An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Sex=death and that's all teens need to know

Monday, October 31, 2005

"Some people have raised the issue of whether this vaccine may be sending an overall message to teen-agers that, 'We expect you to be sexually active."
--Reginald Finger, former medical analyst for Focus on the Family, appointed to Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).


"Just because you wear a seat belt doesn't mean you're seeking out an accident."
-- Alan Kaye, executive director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, on the vaccine
Cervical cancer strikes more than 10,000 U.S. women each year, killing more than 3,700. Strains of the human papilloma virus can cause cancerous lesions on the cervix, but a vaccine has been developed that is 100% effective -- and forces on the Right, with representation on a CDC panel, may decide whether teen girls should get it, worrying it will "condone sexual activity." (SFGate):
Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine. Officials from the companies developing the shots -- Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline -- have been meeting with advocacy groups to try to assuage their concerns.

"I would like to see it that if you don't have your HPV vaccine, you can't start high school," said Juan Carlos Felix of the University of Southern California, who leads the National Cervical Cancer Coalition's medical advisory panel.

At the ACIP meeting last week, panel members heard presentations about the pros and cons of vaccinating girls at various ages. A survey of 294 pediatricians presented at the meeting found that more than half were worried that parents of female patients might refuse the vaccine, and 11 percent of the doctors said they thought vaccinating against a sexually transmitted disease "may encourage risky sexual behavior in my adolescent patients."

..."There are people who sense that it could cause people to feel like sexual behaviors are safer if they are vaccinated and may lead to more sexual behavior because they feel safe," said Finger, emphasizing he does not endorse that position and is withholding judgment until the issue comes before the vaccine policy panel for a formal recommendation.

Conservative medical groups have been fielding calls from concerned parents and organizations, officials said. "I've talked to some who have said, 'This is going to sabotage our abstinence message,' " said Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. But Rudd said most people change their minds once they learn more, adding he would probably want his children immunized. Rudd, however, draws the line at making the vaccine mandatory.
How does protecting women's health impede on a parent's ability to teach their children about abstinence? Folks, a lot of these kids are having sex and pretending that abstinence-only education is working is fantasy.

This nonsense is just going to continue to spiral out of control, as we see these Bush bible-beaters appointed to reality-based, science-based institutions flex their muscles. Let's hope Dr. Finger pays attention to his medical training and not Daddy Dobson.

Also see:
* Abstinence ed is really working: oral sex safe and not really sex, say teens
* Virginity pledge org busted by feds for proselytizing on your dime
* Your tax dollars at work: Texas teens increasingly knocking boots after abstinence program
* Chimpy didn't secure AbstinenceOnly.com


Wrong move: Pastor electrocuted during baptism

I know, this is unfortunate, but really -- this is bizarre. The church is in Waco, TX.
A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after adjusting a nearby microphone while standing in water, a church employee said. The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was stepping into the baptistery as he reached out for the microphone, which produced an electric shock, said University Baptist Church community pastor Ben Dudley.

Water in a baptistery usually reaches above the waist, said Byron Weathersbee, interim university chaplain at Baylor University.

Lake was pronounced dead at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, nursing supervisor Pat Mahl said. The woman being baptized apparently had not stepped into the water and was not seriously injured.

Pastors at University Baptist Church routinely use a microphone during baptisms, said Jamie Dudley, the wife of Ben Dudley and a business administrator at the church. "He was grabbing the microphone so everyone could hear," she said. "It's the only way you can be loud enough."


'Ex-gay' ministry on the radio


From the promo: ""She’s the woman that stole his heart. He’s the former homosexual man. Now married and on a mission… they’re out to set the record straight."

Former Homosexual's New Radio Show Tackles 'Gay' Issues Head On. That's the actual AgapePress headline, folks. Mr. Brightsmile and his wife are back and ready to chat with listeners everywhere about his purported exodus from the "homo lifestyle."
Debuting today is a unique new radio show that deals with the homosexual agenda from a conservative Christian viewpoint. Straight Talk Radio is hosted by Stephen and Irene Bennett, founders of Stephen Bennett Ministries.

For more than 10 years, Stephen Bennett lived as a homosexual, until he was delivered from that lifestyle after accepting Jesus as his Savior. Now the evangelist and ministry co-founder helps others who want deliverance from unwanted homosexual attractions. He says his new show will tackle a number of compelling issues related to homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.

...The host of the pro-family radio program says a major purpose of the show is to communicate the same truths his ministry seeks to communicate, namely that "people are not born homosexual, and that through the power of Jesus Christ, homosexual men and women can completely change."

...Irene says she is confident the program will "catch on like wildfire and resonate with many individuals worldwide." Through the show, she says she and her co-host husband are hoping to "educate, encourage, engage and equip people to understand this extremely important issue."
Here are some upcoming topics that are bound to catch your attention:

* “Sex Appealed: Was the U.S. Supreme Court Fooled? – Judge Janice Law
* Homosexuality: Born that Way, a Choice… or What?
* Homosexuality: Man’s Word vs. God’s Word with Pastor Wayne Goodall
* “The Wedding March of the Penguins: America’s First Ex-Gay Penguin?”
* The “Gospel” of Homosexuality According to Hollywood
* The Leading Lesbians of Hollywood


Iraq body count soars in October



Mission accomplished, over and over. (AP):
Four soldiers from the Army's Task Force Baghdad soldiers died Monday when their patrol struck a roadside bomb in Youssifiyah, 12 miles south of Baghdad in an area known as the "triangle of death."

Two other soldiers from the 29th Brigade Combat Team were also killed in a bombing Monday near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. The U.S. military also said a Marine was killed Sunday near Amiriyah, 25 miles west of Baghdad.

Those deaths raised the death toll for October to more than 90, the highest monthly total since January when 107 American service members died. The latest deaths brought to 2,025 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003.
***



Must see cable TV: 'Off to War'

If you have cable and the Times/Discovery Channel, you need to tune in to the fine documentary series Off to War. It's ten parts (with the last episode premiering in late November), chronicling the deployment of the 39th Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard to Iraq.
On July 26, 2003, the lives of many families in rural Arkansas began to swing in an unexpected and even frightening direction. That's when members of the 39th Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard were officially told that they would be heading to Iraq and wouldn't be coming home until the spring of 2005.
The series is executive produced by the immensely talented Jon Alpert, whose work I enjoyed on the Today Show many years ago. He received critical acclaim for several documentaries produced for HBO, including Lockup: The Prisoners of Rikers Island.

The filmmakers on the ground, Craig and Brent Renaud, brothers born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, do an amazing job of reporting in the classic mode of documentary filmmaking -- they allow the voices, personalities and events the subjects experience to shape the politics of the film. We're not talking F9/11 here, but the effect is just as devastating an indictment of the Iraq war.

You can meet the members of the 39th Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard here, and there's an episode guide.


Daddy Dobson, Bauer, Scalito's mom weigh in

"Of course, he's against abortion."
-- 90-year-old Rose Alito, helping clear things up before Sam even fills out his questionnaire.
It didn't take long for the bible beaters to come out, and Alito's mom helps them rest easy that their guy's on the same page of the KJV.

Dobson's experiencing an orgasm -- but will he feel guilty about it later?
"We are extremely pleased by President Bush's selection of Judge Samuel Alito, who has earned the respect of colleagues in both parties for his legal acumen and courtroom demeanor. As a federal judge for the last 15 years, Judge Alito has demonstrated that he understands the role of the judiciary is to interpret existing law in light of the Constitution, not make new law in service to a personal political agenda.



"Perhaps the most encouraging early indication that Judge Alito will make a great justice is that liberal senators such as Harry Reid and Charles Schumer and leftist pressure groups such as People for the American Way and Planned Parenthood have been lining up all day to scream that the sky is falling. Any nominee who so worries the radical left is worthy of serious consideration.

"Based on what is now known about Judge Alito, we applaud the president for this outstanding nomination."
Little Gary Bauer thinks he's fair and balanced:

"For fifteen years Judge Alito has served on the federal bench, providing an extensive and distinguished record that demonstrates a consistent philosophy of judicial restraint, faithfulness to the Constitution, and respect for the values of the American people. He is a mainstream conservative who will uphold the best traditions of our nation's highest court.
Hat tip, Blogenfreude.


Back from vacation... what's up?


Sorry for the lack of posts over the past four days. I took a couple of days vacation on Thursday & Friday, then Saturday was my Halloween gig (I'll post more on that when I've downloaded the pictures) and Sunday was Football Sunday (or as we Packers' fans are calling it, Weekly Day of Mourning).

I should take vacation more often. Seems like when I don't post all the good political stuff happens. Harriet "I ♥ GWB" Miers had to withdraw her nomination to the SCOTUS... because Bush's own party forced it! A five count indictment against "Scooter" Libby was handed down on Fitzmas, with more investigation of Rove and the other war criminals soon to follow. Bush's approval ratings are coming in at a record low 39%.

And in sad news (that I'm not celebrating and for which I would be just as pissed at a President Kerry or President Gore), October was the 5th-deadliest month of the Iraq War, with 96 coalition troops killed in combat, bringing the total to 2,026.

Now, what's this I hear about a "Scalito"? That sounds like some sort of shrimp-based Mexican dish, doesn't it? "Yo quiero una Scalito grande, por favor, con frijoles negro y salsa picante!" Whatever it is, it's giving me heartburn already...


Must read: Rude Pundit on Alito

More swearing than a month's worth of the Blend and it's a winner: Samuel Alito, Another Motherfucker For America.


Scalito air-kiss from his fans



As the Right dances a celebratory jig, the Dems better start acquiring a spine right now. If this isn't the time to grow one, our country is screwed.

From Mike Tidmus:
You didn’t really buy that bull about President Bush was elected so he gets to personally choose his own nominees, and each and every one of them deserves a fair hearing and an up-or-down-vote, did you? And that part about not legislating from the bench?

Silly you!

Enter the pitchfork-wielding villagers of the religious-reich : Burn the witch! Burn the heretic Harriet! Take her away and give us another!
Head over to his pad for more...


Nauseating

I have to agree with Shakes Sis on the Chimp's love fest with the AmTaliban and Alito:
You know, the thing that makes me angriest about this is that Bush is still playing to his base, that 30% or so who think that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church, as if he’s still running for something. It’s always, always politics; it’s all they know how to do. Never has there come a time when he has seemed to recognize that he needs to govern instead of campaign, or that he’s president of the entire United States. He has never even remotely acknowledged that he is supposed to be a steward of this country for all of us, instead of turning the country into a utopian paradise for its cruelest and most self-interested elements. Prick.
You can bone up on the White House talking points to combat attacks from the left on Alito, indicating that the goons know where the nominee's tender spots are (hat tip, Charlie).

The Heretik is collecting Scalito links...


Homeland Insecurity

"There's a lack of adult leadership on both sides. The department just doesn't have its act together."
-- James Carafano, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, on Homeland Security's efforts
As the Chimperor stood on the heap of rubble at the WTC, imagining himself as the savior of the country, he made his flock feel like he was going to keep them safe from the swarthy bin Laden-types from abroad. During the election, Darth Cheney even intimated that if voters cast a ballot for Kerry it was a vote for the terrorists.
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States.
Between the White House and the Repug clowns on the Hill in the time since, the terrorists can rest easy when they read sh*t like this, from the AP:

* A plan to defend ships and ports from attack is six months overdue.
* Rules to protect air cargo from infiltration by terrorists are two months late.
* A study on the cost of giving anti-terrorism training to federal law enforcement officers who fly commercially was supposed to be done more than three years ago.
* The government has yet to develop a comprehensive plan to protect roads, bridges, tunnels, power plants, pipelines and dams.
The Bush administration has missed dozens of deadlines set by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks for developing ways to protect airplanes, ships and railways from terrorists.

..."The incompetence that we recently saw with FEMA's leadership appears to exist throughout the Homeland Security Department," said Mississippi Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. "Our nation is still vulnerable."

Congress must share the blame for the department's sluggishness in protecting commerce and travel from terrorists, according to other observers. Lawmakers piled on deadline after deadline for reports, plans and regulations while the department, created after the 2001 attacks, had to integrate 22 agencies with 170,000 workers and cope with terrorist threats and hurricanes.

Those deadlines, sometimes for minor projects, distract the department from putting in place the most important security measures, experts say. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, scrambled to try to meet a Feb. 15 deadline to ban butane lighters from airplanes, a precaution that does little to protect airliners, they said.

...A report on how a grant program for shippers and ports would work is more than a year late; a report on cargo container security is eight months overdue; a national security plan for marine transportation is well past its April 1 due date.

Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Homeland Security spending, was unhappy because the TSA missed a March 17 deadline for a plan to deploy bomb-detection machines at airports.
Can we take three more years of irresponsible right-wing, blowhard rule? it's depressing.


Wilson says leak destroyed wife's CIA career

Let's not take our eye off the ball, as much as the White House and the GOP apologists would like us to. Joe Wilson was on 60 Minutes last night, underscoring the gravity of the crimes committed in the White House for political payback. (Reuters):
Valerie Plame's nearly two-decade career at the CIA and the secret life she crafted to conceal it were blown when her identity was revealed by a newspaper columnist, her husband, Joe Wilson said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday.


Novakula from Russ.

Wilson, a former career diplomat, said Plame, 42, was in shock when she saw her name and that of her fictitious employer published in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

"She felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away," Wilson said.

"When he published her name-- it was very easy to unravel everything about her, her entire cover," Wilson said. "You live your cover."

Asked whether she realized then that her career as a CIA undercover agent was over, Wilson said: "Absolutely. Sure. There was no doubt about it in her mind. And she wondered for what."

Wilson contends that his wife's identity was deliberately revealed by the Bush administration to get back at him for publicly challenging U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Lewis Libby was indicted on Friday on obstruction of justice and perjury charges in the two-year-old investigation into who leaked Plame's identity.


Blacks and gay civil rights

A break from the Alito madness...

Jeninne Lee-St. John has an excellent Viewpoint piece in Time this week, writing on the current conflict within the religious black community on gay civil rights. It's worth the read.
Just look at the black religious leaders—like Rev. Bernice King, a daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.; evangelical juggernaut Bishop T. D. Jakes; and groups like the Memphis-based Coalition of African American Pastors—who've joined ranks with the conservative Right in opposing gay marriage. They say gay rights are not the same as civil rights. They accuse gays and lesbians of "hijacking" the civil rights movement for their homosexual agenda. They say it's unholy and unnatural. But it's for perhaps that last argument alone that, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court mulls a challenge to an old state law now being used to prohibit out-of-state homosexual couples from wedding there, black Americans should sympathize with gays and lesbians who want to marry.
Lee-St. John accurately notes that anti-miscegenation laws in the South prevented blacks and whites from marrying for those same "unnatural" and "unholy" reasons. When that was over turned, it was not the end of American culture and civilization. Those yahoos hell-bent on "protecting marriage," such as Falwell, Dobson, Santorum, Rick Perry, a host of black homo-bigot pastors, and of course, our friend in the Vatican, Papa Ratzi, have made it practically their life's work to restrict same-sex couples to second-class citizen status.

The hangup many blacks have is the comparison to the gay rights struggle as equivalent to slavery, which is ludicrous. It's not a zero-sum game that civil equality for gays means blacks will somehow have their rights removed or restricted. This, of course is also nonsensical if one considers that there are those among us that are both gay and black, something that clearly is an uncomfortable reality for many religious blacks (see what occurred at the Millions More March, for instance, when black gay activist Keith Boykin was turned away from the podium by homophobe Willie Wilson).
Of course there are important differences. "The comparison with slavery is a stretch," Jesse Jackson asserted in a speech at Harvard last year, "in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote." All of which is true. Race is most often, rightly or not, signified physically. While gays have been, and still are in many instances, forced to play straight, they at least had a refuge. It was historically difficult, usually impossible, and often illegal, for a black person to pass as white (even if 15/16ths of his blood was). They had nowhere to hide.

So yes, in the game of Who's Been More Systematically Oppressed?, black people win hands down. But that doesn't discount the hardships of other groups. (Remember the federal Defense of Marriage Act?) And it doesn't mean everyone isn't entitled to equal rights.
Massachusetts Governor (and apparently an '08 prez contender) Mitt Romney is clinging to that 1913 law, and knows that there will be a domino effect, a likely positive cascade of gay rights rulings that will follow, if it is overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Lee-St. John challenges those black leaders on the side of the gay-bashing evangelicals on this issue to remember how black civil rights and gay civil rights intersect.
Conservative blacks should denounce the Massachusetts law in question not because they've suddenly decided to embrace something they find wrong but because the law is wrong. It's ostensibly a Federalist argument that is in fact homophobic—and was racist—in intent. And it offends me to the core that lawmakers would deny equal rights to one minority group using a statute created to target others, a statute that could have barred, even invalidated, my existence and might have prevented me from marrying my (white) boyfriend from Massachusetts in Massachusetts. Remember that it took until 1967 for the U.S. Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the anti-miscegenation laws that remained on the books in 16 states—and that Alabama still didn't repeal its law until five years ago.


