts chance to market conservative social-policy solutions; Rep. Baker of Baton Rouge is overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

Baker explains later he didn't intend flippancy but has long wanted to improve low-income housing.


Little Ricky needs to shut his pie hole



Stupid sh*t keeps coming out of it. Santorum's latest gaffe by the f*ckwad on the Katrina debacle: blame the National Weather Service for not giving a detailed enough prediction of what Katrina might do to the Gulf area. (WITF FM, hat tip Atrios):
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is suggesting that early mistakes in predicting the path of Hurricane Katrina may be a symptom of lost focus at the National Weather Service. Santorum, who introduced legislation earlier this year to curb the output of government weather forecasters, says tracking life-threatening weather must be central to what the agency is doing.

Asked about Katrina by WITF, Santorum described weather service warnings for Florida, where the storm first made landfall, as “not sufficient." Santorum’s bill instructs the government to abandon weather prediction and data reporting efforts that duplicate private-sector activity. He came under fire when it was revealed that the head of State College-based AccuWeather, which would benefit, has given his campaigns thousands of dollars.
Hmmm. Is this report ambiguous to you?



***

Thousands dead, 1 million evacuated. Katrina? No, a simulation run last year. Yep. No cover for FEMA on this one. Blender Paul points to this SFGate article that shows government officials can't blame the devastation on the fact that "they had no idea." They had a damn precise idea, but under the company that did the simulation for FEMA, the report it produced can only be released by "Brownie's" folks.
They faced a nightmare scenario. A flooded city, 1 million evacuees, 60,000 dead -- all the work of Hurricane Pam.

The storm was not real. Staged with the help of a San Francisco company, Pam was a simulation designed to force government agencies to examine -- and possibly rethink -- their disaster plans.

The exercise, conducted with the help of URS Corp., projected storm water surging over levees and pouring into New Orleans, forming a contaminated pool 10 to 20 feet deep. More than 500,000 buildings were destroyed in the scenario, coastal gasoline refineries were shut, and boats and helicopters were needed to rescue thousands of stranded citizens.

In short, Pam looked a lot like Hurricane Katrina.


Katrina, with winds of 160 mph (255 km/h) on August 29.

"It's eerie how close it is," said Madhu Beriwal, founder and president of Innovative Emergency Management Inc., based in Baton Rouge. The company led a team of three firms, including URS, that created the simulation, working under contract for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA has come under blistering criticism for its slow response to Katrina. Beriwal said she isn't sure whether Pam shaped the way FEMA and state and local agencies responded to the real-life catastrophe. Those who participated in last year's exercise have copies of the recommendations it produced.

"So people are looking at it," she said. "I don't know how much of it was used."

FEMA representatives did not return phone calls for this story.
Notice how a lot of these phone calls about basic questions go unreturned? Hmmm....



Lawmakers to delay delivery of gay marriage bill to the Governator


Arnold and his turncoat wife - what kind of Kennedy is she?
"One man cannot terminate the civil rights movement. He will go down in history as the `discriminator.'"
-- Eddie Gutierrez, spokesman for Equality California, on Arnold's decision to veto the bill
The plan is to allow two additional weeks for public comment -- calls, e-mails and protests -- to Schwarzenegger's office to let him know that a veto on the gay marriage bill is unacceptable.
"The governor has said he supports the will of the people," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, Santa Monica Democrat, one of the Legislature's six openly gay members. "Well, let the people call him, let the people e-mail him, let the people be heard. Then he can say he's following the will of the people."

The question of how Schwarzenegger, who for years had given mixed signals on his beliefs about same-sex marriage, declared so quickly he would veto it dominated the Capitol on Thursday.

After it was approved late Tuesday night, the bill, AB 849, was still being processed Wednesday and had not even been printed when Schwarzenegger's press secretary issued a statement that the governor would veto it. Schwarzenegger press secretary Margita Thompson said the late-day revelation should have come as no surprise because the governor has consistently said he believed voters had spoken when they approved Proposition 22 in 2000 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Schwarzenegger, she said, had come to truly believe that approving same-sex marriage went against voters' desires.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, the San Francisco Democrat who authored the bill, dismissed that explanation. Stunned by the announcement, Leno on Thursday blasted Schwarzenegger's decision as a shrewd political move to protect right-wing support for his Nov. 8 special election initiatives.

"It's transparent as can be," Leno said. "He is politically pandering to the very far right of this state ... We would have appreciated the respect of having an opportunity to have him talk to our families and children so he could hear from their mouths the suffering they experience because of the current law."

Leno on Thursday lobbied lawmakers to support a rare parliamentary procedure to hold the gay marriage bill from going to the governor's desk until next year. That effort appeared destined for failure late Thursday, but lawmakers did say they were prepared to delay the bill going to Schwarzenegger until Sept. 23, which could be done without any further action by the Assembly.
As commenter Fritz pointed out in response to the initial post announcing Arnold was going to veto, flooding the Governor's office is worth the effort:
If you live in California, please take a moment and call Gov. Schwarzenegger's offices to urge him to reconsider his decision to veto an historic bill that would protect California families. Identify yourself as a Californian and exhort the Governor to sign the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act.

Capitol Number, Sacramento: 916-445-2841
Fresno: 559-445-5295
Los Angeles: 213-897-0322
Riverside: 951-680-6860
San Diego: 619-525-4641
San Francisco : 415-703-2218

Then send a handwritten letter with your personal story and why his veto would hurt real California families.

Governor's Office
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814


American Archbishop already squawking: 'No homos in the seminary'


Pope Ratzi, with the document in his desk banning openly gay priests from serving, has a partner in purging, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, who is organizing an audit of seminaries to determine the state of homo infiltration. (National Catholic Register):
The bishop overseeing a Vatican-ordered inspection of U.S. seminaries said there is no room there for men with strong homosexual inclinations. And an apostolic visitation that begins this month will seek to determine whether seminaries are enrolling them.

I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary,” Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, who’s coordinating the visits of more than 220 seminaries and houses of formation, told the Register.

Archbishop O’Brien, who heads the Archdiocese for Military Services USA, said even homosexuals who have been celibate for 10 or more years should not be admitted to seminaries.