Key: black pastor


White House called Concerned Women for America for the thumbs up on Alito

The White House made sure to check-in to get the pat on the head from the homo-haters on the "Scalito" pick. (WP):
One group consulted was the Concerned Women for America, whose decision to oppose Miers last Wednesday became one of the final blows to help kill the nomination. Janet M. LaRue, the group's chief counsel, said it received a call from the White House on Saturday and liked what it heard.



"[Judge Samuel Alito] and Luttig have always been at the top of our list," she said in an interview. "We think either of them would be a supreme pick. There isn't a thing stealthy about them. They've got a long, proven record of constitutional conservatism."
It's no surprise -- no one expected Alito, a far-right winger pick to be homo-friendly, but this is something out of the dark ages.
In 2001, Judge Alito authored a decision in Saxe v. State that declared unconstitutional a public school district policy that prohibited harassment against students because of their sexual orientation or other characteristics.

The policy focused only on harassment that had the purpose or effect of interfering with a student's educational performance or creating and intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Alito reasoned that the policy was unconstitutional because it could cover what he called "simple acts of teasing and name-calling."

"If confirmed Judge Alito is likely to be the decisive vote on many critical issues important to all Americans, including the most basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-affected people," said Lambda Legal's Legal Director, Jon Davidson.
Mike Rogers of BlogActive and PageOneQ also points out that CWA's another organization with a homo actively working against civil equality for gays and lesbians.
In August of 2004, blogACTIVE, the editor's blog of PageOneQ, reported that the Chief Financial Officer of Concerned Women for America, Lee LaHaye was a gay man. LaHaye is the son of CWA's founders Timothy and Beverly LaHaye.

"I find it rather odd that a conservative President would turn to such a confused organization to vet his picks for the Supreme Court," said Michael Rogers, editor of blogACTIVE and PageOneQ. And the fact an organization with a gay man as its Chief Financial Officer would approve of such far right wing judges is further proof of the dysfunction of the organization's agenda and its operation.
What more do the Dems need to know to help them decide that this is a filibuster-worthy nominee?

Also see:

* Concerned Women for America drop-kicks Harriet

* 'Threats' from Concerned Women for America

* Concerned Women for America: 'the looniest of the loony'


Spitting on the casket of Rosa Parks



I feel sick. This president is completely, utterly base. (AP):
Wasting no time, the White House arranged for Alito to go to the Capitol after the announcement.The schedule called for Senate Majority Leader Bill First to greet him and accompany the nominee to the Capitol Rotunda to go to the coffin of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
And if you're looking for a strong reaction from Democrats, look at the weak pablum from Harry Reid.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he was disappointed with the pick and that the Senate, which must confirm the pick, will now have to determine whether Alito is "too radical for the American people."

"I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers," Reid said.
You can contact your Senators here.

***

Reaction to the nomination (AP):
"Judge Alito is unquestionably qualified to serve on our nation's highest court. And on the bench, he has displayed a judicial philosophy marked by judicial restraint and respect for the limited role of the judiciary to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench." -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

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"Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not strength." -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

------

"Judge Alito is the best there is. The Democrat-controlled Senate recognized these qualities in Judge Alito when it unanimously confirmed him to the court of appeals." -- Wendy Long, counsel for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network.

------

"President Bush put the demands of his far-right political base above Americans' constitutional rights and legal protections by nominating federal appeals court Judge Samuel Alito to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor." -- Ralph Neas, president of the liberal People For the American Way.

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"The president has made an excellent choice today which reflects his commitment to appoint judges in the mold of (Antonin) Scalia and (Clarence) Thomas. Sam Alito, a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has consistently embraced the original intent of the Constitution." -- Kay Daly, president of the conservative Coalition for a Fair Judiciary.

------

"It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us. This controversial nominee, who would make the court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people." -- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

------

"The nomination of Harriet Miers has split conservatives unlike anything I can remember. The debate will not end, in fact it will become more intense." -- Gary Bauer, a onetime Republican presidential candidate who now heads the conservative group American Values Coalitio


'Scalito': The AmTaliban butters Bush's bread



The announcement is slated for 8AM.

If there was any doubt, particularly among the moderates in his party, where this President turns to when he's got his tail between his legs, there isn't now.

The Chimp bowed down at the altar of Dobson, Bauer, Schlafly, and the rest of the AmTaliban to save his "base" of the wild-eyed Freeper set, nominating Samuel Alito. I'd someone will ask an obvious question -- how on earth did Harriet Miers rate ahead of Sammy when the Chimperor was looking down the short list? We know the answer, but I want to see the White House explain that one away.

While Miers was a crony pick, a weak choice not up to snuff, Alito has 15 years on the Philly-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, thus he has a paper trail that is clearly indicative of his conservative leanings -- which is the litmus test the religious right has been looking for.

This is an awful choice if women want to retain control of their wombs. (AP):
Liberal groups, on the other hand, note Alito's moniker and say his nomination raises troubling concerns, especially when it comes to his record on civil rights and reproductive rights. Alito is a frequent dissenter on the 3rd Circuit, one of the most liberal federal appellate benches in the nation.

In the early 1990s, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

"The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems - such as economic constraints, future plans or the husbands' previously expressed opposition - that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion," Alito wrote.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court where the justices, in a 6-3 decision struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist cited Alito's reasoning in his own dissent.
This one is going to spur a fight, possibly a filibuster and with that, the threat of the 'nuclear option.' How low can Bush go? Think Progress shows you why James Dobson is smiling as he has his morning cup of coffee:
ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by "immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias." [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that "few if any…cases would survive summary judgment." [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) "guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one." The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent "guts the statutory standard" and "ignores our precedent." In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted "well-recognized rules of statutory construction." [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]
I know you don't want to see all the happy dancing in Freeperland, but here you go anyway. This is why this nomination has to be fought. They know how important this shot across the bow is.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"IMHO, if Roberts and Alito (or anyone in the Scalia mold) is all we get from W serving as president, then he will have done us proud."

"This guy is on the most liberal appeal courts in Jersey. He has hasn't drifted left even being on that on that court .....WOO HOO!"

"NUCLEAR OPTION!!!"

"SHOCKING. STUNNING. Fabulous, Mr. President."

"FOX news says confirmation will be a "bloodbath" and "cataclysmic". I can hardly wait for comments by Reid, Schumer, Kennedy & Leahy - the four stooges!"

"YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!...........This is what the GANG OF 7 RENEGADES never wanted... the spot-light is on the SENATE! - Let's the games begin :)"

"Catholics dominate SC. All the Evangelicals dissed."

"I cannot believe people in here care that he is Catholic. I'd expect that to be from liberals who want Muslims and atheists. You really can't please everyone, even with a great nominee."

"On Fox it's already started: "The President has pandered to the most extreme wing of his political party..blah, blah, blah""

"Talking about the Gang of Fourteen now on Fox & Friends... Can we count on the RINOs among us when the chips are down?"

"I am elated that the Miers-supporters who preditced the nomination of Gonzales were WRONG!"

"This pick of Alito is orders of magnitude better than the pick of Miers. NOW the country will have the right debate - that is, if the GOP is up to the task of expressing why a conservative jurist is NOT an issues advocate. A conservative Court only returns the issue to the people, it does not "finally decide" the issue for them."

"Let's see how many bridges the pundits are willing to burn. I'd guess they finally jump on the bandwagon. If not, here is where I think they'll complain. Coulter will say that Bush should have consulted her first and that candidate X was a better choice. Frum will be ticked that Alito is opposed to first trimester abortions (Canuck Frum is pro-abort). Krauthammer will moan and groan about Alito's views on stem cells."

"The GOP has to take control of framing the debate. THe DEMs have heretofor been successful at tframing the debate as issues advocacy. The GOP needs to redirect that, so that the people realize the COurt is going to be LESS likely to make decisions relating to social structure, so that the people can make social issue decisions, working through their legislatures."

"Good, I hope for a miracle on Alito and it goes to a vote and passes, even if by only 51-50. Or, we may just well see Borking #2."

"This is one the Demodogs have mentioned filibuster...I wonder how many "conservatives" will join them, after having their blood dinner with Miers."

"Too conservative? Nobody can be too rich or too thin. Or too conservative. I LIKE to see the veins pop out on Chuck Schumer's temples. Of course, no matter who George W. Bush may have nominated, Chuck's response would have been exactly the same."

"Way to go Pres Bush! If Scalito is unacceptable to the Dems he is automatically qualified, let the war begin and lets go to the mattresses."

"BRING IT ON!!! This is the kind of shot in the arm the GOP needs right now."

"I STRONGLY suggest we start emailing all seven of those 'stinkin... sniveling... RINO's who always 'sh_t-their-pants' in the Senate. Tell them you'll donate to ANY candidate who runs against them if they fail again to find their spines!"


College Repugs bring anti-gay speaker to Gonzaga

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Dan Brutocao of the Gonzaga University College Republicans signed up Dr. John Diggs to spew junk science.

Sweet. The Washington-state institution also rejected recent requests to allow a Planned Parenthood speaker and a production of "The Vagina Monologues" to the school, so clearly it's up for the controversy. From the Gonzaga Bulletin:
The College Republicans brought Dr. John Diggs to campus Tuesday. Diggs presented a controversial speech titled "The Medical Effects of Homo-Sex" to a packed Jundt Auditorium.

...Based on the planned topic for the speech, the College Republicans were not given University approval and therefore could not advertise the event. To gain University approval, however, the College Republicans were given the option to have Diggs change the title and topic of the speech to be more universal, covering the harmful affects of all human sexuality as it pertains to penetrative anal intercourse and promiscuity.

Dan Brutocao, president of the College Republicans, decided not to change the topic of the speech, reasoning that Diggs would be more knowledgeable on the speech he had already prepared. After talking to Diggs, Brutocao decided to change the title from "The Medical Effects of Homosexuality" to "The Medical Effects of Homo-Sex," because according to Brutocao, the term homosexuality denotes a person, whereas homo-sex refers specifically to the acts involved, which was more pertinent to the lecture.

Diggs' 75-minute lecture Tuesday night outlined the negative effects of homosexuality as it pertains to both society and the individual. Key points from his speech included the assertion that homosexuality is defined by two "inarguable" characteristics: promiscuity and penetrative anal intercourse. Diggs also said homosexuality was strongly responsible for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), particularly HIV, in both gay and straight circles.

Rod Aminian, president of Helping Educate Regarding Orientation (HERO), said Diggs' lecture went beyond the discussion of sex. "Dr. Diggs is an ideologue of vulgar proportions," Aminian said. "He stretched fact, used dodgy nomenclature and used every token anti-gay byline in the lexicon of anti-gay bylines."

Items that Aminian took particular issue with centered on Diggs' statements on promiscuity, especially the assertion "that gay men are not out for love and companionship, just pure, unabashed sex," Aminian said. Aminian also cast doubt on the validity of Diggs' points, specifically a statistic Diggs cited from a 1978 study claiming 28 percent of gay males had more than 1,000 sexual partners in their lifetime.
Diggs has also written some other outlandish things about homosexuality. In 2001, he railed on the work of then-Surgeon General David Satcher, using the whole "parts don't fit" and gays inherently suffer from mental disease. This is what the College Republicans are embracing:
One of the most egregious assertions made by the Surgeon General is that "Sexual orientation is usually determined by adolescence, if not earlier, and there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed." First, real people know this not to be the case.

Thousands of people who used to practice homosexuality have told their personal stories to offer hope to those trapped in a self-destructive activity. Second, the periodic brouhaha over the discovery of a “gay gene” is always followed by much quieter retractions. No scientist confirms the presence of a “gay gene.” Third, people are not homosexual; they perform homosexual acts. We humans are male or female; “gays” do not have different “equipment.” Satcher blames those opposed to homosexuality for the high rates of mental disease found among those practicing homosexuality. To come to this conclusion, he must ignore similar high rates of mental disease, including suicide, documented among practitioners in societies which have come to embrace homosexuality. Lastly, he ignores the fact that most “anti-gay violence” is perpetrated by “gays” in domestic violence settings. The Surgeon General's statement erroneously leads people to believe they are trapped.


SCOTUS rumor mill says Alito is the pick

One never really knows with this sort of thing (always expect bait and switch), but here's the latest, with Bush naming Samuel Alito, possibly tomorrow.
President Bush neared a decision on a new nominee for the Supreme Court as Republican lawmakers suggested Sunday he should pick a solid conservative with a track record as a judge.

But the Senate's top Democrat raised the possibility of "a lot of problems" if Bush settles on federal appeals judge Samuel Alito to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a swing voter on abortion and other social issues. Others said to be under consideration include federal appeals court judges J. Michael Luttig, Karen Williams, Priscilla Owen and Alice Batchelder as well as Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.


...A judge on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's.

"That is not one of the names that I've suggested to the president," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told "Late Edition" on CNN. "In fact, I've done the opposite. I think it would create a lot of problems."

...To avoid a repeat of Miers' failed bid, Bush's nominee will need the support from conservatives that Miers lacked and backing from moderates to escape a Senate filibuster.

American Values President Gary Bauer, a prominent [and tiny] conservative, said he would support a nominee such as Alito as well as federal appeals judges Janice Rogers Brown and Emilio Garza because they are proven conservatives who would strictly interpret the Constitution.

"For me, the criteria has to be to find that individual that has the right philosophy and the right experience to get through a confirmation process," Bauer said. "There are women that fit those characterizations. There are Hispanics, African-Americans."
A good profile of Alito is here, and 365gay.com has a shortlist of other anti-gay possibilities if it's not Alito.


Pope John Paul II's Ford Escort nets $690K


An employee of Kruse Internation auction firm hangs photos of the Pope John Paul II around a 1975 Ford Escort he owned. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

People are freaks. Why would you pay $690K for a 1975 POS compact car just because JPII sat his rear in it? Here's why, according to the AP story:
"To me, it's a piece of history," said John O'Quinn, 62, a Baptist who said he has a collection of about 600 vehicles. "What a great human being Pope John Paul was."

Built 30 years ago at a Ford plant in Cologne, Germany, the car sold Saturday in what auctioneer Dean Kruse said was original papal condition — no hubcaps, no air conditioning, no radio, but with several nicks and dents.

"The car will never be driven," said O'Quinn, who said that at least temporarily it will be warehoused with his other cars. "But hopefully, in my life, I'll be able to go back and touch this car and feel the pope's spirit."


Will Cheney step aside?

"He's lost some of his confidence in the three people he listens to the most. The problem is that the President doesn't want to make changes."
-- unnamed White House adviser in Time article
The Chimp is pissed at Rove, Andrew Card, and Darth these days. With a Libby trial, it's almost certain the VP will be called to the stand, and the beans will be spilled on the lies and deception regarding the run-up to the Iraq war. Drudge blares on front page: "Prosecutor plans on calling Cheney as witness in open court; executive privilege fight looms." What's a Chimperor to do?

The prospect of Cheney stepping down to "remove" the noise distracting the White House could be a viable option, given that "unnamed sources" speaking to Time this week are squawking about the falling out between the Chimp and Darth. (via Raw Story):
As for Cheney, who retained Libby as the scandal unfolded and did not follow the advice of some to move him out five months ago, his relationship with Bush has suffered "a strain, not a rupture," says a presidential adviser. That much was clear when the White House let it be known that Card had called Cheney to inform him of the choice of Miers. In earlier times, he would have been intimately involved in such a decision.

Cheney's standing has suffered mainly because Libby emerges as such a liability. Fitzgerald threw the book at him not for anything he said to reporters but for what he said to the FBI and the grand jury. The indictments suggest that the aide whose aim was to spin the war might have tried to spin the prosecutor. "Lying was a remarkable act of stupidity on Libby's part," says Richard Nixon's former White House counsel John Dean. "He's old enough to know better. He watched Watergate and Iran-contra. To try to pull the leg of the grand jury was really quite remarkable."

Heck, you know there must be talk about big shifts on the Cheney front behind closed doors if his homo daughter is getting the heck out of Dodge, landing a cushy deal at same-sex spousal friendly AOL last week. Daddy's in trouble and it makes sense for her to escape to the private sector now.

The theory that Cheney could vacate the VP chair is not just whispers in back rooms, Christine Todd Whitman puts forth the option in today's NYT article, In Indictment's Wake, a Focus on Cheney's Powerful Role:
Christie Whitman, the president's former E.P.A. administrator and a longtime Bush family friend who was critical of the White House and the Republican right wing in a recent book, said that she did not expect the president's personal relationship with Mr. Cheney to change. Nonetheless, Ms. Whitman said she believed that if more information about Mr. Cheney's involvement in the leak case became public, "and if it keeps hanging around and getting close to the vice president, he might step aside - but that's an extreme case."
Plus, Cheney's got a good fig leaf for stepping down. He's looking pretty death's door ill these days, and NY Congressman Charlie Rangel hasn't held back, saying Darth's not up to the job anymore.

"Sometimes I don't even think Cheney is awake enough to know what's going on," Rangel (D-Harlem) said during an interview on New York 1 last night. "[Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld is the guy in Washington to watch. He's running the country," Rangel added.

"He's a sick man, you know," Rangel said of Cheney, prompting host Davidson Golden to point out that the vice president suffers from heart disease. Rangel retorted, "He's got heart disease, but the disease is not restricted just to that part of his body. He grunts a lot, so you never really know what he's thinking." Asked whether he thinks Cheney is healthy enough to do the job, Rangel said, "Why do you think people are spending so much time praying for President Bush's health?
After all, how long can he hang around and try to clean up the "dry" drunk Chimperor's mess without having a fifth or sixth heart attack? Then again, maybe Darth's ticker has already been acting up.

In June, Arianna Huffington was in Vail, Colorado when the VP came into town, and noted that Dick Cheney was wheeled into the hospital, allegedly for his bum knee, but was serviced in the cardiac unit...hmmm. Managed care is getting mighty confusing, huh?

Why is the White House still insisting that the only health issue Vice President Cheney dealt with today is an old football injury to his knee, visiting renowned orthopedist Dr. Richard Steadman? At the Vail Valley Institute dinner tonight, I kept asking what those in the know here knew. Little by little, here is the story I pieced together: After the Secret Service secured the Vail Valley Medical Center, including the parking lot, the Vice President arrived under his own power and checked in at the orthopedic center under the name “Dr. Hoffman”. He was immediately whisked to the adjacent cardiac unit, suffering from what was described to me as “an angina attack”. The security was so high that a Secret Service agent wouldn’t let an ER nurse out of the bathroom that she had gone into just before the Veep arrived. “Get back in there,” the agent told her. Confounded, she called her husband on her cell phone, telling him “something big” was going on. And indeed it was… but you wouldn’t know it from the White House. It appears that not only doesn’t the public deserve to know what is really going on in Iraq (“last throes”?) we don’t deserve to know what is going on with our Vice President’s health.
The man's only had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties, surgery to remove blood clots behind each of his knees and an operation to implant a special pacemaker in his chest. It's perfect cover -- Cheney can step aside, saying it's time to smell the roses, testify a little and retire with his defibrillator intact and "unused."

Also see:
* Indictment Dissected: Cheney’s Role (Think Progress)
* "Bush losing faith in Cheney, top aides"
* "Calls for White House shakeup focus on Karl Rove"


WingNutDaily columnist on Halloween


Photo enhancement by Mike Tidmus. See schoolmarm Linda here.
Halloween marks and highlights the forces of darkness. It's a showcase for mediums, fortune-telling, occult beliefs, to become more and more mysteriously appealing to uninformed children, all whilst they are surrounded in today's America by the lure of "magick." We're not in Kansas anymore. It's 21st-century America, where Christian parents lovingly hand their kids novels where the child hero is tutored in witchcraft. Hello?
-- Linda Harvey, of Mission[ary Position] America
Mike Tidmus, a blogger and frequent contributor of some seriously hysterical graphic images to my pad, sent me the above graphic of earlier in the week, saying "I have a feeling you might need this. I just couldn't stand looking at her." I told him that the graphic was perfect, because it was only a matter of time before she opened her pie-hole again and uttered something completely absurd and deserving of the image above.

Of course I was right. Queen of all things good for children in Mission[ary Position] America, Linda Harvey, has written another WingNutDaily column, this time on the evils of Halloween -- and the damnation it foists on our youth and the family. Satan is everywhere.

I do love the twisted gyrations Linda goes through to explain away the "paganism" and commercialism surrounding Christmas and Easter.
Certainly not every child who goes trick-or-treating understands that it's the highest "holy" day of celebration for those immersed in the occult. But unless their parents are living under a rock, they can't have missed the wild popularity of "Harry Potter" and its many off-shoots. Only the brain-dead can fail to perceive that supernatural themes have eclipsed almost every other genre in youth media. The gatekeepers are not watching, don't get it, or don't care. It's almost as if Satan had some real power! The results portend spiritual trouble for this generation of biblically-illiterate kids. And so, we send them out in today's climate of supernatural evil's immense popularity, to celebrate it?

...Parents who claim to be Christian, who claim to love God and be followers of Jesus Christ, must not read their Bibles either. Don't they remember the clear admonitions against sorcery, witchcraft, all the forces of darkness? (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Samuel 15:23; Acts 19:19; Galatians 5:19-20) Or do they think this stuff is a joke?

...And those who say that, if we sacrifice Halloween, we'd have to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter, haven't thought this through. Yes, there were originally pagan holidays near Christmas and Easter, but Christ's birth and resurrection have really re-claimed both of these, despite the commercialization. Worldwide, people know what both these holidays are about.

God has left Halloween untouched. There is no significant Christian spiritual or historical event that occurs near Oct. 31. I think that might be deliberate by the Almighty, as a test. There is no "gospel" message in Halloween. It's a vacuum, and into vacuums rush all the demons of deception.
This goes on and on. I think I want to send Linda to a Hell House for reinforcement of the traditional values espoused on the holiday that she's missing out on.

More on Linda: Homosexual Activists Suspected of Pulling Students' Strings in GSA Lawsuit

More Halloweeny posts:
* I'm not sh*tting you, Halloween edition
* Harry Potter, faggotry and the comic book salvation


Poll on Chimp: 39% and your ethics stink


Actual AFP caption: US President George W. Bush, happy to leave a White House scandal behind on a visit to Virginia, assailed Syria and Iran as terrorism patrons and sought to bolster waning suppport for the war in Iraq(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

Bush's ass is dragging on the ground, and there's nowhere to hide. His tushie is raw, let's kick it again. (WaPo):
A majority of Americans say the indictment of senior White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby signals broader ethical problems in the Bush administration, and nearly half say the overall level of honesty and ethics in the federal government has fallen since President Bush took office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey.


Cheney: REUTERS/Bob Snow. Bush: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta.

The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.


REUTERS/Larry Downing

In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.

The survey also found that nearly seven in 10 Americans consider the charges against Libby to be serious. A majority -- 55 percent -- said the decision of Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald to bring charges against Libby was based on the facts of the case, while 30 percent said he was motivated by partisan politics.


Daddy Dobson's legal goons pick on MCC

"Well, it's a Goliath versus David situation. As a relatively small Christian denomination, we don't have the financial resources to go up against one of the largest Right Wing organizations in existence, and quite frankly, we wouldn't want to invest our funds to fight them. We'd rather put those monies into our ministry programs that provide faith and hope for people."
-- Reverend Nancy L. Wilson, presiding bishop of the Metropolitan Community Churches, on legal threats from Dobson's Focus on the Family
The Metropolitan Community Church is under fire from the legal dogs for James Dobson's Focus on the Family because of a similarly named program of the MCC that ministers to people with AIDS, deals with infant mortality issues and performs outreach to the GLBT community.

Daddy Dobson is more concerned about confusion over whether this program is affiliated with his organization than actually trying to do something positive in the community. As if anyone would mistake an MCC program for anything affiliated with his wingnut organization. What a f*cking pig. (365gay.com):
In a ceremony marked by tears of joy, a Florida minister was installed Saturday as the new Presiding Bishop of the Metropolitan Community Churches, but the just hours before the service began a Conservative Christian group threatened to take the Church to court.

Washington's National Cathedral was filled with worshipers as the Reverend Nancy L. Wilson was installed in her new role as leader of the world's largest predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christian denomination. Wilson succeeds veteran human rights activist, the Reverend Dr. Troy D. Perry.

During the ceremony Wilson unveiled a 10-year international program of social and spiritual transformation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered.

...But, it has raised the hackles of Focus on the Family, a right wing Christian political organization often at the forefront in battles against LGBT civil rights. FOC objected to the name the MCC program was using: "Focus on the Human Family".
Maybe Dobson's right -- his sheeple are too stupid to be able to tell the difference between a gay-affirming program and his hate machine. I'm glad he's acknowledging the fact that most of his followers are knuckle-draggers. (UKGayNews, via PageOneQ):
"Even though many of our views are diametrically opposed, apparently Dobson's organization feels the name of Metropolitan Community Church's new campaign could create confusion for people," said the Reverend Wilson.

... "It's a bit puzzling," admitted Rev. Wilson. "The ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches is so different from that of James Dobson. His group tends to focus on one kind of family, what they often mistakenly call the 'traditional family'.

"In Metropolitan Community Churches, we believe that God's people find many ways to create family, and that includes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families."

..."Dobson's group is certainly within their rights to defend their trademark as they see fit," she said. "They may be able to stop the name of our program, but they can't stop our ministry or our commitment to all members of the human family, especially those that have experienced rejection by other faith communities."
As a result of the bullying, the MCC has Metropolitan Community Churches will remove the "Focus on the Human Family" name from its website.


Maybe next year



This year's costumes were blah, not great. There was a couple there that came as Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, and they were most excellent, as well as a friend that came as Obi-Wan Kenobi, who did a whiz-bang job of making a beard out of mascara.

Next year, the theme will be "Musicals," and so folks can come as a character from any musical. That should result in some real creativity, though we cannot think of who we'd be, I really can't see us coming as a couple of Von Trapp siblings, for instance...


Wingnut Parents Television Council rates top 10 best and worst shows

Saturday, October 29, 2005



Right wing arbiter of good taste and high moral standards, L. Brent Bozell, is the president of the Parents Television Council, an organization that prides itself on watching all the "smut" that airs to keep kids "safe" from the perversion out there. I imagine a room with banks of video monitors, sitting in a dark room, furiously writing about what they see...well, I'm sure one hand is always free.
This analysis is the PTC’s ninth ranking of the best and worst series on broadcast television from the perspective of family audiences. The lists are ranked based on the content of the program and the appropriateness of the show for children. The criterion for this annual ranking includes not only the frequency of foul language, sexual content and violence but also the time slot, target audience, themes and plotlines of the programs.


OK. Kate flipped on "Three Wishes" once, and nearly keeled over from the sugary-sweet pablum being served up on there. It's no surprise Brent gives this show the thumbs up.
Three Wishes is the best example yet of the positive potential of reality TV.  Utterly engaging and heartfelt, this series demonstrates the transformative power of kindness.  Each week, singer Amy Grant and a crew descend on a different small town to help deserving families realize their fondest hopes and dreams by granting them three wishes.

Too often our celebrity-obsessed culture celebrates vanity, materialism, and selfishness.  For children growing up surrounded by that environment, the temptation to give-in to those influences can be tremendous.  Three Wishes is a much-needed antidote, showing viewers that charity is its own reward. 
I've never seen "The War at Home," so I have no clue if it's awful, disgusting or just pathetically unfunny. Is it even still on the air?
The first episode opened with Dave introducing viewers to his wife, Vicky, then saying, "Did you check out that rack? Nice, huh?" Of his daughter, Hillary, viewers learn, "I only have one simple rule for dating my teenage daughter: if she sees your penis, I'll cut it off." It goes downhill from there. An early episode this season had Dave buying his teenage son a lubricant because he was making himself sore from masturbating too often.
I was not surprised to find CSI on that list. I get weirded out by some of those episodes, but certainly not offended. My personal favorite was that one on furries, where Grissom went to a convention of them.
Last season, episodes included storylines about the murder of a man who practiced the sexual fetish of infantilism, complete with scenes of him playing baby and "nursing" from his girlfriend's breasts; a murder resulting from the antics at a wife-swapping sex party; the investigation of illegal sex-change operations, complete with frightening and graphic death scenes; and a case at a mental hospital that revealed a twisted relationship of mother-son incest. In the first two episodes of this current season there was a storyline about a man dying from auto-erotic asphyxiation and a plot involving a special Las Vegas luxury "party bus" in which men were entertained by strippers.
You can find more descriptions of the top 10s here.

What are your comments on the list?


Wisconsin's junior-league 'Fred Phelps' spreads anti-gay pamphlets in Illinois

Every year, this nation tolerates and embraces new abominations. This year, the perversion being mainstreamed is "same-sex marriage." But God created and instituted marriage, not man. Sodomite couplings never have been and never will be marriage. Today, I want to share five reasons why so-called same-sex marriage stirs up the wrath of God and will bring even more judgment on our land.
-- Ralph Ovadal, pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, in one of his many sermons
This bonehead is spreading the word -- it's obviously his right to do so. However, folks need to know about the kind of bile this alleged Christian pastor from Wisconsin, Ralph Ovadal, is delivering door to door in Freeport, Illinois (and mailing out all over the country). He sounds like a Fred Phelps wannabe without the budget to travel.

His church, Pilgrims Covenant, according to its web site is "an independent, unlicensed church which is fundamental in doctrine. We believe that the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, was verbally inspired and has been infallibly preserved by God. We believe that in the English language, God has preserved His Word through the King James Bible." We take literally our Lord's command to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations." We reject anti-nomianism and the ecumenical movement." There you have it. (CBS2 Chicago):
A Wisconsin pastor who says he is on a crusade against homosexual lifestyles has peppered neighborhoods in Freeport with pamphlets, and some residents who found them on their property are angry.

Anti-gay pamphlets were deposited at a number of Freeport homes last week -- some to the doors of homosexuals who believe they were being targeted. The pamphlets including anti-gay biblical references were written by Pastor Ralph Ovadal of Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe, Wisconsin.

The pamphlet, titled "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality," cites biblical references calling homosexual acts filthy, wicked and unlawful.
I had to check out this church's web site, and I was not disappointed by the kind of lunacy up there. A sampling.
For the past several decades, the homosexual movement has engaged in a massive public relations campaign aimed at demonizing anyone who dares to suggest that American citizens should have a right to discriminate--to use good judgment--when dealing with persons involved in homosexual activity. That campaign has borne bitter fruit.



Open homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers, and transgenders now serve as legislators, judges, policemen, medical technicians, food service workers, teachers, and adopters of children. This is a tragic situation given the fact that the homosexual community is the source of a greatly disproportionate amount of violence, sexual assault, and disease; and it brings the judgment of God upon our land.
I wasn't kidding when I said this was low-rent Westboro Baptist Church stuff:


Pilgrims Covenant Church members at a Monroe Gospel Witness, Monroe, Wisconsin, September 3, 2005.

But then you read the unhinged sh*t like this and you can't help wondering how much hatred is stowed up in this man. It's disgusting and sickening:
The homosexual life is a violent one. Many common homosexual acts themselves do violence to the body. Beyond that, sado-masochism, the intentional infliction of pain for perverse sexual gratification, is very popular in the homosexual community. And even the homosexuals have begun to admit that there is a disproportionate amount of “domestic violence” in their communities, violence directed inward.



Unfortunately, the homosexual community also projects violence outward, as any dispassionate study of history and current events reveals. For instance, considering the small percentage of the world’s population which claims to be homosexual at any given time, the incidence of members of that community committing rape culminating in murder is shocking!
If you want to have some fun, you can contact the church via its web form.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Liar Libby is going for the memory-loss defense



Big surprise. No matter, the exposure of a trial is going to damage the whole Administration, and he knows it. (AP):
The lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide is outlining a possible criminal defense that is a time-honored tradition in Washington scandals: A busy official immersed in important duties cannot reasonably be expected to remember details of long-ago conversations.

Friday's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby alleges that as Cheney's chief of staff he lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, a nominee of President Bush in 2001.

Libby, who resigned as soon as the indictment was handed up, was operating amid "the hectic rush of issues and events at a busy time for our government," according to a statement released by his attorney, Joseph Tate.