“The Holy See should be coming out with a document about this,” Archbishop O’Brien said. The visitations were sparked by the sexual abuse scandal that hit the U.S. Church in 2002.

In a 2002 speech, Pope John Paul II linked the abuse scandals with seminary instruction and called for the exclusion of seminary candidates with observable “deviations in their affections.”
What the heck are "observable deviations?"


FEMA's 'Brownie': king of the padded resume



Good night, does this man have no shame? Thousands have died because of this incompetent dolt, and the dolts in the Admin that didn't vet this guy's resume. Time Mag has all kinds of info on Mike Brown's lack of qualifications, puffed up position titles and phantom accomplishments throughout his career. Some highlights:
* Before joining FEMA, his only previous stint in emergency management, according to his bio posted on FEMA's website, was "serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight." The White House press release from 2001 stated that Brown worked for the city of Edmond, Okla., from 1975 to 1978 "overseeing the emergency services division." In fact, according to Claudia Deakins, head of public relations for the city of Edmond, Brown was an "assistant to the city manager" from 1977 to 1980, not a manager himself, and had no authority over other employees. "The assistant is more like an intern," she told TIME. "Department heads did not report to him." Brown did do a good job at his humble position, however, according to his boss. "Yes. Mike Brown worked for me. He was my administrative assistant. He was a student at Central State University," recalls former city manager Bill Dashner. "Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."

In response, Nicol Andrews, deputy strategic director in FEMA's office of public affairs, insists that while Brown began as an intern, he became an "assistant city manager" with a distinguished record of service. "According to Mike Brown," she says, "a large portion [of the points raised by TIME] is very inaccurate."

Brown's lack of experience in emergency management isn't the only apparent bit of padding on his resume, which raises questions about how rigorously the White House vetted him before putting him in charge of FEMA. Under the "honors and awards" section of his profile at FindLaw.com — which is information on the legal website provided by lawyers or their offices—he lists "Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University". However, Brown "wasn't a professor here, he was only a student here," says Charles Johnson, News Bureau Director in the University Relations office at the University of Central Oklahoma (formerly named Central State University). "He may have been an adjunct instructor," says Johnson, but that title is very different from that of "professor." Carl Reherman, a former political science professor at the University through the '70s and '80s, says that Brown "was not on the faculty." As for the honor of "Outstanding Political Science Professor," Johnson says, "I spoke with the department chair yesterday and he's not aware of it." Johnson could not confirm that Brown made the Dean's list or was an "Outstanding Political Science Senior," as is stated on his online profile.

Speaking for Brown, Andrews says that Brown has never claimed to be a political science professor, in spite of what his profile in FindLaw indicates. "He was named the outstanding political science senior at Central State, and was an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City School of Law."

Under the heading of "Professional Associations and Memberships" on FindLaw, Brown states that from 1983 to the present he has been director of the Oklahoma Christian Home, a nursing home in Edmond. But an administrator with the Home, told TIME that Brown is "not a person that anyone here is familiar with." She says there was a board of directors until a couple of years ago, but she couldn't find anyone who recalled him being on it. According to FEMA's Andrews, Brown said "he's never claimed to be the director of the home. He was on the board of directors, or governors of the nursing home." However, a veteran employee at the center since 1981 says Brown "was never director here, was never on the board of directors, was never executive director. He was never here in any capacity. I never heard his name mentioned here."
Thanks to Blender Paul for the pointer.


Hardball tactics on anti-gay marriage petition in Massachusetts

This activism is definitely on the edge, and is sure to start a big debate. Where do you stand?
Two gay activists are promising to post on the Internet the names and addresses of anyone who signs a petition that could lead to a statewide ban on gay marriage.

The move by Thomas Lang and Alexander Westerhoff, one of the first gay couples married in the state, came after state Attorney General Thomas Reilly on Wednesday certified a ballot question that bans gay marriage and civil unions.

Now, the question's supporters must collect 65,825 signatures from registered voters, and approval from 25 percent of state lawmakers to get the question on the 2008 ballot.

Lang, 42, said the name, street address, hometown and ZIP code of everyone who signs the petition will be posted on the Web site KnowThyNeighbor.org.

"Everyone's scrambling to know who in their town would sign this," Lang told the Boston Herald. "And this Web site will give gay people the tools to know, to defend themselves and their families, to let them go neighbor-to-neighbor and say, 'I don't appreciate your signing this."'

"I'm going to be aggressive personally," he said. "I want to know that the people I do business with are not against (gay marriage). This is going to be won by economics."

Gay marriage opponent Kristian Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said the Web site is "intimidation by no other name."
Anytime you publish the name and address of someone you run the risk of inciting some psycho to act out, and then the lawsuits start flying. Thank god they don't ask for email addys on those petitions -- the hellish spam would be a bear to deal with. That said, when signing a petition on legislation you are publicly releasing that information, so there are no grounds for privacy whining. From the web site's mission statement:
KnowThyNeighbor.org is a grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to removing barriers to public information by making it available online. If it's public information, it should be simple for a member of the public to access it!

Initiative Petition # 05-02, The Constitutional Amendment to Define Marriage, represents a public political effort that could negatively affect the lives of many families, individuals, and children within the Commonwealth. By posting the names and addresses of the 65,825+ signers, KnowThyNeighbor.org is supporting the Democratic Process by providing the public with direct access to information that they are entitled to see and that is relevant to this controversial topic.

KnowThyNeighbor.org believes that the general public has the right to easy access of such information and makes no assertion as to how this information should be used by the public. This being said, the founders of KnowThyNeighbor.org, its support staff, and volunteers believe in equal marriage protection for all Massachusetts families and hope to encourage Civil and Legal Discourse on the topic.


I don't f*cking believe this - Bush kills minimum wage rules for 'national emergency'

Thursday, September 08, 2005



[UPDATE: I added a map showing the states in the disaster zone are "Right to Work" states, which means contractors will really low-ball workers to "get the job done."]

He gives -- the $2000 debit cards for evacuees (which they are now deep-sixing) and the $51B aid package -- and he then he takes away with this balls-out move. Just when you think the man in the White House cannot hit the people hurt in this disaster any damn more, he finds a new way to do it.