"We are quite distressed the special counsel (Patrick Fitzgerald) has now sought to pursue alleged inconsistencies in Mr. Libby's recollection and those of others and to charge such inconsistencies as false statements," Tate continued.

"As lawyers, we recognize that a person's recollection and memory of events will not always match those of other people, particularly when they are asked to testify months after the events occurred."

The lack-of-memory defense has worked with varying degrees of success in controversies from Iran-Contra to Whitewater.

Only one person went to prison in the Iran-Contra affair, although several people pleaded guilty to making false statements. President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, were cleared in the Whitewater investigation of fraudulent land deals in Arkansas, a subject well-suited to a lack-of-memory defense. The land deals took place a decade before they came under criminal investigation.

Tate referred to another possible line of defense, saying that "for five years, through difficult times, Mr. Libby has done his best to serve our country." That argument worked in the administration of President George H.W. Bush in 1992, though not in court.

Bush pardoned those in government who had been implicated in the Iran-Contra criminal investigation. Among others, the pardons went to former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was scuttled.


Saturday

Sorry for the slacker posting. Worked late and was pretty wiped. This AM, Kate and I got up and decided to head over to the Durham Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, where they are giving away free mulch.

The city gives away compost and leaf mulch every Saturday during the month of October, so this was our last chance to load up. We lined the Focus wagon with a tarp, put in shovels, a bunch of plastic tubs and headed off. This is when I wish I had a pickup truck, since they have Bobcats to just pick up a load to fill your bed, or if you have a trailer. It's the only time I would really appreciate having a truck. Otherwise, a plain-jane station wagon is perfectly fine.

We actually got a lot, enough to line all the flower/shrub beds in our smallish yard. Anyway, that's what burned up the AM.

Now Kate's out mowing the lawn and I'm supposed to be designing some iron-ons to put on black shirts for our Halloween costumes. Our friend Kelly is giving a "superhero" theme party, and we're making up our own superheroes -- Supreme P (me) and Special K (the missus). Kate won't be going as a cereal box, and the origin of my "identity" is convoluted and has nothing to do with a superhero.



It's more of an inside joke about a ridiculous character in HBO's Oz, Kevin Ketchum, that called himself "Supreme Allah." (For Oz fans, the character was "convicted March 22, 2000. Murder in the second degree. Sentence: 25 years, up for parole in 10. Died due to allergic reaction to eggs.")

Since this guy had the balls to think of himself as a deity, I just figured I can call myself Supreme P, and reign over my domain. I think I was tired that night and clearly it was funny at the time...oh, never mind... Anyway, I need to create some logos to iron-onto T-shirts. We have capes already, and very strange wigs (I think mine is blue, hers is purple) with cat-like ears on them.

Below is from last year's 80s themed party. Lots of makeup, plastic jewelry, shoulder pads, and for Kate, Aqua Net.



Charles Rocket



Why am I posting about Charles Rocket? It's not like he's a standout, master comedic talent or A-list celeb. It's because, for me, his most memorable gig was his stint in several episodes of one of my favorite TV series, Moonlighting.

He played Richard Addison, David Addison's (Bruce Willis) deadbeat, smarmy, but charming brother. It was perfect casting; he had amazing comic timing and stole every scene he was in. His first appearance, in the episode "Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?" (September 1985) was so memorable that it was the first episode Tim and I watched when I got the Moonlighting DVD a couple of months ago.



Charlie Rocket
(real name: Charles Claverie) will probably best be remembered for uttering "f*ck" on live TV on Saturday Night Live during the 80-81 season, which was easily the worst period of the show. He hosted the Weekend Update. From the Wikipedia entry:
Unfortunately, Rocket would eventually doom both his and [jean] Doumanian's tenures on the show with one word. The February 21, 1981 episode hosted by Dallas star Charlene Tilton featured an ongoing joke in which different cast members would vow revenge on him for some reason, in a parody of the famed "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas. Rocket was then shot in the chest by a sniper in the final sketch. At the end of the show, there was some time to kill, so members of the cast appeared onstage with Tilton, who improvised and asked Rocket how he felt about being shot. A wheelchair-bound Charles audibly mumbled that he'd like to know "who the f___ did it," followed by the cast and audience reacting with shock and embarrassed laughter. The incident seemed to encapsulate all that was wrong with Saturday Night Live at the time, and both Rocket and Doumanian were soon fired (along with some of the writers and fellow cast member Gilbert Gottfried). New producer Dick Ebersol replaced most other cast members later.
His died on October 7. it was ruled a suicide -- he slit his throat. When you decide to leave this planet in such a horrifying way, you have to wonder where it all went wrong, what drove him to take this route, what pain could he have been in to do this. We'll never know, and it sounds like people that knew him didn't know either.

What a different path Charlie Rocket's career might have taken if that F-word incident had only occurred just a few years later, after NYPD Blue's bare behinds, Janet's booby flashing, Bono uttering the same word on live TV, and countless other incidents that make Rocket's F-bomb seem inconsequential.

There's a good profile in the Providence Phoenix on him.


Rove is still in the crosshairs

Friday, October 28, 2005


This could still happen, if Fitzgerald keeps the heat on. (Mike Tidmus)

Raw Story, as usual, has the breaking news on what's next on Fitzgerald's plate. He plans to expand the probe, and believes he can nab Rove on more serious charges.
In one of the boldest moves yet in the 22-month investigation into the outing of a covert CIA agent to a handful of top reporters covering the White House, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is extending his probe and pursuing much more serious charges against senior White House officials, specifically President Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, lawyers directly involved in the case told RAW STORY Friday.

While many people were left confused by news reports that said Rove wouldn't be indicted Friday, the lawyers said that Rove remains under intense scrutiny and added that Fitzgerald is betting on the fact that he can secure an indictment against Rove on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, the misuse of classified information, and possibly other charges, as early as next week.

“This investigation is not yet over,” one of the lawyers in the case said. “You must keep in mind that people like Mr. Rove are still under investigation. Rather than securing an indictment on perjury charges against Mr. Rove Mr. Fitzgerald strongly believes he can convince the grand jury that he broke other laws.”


Scooter Libby indicted on five counts, resigns



He scooted on out of there. Beautiful. (AP):
The vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation, a politically charged case that will throw a spotlight on President Bush's push to war.

Libby, 55, resigned and left the White House.

Karl Rove, Bush's closest adviser, escaped indictment Friday but remained under investigation, his legal status casting a dark cloud over a White House already in trouble. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq exceeded 2,000 this week, and the president's approval ratings are at the lowest point since he took office in 2001.

Friday's charges stemmed from a two-year investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into whether Rove, Libby or any other administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame or lied about their involvement to investigators.

Libby's indictment is a political embarrassment for the president, paving the way for a possible trial renewing the focus on the administration's faulty rationale for going to war against Iraq — the erroneous assertion that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

It could also mean that Cheney, who prizes secrecy, will be called upon as a witness to explain why the administration launched a campaign against Plame's husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, a critic of the war who questioned Bush's prewar assertion that Iraq had sought nuclear material.
Here is the indictment. PDF | MS Word



Summary:

One count obstruction of justice
Two counts of perjury
Two counts of making false statements

Lied to FBI agents: Oct 14 and Nov 26, 2003.
Committed perjury: Mar 5 and 24, 2004.
Impeded investigation by engaging in obstruction of justice.

John at AmericaBlog has more on the Fitzgerald press conference.


Fitzmas news conference at 2PM


The lying Scooter will be indicted; it sounds like Karl remains in the crosshairs but will not be swept up in this round.

[UPDATE: see Mike Tidmus's anticipatory art below.]

Patrick Fitzgerald will give a 2PM news conference to announce...something. Based on the CNN report, it sounds like Scooter Libby is going down, but no Turdblossom indictment. However, looking at the big picture, we're talking about the indictment of a high-level White House official, tied to this failed war in Iraq.
David Gergen, a former adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, told CNN's "Larry King Live" that indictments in the case could have an enormous impact on the Iraq war.

"Because if there are indictments, it will not only be people close to the president, the vice president of the United States, but they will raise questions about whether criminal acts were perpetrated to help get the country into war."
Folks might also want to keep an eye on the Office of Special Counsel web site. Reports say documents are to be posted at noon.

Also, I saw Ann Coulter on CNN a bit ago. Why they have to give that whack job air time, I don't know, but she's worried about the prospect of both an indictment and a continuation of an investigation into Karl Rove. She referred to it as "the worst case scenario." That alone makes it a pleasurable morning experience.

Unfortunately I won't be at my computer when the news breaks, so feel free to pass along updates in the comments.


Check out the rest of Mike's "Predictions" series.


Jolly Green Giant's voice falls silent



Another voice behind an icon of advertising passes away.
In 1959, Chicago singer Len Dresslar stepped into a Windy City recording studio and, in his deep baritone, sang three words for a commercial jingle that have echoed through the decades: "Ho, ho, ho."

Dresslar, who died of cancer Oct. 16 in the hospice of a Palm Springs hospital at 80, was the familiar, booming voice of the Jolly Green Giant.

The leaf-clad Jolly Green Giant has been acknowledged by Advertising Age magazine as one of the three most recognizable American advertising icons of the 20th century — after Tony the Tiger and the Marlboro Man.

Dresslar's melodic rendition of his famous line comes in the middle of the jingle "From the valley of the Jolly — ho, ho, ho — Green Giant."

"I'm the king of the minimalists," Dresslar told the Detroit Free Press in 1999. "I do 'Ho, ho, ho' — that's it."

He periodically re-recorded the "ho, ho, ho" for Green Giant commercials, most recently in 1999 when, after an eight-year hiatus, the Jolly Green Giant was reintroduced in regional TV test spots.
In May, the voice of Tony the Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft, left us.



Jeebus 'appears' on Rochester, NY tree


Some see face of Jesus in tree on North Clinton Ave. in Rochester, N.Y. (courtesy: WROC-TV)

What is wrong with people? And these numnuts can vote? I think we've identified part of that 30% that will cast a ballot for the Chimp no matter how corrupt or incompetent this Administration is. This is from, not surprisingly, WorldNetDaily:
Though the Bible does not give a detailed physical description of Jesus Christ, some people believe they're seeing an image of the Son of God on a silver maple tree in upstate New York.

"It's a sign from God that there should be peace," Maria Trinidad told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "There is a lot of crime here. People should have faith in God. This is God giving us a sign."

...The tree is situated on the front lawn of the Hickey-Freeman Co. clothing factory in Rochester's infamous "crescent," known for a high rate of crime.

"We can't physically see Jesus, so we only have signs," local resident Karen Marshall told the Democrat & Chronicle. "The only way we can know he's here is through signs. He's everywhere. You just have to have faith."
The article goes on to remind us of the "bathroom Jesus," a moldy door frame that was auctioned off for $2000.
As WorldNetDaily previously reported, people have been seeing what they believe is the image of Jesus' face in some odd places this year.



"Shower Jesus has been freed from the wall!" exclaimed Jeff Rigo of Pittsburgh, who offered on eBay "a section of plaster wall bearing the apparent face of the Son of God. No other items, promises, tidings, or guarantees are included."

Rigo was able to sell the holy water stain for $1,999, purchased by Internet casino GoldenPalace.com, the same company which cashed out $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich with an alleged image of the Virgin Mary.
There is more on a holy ham and cheese Jeebus sandwich, but I just couldn't take any more.


If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History...

Thursday, October 27, 2005



Spot-on site with lots of "screen shots" of what Faux News coverage of milestone events might have looked like.

Hat tip to our fave P'shop wizard, Mike Tidmus.




Short-list SCOTUS homophobes

365gay.com has added some information to the AP round-up of short-listers to replace Harriet Miers, and of course, the list is full of homo-bigots:
Janice Rogers Brown, 56, was confirmed in June to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after a bitter Senate battle and filibuster. Brown is an outspoken black Christian conservative who previously sat on the California Supreme Court. In 2003, she was the only justice on that court to rule against recognizing the right of gay Californians to legally adopt their children. Brown argued that allowing a gay parent to legally adopt the biological child of their partner "trivializes family bonds."

She also supports limits on abortion rights and corporate liability.

Priscilla Owen, 50, was confirmed in May for a seat on the 5th Circuit after a drawn-out Senate battle. Democrats argued that Owen let her political beliefs color her rulings. She has a long record of anti-gay rulings.

Alberto Gonzales, 50, is the U.S. Attorney General and former White House counsel. During his confirmation hearings for attorney general the American Civil Liberties Union said that Gonzales' White House office undertook the legal thinking behind Bush's decision to support the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban same-sex marriage and that he helped formulate the legal framework for it and for the president’s "faith-based initiative" which would allow faith groups to circumvent local laws which prevent discrimination against gay and lesbian workers.

Critics also contend a memo he wrote on treatment of terrorism detainees helped lead to abuses like those seen at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Conservatives have urged Bush not to nominate him.

Harvie Wilkinson, 60, currently sits on the 4th Circuit. He has been consistently conservative in his rulings since being put on the court by then-president Ronald Reagan in 1984. Wilkinson wrote the majority 4th Circuit opinion in 1996 upholding the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred gays serving in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.


CWA: Rising Crime Among Women Linked to Feminist Agenda

"It's the breaking away from traditional values -- the kind of lifestyle that has been proven through centuries to work best," Wright contends. "By throwing that away, what we're seeing is an increase in violence, an increase in the number of women who are pushed into activities that they may not have been otherwise."
-- Wendy Wright, executive president of CWA
I'm not sh*tting you. Concerned Women for America has blamed "radical feminism" for just about everything, but this takes the cake:
A spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America (CWA) says the recent upswing in arrests of women across the U.S. is a sad result of the breakdown of the family and the abandonment of traditional values in modern society.

A study released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics says the number of women incarcerated in federal and state prisons in 2004 rose four percent, double the increase among men. The study found that women are increasingly participating in drug crimes, violent crimes, and fraud.

Concerned Women for America's executive vice president, Wendy Wright, believes a link exists between the higher rate of women criminals and what she calls the feminist agenda, a movement away from traditional roles and relationships for women toward an emphasis on so-called female independence and empowerment.

The CWA official says the disheartening trend toward female criminal behavior is directly related to the promotion of "radical individualism," a concept that she asserts has been pushed by extreme feminists for decades and that "particularly targets women and says women should not be dependent on others."


Cheney, Libby withheld intel from Senate



How low can we go? More sleaze, more orange jumpsuits to sew...see Blogenfreude's post on Agitprop.


Mr. Sulu comes out

"The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."
-- George Takei, in Frontiers magazine
I thought that he was "family", but it's gratifying to see a Hollywood figure fling open the closet door as a statement of activism. As he notes below, he's been out to those that know him, but it's another matter to be out to fans and the general public.
Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek," came out as homosexual in the current issue of Frontiers, a biweekly Los Angeles magazine covering the gay and lesbian community.

Takei told The Associated Press on Thursday that his new onstage role as psychologist Martin Dysart in "Equus," helped inspire him to publicly discuss his sexuality.

...The current social and political climate also motivated Takei's disclosure, he said...The 68-year-old actor said he considers himself as "having been out for quite some time." Takei and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling shameful about his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation. "It's against basic decency and what American values stand for," he said.
I was a big fan of Star Trek:The Next Generation, and always wondered at that time why there were no gay characters on the program. In fact, I can think of only a handful of episodes that dealt with same-sex relationships at all, which is kind of sad. (The series ran from 1987-1994).

A good site on gay characters (or lack thereof) on the entire Trek series: Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Characters on Star Trek - a 12-year saga of deceit, lies, excuses and broken promises. A snippet on TNG:
Star Trek is notorious for its tentative treatment of sexuality, most notably in two episodes, "The Host" and "The Outcast," which operate in a twilight realm in which sexuality can only be hinted at, and in an ambiguous fashion at that. In "The Outcast," a member of an androgynous society falls in love with the male first officer and declares her desire to adopt a female gender identity; ultimately she is brainwashed by her own people into an acceptance of their enforced androgyny. This episode could be read, of course, as a reverse allegory of discrimination against gays and lesbians, but the fact that it is reversed (the character's rebellion consists of affirming heterosexuality) testifies to how careful Star Trek's creators are to maintain a level of deniability.