Under the guise of "helping to rebuild" in devastated areas (and fattening contractor wallets), your President thinks people will get their lives back together by allowing employers to pay a slave wage. Halliburton should rake in an even bigger profit with this move, as those no-bid contracts are awarded. Wake me up and tell me this is not happening? (CNN):
President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Bush's action came as the federal government moved to provide billions of dollars in aid, and drew rebukes from two of organized labor's biggest friends in Congress, Rep. George Miller of California and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, both Democrats.

"The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities," Miller said.

"President Bush should immediately realize the colossal mistake he has made in signing this order and rescind it and ensure that America puts its people back to work in the wake of Katrina at wages that will get them and their families back on their feet," Miller said.
Oh, and this should inflame the Freepers as well, because it will mean the contractors can do the limbo and goes as low as humanly possible, creating a flood of opportunities to exploit the Mexican workers already streaming across our southern border. Bush is a f*cking mental and moral giant.

***

Commenter Oddjob rightfully pointed out the "prevailing wage" point, which could, in union jobs mean much higher than the minimum wage. But all bets are off in Right to Work states, which mean traditional union employment (and wages) for the most part, doesn't exist:



As you can see, the right to work in the disaster region is the "right to work for less" and for contractors to make more buxxx. As the Teamster's site notes,
There is a misunderstanding that organizing is somehow different, or more difficult, in so-called right-to-work-for-less states. In fact, organizing law and procedure is the same in right-to-work and non-right-to-work states. The only differences are that workers in states that have passed these so-called right-to-work laws are paid considerably less on average, and the states are more likely to have unfavorable political conditions.


NC Congresswoman without a heart or a brain



What is wrong with United States Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.-5)? She didn't deem it worthy to fund aid for Katrina's evacuees. From Oliver Willis:

These eleven congressmen, Republican conservatives all, just voted against the $51 billion package ( H. R. 3673) for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Horrible human beings, all.

Rep. Joe Barton - TX
Jeff Flake - AZ
Virginia Foxx - NC
Scott Garrett - NJ
John Hostettler - IN
Steve King - IA
Butch Otter - ID
Ron Paul - TX
James Sensenbrenner - WI
Tom Tancredo - CO
Lynn Westmoreland - GA

***

BTW, here's one of Ginny's buddies:

Foxx, chummy with Phyllis Schlafly

Hat tip Shakes Sis.


Haven't talked much about John Roberts lately...

I'll leave the commenting on the stylish Chief Justice nominee up to you.


Judge Roberts in a yearbook photo from his days at La Lumiere, an all-boys boarding school in LaPorte, Ind. During his junior year, he played Peppermint Patty in the production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown." (from the NYT slideshow on Roberts)


Coming Soon: A Report from New Orleans


My wife called to let me know that one of her brothers has been activated and is now behind the National Guard / FEMA lines in New Orleans, working as a cook.

She got his cell number and I will be calling and interviewing him. She asked, "What's it like?" His response?

"Terrifying."


America


Milvertha Hendricks, 84, center waits in the rain with other flood victims outside the convention center in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Quotes from the AP story, "Katrina, Aftermath Galvanize Black America" :
"The face, the cover has been pulled off the invisible poor."
-- Rev. Ronald E. Braxton of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

"You'd have to go back to slavery, or the burning of black towns, to find a comparable event that has affected black people this way."
-- Darnell M. Hunt, sociologist and head of the African American studies department at UCLA

"Something about this is making people remember their own personal injustices. You don't look at Rodney King and say, 'I remember when I got beat up.' But people remember being neglected, unimportant, overlooked, thought of as 'less than.' That's a very common experience for black people."
-- author damali ayo, author of "How to Rent a Negro" and the kick-ass web site that takes on a whole new meaning now, rent-a-negro.com


Decadence is a dirty word


Mayor Joey Durel didn't like the "decadent" homos coming into Lafayette after Katrina.

In Lafayette, Louisiana, anyway. Wingnuts rise to keep gay revelers from marching in "Southern Decadence" after it had to move from New Orleans.
Pro-family forces in Lafayette, Louisiana, are celebrating a victory. Homosexuals who had scheduled their annual "Southern Decadence" event in New Orleans last week were forced to look for another venue when Hurricane Katrina struck the city.

Lafayette -- about 130 miles west of New Orleans -- was to be the scene of an unofficial Southern Decadence celebration on Wednesday. But Danny Dardeau, manager of the American Family Radio station in Lafayette, says Christians in the area went to work.

He says after hundreds of phone calls to the mayor's office and many prayers, Mayor Joey Durel refused to issue a parade permit to the homosexual activists, who had asked that permit restrictions be loosened to allow the hurricane evacuees a sense of normalcy. The mayor's reaction? "I don't consider anything that's got the word 'decadence' in it to be normalcy," Durel told The Daily Advertiser. "If they want to have some semblance of normalcy, I would expect them to respect the normalcy of the community of Lafayette." According to AFR's Dardeau, the so-called "celebration" ended up being nothing more than about a dozen participants "walking from one bar to another."


No loss for words

Picture feature up at Stern, "EXTRA: Hurrikan "Katrina", with an English headline:
New Orleans

"Get the fuck out of here"


Ein Alligator in der Kirche: Die "Swamp Critters" sind eine zusätzliche Gefahr


Ken-bot still chasing black votes

"Our outreach to the African-American community is based on shared priorities like closing the health gap and the wealth gap and the education gap. It's not based on politics, it's based on policies, and those policy needs remain."
-- RNC head Ken Mehlman, dismissing speculation that post-Katrina bungling by the administration will have an impact on recruiting blacks to vote GOP
That's some strong Kool-Aid, let me tell you. Add to that the smoking of something quite strong if the Repugs think the Bush catastrophe after Katrina won't hurt the efforts to squeeze out some black votes.

They spent most of 2004 working the gay bogeyman to shave off some black evangelicals, but this debacle is really going to test their PR machine. The Ken-bot's working this damage control as hard as he can. (Reuters):
Public anger over the slow government response to Hurricane Katrina could deal a long-term blow to the Republican Party's aggressive effort to woo black voters, already the most loyal Democratic bloc.

The high-profile Republican effort to win black support became much tougher, analysts said, after days of images of poor and largely black crowds pleading in vain for help in a devastated New Orleans. The resulting outcry included pointed questions about the role of race and class in the government's response.



"There is so much anger out there, I think it is going to be very difficult for Republicans to break through to African Americans," said Ron Walters, director of the African-American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland.

"This is extremely damaging -- it's a powerful, emotional, family-oriented issue that goes right to the heart of people," he said. "Mistakes like this have a shelf life. This is going to be with us for a long, long time."



A poll released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center found a huge racial divide in perceptions of the disaster, with 66 percent of blacks saying the response would have been quicker if the storm victims had been white, while 77 percent of whites disagreed.

David Bositis, an analyst of black politics at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said the storm's aftermath would feed existing doubts about Republicans among many blacks. "The problem for Republicans in terms of getting more black support is that African Americans don't trust the Republican Party," he said. "You can look at what happened with Katrina as a further betrayal of trust."



Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican Party, launched the effort to build black support after Bush increased his share of the African-American vote in 2004 from 9 percent -- the worst Republican showing since Barry Goldwater in 1964 -- to 11 percent.

Republicans stepped up the recruitment of black candidates for congressional and statewide offices and Mehlman, who took over as party chairman in January after managing Bush's re-election, met repeatedly with black groups. Mehlman rejected any suggestion Katrina would hurt the appeal of Republicans in the black community and said it did not require a change in Republican strategy.


School to lesbian student: stop kissing your girlfriend or get out

With all the sucking face (and more) that goes on in a high school between boys and girls, did you ever see administrators tell them transfer out because of it? Things must be quite different in Santa Ana, CA -- if you're a dyke at Santiago High School and dare show a little PDA with your girlfriend, you're outta there. (SacUnion):
A lesbian student claims in a lawsuit that Garden Grove school officials suspended her several times and forced her to temporarily transfer to another campus because she refused their orders to stop hugging and kissing her girlfriend on school grounds.

In the federal court lawsuit filed Wednesday, 17-year-old Charlene Nguon also alleges that a school principal told her parents of her sexual orientation and disciplined her while allowing similar behavior by heterosexual couples.

Her behavior was not prohibited in the school handbook, she claims.

"It was horrible. I was discriminated against by the administrators," said Nguon, who is represented by the ACLU and filed the suit with her mother and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network club. Alan Trudell, a spokesman for the Garden Grove Unified School District said that “the district does not engage in discriminatory practices." He declined further comment, saying officials had not seen the lawsuit.

Nguon alleges that her grades, once straight As, fell after she was forced last March to transfer from Santiago High School to Bolsa Grande High School _ a move that increased her commute from a short walk to a 4 1/2-mile bike ride.

"Unfortunately, for Principal Ben Wolf and other staff at Santiago High, all of Charlene’s accomplishments and exemplary qualities are overshadowed by one fact: that she is a lesbian," the lawsuit alleges.

Wolf and other district officials, through Trudell, declined to comment.


Rich whites: no poor people in the New New Orleans

Raw Story has an eye-opening, but not shocking, excerpt from the WSJ. The bigoted rich white folks are talking about the neat cleansing of of the poor from New Orleans with this tragedy, and are looking forward to rebuilding again with a definite change in demographics - a white majority - and regained political control of the city.

You know what? They will probably get what they wish for.
"The power elite of New Orleans -- whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. -- insist the remade city won't simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

"The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

Not every white business leader agrees, Cooper notes.

"Some black leaders and their allies in New Orleans fear that it boils down to preventing large numbers of blacks from returning to the city and eliminating the African-American voting majority. Rep. William Jefferson, a sharecropper's son who was educated at Harvard and is currently serving his eighth term in Congress, says, "This is an example of poor people forced to make choices because they don't have the money to do otherwise," Mr. Jefferson says.


Cheney told to 'go f*ck yourself' on live TV



Blender Paul caught a real winner just now, live on CNN:
Just watching CNN, Cheney in Gulfsport, Miss. droning on with usual political bs, and off camera we hear "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself."

Camera remains on Cheney while we hear scuffling in the background. Reporter asks Cheney, "Are you getting a lot of that Mr. Vice President?"

He replies, "First time I've heard it., Must be a friend of John..., er, ah - never mind."

Laughter from VP and reporters."
The video is up at Crooks and Liars.


Bush-loving black pastor: it's the poor darkies' fault


"If black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror."
-- Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny
House Blender Scott found an article on one of Bush's newfound friends - another pastor seduced by the faith-based cookie jar. This one is Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny).

Peterson's definitely had the Mehlman Kool-Aid, so much of it that this pious pastor is ready to put the blame on the human tragedy of New Orleans squarely where he thinks it belongs -- on the poor black people themselves. He must have received the cheat sheet faxed out of Rove's office that also implicates Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco for all the administrative f*ckups. This is sick. (Cybercast News Service):
A black conservative leader says don't blame racism or President Bush for what happened to thousands of black people during and after Hurricane Katrina.

"The truth is black people died, not because of President Bush or racism, they died because of their unhealthy dependence on the government and the incompetence of Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco," said the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND (the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny).

Peterson singled out the Rev. Jesse Jackson, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and rapper Kanye West, all of whom blamed President Bush for not doing enough to help black people, especially in New Orleans, where TV images showed scenes of desperation and violence that continued for several days after the hurricane hit.

Jackson called President Bush's response "incompetent" and charged that racism is partly to blame for the slow evacuation of survivors; and during a nationally televised fundraising event on NBC, West said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Not fair, said the Rev. Peterson: "If black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror." Mayor Nagin has blamed everyone else except himself, when it was Nagin who failed in his duty to evacuate and protect city residents, Peterson said.
Nagin and Blanco deserve their share of blame, but to let Bush off the hook is a sign of mental illness here.

I think Rev. Peterson deserves his personal set of Klan sheets if he thinks racism had nothing to do with what has unfolded. This pastor buyout is worse than I thought.


This cartoon says it all

Whoopsi Gras by the brilliant Mark Fiore, at SFGate.com.

Please go see this animated slam-dunk. Some still shots:







Thanks to Blender Paul for the pointer.