In addition, the androgynous species, presumably representative of gays and lesbians, turn out to be the bad guys, enforcing their "deviant" sexuality by means of brainwashing. In "The Host," the female chief medical officer falls in love with an apparent male, a member of a species known as the Trill, who is the host of a symbiont, a parasitical creature that coexists with willing humanoid hosts. When the symbiont is implanted into a female body, Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is unable to accept her lover. Again, this episode disappointed gay and lesbian fans in its suggestion that Crusher (frequently featured in lesbian slash stories) would be so restricted by her heterosexuality. As Henry Jenkins notes, these episodes "can be seen as similar plays with connotation, often threatened with being swamped by some larger, more 'universal' concern" than gender and sexuality.
Hat tip to Blender Donica for the pointer.


Daddy Dobson's glad Harriet's outta there



Whatever happened to Daddy Dobson's faith in this choice of Miers? After all, it was just last week that he was saying "I believe in trusting this president at this time," and that if he was wrong about the nomination, he would come before the microphone and "repent." I think I hear crickets chirping...
Focus on the Family Action founder and chairman Dr. James C. Dobson issued the following statement today in response to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw her name from consideration:

"I believe the president has made a wise decision in accepting Harriet Miers' withdrawal as a nominee to the Supreme Court.



"In recent days I have grown increasingly concerned about her conservative credentials, and I was dismayed to learn this week about her speech in 1993, in which she sounded pro-abortion themes, and expressed so much praise for left-wing feminist leaders.

"When the president announced this nominee, I expressed my tentative support, based on what I was able to discover about her. But I also said I would await the hearings to learn more about her judicial philosophy. Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy. Thankfully, that difficult evaluation is no longer necessary."


Nancy Goldstein on Swoopes coming out

Nancy's latest column on Raw Story is an excellent piece on the news about Sheryl Swoopes yesterday (my post here). A snippet:
It takes guts to come out in this world. Swoopes’ announcement makes her the most prominent team athlete to say that she’s gay in the history of modern American sports, the only one to do so while still at her peak — and the first African-American professional athlete to do so, period.

...The fact is that Swoopes’ bravery has the potential to cost her plenty in terms of her league’s support, her reputation, endorsements, professional future, and the love and admiration of her fans. For years now, the WNBA’s marketing strategy has read like a master plan for convincing parents that hoops won’t turn their little girls queer. There’s a very real possibility that now the league will choose to downplay what has previously been Swoopes’ fairly prominent role as a spokesperson. When Swoopes says that her “biggest concern is that people are going to look at my homosexuality and say to little girls — whether they’re white, black, Hispanic — that I can’t be their role model anymore,” her fears aren’t baseless.

Swoopes is taking a genuine risk with her earning potential and her professional future by coming out. She isn’t a male professional athlete with an eight-figure salary and lucrative endorsement deals. She plays for a league where even the top draft pick rookie maxes out at $50,000 per season, a few superstars make the top salary of $87,000, and the members of each year’s championship team earn a measly $10,000 bonus. And while many of the top WNBA players are retiring from the league into college coaching careers, none have done so as out lesbians in an environment where lesbian-baiting remains an issue.
Surf and read the rest...


Karl's concubine wants off that nasty ride


Karl's been porking lobbyist Karen Johnson, but she wants no more of it. Right: Karl measures up.

You just can't make this stuff up. Karl's mistress, lobbyist Karen Johnson is ready to boot him, seeing that he could be heading to a fitting for an orange jumpsuit soon. (Radar Magazine):
In July we reported on the very close relationship Johnson, a single, Austin-based lobbyist, has enjoyed with Rove since they met over a decade ago in Texas. But now that Rove’s White House tenure is looking increasingly shaky, friends are whispering that the forty-something lobbyist—who pulls in well over $1 million a year thanks to her administration connections—may be cooling toward the married presidential advisor.

"Everyone knows how close Karen is to Karl, but she’s sick of it," says a person familiar with the situation. Johnson’s disapproving family has long urged her to settle down with the improbably named Rhett Hard, a handsome ranch foreman whom Johnson has dated sporadically over the last few years. "Karen’s dream has always been to own a cattle ranch, and two years ago she bought Cinco de Mayo [the name of her Austin property] and hired Rhett to manage the place. They even joined the Cattleman’s Texas Longhorn Registry together."
Also see:
* Going below Rove's belt


The Freepers on Bush and Miers

Yes, it's time to see the reaction in the land of the Freepi. First, watch as they bow their heads and drag their knuckles in a prayer thread...
May God be with you, Harriet Miers, and bless you. You have made a courageous move for the good of the President and many others. May He in His glory guide your days, and may you remain in His love forever.

Lord please grant the wisdom of Solomon to our great President right now. Difficult times may be ahead, and he needs you as all men need God, and then some. Help him to make a wise decision on who to nominate, and guide this White House through times of turmoil. Be with them strongly, and remind them to seek you in all decisions always.

Protect George W. Bush from those who would harm him, from those who seeks his destruction for selfish purposes, and from those who would lie, cheat, steal, or kill to get twhat they seek.

Amen, Lord, Amen.
After that short interlude, they get down to the real moaning and griping...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Bring on Janice Rogers Brown!"

"I didn't like her nomination, but thought the president deserved to have his nominee have her day at the hearings. I think that the Concerned Women of America call to withdraw her nomination yesterday had a lot to do with this. They are a powerful group and held their fire for a long, long time to sift through the evidence. When they finally decided to not support her, they met with Dan Coats yesterday and explained their decision. Miers lost grassroot support. But I still believe she should have been given the opportunity to appear before the judicial committee."

"This nomination was no effort to "reach out to the conservatives." President Bush nominated an inadequate candidate with a terrible (to the extent it could be determined) background on a "trust me" basis. In the last 50 years we've had 8 "trust me" justices nominated by Republican Presidents and each has gone over to the dark side. Miers' record shows she'd have been no. 9. If Bush wants to restore his reputation as a straight shooter, he'll keep his promise and nominate a real originalist."

"I subcribe more to Frum's theory. That is, Roberts was for the base, and Miers was for him and his legacy, whatever that is. Giving presidents more independance in waging the terrorism war? Miers, IMO, was not meant for us. "

"I would not be surprised to see a nominee we like even less."

"That would more or less blow out of the water any argument that he's some sort of conservative who's bringing the movement into the modern context. It would reveal him to be a "centrist" or New Deal establishment type. ie. not a reformer of the status quo, but actually to the left of Bill Clinton."

"Right. If he nominates a strict constitutionalist/originalist then the conservative pundits will sing her praise, FoxNews will sing her praise and the WORST the libs/media can do is discount her positions - posititions the MAJORITY of Americans agree or would agree with. We're in a win/win position with a fight!"

"I agree. Although Miers was an unlikely choice for the Supremes, she should of been given a chance to prove herself one way or the other in the hearings. The president now has to deal from a position of weakness knowing that whomever he selects was not his first choice for the job. If he wasn't going to stand up for Miers he shouldn't have nominated her."

""But he (Gonzalez) has the same internal Administration documents problem that was the reason for Meirs' withdrawal. They have to pick someone not currently serving in the Administration.""

"EXCELLENT POINT."

"I didn't elect Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, or any other elite pundit snob to anything...I hope you people who felt like the President owed you something personally are happy. The combined chorus of your whining has run an honorable person out of town on a rail before she even had her chance at a fair hearing. I voted for George Bush to represent my interests as a Republican and to execute his duties as the POTUS. He did just that according to his judgment. I might not like all the decisions he makes, including his SCOTUS nominations, but he's our president and it's his call. If you don't like it, tough. We had our chance to oust him a year ago, and we didn't. The people's will is expressed at the ballot box, not in the op-ed section of the Washington Post. That's how the system is supposed to work."

"Well, you may get your way, and watch the liberals take the congress back.. I am truly afraid that this attitude will get us back to another 8-12 years of Liberals controlling everything, some of you folks are either so spoiled, or so near sighed or too young to remember when every bill that passed was a socialist mandate.. Interesting times ahead fir sur.."

"you're right, it is worth fighting for, but if you do not have to go looking for confrontation. My objection to Harriet Miers is that there are many other far more qualified candidates. There are very conservative candidates that are highly qualified that can be confirmed without things going nuclear. That is the path Bush needs to take now."

"He might want to nominate Gonzalez--but Gonzalez will have exactly the same problem as Miers, if the "access to confidential White House documents" is really the reason (or even the "reasonable" excuse) for her withdrawal."

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents..."

"Bullshit! What IS clear is that senators rightly would not be staisfied until they had SOME small indication that Miers had at least some semblance of qualification for what is arguably one of the most important jobs in our federal government."

"I trust President Bush! Something I have done for 13 years since he has been in the political arena."

"I don't really care what you think."

"You've nailed it. This withdrawl makes nomination of internal administration "trust me" cronies impossible."

"After the shameful treatment of Miers, the table has been set for an all-out borking of any controversial nominee -- by either side. I can't imagine a dignified public servant who would be willing to go through that now that civility has been destroyed again. At least Gonzalez has been up for this before and would have some defense against it for that reason."

"No one assassinated her CHARACTER; it was her qualifications or the lack thereof. Have a nice day!"

"YOU my friend are wrong. Ann Coulter said Ms. Miers was nothing more than a highly over paid secretary, she said she was like having the cleaning lady sent to S.C. Many of us were turned off by the demands of the likes of Ann Coulter. I will have a good day, but find it a shame that people in my own party can be so turn coat and so demanding in their own temper tantrums."

"Actually, I supported her until yesterday. I heard about the speeches and since I'm a female attorney, I know the culture of the women's bar associations (I won't belong). The trouble is, it is near impossible to become a judge without sucking up to this power group so a conservative woman (I know, why a woman but politically it may be necessary) will be hard to find. BTW, the IOLTA trust account flap was totally bogus. Freepmail if you want to know why."

"IF the President nominates a clear "strict" justice with an equally clear record, and IF the President and all (or nearly all) of the Republicans unify to fight for her when the Democrats try to destroy him/her, then WE WIN. But those are two big IFs."

"I hope everyone will exercise a little restraint in their comments over the few days, but I know that's just wishful thinking. This is no time for gloating by Miers' opponents nor recriminations from her supporters. The fate of the US Constitution and the continued survival of the Republic is literally hanging in the balance pending the next series of moves by President Bush and our other leaders. What is needed right now is prayer and thoughtful reflection, not partisan fireworks."

"Then you are in the minority. They are still delusional that Rov v Wade can ever be overturned and are letting this cloud their minds."

"Note to Bush...one name above all: Kenneth Starr"


No wonder he's laughing: ExxonMobil posts record profit


Cha-Ching! Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and CEO Lee Raymond laughs at you. (AP).

Your wallet may be lighter, but Exxon Mobil posts a new record for profit.
Exxon Mobil Corp. had a quarter for the record books. The world's largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday high oil and natural-gas prices helped its third-quarter profit surge almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a U.S. company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales.

Net income ballooned to $9.92 billion, or $1.58 per share, from $5.68 billion, or 88 cents per share, a year ago.


Breaking: Harriet withdraws

[UPDATE: text of her withdrawal letter added.]

The wingers took her out, though that first questionnaire gave both the left and the right enough ammo to make hearings a complete disaster for the Admin. Earlier this AM they were talking about the submission of her "do-over" questionnaire, but I guess she won't need to crib anymore. Next up: the Chimp is going to probably push one of the Right's shining stars of AmTalibannery. (AP):
Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."
Here's the letter sent to the Chimp from Harriet withdrawing her nomination to the Supreme Court, my emphasis:
Oct. 27, 2005

Dear Mr. President:

I write to withdraw as a nominee to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I have been greatly honored and humbled by the confidence that you have shown in me, and have appreciated immensely your support and the support of many others. However, I am concerned that the confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country.

As you know, members of the Senate have indicated their intention to seek documents about my service in the White House in order to judge whether to support me. I have been informed repeatedly that in lieu of records, I would be expected to testify about my service in the White House to demonstrate my experience and judicial philosophy. While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue.

As I stated in my acceptance remarks in the Oval Office, the strength and independence of our three branches of government are critical to the continued success of this great Nation. Repeatedly in the course of the process of confirmation for nominees for other positions, I have steadfastly maintained that the independence of the Executive Branch be preserved and its confidential documents and information not be released to further a confirmation process. I feel compelled to adhere to this position, especially related to my own nomination. Protection of the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation are in tension. I have decided that seeking my confirmation should yield.

I share your commitment to appointing judges with a conservative judicial philosophy, and I look forward to continuing to support your efforts to provide the American people judges who will interpret the law, not make it. I am most grateful for the opportunity to have served your Administration and this country.

Most respectfully,

Harriet Ellan Miers
Basically, the cover story is that the prying eyes of the Judiciary Committee about her service in the White House to demonstrate her "experience and judicial philosophy" is what tanked this. How laughable.

Given her thin credentials and ludicrous initial questionnaire (see: Harriet doesn't know how to fill out the form), what else could the committee rely on to find out more about her? In blindly following her Chimperor's wishes to serve him, she neglected to understand that he's not above throwing others to the wolves in order to save his ass, and with Karl focusing on his own rear-end, she was left to twist in the wind, wholly unqualified (and unsupported by the goons in the WH) to handle this. Cya!

Check out The Heretik for a roundup of blog reaction.


What North Carolina thinks about gay civil rights



The Common Sense Foundation, a non-partisan public policy organization, has released the results from a study that shows residents of the Tar Heel State believe that gay, lesbian, and transgender people deserve equal treatment under the law - a far cry from this Red State's reputation outside its boundaries.

You'll recall that North Carolina was the only state in the Southeast that faced an anti-gay marriage amendment and halted it in committee in the legislature, even with a plethora of wingnuts pushing it hard. The results of this survey indicates much more progressive thinking than I imagined existed outside the Triangle, though it's clear people are struggling with civil equality in adoption and marriage.

Some of the findings in "Liberty and Justice for All: A Study of Issues Affecting the LGBT Community in North Carolina" :
Do you believe all North Carolinians should have equal rights under the law regardless of sexual orientation?
73% said yes
18% said no
8% had no opinion

Do you think it's fair for an employer to discriminate against an employee based solely on his or her Sexual Orientation?
57% said no
19% said yes
24% had no opinion

Do you think it's fair for a landlord to deny housing to a tenant based solely on Sexual Orientation?
69% said no
23% said yes
8% had no opinion

Do you think it is fair to define marriage in such a way that it excludes same-sex couples?
51% said no
39% said yes
10% had no opinion

When a relative or loved one is sick and hospitalized, same-sex couples can legally be denied visitation rights. Do you think this is fair?
56% favor same-sex visitation rights
34% oppose same-sex visitation rights
10% have no opinion

Currently, same-sex couples are not legally entitled to coverage under their partner's employee health plan even though heterosexual couples are entitled to this coverage.
35% believe this is unfair
59% believe this is fair
5% have no opinion
The following responses show the complete disconnect of the perceptions and feelings about general civil equality for GLBT citizens from the specific situations of marriage and adoption. This is clearly where work needs to be done to educate and inform.
Do you believe same-sex couples should be treated the same under the law as heterosexual couples when it comes to adopting children?
39% favor equal treatment
54% believe the state can discriminate
7% have no opinion

As long as marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman, many individuals will be denied the right to hospital visitation, adoption, and may have to forego medical treatment themselves because they are not entitled to benefits under their partner's health plan. On further reflection, Do you think defining marriage in this way is fair?

12% believe this is unfair
54% believe this is fair
34% are unsure

On September 27th and 28th, 2005, Public Policy Polling conducted this telephone survey with a random sample of 25,000 voters in North Carolina. The results of this survey are weighted by gender to reflect the makeup of the original sample. While the number of responses varies per question, the minimum number for any single question was 770. The margin of error is therefore plus or minus 4%.
The victory in keeping the marriage amendment off the ballot in North Carolina is underscored by these findings. As long as the passage of such a measure is perceived as a benign affirmation of the "man-woman" institution, we have to be vigilant to keep an amendment from landing on the ballot. Our time and effort should be placed on coming out, speaking about our lives and letting our neighbors in this state know that civil equality for gays and lesbians poses no threat to their rights or liberties -- or their families.

On the matter of adoption, I wish the polling had included a question about fostering, which has often resulted in a "split vote." There are many gay and lesbian foster parents that take in and care for children in the system. States that had no trouble passing a marriage amendment or anti-adoption measures have left the foster system untouched, simply because of the desperate need for qualified adults to care for the explosion of kids in the system.

When the chips are down, gay is OK. It's hypocrisy at its height, and this discrepancy should be used early and often when debate over "rights" are concerned. It's a children's rights issue that qualified foster parents -- gay or straight -- are urgently needed, and if a state feels gay people can foster children, there should be no restriction on adoption for those same children in need if they are placed in a loving home, regardless of the adult's orientation.