What Bush doesn't want to count, and definitely doesn't want you to see

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


This is from Stern (Rick Bowmer/AP). If the U.S. media goes to sleep under pressure from FEMA, the only real reporting that will hit the airwaves and the 'Net is going to come from foreign sources willing to show the horror.

Bush needs this hanging in his office -- at the White House and out at the ranch in Crawford.

While we're at it, his mother could use a few as well.


Arnold to veto same-sex marriage bill



[UPDATE (11:30 PM): Moved this back up to include Freeper comments below.]

Even though his office is getting flooded with phone calls to support the civil rights of gays and lesbians, the Governator is going to cave to the bigots, hiding behind the fig leaf of "the matter should be decided by voters or the courts." Score one for the 'phobes. (SFGate):
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage through legislative action.

Schwarzenegger said the legislation, given final approval Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved Proposition 22. That measure was put on the ballot in 2000 to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

"We cannot have a system where the people vote and the Legislature derails that vote," the governor's press secretary, Margita Thompson, said in a statement. "Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto (the bill)."

Proposition 22 stated that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The bill to be vetoed by Schwarzenegger would have defined marriage as a civil contract between "two persons."

...The governor has until Oct. 9 to issue the veto. Despite his promise to do so, Schwarzenegger "believes gay couples are entitled to full protection under the law and should not be discriminated against based upon their relationship."

"He is proud that California provides the most rigorous protections in the nation for domestic partners," the statement said.
Arnie got what he wanted, the Right wing ready to pole-suck him back into office for another term. You'd think they would be angry at his position that "activist judges" could determine that same-sex marriage is legal, but right now, the knuckledraggers are celebrating...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"the golden state shines again! Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.""

"Like the man said: "I've come to clean"."

"THANK YOU, GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER! We can't have a state where the legislation sneaks decisions past the voters."

"Homosexual Agenda Ping. Well, Arinold isn't all bad."

"Ahnold doesn't put up with girlie men."

"The Governator has crushed the puny girlie-man bill."

"Well, great, with this veto (and as many future ones as are necessary, including a veto for SB60), I'll vote for him."

"Well, that is as it should be. Many panties will be in wads."

"And for crying out load, this is how every single politician in california should be responding! The job of the legislature is not to override referenda!"

"You mean he's going to queer the deal cooked up by the left-gay alliance?"

"Arnie! You just earned your entire paycheck!!!!"

"Thats such a noble and courageous act! Now fire 1 out of every 5 state workers you clown!"

"Arnie just figured out that if you find a 62% issue, stand next to it and wave. Good for him. Now about all that borrowing and run away spending Mr. Governator...."

"This will improve Arnold's chances of success in this year's special election. It will be easier now to recruit ground troops for the grassroots campaign that will be needed. Also, his endorsement of these reform measures will mean more. Arnold hit the nail on the head when he said we cannot have a system where the legislature ignores a vote of the people. And I love the fact that he did this immediately. It cuts short all the free, butt-kissing media publicity the Rats wanted to get from this disgusting move. BRAVO, Terminator!!!!!!"

"Yeah, I respect him for this. But the joke is, domestic partners are pretty much the same thing. So woohoo, people, you've protected a word."

"Wow, Arnold acted like a Republican today. There's a first for everything."

"Ahhhnold. If he does this it is quite an act of political courage. The Gay Left Lobby will go after him mercilessly. Also, he will be blacklisted in Hollywood."

"OUTSTANDING - THANK YOU GOVERNOR!"


Scottie's plump tushy is raw


The ScottBot. Ripped from Shakes Sis.

No reports yet on whether Scottie McClellan is in diapers yet after another whipping in the briefing room today. This episode of sheer torture includes no less than 10 attempts by a reporter to get him to answer the question "does the President have confidence in FEMA director Michael Brown?". Set your bullsh*t meter on to high for these excerpts.
Q - Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?
MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, see, this is where some people want to look at the blame game issue, and finger-point. We're focused on solving problems, and we're doing everything we can --

Q - What about the question?
MR. McCLELLAN: We're doing everything we can in support --

Q - We know all that.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

Q - Does he retain complete confidence --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to continue. We appreciate the great effort that all of those at FEMA, including the head of FEMA, are doing to help the people in the region. And I'm just not going to engage in the blame game or finger-pointing that you're trying to get me to engage.

Q - Okay, but that's not at all what I was asking.
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is. It's exactly what you're trying to play.

Q - You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you've said enough now. I'm asking you a direct question, which you're dodging.
MR. McCLELLAN: No --

Q - Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered the question.

Q - Is the answer "yes" on both?
MR. McCLELLAN: And what you're doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.

Q - There's a lot of criticism. I'm just wondering if he still has confidence.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and blame-gaming. What we're trying to do is solve problems, David. And that's where we're going to keep our focus.

Q - So you're not -- you won't answer that question directly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.

Q - No, you didn't. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn't he?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that's fine --


Q - Scott, that's ridiculous. I'm not engaging in any of that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's not ridiculous.

Q - Don't try to accuse me of that. I'm asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said -- that's exactly what you're engaging in.

Q - I'm not engaging in anything. I'm asking you a question about what the President's views are --
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely -- absolutely --

Q - -- under pretty substantial criticism of members of his administration. Okay? And you know that, and everybody watching knows that, as well.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, everybody watching this knows, David, that you're trying to engage in a blame game.

Q - I'm trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.

Q - I am trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct.

...Q - So if the President still has confidence in the FEMA Director, how is it that the FEMA Director is suddenly invisible? No briefings, nowhere out front, it's all gone to Secretary Chertoff.
MR. McCLELLAN: I think he's going to brief later today. I think he's briefing later today.

Q - Brown is?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. And, again, that's clearly now just an attempt to try to engage in this finger-pointing, and we're going to continue focusing on solving problems.

Q - He's been the focus of an enormous amount of criticism. You know that, and yet, you choose not to respond.
MR. McCLELLAN: I just talked about how there are over 75 -- no, that's not true. There are over 75,000 people that are involved in all the response and recovery and law enforcement when it comes to Katrina. And we appreciate the efforts of everyone. We appreciate the efforts of Secretary Chertoff and Undersecretary Brown and all those at FEMA who continue to work round-the-clock to get things done and to identify problems and fix those problems.
Bonus points for this exchange about Barbara Bush's "ill-conceived" remarks about the evacuees in the Astrodome...

From Russ.

Q -Does the President agree with his mother that the homeless taken from New Orleans to Houston are much better off now because they were underprivileged in New Orleans?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think she was making a personal observation on some of the comments that people were making that she was running into. I'm not sure that that's exactly what she said, but --

Q -I have it right here if you need it.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- what we're focused on -- what we're focused on is helping these people who are in need.

Q -Does he agree with his mother?
MR. McCLELLAN: And I think that the observation is based on someone who -- or some people that were talking to her, that were in need of a lot of assistance, people that have gone through a lot of trauma and been through a very difficult and trying time. And all of a sudden, they are now getting great help in the state of Texas from some of the shelters.

Q -"It's scary that they're all coming to Texas."
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think you can look at her comments.

Q -That is what she said, though.


Batsh*t Pat in trouble with over 'Age Defying' diet shake



It's the end of a long day of serious posts. I had to get this one up because it's really out there.

Crazy "assassinate 'em" Pat Robertson could get on the scope of the IRS because of a little problem of mixing church 'n profit, according to an evangelical church watchdog organization.

Robertson may be abusing the nonprofit status of his ministry by launching a business selling "anti-aging" milk shakes with GNC (the latter will get none of my business with this news). What kind of sleazy shill-fest is this?
Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has for years given away a recipe for his "Age Defying" diet shake. Recently, however, he partnered with General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) to market the shake. But Ole Anthony, president of the Dallas-based religious media watchdog group Trinity Foundation, says the well-known TV minister cannot legally use his nonprofit ministry to push his nutritional drink.

"This is something that's done commonly throughout ministries," Anthony says. Frequently, he explains, ministers will "write a book -- sometimes a really bad book -- but it's promoted daily over the airtime, and they make, supposedly, royalties."

Some of these ministers are becoming "fabulously wealthy," the Trinity Foundation spokesman adds, "but it's because they're promoting it heavily on the donor-supported airtime." In Robertson's case, the "Age Defying" shake is also marketed on CBN's website. The Christian broadcaster claims more than one and a half million people have requested the recipe for the diet drink.

Anthony contends that, by doing this, Pat Robertson is misusing his ministry's tax-exempt, nonprofit status. "He created or entered into an agreement with GNC to produce the shake -- Pat's shake -- for his personal profit." Once he did that, the ministry watchdog says, "I didn't care if he promoted his recipe that he gave away for free; but to continue to promote it, for profit for him personally, is a violation of the IRS code."
Here's his sleazy pitch for the free version (not the GNC premium product that he profits from) on the CBN web site:



If you're not enticed by the shake, perhaps you might like to try some of these homemade Pat concoctions -- and hey go into business with him! He's got a vast audience of sheeple willing to shell out the buxxx.

* Pat's Age-Defying Protein Pancakes
* Pat's Age-Defying Antioxidants
* Pat's Age-Defying Shake
* Pat's Weight Loss Challenge
* Pat's Weight Loss Challenge DVD


NEVER FORGET - The Timeline

Lest Turd Blossom think he can fool all of the people all of the time, I've updated the timeline, with massive hat-tips to Think Progress and plenty of photos. It would cost me too much bandwidth to post here, so surf on over to the Writ for a look.


Bush banning media from New Orleans

[UPDATE: Call the White House, 202-456-1111, and let them know that there is still freedom of the press - there is no national security issue in this disaster -- there should be nothing to hide when the goal is to seek the truth about what happened.]

This is big. I just received an email from Bob Brigham, of Operation Flashlight (its server is slammed now, so you may not get in). He went down to cover the situation in NOLA and this is what happened. The press is being sent out of NOLA.
We are in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans. At the National Guard checkpoint, they are under orders to turn away all media. All of the reporters are turning they're TV trucks around.

Things are so bad, Bush is now censoring all reporting from NOLA. The First Amendment sank with the city.
John over at AmericaBlog has the right amount of outrage. This is war. If people don't rise up on this one -- there's no national security interest here -- our country is lost. John:
Outrageous. If you kill a couple thousand people, you definitely want to keep the media and the public from finding out.

Bush is literally trying to hide the bodies. This is beyond outrageous.

They're trying to hide the bodies. Who the hell does Bush think he is? So much for the First Amendment, so much for the Constitution, so much for a democratic government.

Hey, Democrats, time to speak up LOUDLY. This is what military regimes do, what dictatorships do, it's not what democracies do. We don't hide our dead bodies in our to spare our leaders their well-due shame.

I hope the media is all over this.
Yes, has anyone heard anything about this on the newschannels?

Also: see this Reuters link to a story from a few minutes ago with the following telling quote:
"FEMA refused to take reporters and photographers along on boats seeking victims in flooded areas, saying they would take up valuable space need in the recovery effort."
(Thanks Blender Jennifer for the heads up.]


MA Attorney General OK's gay marriage ballot initiative


Reilly says it wasn't a political decision. WTFE.

The fate of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts can be determined by a ballot initiative leading to a vote on a state amendment banning gay marriage, according to goon Attorney General Tom Reilly. Do you think his run for governor is playing any role? Hmmm? All this looks like it's going to do is create a big mess.
-A proposed citizen initiative that would ban gay marriage passed a key hurdle Wednesday when Attorney General Tom Reilly ruled the ballot question is permitted under the state constitution.

The action by Reilly, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2006, clears the way for the Massachusetts Family Institute to go out and begin gathering the signatures of at least 65,825 Massachusetts voters.

If that effort is successful, the question then must by approved by two successive sittings of the 200-member state Legislature. The question would then be placed before voters as a constitutional amendment in November 2008.

Opponents of gay marriage, including Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, have said they prefer the ballot initiative route to a separate proposed constitutional amendment making its way through the Legislature. That measure would ban same-sex marriage while simultaneously legalizing Vermont-style civil unions.

The citizen initiative also only needs to be twice approved by 25 percent of lawmakers, while the Legislature's proposed amendment needs two successive majority votes.