You can read the report here (PDF).

Hat tip to Coturnix and BlueNC.


Concerned Women for America drop-kicks Harriet

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


The lightly embalmed Beverley LaHaye, Wright and LaRue bleat away.
"We'd prefer to have someone fond of quoting Margaret Thatcher or Antonin Scalia rather than Barbra Streisand and Gloria Steinem. Some of Miss Miers' own comments border on male-bashing. The record we know is a record that convinces us that Miers is not even close to being in the mold of Scalia or Thomas, as the President promised the American people."
--Jan LaRue, giving the Chimpy a wedgie on Miers
Harriet's nomination is toast. In the opinion of the CWA nut cases, every time Miers quotes or cites women she admires, they're to the left of Betty Freidan.
Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation's largest public policy women's organization, is calling for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' name to be withdrawn.

..."Harriet Miers has shown respect for Christian values by attending an Evangelical church. But her professional and civic life leaves us questioning whether she chooses to reflect and advance the views of the group she's with at the moment. Though she attends an Evangelical church known for its pro-life position, during the same time period she advanced radical feminists and organizations that promote agendas that undermine respect for life and family," said Wendy Wright. "This drives us to rely upon her actions, her deeds, her words as opposed to the endorsements of those who have worked with and known her.

"We believe that far better qualified candidates were overlooked and that Miss Miers' record fails to answer our questions about her qualifications and constitutional philosophy," said Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel. "In fact, we find several aspects troubling, particularly her views on abortion and a woman's ‘self-determination,' quotas, feminism and the role of judges as social activists. We do not believe that our concerns will be satisfied during her hearing."


McDonald's to label their products with nutritional info


Ever since the first obesity-related lawsuit came out against the fast-food industry, all I've ever asked is that they label their packaging with the nutritional information, just like grocery stores have to do on a can of green beans. (See 'Cheeseburger bill' puts bite on lawsuits and The Commonsense Consumption Act.)
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Make it a burger, fries and nutritional information to go.

Seeking to counter charges that its food is unhealthy and contributes to obesity, McDonald's Corp. announced Tuesday that it will display nutrition facts on the packaging for most of its menu items next year.

Patrons of the world's largest restaurant company will be able to learn the amount of calories and fat, among other information, in a McDonald's product by looking at the wrapper instead of having to go to its Web site or ask for it at the counter.

The fast-food industry has been under pressure from consumer groups and the government to provide more nutritional information about its food. McDonald's and others had previously made calorie count brochures available, resisting calls to do more.

In announcing the latest push to improve its image on health issues, McDonald's said it demonstrates its commitment to promoting balanced, active lifestyles. CEO Jim Skinner also said the move responds to demand by customers, not consumer groups.

"We've communicated with our customers for more than 30 years now about our food" ingredients, he said in an interview at the McDonald's flagship restaurant in downtown Chicago, Illinois. "This was a way for us to close that loop and provide them with an easy way to understand the nutrition information in the food that they're eating."
In my many discussions on this issue, someone always brings up the little mom-and-pop fast-food joint and complains how the costs of labelling would hurt them. It's a valid point, and it's why I'm glad McDonald's chose to do this voluntarily rather than wait for some legislation that would force them to do so, but also perhaps economically doom many of the smaller businesses in the industry.

For a mega-corporation with deep pockets like McDonald's, though, the move makes perfect sense. They talk a good talk about promoting health issues, but it's really about the money and their fear of being hit with some Big-Tobacco-like judgement and damages. By labeling their product, they are just pre-emptively dodging that possibility. Can't blame McDonald's for your obesity when the Big Mac wrapper plainly says "This item will make you chubby" (or statistics to that effect).


You Buckeyes ready for TomKat?



Holly (in Cincinnati) sent me this one, since she's probably dreading the possibility of this vortex of "fame" heading that way. The rumor mill is brewing that the "couple" is buying a house in the state to be near her family. I don't think this is going to happen. (Toledo Blade):
The final truth about whether Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are buying a house in Ottawa Hills will elude us a little longer.

The closing date for the house in question — a 23-room mansion on Ridgewood Road with a nearly $1.5 million asking price — was pushed back from yesterday but should happen very soon, according to Nancy Lohman, of RE/MAX Preferred Associates. She said only that the sale is to an out-of-town buyer.


White House Reinstates Davis-Bacon Act for Katrina Rebuilding


One of the first things Bush did in response to the Gulf Coast devastation from Katrina was to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act for construction and rebuilding. The Act mandates that all companies receiving government contracts must pay the prevailing wage in the area for their labor. Bush wanted it suspended so companies like Halliburton that are handling the rebuilding could pay less than the average wage scale to the workers they hired.

Thankfully, Democratic Representative George Miller of California led a united Democratic front to pressure the president into reinstating the Act. Families hard hit by Katrina, they argued, are the ones most needing the protection of the Act. Not only should local residents be helped with the income from rebuilding and construction jobs, but that income shouldn't be unfairly reduced just so Halliburton can make another record profit off of the taxpayer's dime.

Because of the pressure, Bush has reinstated the Davis-Bacon Act. Here's more from Labor Blog:
Bowing to pressure from a united Democratic front, a small group of members of his own party, the religious community, and the labor movement, President Bush announced today he would reverse the decision he made in September to remove wage protections for construction workers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

After Katrina, the President suspended the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the prevailing wage to construction workers in a local area. The president's action, which was widely denounced, followed requests from right-wing activists and Republican members of Congress who exploited Katrina to achieve a long-sought ideological agenda item.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, led the effort in the House to force Bush to rescind his Gulf Coast wage cut.

"President Bush finally realized that his Gulf Coast wage cut was a bad idea that hurt the workers and their families affected by Katrina," said Miller. "But let me be clear - the President is backing down today only because he had no other choice.

"The President's wage cut was just another example of his incompetence as a leader in a time of crisis and of his constant need reward the private agenda's of his special special-interest friends rather than attend to the needs of all the people affected by this storm."

The President's wage cut was facing a congressional showdown as early as next week because of a Joint Resolution Miller recently introduced that would have forced the House to vote by early November on whether or not to allow the wage cut to stand. Miller said that Democratic action - coupled with pressure from some members of the President's own party - left the President no option but to reverse his own mistake.

Miller said that until the President formally issues a proclamation reversing the Gulf Coast wage cut, he will closely monitor the situation, and remains prepared for a vote on his Joint Resolution if necessary.

Miller also said that the Bush Administration has taken other actions that undermine Gulf Coast workers - actions that it should also reverse. These include suspending affirmative action requirements and safety standards for truck drivers.

"Americans deserve a lot better than the failed leadership our President has shown in the Gulf Coast," Miller said.
Well said.


Hey, you know what, you're right! The emperor IS naked!


It's getting harder and harder for the Bush maladministration to fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. It's nice to see the public opinion swing around to what us progressives have known for five years: this administration is so filled with crooks and liars that it's giving Richard Nixon a hard-on in his grave.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Only one in 10 Americans said they believe Bush administration officials did nothing illegal or unethical in connection with the leaking of a CIA operative's identity, according to a national poll released Tuesday.

Thirty-nine percent said some administration officials acted illegally in the matter, in which the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, was revealed.

The same percentage of respondents in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll said administration officials acted unethically, but did nothing illegal.

The poll was split nearly evenly on what respondents thought of Bush officials' ethical standards -- 51 percent saying they were excellent or good and 48 percent saying they were not good or poor.

The figures represent a marked shift from a 2002 survey in which nearly three-quarters said the standards were excellent or good and only 23 percent said they were fair or poor.


Brownie bullsh*t


FEMA Extends Brown's Contract by 30 Days. Big f*cking brass balls in this Administration. I guess that is paired with tone-deaf judgment 100% of the time. (NYT):
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Wednesday defended FEMA's decision to extend former director Michael Brown's post-resignation employment by another 30 days.

"It's important to allow the new people who have the responsibility ... to have access to the information we need to do better," Chertoff told The Associated Press as he flew to view Hurricane Wilma's damage in Florida.

"We don't want to sacrifice the real ability to get a full picture of Mike's experiences; we don't want to sacrifice that ability simply in order to make an image point," Chertoff said.

...Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., whose coastal district was among the hardest hit by Katrina, said the contract extension is an insult to taxpayers, particularly those Gulf Coast residents "whose lives were in danger in the aftermath of that storm because of Mike Brown's incompetence."

"I've got tens of thousands of people living in two-man igloo tents tonight, and less than a quarter of the people who have asked for FEMA travel trailers have gotten them," Taylor said. "And at the same time they can find $140,000 a year to pay this incompetent son of a gun; that's ridiculous."
Other Brownie items:
* Brownie rehired by FEMA as 'consultant'
* Balls or dumb*ss -- 'Brownie' already shopping resume
* FEMA's 'Brownie': king of the padded resume
* Please let this be true - Brownie behind Enquirer story (Bush is drinking again)


Caption this


Actual AFP caption: New questions over Vice President Dick Cheney's alleged role in a CIA leak scandal bombarded the White House as it braced for a special prosecutor to decide whether to indict trusted Bush administration aides.(AFP/File/Jim Watson)


Get me some more of those black bucks

Every so often, it seems like some sports coach or broadcaster has one of those blast-from-the-past brain farts of racism and stupidity that just boggles the mind. Let's call it a romantic notion of the big, black, fast buck that just mesmerizes some people, especially when it comes to sports.

The latest bit of reality-based sports analysis is from Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry. I've not heard of the guy, but apparently this isn't the first time he's gone off the deep end. He thinks his winning record is due to all the darkies and their innate physical -- perhaps even magical -- gifts.
Coming off a 48-10 loss Saturday to the Horned Frogs, DeBerry was quoted as saying at a Tuesday news conference: "It's very obvious to me the other day that the other team had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did. It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well.

"Their defense had 11 Afro-American kids on their team, and they were a very, very good defensive football team. That's exactly what I was talking about."

DeBerry mentioned Monday that the academy needed to recruit more minority athletes than its opponents.
Earlier entertaining implosions of this kind that I can recall spewed from the mouths of sportscaster Jimmy the Greek and former Dodger exec Al Campanis. These are two guys that famously said, on the air, unbelievable comments that they proceeded to compound with even more mind-blowing defenses in the same breath.
"(Blacks) may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager."
-- former Dodger general manager Al Campanis in 1987 on ABC's "Nightline"
I was watching Nightline when Campanis had his live meltdown. Poor Ted Koppel tried asking him eight different ways to get out of the hole, but it got worse each time. I was embarrassed for the guy.

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



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

Ecclestone's chauvinist nonsense to Danica Patrick, who he was allegedly congratulating on her performance at the Indianapolis 500:
Among the comments Ecclestone made in the interview and to Patrick was: "Women should be all dressed in white like all other domestic appliances."

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

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

"What I was trying to say was that I've been completely wrong about women race-car drivers," Ecclestone said. "I was so impressed with the way she had driven, because I always thought women couldn't drive and should be in the kitchen with the other domestic appliances. I was surprised at the job she did and I was happy for her."
Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


Wal-mart tries to rehab its rep, then f*cks that up

The behemoth retailer (and contributor to DeLay defense fund) was feeling the pain from all the bad PR about off-the-clock workers and discrimination lawsuits. The arm was further twisted because of the fact that the wages are so poor and so many of the positions part-time that it ensured "health care" amounted to employees using the ER as "primary care." Less than 45% of Wal-mart's workers have health insurance.

The solution: develop a low-cost health care plan for employees. Wal-mart's cheaper plan includes premiums that would cost as low as $11. Good PR, right? Look at this, from the Arkansas Daily Blog, via the good folks at Facing South:
The company deserves points for trying. But ... it's not going to do much for a low-wage family.

First there's a $1,000 deductible to satisfy before you get any coverage ... Then there's $65 a month for family coverage or $780 a year. [the "$11 premium" will only be availble "in some areas.] So a poor family eking by on minimum wage is out, at a minimum, $1,780 a year before it gets any coverage under the Wal-Mart plan and then it still has co-pays.
Unfortunately, even whatever little bit of positive spin left in that initiative is further undone by a little board memo that surfaced, in today's NYT:
An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.

To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

...One proposal would reduce the amount of time, from two years to one, that part-time employees would have to wait before qualifying for health insurance. Another would put health clinics in stores, in part to reduce expensive employee visits to emergency rooms. Wal-Mart's benefit costs jumped to $4.2 billion last year, from $2.8 billion three years earlier, causing concern within the company because benefits represented an increasing share of sales. Last year, Wal-Mart earned $10.5 billion on sales of $285 billion.
Watch for falling prices indeed.

Thanks to Blender Laura for the pointer.


WNBA star comes out


Swoopes poses with the WNBA Most Valuable Player award after receiving the honor for the third time during a news conference in Sacramento, CA.< (AP)
"Being gay has nothing to do with the three gold medals or the three MVPs or the four championships I've won. I'm still the same person. I'm Sheryl."
-- Sheryl Swoopes on coming out, concerned that this could jeopardize her status as a role model.
You know, it's sad when coming out for a sports figure is feared as more damaging than say, steroid abuse (and lying about it), but here's a sports figure that is willing to take the heat and be who she is in this political climate.

The subtle and not-so-subtle lesbian-bashing and loss of endorsements prevents many women from declaring that they are gay. But Sheryl Swoopes is tired of playing the hetero image game. Thank you. (AP):
Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes is opening up about being a lesbian, telling a magazine that she's "tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about."

Swoopes, honored last month as the WNBA's Most Valuable Player, told ESPN The Magazine for a story on newsstands Wednesday that she didn't always know she was gay and fears that coming out could jeopardize her status as a role model.

"Do I think I was born this way? No," Swoopes said. "And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are."

Swoopes, who was married and has an 8-year-old son, said her 1999 divorce "wasn't because I'm gay." She said her reason for coming out now is merely because she wants to be honest.

"It's not something that I want to throw in people's faces. I'm just at a point in my life where I'm tired of having to pretend to be somebody I'm not," the 34-year-old Swoopes said. "I'm tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about. About the person I love."
Who wouldn't find Swoopes a wonderful role model of excellence in sports with an image untarnished by scandal.
A five-time All-Star and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Swoopes is the WNBA's only three-time MVP. She played for the Comets during their run of four championships from 1997-2000, but missed the 2001 season with a knee injury.

...Swoopes led the WNBA in scoring last year, averaging 18.6 points. She also averaged 4.3 assists and 2.65 steals while making 85 percent of her free throws and playing a league-high 37.1 minutes a game.
You can also read more about the Swoopes story on Outsports, Swoopes: The New Martina. Here's a snippet by Cyd Zeigler that rings so true.
While she is the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, she, of course, is not Michael Jordan. If Air Jordan himself was gay and came out of the closet, the impact would creep into every household in America and would be felt around the world. Given the place of women's sports in our culture, Swoopes' declaration won't have quite that impact. What it will do, though, is take the conversation about gays in sports to the next level. Despite the protests of many that an American professional sports team can't operate with an openly gay player, Swoopes' Comets will get the chance to prove all of those people wrong next summer.

For that matter, Swoopes' timing couldn't have been better. Many have said the "media circus" that would erupt around an active player coming out would be detrimental to their team. Swoopes' timing makes playing with her team the final act of the show, not the main event, with the season still over seven months away. And besides, Air Swoopes attracts significant media attention anyway; a couple more reporters asking for comments from her partner wouldn't be any more of a distraction.

The most important impact of her coming out will be felt in the high schools and the colleges of this country. Homophobia lurks in the locker rooms of most institutions; it's no different for the women than the men.
This is spot-on, especially in the light of the lesbian-baiting by Penn State coach Rene Portland, which I posted about recently (Gay-baiting coach needs to zip it). Outsports bring this up as well.
The last few weeks have seen the emergence of one of these stories. Penn State head women's basketball coach Rene Portland has a long history of anti-lesbian policy on her basketball team, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. NCLR has recently brought complaints against Portland, who is accused of kicking a star player off her team in the last couple of years because the player is a lesbian, and is prepared to file a lawsuit against her and/or the University if something isn't done about it. NCLR sports guru Helen Carroll, a former collegiate head basketball coach, has told me many stories about anti-lesbian collegiate coaches and "negative recruiting," in which a coach will tell recruits that a competing program is a "lesbian program."

Hopefully, what these coaches and programs will start to realize is that they may be scaring off the next Sheryl Swoopes.
Surf over to more Outsports coverage, Sheryl Swoopes Comes Out and this earlier Blend post on women in sports, Women, sports and sexism - has anything changed? A snippet:
It's like stepping back in time...to the days of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s and 50s (romanticized in the entertaining Penny Marshall flick A League of Their Own). The "girls" were professionally groomed, sent to charm school and expected to be a lady. From the charm school guide:
You should be the best judge of your own beauty requirements. Keep your own kit replenished with the things you need for your own toilette and your beauty culture and care. Remember the skin, the hair, the teeth and the eyes. It is most desirable in your own interests, that of your teammates and fellow players, as well as from the standpoint of the public relations of the league that each girl be at all times presentable and attractive, whether on the playing field or at leisure. Study your own beauty culture possibilities and without overdoing your beauty treatment at the risk of attaining gaudiness, practice the little measure that will reflect well on your appearance and personality as a real All American girl.
These young women, some of them lesbian, were allowed to play pro baseball - but all of them were forced to present a feminine image to the crowd, to assure that only heterosexual energy was radiating on the field.
Thanks to Blender Janean for the pointer.


Mary Cheney goes to work for AO-Hell

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Mary and partner Heather Poe.

I feel sleazy even posting about this woman. She just makes me sick. Note that by taking a marketing position at AOL, she and her partner Heather Poe are entitled to same-sex spousal equivalent benefits, something she cannot get working for her father Darth in the federal government. Will she have a public comment on that? (Advocate):
After stumping for her father’s vice presidential campaign last year, Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney, has returned to the private sector with a content programming position at AOL. Cheney will be working under AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, who leads the company’s Audience Business, a marketing division of the Internet behemoth that seeks to grow AOL’s Internet audience via Web-based programming and products such as MapQuest.com and MovieFone.com.

"AOL is thrilled that Mary Cheney is joining us in a position where she'll be reporting to Ted Leonsis," AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham told Advocate.com.

AOL is owned by the world’s largest media company, Time Warner, known for gay-friendly practices. Time Warner offers workplace protections for gay and lesbian employees as well as providing benefits for same-sex domestic partners equal to those for heterosexual married couple.
The article also mentions the million-dollar advance from Simon and Schuster for her certain-to-be white-washed "memoirs" about life on the campaign trail in 2004. I posted about that nonsense here.


Dear Abby rocks again

Back in August, a Dear Abby column took on a reader that was offended by the hanging of a rainbow flag by a neighbor, and Abby put them in their place. Now we have a lesbian couple that is dealing with fundies offended by their definition of a family. Abby comes through again.
Dear Abby:

I am a 35-year-old lesbian. I have a wonderful partner and we have an amazing 10-year-old son. My problem is, we seem to offend people when we refer to ourselves as a "family." I have had people correct me, sometimes even suggesting that I refer to my family as "my friend and my son" or "my friend and her son" (depending on who they think is the biological mother).

Abby, this woman is more than my friend. She's my partner, my life mate, my support and my co-parent. We try to be sensitive to people's beliefs and not call each other "wife" or refer to our union as a "marriage," but how far do we have to take this?

We aren't "in your face" with our lifestyle, but to deny our partnership is to deny our son his family. We generally refer to each other as "my partner," which I think is an inoffensive term, but even that can send some people into a snit.

How should we handle people who want to redefine us? Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge that, untraditional though we may be, we are a family?

Trying Not To Offend in Texas

Dear Trying Not To Offend:

Forgive me if this seems negative, but some people are so rooted in their fundamentalist ideology that they cannot and will not change. The way to handle people who want to force you into their mold is to avoid them. You'll be happier, and so will they.
As I mentioned the last time around, the original Abigail Van Buren, Pauline Esther Friedman, is alive but the column is now handled by her daughter Jeanne Phillips.


Freaks

[UPDATE: a new one came in the mailbag this AM, for your entertainment, and I reposted the infamous "Bevis" email...]

Before I move on to the topic at hand, thank you to Russ for posting some great stuff while I was out of town. He provided most excellent service behind the coffee bar. Did you enjoy his green-tinted biscotti? ;) Blenders keep the email coming even when I'm away, so I'm just getting through a really full mailbox.

I almost got hung up on the flight delays up in NJ from Wilma remnants, but thankfully our flight was not cancelled.


***

Freak zone...

This letter, from some little redneck named "Samuel" writing from tiny Clyde, NC. He clearly has a sheet in his closet, and is suffering from a lack of self-esteem. It's about a post from the Blend early in September, Klan protests gathering of Methodists in NC. The Methodists met to discuss whether to include openly gay clergy and the article noted that the Klan only managed to find 20 people to show up in opposition.

I guess that set our little Blender Bigot off, because he's frothing at the mouth...
Hey Hypocrite, Just thought I would drop you a line and tell you I am from Clyde, NC where the Methodists held their little fag rally and I was there and you didnt even confront the KKK. Your comments on the event is absolutly wrong by saying you faced down the KKK. Wonder how you will face the Lord when He judges you for your sinful life under the disguise of Christianity. Break God's Law and you will pay.
Nowhere in my post do I say I was there, though perhaps he was using the collective "you" as in "you homos" in his missive. Who knows.

***

This is one that came in this AM (Wed), from "Steve"; I get variations on this theme all the time. My first thought is, why are they even reading my blog? What, pray tell, do they get out of reading it?
What will you do when you meet God to be judged for your sexually perverted lifestyle?

Is your eternal life in heaven worth losing?

If you do not believe in God's word or God and are left with your own imagination to guide your morality, do you ever think that you may be wrong?

Are you prepared for the eternal consequence?

Steve
***

And for newer readers, this is the classic "fan" email that regular Blenders know and love. It was sent to me and Shakespeare's Sister as we co-moderate Big Brass Blog. When this missive hit our inboxes, we knew that we had to share.
Subject: In you'r World
From: "joe"
Date: Tue, July 26, 2005 3:36 pm
To: mail at bigbrassblog
It sure seems to me You're World has to much Prozac,Pot ,and Crack.I my self cannot understand how anyone with a half of a brain,could believe some shmuck,who just sits reed's and regurgitates,what he read,after milling it around in a drug,clouded half of a mind,why do you think an anyone would believe you. At least the News Media has a structure,they do not print obvious lies,think it's called integrity??.They have others who monitor their news,for truth,and will call them on it,like Dan Rather,who monitors yours Bevis ?? Just thought I would drop you a line,so the rest of your life is not wasted
***



Al Franken was on David Letterman talking about politics (Al's new book is out, The Truth (with jokes), which is on my wish list), and there was a discussion about it on the right-wing site Newsbusters (allegedly "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias").

Get a load of this comment by someone named "Keith," whose profile says he is "an American of African descent. I live and work under a stage name in Hollywood where I am a mildly successful character actor." It is beyond the pale. It is another sorry case of unhinged wingnut Kool-Aid drinking (thanks for the pointer, Fritz). Try not to laugh...
The thinkers? There are no liberal thinkers. You people are idiots deceived by Satan. Notice how you love Halloween? That's your condemned nature rising up. Let's see, the "academics" and "media" intellects you site believe in Baby Killing and Sodomy, yet they are "enlightened".

Instead of ridiculing conservatives, you should be realizing that your entire liberal philosophy is bullshit based on lies. Here are some of the things that your academics and media elites believe, showing how truly stupid you people are in the face of my genius. My I.Q. is 187 one of the highest ever recorded. I don't put much stock in it since as a child I posited the theory, since proven, that the IQ test simply measured aptitude. However, whether you like the numbers or not, I'm certainly smarter than any liberal. The proof of that is in the list below. Look at the things you stupid liberals believe, when you awaken before the judgement seat of Christ, don't act like you weren't told how wrong you are!

TO BE A DUMB ASSED LIBERAL YOU MUST FIRST BELIEVE.........

1. A BABY IS NOT A HUMAN BEING, (this of course overlooks the fact that it has it's own DNA sequence separate from that of the mother and has a heart, lungs, fingers and toes at four weeks old and if it isn't human what is it, a camel?). You actually believe this because liberals are too stupid to understand that the word "fetus" is an artificial designation. You don't even get that do you? God didn't divide the stages of human developement into sections, humans did. That thing you're sitting on isn 't really a chair, idiot, we just call it that, other languages use different words to describe the same thing. The artificial designation, "chair" is okay as long as you don't prescribe an artificial value to it. If you call what exists in a womans womb a "fetus" for the purposes of common identification, that's fine, but if you assign a value, an assessment of the "worth" of the fetus, based on an artificial designation, you are a fool. A "fetus" is simply the earliest form of human developement, only a child of satan like yourself would value that as "less than".

2. PEOPLE ARE BORN GAY, (but curiously their heterosexual bodies are capable of reproduction, which doesn't cause any of you stupid liberals to say " Hey, wait a sec! If someone is "born gay" why is their FUCKING BODY, clearly born HETEROSEXUAL? That's because you're a dumb liberal, then there's the curious pride homosexuals take in "turning someone out", which means making someone who is NOT gay, like homosexual sex, kinda contrary to the whole "born gay" thing but hey, facts to a liberal are like crosses to a ...uh liberal! Well, vampires too!)...


My brother's first book is out!



My little brother Tim ("little" is relative, since he's 37 years old), is a professor at the University of Delaware. He called me yesterday to let me know that he received copies of his first book, "Re-forming The Past: History, The Fantastic, And The Postmodern Slave Narrative."

This is a rework of his dissertation and, it's wonderful to say, part of the reason, along with his teaching and service, that he was recently granted tenure at UD this year. The book is published by Ohio State University Press, and it's up on Amazon.

This work is, he admits, is really not something meant to read for pleasure by a wide audience; his next work will be a more accessible work on jazz. He laughed when he thought about how many folks will actually read his book. He said, "more people will actually learn about it on your blog than will ever buy it." Actually, more people will read about it on this blog in a couple of hours than will ever buy this academic text, lol.



But that's ok -- it's just one milestone in what I know will be a great career, and I'm really proud of him, as I know our late mom would be. Love to you, Tim.


Wingnut pharmacists to rape victim: Sorry, we won't help you.


More on the wingnut pharmacists who refuse to do their jobs by dispensing legal doctor-authorized emergency birth control prescriptions:
(Arizona Daily Star) After a sexual assault one recent weekend, a young Tucson woman spent three frantic days trying to obtain the drug to prevent a pregnancy, knowing that each passing day lowered the chance the drug would work.

While calling dozens of Tucson pharmacies trying to fill a prescription for emergency contraception, she found that most did not stock the drug.

When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections.

"I was so shocked," said the 20-year-old woman, who, as a victim of sexual assault, is not being named by the Star. "I just did not understand how they could legally refuse to do this."

Women who report sexual assaults to police receive treatment, examination and the immediate offer of emergency contraception at a local emergency room, according to the policy of most Tucson hospitals.

But, like many sexual assault victims, the 20-year-old woman did not report the assault because she felt traumatized and guilty she had put herself in a situation that left her vulnerable. She was mistakenly locked outside a gathering at a friend's house and accepted the offer of a neighbor to stay at his place.

"This (sex) was with someone I did not even know and did not want to have intercourse with, and I am in no place now to have children," she said. "I just don't think this should be the pharmacist's decision."

Controversy over emergency contraception is roiling now at the national level, with FDA scientists resigning over the agency's refusal to allow emergency contraception to be sold over the counter, without a prescription.

The issue surfaced in Arizona last winter, when Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have permitted pharmacists to refuse to dispense it on moral or religious grounds.

But her veto was essentially meaningless, as most of the drugstore chains that dominate Tucson already allow that as a matter of corporate policy. Most also require that the customer be immediately referred to another pharmacist or drugstore willing to fill the prescription.

"He (the manager) said he would fill it himself if we could get there before his shift ended, within 10 minutes," said Sabrina Fladness, a University of Arizona student and [friend of the assault victim].

"But we were more than 10 minutes away, so that was impossible. So he said we would have to come back the next morning" - after the shift of the refusing pharmacist ended.

"He made no provision for getting it that night," she said.
And this is Tucson, Arizona, not exactly a rural backwater where there are only a few pharmacists available. What is the rape victim in Enid, Oklahoma or Girdwood, Alaska or any other remote town supposed to do in an emergency? And who are these idiot pharmacists who believe God prefers rapists to be fruitful and multiply?


2,000 is not a milestone...


The military would like us to be considerate when we publish the news of the 2,000th dead American soldier by not referring to the number as a milestone. Hmmm. Maybe we're just noticing because it is a nice even round number in a decimal-based counting system? Will that suffice?
(Editor & Publisher) U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, "I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
See there? If you even notice that one-hundred score American servicemembers have perished in Iraq, you have an agenda and an ulterior motive. Your agenda, of course, is to purposefully mock the sacrifice of brave soldiers and demean their families by noticing that 2,000 of them are no longer living. Your ulterior motive is to provide aid and comfort to the enemy by pointing out that they are succeeding in killing our soldiers, and by highlighting the 2,000 American deaths you'll make people second-guess the war and pull out before we finish the job. If it weren't for America-haters like you, no one would have even noticed that the 2,000th soldier died today.
Boylan, according to AP, added: "The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations."
See, by reflecting on the 2,000th death, you are demeaning the brave sacrifice of the 1,999 who died before and the... the... how many more are going to die in this war on terrorism? What other milestones will we be told to ignore in the future? The death that matches the 9/11 death toll? The 5,000th, 10,000th, or 20,000th death? The death that matches the Vietnam death toll? The fifth, tenth, twentieth anniversary of the beginning of "shock and awe"?
He complained that the true milestones of the war were "rarely covered or discussed," and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country. It also includes, he added, Iraqis who sought to join the security forces and had became daily targets for insurgent attacks at recruiting centers, those who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum, and those who chose to risk their lives by joining the government.
You doom and gloom America-haters never discuss the troops that don't get killed! But hey, let's start marking some of these rarely covered milestones. Have we reached the 2,000th volunteer who's been stop-lossed far beyond the time he volunteered for? How about the 2,000th troop who's been sent out on mission with inadequate supplies or armor? How about the 2,000th family forced to buy equipment for their troop just to keep them safe? Are we close to the 2,000th Iraqi seeking normalcy for his country but blown up by a car bomb? We must have already reached the 2,000th Iraqi security force volunteer unable to even clean a rifle without direct coalition support.

Sorry, Colonel, but the only way to have people not notice the milestones of death is to stop reaching them. When it comes to soldiers' deaths, we Americans are a funny lot: we notice.


Dead US Servicemen = 2,000. WMDs found + Osamas captured + Iraqi links to 9/11 = 0. Flowering Middle East democracies = ???


Day 951 of the Iraq War marks the day we hit 2,000 US casualties. This makes an average of a little over two deaths per day in Iraq, assuming we're only counting American deaths in Iraq from combat -- not the Americans who die from their wounds out of country, not the rest of our coalition partners' deaths, not the body counts of insurgents (who always seem to die in packs of 20, 50, 70, but yet they're still around), and certainly not the innocent men, women, and children caught in the crossfire and bombings.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The war in Iraq saw two milestones Tuesday that reflect the country's path to democracy and its human toll as officials said the referendum on a draft constitution passed and the U.S. military's death toll reached 2,000.

CNN's count of U.S. fatalities reflects reports from military sources and includes deaths in Iraq, Kuwait and other units assigned to the Iraq campaign.

Among the latest casualties, an American soldier was killed Saturday by a roadside bomb, and a roadside blast killed two Marines in combat Friday near Amariya in the western Anbar province, according to the U.S. military.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, more than 15,000 American service members have been wounded in the conflict, according to the Defense Department.
Now more than ever I'm eagerly awaiting the indictments to come from Fitzgerald's office. There have been rumors that the prosecutor is looking beyond the outing of Valerie Plame and into the whole White House Iraq Group and their conspiracy to deceive the American people into supporting an illegal war of aggression against Iraq.

The people are already having "buyer's remorse" over this war. The opinion polls now show a majority to believe the invasion was not worth it and the country is going in the wrong direction. Can you blame us? We were sold a cakewalk of a six-month war with few American casualties, a shared sacrifice by a coalition of the willing, paid for by the oil revenues of the invaded country, where the civilians would greet us as liberators as we removed a murderous dictator and demolished his stash of weapons of mass destruction before he let loose anthrax and nuclear bombs in our cities on 45 minutes notice. 32 months, 2,000 casualties (90% of the coalition casualties), 0 WMD, and $200 billion later, we nabbed Saddam Hussein. That's got to be the most expensive bounty hunt in history. We could've sent Dog the Bounty Hunter and got it done for a millionth of the cost.