Lawmakers are scheduled to take the second vote next Wednesday on their proposal to amend the constitution. It received initial approval from the Legislature last year.

The soonest that proposed amendment can go to a statewide ballot is November 2006, but it's unclear whether the measure will have enough votes to pass again next week. Some who initially voted for the amendment now say they have dropped their support, in part because of the possibility of voters weighing in on the Family Institute petition.

...Backers of the initiative say that makes it clear voters have the authority to overrule a court decision, while gay marriage advocates point out that the court case that led to gay marriage rights did not overturn an existing law.

In a letter to gay marriage advocates, Peter Sacks, Reilly's deputy chief, explained that the petition was allowed to proceed because the writers of the section of the constitution governing ballot initiatives "clearly meant to allow initiative petitions to amend the words of the constitution in response to a court decision finding a law unconstitutional."


Where are Bush's black homo-bigot pastors?

There is a must-read column by Jasmyne Cannick at PageOneQ. She hits the bullseye when it comes to the black homo-bigoted pastors at the taxpayer trough. Have you seen any of these jokers on TV or spouting off in the papers in the wake of the President's moral free-fall? I haven't, and neither has Jasmyne. Cue the chirping crickets...
President Bush and his Black supporters pulled out all stops to woo Black Christian evangelical voters to the GOP tent in 2004. Having found common ground on issues of morality, President Bush used the issue of gay marriage and abortion to catapult his standing in the Black Christian community and garner votes for his re-election.

A Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies poll in 2004, found that Blacks opposed gay marriage at a higher number than the overall population. Many Blacks also detested Kerry's supposed support of abortion. In polls, Kerry got 20 percent less support from Black conservative evangelicals than Democratic presidential contender Al Gore received in 2000.

In 2004, more than 10 percent of Blacks voted for Bush, and in Ohio, it was 20 percent.

However, in the aftermath of Katrina, the honeymoon could be over for Black evangelicals and President Bush as he is perceived as having abandoned the same Blacks that helped put him back into office.

Bush's unwillingness to save the lives of poor Blacks in New Orleans has been laid out in Black and white, literally for the world to see. Bush has had a major moral calamity that he and Rove won't be able to cover up so quickly.

...The issue of race and class has been re-visited in a most distasteful way for African Americans, with a blatant reminder that America doesn't care for its poorest citizens.

Realizing that a national disaster could happen anywhere at any time, Blacks are reflecting on their own situations and the federal government. Again, this can and should have a devastating effect on Bush's newfound common ground with Black evangelicals.

Finally, there are two questions for Bush and Black evangelicals.

Will the devout Black pastors that trekked dutifully to the White House the past few years seeking faith based money and the president's support continue to blindly follow a man that the overwhelming majority of Black Americans feel abandoned them in their greatest moment of need? And will Bush be able to look these Black pastors in the eye again and say with a straight face, I did everything I could to help you in your greatest moment of need? After all, that's the Christian thing to do.

Those Black evangelicals that are still tempted to look the other way should remember that when the GOP comes knocking again.
Jasmine's blog is here.

I don't expect to hear too much from these fools, since they have made complete asses out of themselves, drinking the Kool-Aid that Ken Mehlman poured out as they were shuffled into the White House for photo ops and back-slapping with the Prez, as they passed the checks around. Is it feeling good yet to be best buds with the Chimperor?

I'll run some of Bush's newfound friends once again...

MIA on the Bush Catastrophe



Bishop Harry Jackson of the Hope Christian Church in Lanham, MD has gotten into political bed with Ken Mehlman and the GOP with his Black Contract With America (and received $824,000 in the runup to the 2004 election).
What Jackson's doing: On Sept 6 (yesterday), he appeared with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and a bunch of wingnuts in a gathering in DC for something called the Coalition for Fair Hearings on John Roberts.

Bishop Sedgwick Daniels of Milwaukee's Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ buys into Bush's faith-based initiatives and "values."
What Daniels is doing: He's doing relief work through his church, and not commenting on Bush's failures.

Homophobe Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX is on board with the Bush American Taliban agenda.
What McKissic is doing: MIA. Can't find any public comments.

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.
What Lusk is doing: MIA. Not even anything about relief efforts on his church's site.

Keith Butler, is pastor of the 21,000-member Word of Faith International Christian Center, says God is urging him to take on Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow to bring "biblical and pro-family values" to government.
What Butler is doing: MIA. In all recent news reports, including this one on Sept. 5, he doesn't discuss the hurricane or the aftermath -- he's focused on raising money to run for the Senate.


The environmental nightmare ahead after Katrina


A water pumping station is shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in this aerial view in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans, September 7, 2005. As many as five people have died from bacterial infections caused by the dirty water that Hurricane Katrina drove ashore last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool

The Independent has a frightening piece online, one that outlines the environmental disaster that will be created if the government intends to "recover" New Orleans. It's not pretty, and it does raise again the question -- should the city be restored in that space?

Repug Denny Hastert, no political friend of mine, got his head bitten off for even mentioning the possibility that New Orleans shouldn't be rebuilt as it stood before. He may have been insensitive to those that loved and called New Orleans their home by calling for its bulldozing.

After reading this, is it worth it to rebuild a city below sea level, considering the eco-fallout -- and the fact that Mother Nature has the capacity to take it out again? Read and put in your two cents.
Toxicologists and public health experts warned yesterday that pumping billions of gallons of contaminated water from the streets of New Orleans back into the Gulf of Mexico - the only viable option if the city is ever to return to even a semblance of its former self -would have a crippling effect on marine and animal life, compromise the wetlands that form the first line of resistance to future hurricanes, and carry deleterious consequences for human health throughout the region.

...The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has created a vast toxic soup that stretches across south-eastern Louisiana and Mississippi, and portends the arrival of an environmental disaster to rival the awe-inspiring destruction of property and human life over the past week.

Toxicologists and public health experts warned yesterday that pumping billions of gallons of contaminated water from the streets of New Orleans back into the Gulf of Mexico - the only viable option if the city is ever to return to even a semblance of its former self -would have a crippling effect on marine and animal life, compromise the wetlands that form the first line of resistance to future hurricanes, and carry deleterious consequences for human health throughout the region.

The full extent of the danger is unknown and unknowable, but the polluted waters are known to contain human and animal waste, the bodies of people and animals, household effluence, and chemical and petrochemical toxins from the refineries that dot the Gulf coast in and around New Orleans.
Here is information in the article from Harold Zeliger, a chemical toxicologist and independent consultant based in New York State.

* The waters now swilling around the streets of New Orleans will probably end up either in the Mississippi River or in Lake Pontchartrain, where they are likely to react with the oxygen in the water and deprive all living creatures, starting with the fish, of the means to life.

* Polluted waters are known to contain human and animal waste, the bodies of people and animals, household effluence, and chemical and petrochemical toxins from the refineries that dot the Gulf coast in and around New Orleans.


From BBC.

* Even before the pumping is complete, the consequences for all living creatures - humans, animals, fish and micro-organisms - are likely to be dire.

* Zero-dissolved oxygen will lead to the death of fish and other organisms.

* Migratory birds who pass through the area that eat fish from the soup will be contaminated and then will start dying in large quantities.

* Reptiles and snakes are going to be driven out of their nests and habitats, which has implications for human safety -- water moccasins [a highly venomous snake], and alligators will roam.

* The only way to make the water remotely potable would be to chlorinate it, but given the degree of contamination, this would create its own devastating side effects.

* Chlorinating poor-quality water categories of trihalmethanes and other compounds that produce their own nightmarish effects on human health, such as spontaneous abortions.

* Potable water may not be available from taps for up to one year.

***

And then you have this: French Quarter keen to open for business. Is this denial, hope or insanity?
The BBC News website's Richard Greene discovers how the heart of tourist New Orleans, largely untouched by Hurricane Katrina, is looking to the future, despite the mayor's order to evacuate the city.

Finis Shelnutt is enjoying a beautiful September day. The sun is blazing hot, the sky perfectly clear, and he has a table with a tidy white tablecloth all to himself in front of Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant.


Finis Shelnutt is ready to open his restaurant again post-Katrina. From BBC.

His moustache is perfectly trimmed. Not a hair is out of place. His collarless striped shirt hangs comfortably open at the neck. And he gazes serenely out at the world through tinted glasses.

"Beautiful day," he nods in greeting as two people walk past. What's wrong with this picture? The restaurant where Mr Shelnutt is sitting is in the centre of the French Quarter of storm-and-flood-ravaged New Orleans.

He proudly points out local gastronomic landmarks; Antoine's, where Oysters Rockefeller was invented; Brennan's, which developed Eggs Benedict; Paul Prudhomme's, which popularised the cooking of blackened fish.

Sitting on high ground, the Big Easy's main tourist destination was almost entirely untouched by the storm. And now, with the city evacuated and shut down, it is entirely untouched by tourists. The streets are empty.

Mr Shelnutt doesn't expect that to last long. "We're ready to open up," he says confidently, as two restaurant employees haul containers of rotting meat out of the building.

Mr Shelnutt puts a positive spin even on that, smiling through the stench lingering in the air.


Lesbian student sues NJ HS after harassment, threats

"It was my school's responsibility to provide me with a safe learning environment, but instead they effectively ignored the harassment I was experiencing and left me to defend myself. I am not the only person to have unnecessarily been harassed because of their sexual orientation and I am here to say that we cannot just be silenced and swept under the rug."
-- New Jersey high school student Nancy Wadington, who endured unbelievable anti-gay harassment at Holmdel High School -- and officials did nothing
This wasn't a little teasing or horseplay; 18-year-old young woman suffered miserably at the hands of her classmates and no adults or administrators did anything to stop it.

What's sad is that New Jersey actually has law on the books that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in schools and public accommodations -- and still no one in the school system helped her. (365gay.com):
At a news conference in Holmdel, Nancy Wadington said she attended Holmdel High until the middle of eleventh grade when she had to leave the school to protect her safety.

For nearly three years, she said, other students had verbally harassed her, threw bottles and other objects at her, pushed her down a flight of stairs, and stole and destroyed her books and backpacks -- on one occasion urinating inside her backpack.

Though both Nancy and her mother approached the school's administration seeking assistance, they failed to stop the harassment the suit alleges. "It is an atrocity that school officials would ignore laws in New Jersey which are touted as being the most comprehensive nondiscrimination laws on the books," said Alphonso David, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal and an attorney on the case.

"Holmdel High School failed horribly in its duty to protect Nancy Wadington and there is no excuse for it. Hopefully this lawsuit serves as a further wake-up call to schools that they cannot ignore antigay harassment and abuse."

Based on the fears for her safety, David told reporters, Nancy stopped using the restrooms at school, forcing herself to go to the bathroom only before and after school, despite abdominal pain. She also stopped using the school's locker rooms, wearing her gym clothes to and from school. She further avoided the dangerous hallways between classes and instead often walked outside the building, even in the cold and rain, to find an entry door closest to her next class.


Blender's advice is taken by BushCo

Some of you noted, when reading House Blender Paul in SF's tongue-in-cheek list of strategies sure to bolster Chimpy's sinking poll numbers the other day, that they thought his fake news was true. Remember this from the post...

1. FEMA officials have banned any photos of the bodies of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA director Michael Brown explained that this policy is being put into effect to protect the privacy of the victims and their families. The news media will be kept at least 5 miles from any place where bodies are being collected.
Hey Paul, looks like you'll be handpicked by Karl Rove to sit at his side - have you heard from him yet? From Reuters, Tue Sep 6, 2005 8:56 PM ET:
U.S. agency blocks photos of New Orleans dead

The U.S. government agency leading the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from the flooded New Orleans area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims.

An agency spokeswoman said space was needed on the rescue boats and that "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect."

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to a Reuters inquiry.
Paul also noted, that Oprah, who was down in New Orleans, is airing what she saw on both yesterday's and today's show. Paul: "It had me crying for almost the entire hour. She not only showed us the dead bodies which the other media has been afraid to do, but she and the other celebraties just gave a stinging condemnation of the response efforts. Part two will be on today. If as many folks watch and respect this woman as I think they do, Bush is toast."