Still, we have the True Believers who are willing to accept whatever is the latest rationale for continuing the war. Today we're expected to believe in a new Domino Theory, where a flower of democracy planted in Iraq blossoms and spreads to the rest of the region. Nobody said a thing about that in the "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" days, or even during the "Mission Accomplished" days, but after so many young Americans are killed and so much taxpayer money is spent there must be a bigger payoff than pulling down a statue and excavating a grizzled old man from a spider hole.

The other theme making the rounds is that we have to stay the course so the boys who've already died in Iraq will not have died in vain. Finish the job, they say, which is a noble sentiment, but difficult to achieve when the job keeps changing and the goals were never fully defined in the first place. It seems a little like the idea of walking 2,000 steps toward a city you've never seen, whose location is unknown to you, discovering you're lost in the desert, but deciding, "well, I've got to keep walking in this direction, or else the 2,000 steps I've already taken will have been in vain."

That's why these coming indictments are so important. There is mounting evidence to show that the administration wasn't the victim of bad intelligence so much as the perpetrators of bad intelligence. They sought to sell us this war using scare tactics and propaganda, knowing full well that in early 2003 we'd never buy into "hey, we wanna respond to 9/11 by invading and democratizing a Middle Eastern country that had nothing to do with it; we'll be safer in the long run and we'll only spend two lives and a quarter billion dollars a day over the next decade or so to achieve it, assuming we can even succeed in that goal." That's why they were whispering sweet nothings in Judy Miller's ear, having her pimp the immediate danger of Iraqi WMDs like Armstrong Williams pimped for No Child Left Behind.


Rosa Parks, RIP

Monday, October 24, 2005

This is what it looks like when society starts to change.
(Detroit Free Press) When Rosa Parks refused to get up, an entire race of people began to stand up for their rights as human beings.

It was a simple act that took extraordinary courage in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. It was a place where black people had no rights white people had to respect. It was a time when racial discrimination was so common, many blacks never questioned it.

At least not out loud.

But then came Rosa Parks.

This mild-mannered black woman refused to give up her seat on a city bus so a white man could sit down.

Jim Crow laws had met their match.

Parks' refusal infused 50,000 blacks in Montgomery with the will to walk rather than risk daily humiliation on the city's buses.

This gentle giant, whose quietness belied her toughness, became the catalyst for a movement that broke the back of legalized segregation in the United States, gave rise to the astounding leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and inspired fighters for freedom and justice throughout the world.

Parks, the beloved mother of the civil rights movement, is dead, a family member confirmed late Monday.
Let none of us ever forget that sometimes all it takes to change the world is for one brave person to stand up and demand that it change.


God: "Quit yer sinnin'... or I'll wipe out New Orleans!"


You've heard from the chorus of babbling Biblical literalists that Hurrican Katrina is God's retribution for the decadence fostered in New Orleans, haven't you? Sure, it's strange that God wiped out all of those poor folks in the 9th Ward, while leaving the hot bed of decadence, the French Quarter, virtually untouched. And yeah, it's odd that God's aim is so broad that He had to wipe out folks in Mississippi and Alabama, too. But God works in mysterious, inconceivably cruel ways.

Well, I surf on over to AgapePress to read this explanation from Rev. Mark H. Creech, the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
A two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles -- a severe drought this summer in the Midwest that dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record -- a heat wave of temperatures of over 110 degrees that in one week killed more than 20 people in Arizona -- hurricanes in Florida, Carolina, and of course, the monster of all storms, Hurricane Katrina, which essentially washed away the city of New Orleans. All, says Ross Gelbspan of the Boston Globe, are the results of human-induced global warming.

...Dr. Sami Solanki, director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, says dramatic weather changes are caused not by man-made activity, but the result of the sun heating up, which "may now be affecting global temperatures." Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and Hurricane forecaster William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, essentially say the current "onslaught of storms 'is very much natural.'"

It's hard to believe what's been occurring of late is simply "very much natural." The succession and intensity of these events have rightly caused people to sense something isn't right in the earth, and scientific data alone can't explain it.

Interestingly, the Old Testament book of Haggai describes a time not unlike ours, when the people of Israel were wondering why so many natural calamities had befallen them. ...God was saying: "I'm the reason you've experienced the storms -- the drought -- the scorching heat -- the crop failures -- the strong winds -- this heightened intensity of natural disasters. I did it. And I did it because I wanted to get your attention about the way you've forgotten me and my business and focused exclusively on your own."

One needn't think the natural disasters in New Orleans, Biloxi, or any other place were because the people in those cities acted more wickedly than others. Jesus warned against that kind of assessment in Luke 13:1-5, declaring: "Unless you repent you will all similarly perish." But this unusual barrage of climatic catastrophes should be seen as a wake-up call for people everywhere -- the handwriting on the wall that God is ready to judge the nations. God gets no pleasure in afflicting men. His actions are not retaliatory. But the Sovereign of the Universe cannot simply allow His law to be spurned. His will and way must be paramount to everything else. His business must be attended to first.

Global warming? The sun heating up? A natural cycle? Have you ever considered the fact that recent natural disasters might have more to do with you -- your neglect -- my neglect -- America's neglect -- the nations' neglect of God's business for their own?
Dang! And I thought the worst thing God would do when I commit my favorite nearly-daily sin was kill a kitten.


KKK To Hold Anti-Gay Rally In Austin


Not bloody likely in our lifetimes... but it's fun to pretend!
We often hear homo-bigot pastors from the black churches who get riled at the notion that civil rights for gays and lesbians is anything like civil rights for blacks. "Nothing alike!" they'll preach, because you can't hide blackness in a closet, or because blackness is inborn whereas gayness is a choice, or some other nonsense.

I wonder how the black homo-bigots will react when they find themselves allied with a traditional enemy:
(Austin, Texas) The city of Austin on Monday gave the Ku Klux Klan permission to hold a rally against same-sex marriage on a public square in front of city hall.

The decision was made as early voting began on a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution to ban gay marriage.

The KKK rally will be held November 5 on the south plaza of Austin City Hall.

In seeking permission for the protest, called a "pro-family" rally, the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said: "Our speech will not be inflammatory, but we all know the reputation of the name of the KKK, so we expect anti-Klan demonstrators to be there who may become violent. We certainly don't want any of our people hurt nor any city officials. We just want to come and encourage people to vote for Christian Family Values and against legalized homosexual marriage in the state of Texas."

Voters will go to the polls November 8, three days after the Klan rally, to cast ballots on the gay marriage ban, that would also bar civil unions.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, ain't it, black homo-bigot preachers? There may be difference between the black civil rights movement of the '60s and the gay civil rights movement of today, but both movements seem to attract the same opposition -- ignorant hate-filled groups decrying tolerance, encouraging segregation, stifling equality under the law, and promoting discrimination against a reviled minority, all under the banner of protecting the family and society under mandate from God.


The Rotting Cryptkeeper's compound

Sunday, October 23, 2005



I received a little gift in the mailbag from my colleague at Big Brass Blog, Charlie Kilian of Shades of Grey. His sister managed to get some pictures of Fred Phelps's compound in Topeka, Kansas. Click to enlarge.





Also see these refreshing Phelps activities...

* Phelps on James Dobson: "caving to the faggot juggernaut"

* The Phelps clan's day job

* Phelps now picketing war dead

* Topeka slam dunks Fred and Jael Phelps

* Fred Phelps on Peter LaBarbera, Cindy Sheehan

* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC


More DeLays

This one was sent in by Joe Tresh, from his blog bearnakedjoe.com.

Alfred E. DeLay: Why Tom is Smiling


Blender Sean added his contribution:



If you have a mug shot of the pig, send them along to Russ, since I'll be out of town. :)

Consider this an open thread to post whatever's on your mind.


28% would not support a woman running for President

I guess this is food for thought for those ready to back a Hil or Condi candidacy. A chunk of the sheeple just can't visualize a woman running the country. I don't know who these people are, but the penis-possessing clown currently marking time in the Big Chair isn't representing men very well right now. His current behavior suggests that he actually needs a high chair.

A WNBC/Marist Poll asked folks whether they could vote a woman into the Oval Office, and the results are interesting.
Question Wording: If the Democratic/Republican Party nominates a woman for president in 2008, are you very likely, likely, not very likely, or not likely at all to vote for her?

26% Very Likely or Likely if Democrat or Republican
25% Very Likely or Likely Only if Democrat
21% Very Likely or Likely Only if Republican
28% Not Likely Regardless if Democrat or Republican

Not surprisingly, women are more likely to pull the lever for a female presidential candidate than men. 31% of women would support a woman for president regardless of whether she is a Democrat or a Republican. 33% of men would not support a woman for the country’s highest office no matter which party nominated her. But age matters. 41% of women younger than forty-five years old would support a female presidential candidate regardless of the party who nominated her compared with 28% of their forty-five and older counterparts. Only 26% of men younger than forty-five years old would not vote for a woman president regardless of her political party compared with 36% of men who are forty-five years of age or older.
There is also information about Hillary specifically. As expected, she is a polarizing figure.
Although 46% of registered voters think Senator Clinton is about right on the ideological spectrum, 39% say she is too liberal. These two views of Hillary Clinton are colored by partisan lenses. 78% of Democrats think she is ideologically well positioned. 74% of Republicans characterize her as too liberal. Independent voters divide. 38% of these voters think she is too liberal, and 41% believe her views are about right.
If 28% of voters cannot find a way in their minds to cast a vote for a any woman, certainly adding current public perception of Hillary Clinton to the mix almost ensures that she can't get elected.

Of course this poll could be a throwaway given how early it is, but I'd like to see more detail on why 28% would automatically disqualify a woman regardless of party affiliation.

Thoughts?


Heading out of town...

I'm jetting off to NJ for business later today. I'm not sure whether I'll have time to post anything on this trip. We'll see.

Russ will be around, I'm sure, to serve up some fresh Blend and stir up welcome trouble. I'll be back in town late Tuesday.

In the meantime, since there are quite a few new folks lurking here due to my gig with Pandagon, here are a few links from last month. Also, check out the Best of the Blend links in the right-hand column.

* How influential are political bloggers?

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

* Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster

* NC Pride and meeting the Log Cabin folks

* Give this man his own Klan sheet


Texas starts voting on Monday with marriage amendment on ballot

"Do you want schools to teach your children and grandchildren that homosexual marriage is normal? Do you want to undergo 'sensitivity training' at the workplace to ensure that you don't favor heterosexuality over homosexuality? ... These are not rhetorical questions - these are issues that we will face if we fail to defend and protect marriage."
-- Texas Republican Party chair Tina Benkiser heating up the rhetoric as Lone Star State residents start early voting on marriage amendment
There is hope that this amendment will be defeated, but it will depend on what is usually historically low turnout during off-year elections. (Austin American-Statesman):
Turnout historically is low for amendment elections in Texas. In 2003, just 12.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Secretary of State Roger Williams, the chief elections officer, hasn't projected what percentage of the state's approximately 12.3 million registered voters will show up for this election. He's urging participation and emphasizing that constitutional amendments can have more lasting impact than elected individuals.

"When you elect a person, you know they'll be back up for re-election in two, four or six years," he said. "But constitutional amendments endure. This November we hope that every Texan will go to the polls and make their voices heard."

Texans are increasingly using early voting, which runs through Nov. 4 for the constitutional amendments. In some recent statewide elections, early voting has accounted for about one-third of the total ballots cast.

The activist group No Nonsense in November, which opposes the same-sex marriage ban, is hoping low turnout will help defeat Proposition 2. "It's hard to believe that Texas — of all states — can turn the tide that is sweeping across the nation," the group's Web site says. "As strange as it may seem, with historically low voter turnout expected, Texas is uniquely positioned to become the first state to defeat a Marriage Amendment."
I'd say that is optimistic, but you Texas Blenders out there, how hot has the issue been in the press? We already know that Gov. Rick Perry thinks amending the state's constitution is one of his priorities.

Also see:
* Homo-hating TX Gov Rick Perry spams for marriage amendment votes
* TX bible beaters hold voter drive for marriage amendment, Rick Perry re-election
* Houston pols come out against marriage amendment


Insiders see hint of Miers pullout



That's the headline at the WaTimes. As all over the Harriet Makeover ProjectsTM have spontaneously combusted, the backup plans are under way in case she pulls out before the hearings, or more likely if she melts down during the hearings. Considering the events over the last week (the questionnaire "do-over"), I suppose even the dunces in the White House know this nomination is toast.
"White House senior staff are starting to ask outside people, saying, 'We're not discussing pulling out her nomination, but if we were to, do you have any advice as to how we should do it?' " a conservative Republican with ties to the White House told The Washington Times yesterday. The White House denied making such calls. "Absolutely not true," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said.

But a conservative political consultant with ties to the White House said that he had received such a query from Sara Taylor, director of the Office of White House Political Affairs. Miss Taylor denied making any such calls.

...A second Republican, who is the leader of a conservative interest group and has ties to the White House, confirmed that the White House is making calls to a select group of conservative activists who are not employed by the government.

"The political people in the White House are very worried about how she will do in the hearings," the second conservative leader said. "I think they have finally awakened."
An interesting aspect of this article is the intimation that Karl Rove's "troubles" are taking him away from the Harriet Project, and it's all unraveling because the rest of the White House clowns don't know what to do.
Just who in the White House may have asked Miss Taylor to seek advice from outside about the best way to drop Miss Miers' nomination without causing excessive embarrassment to the president or to her was unclear.

Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove no longer appears to fill the role as chief political strategist in the White House, a role he has filled from the start of the first Bush term. Mr. Rove's clear leadership hand went missing some time ago, the leaders say, when speculation grew that he might face indictment in the CIA leak investigation led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
The Freepers just don't know who to blame for this mess.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Look what happens when Rove is "out of the loop" and Andy Card fills in for awhile. Can we expect more of the same for the remainder of the term?"

"The buck stops at GWB. All else is excuse."

"YEP, you're sooooo right...Go Hillary, beat John, win over our RINO's who like to play the blame game like the demonRATs do!"

"Blame Laura Bush for this one."

"Amen..I did not crawl thru broken glass for Rove or Card..I did for W and nothing else..He's president...not those two."

"I didn't either. But it now appears that one or the other has actually been driving the train for quite some time. Which, in turn, leads to some interesting questions . . . ."

"Folks, even the W Times doesn't have any idea what is going on. GW Bush picked Miers because he knows her philosophy. He doesn't care if you don't trust him. He is a brick wall and you all know it. "



"Bush makes the decisions, not Card or Rove."

"Therein lies the problem. Bush and his minions took conservatives for granted one time too many."

"Look what happens when Rove is "out of the loop" and Andy Card fills in for awhile. Card is from Massachusetts. Need I say more?"

"Hey, a fall guy could be useful this debacle. The White House could blame Card, withdraw Miers, appoint Edith Jones. Problem solved. Everyone is happy, but the Demonrats."

"I just don't think Bush has the political capital to appoint a moderate if Miers withdraws. Of course I could be wrong, maybe he likes Jimmy Carter style approval numbers, but I doubt it."

"You underestimate the power of the party faithful. They will crush the insurgency, the purists, the one percenters, the whole-loafers."

"Pretty sad state of affairs when a party thinks it has to crush its rank and file in order to protect its leaders' egos."



"Bring it on!!!! After being lied to "most qualified nominee", if there must be war, war will be had. It's sad, I used to crush lefies who said "Bush lies" because they couldn't come up with one I couldn't refute. Now there is one I can't refute "HM is the most qulified nominee""

"I see, George is tough enough to stand up to all his critics about Iraq, but will bow to his wife's wishes? You're all nuts."

"Thye buck stops with Bush, and he has disappointed time after time."

"Yes. A fall guy (Card) is needed. No point putting the President through more than necessary. Simply nominate Jones. And, he could even nominate Miers to Jones' position on the appeals court once Jones is confirmed."

"Did you read the thread about how the WH was going to "turn the screws" on Conservative Senators who had expressed reservations about Miers? How come we never read any threads on him "turning the screws" on the Moderates who derailed several of his other nominations? Zero competent leadership, and the proof is that the Presidents party has 55 seats in the Senate, and he can't even get his picks up for a vote, much less confirmed. So sad."

"Card = Nice guy, good manager, bad political advisor. Mark Raicoit perhaps would be a better replacement?"

"You know...I for one am getting pretty damned sick and tired of clicking threads and seeing you on every thread taking pot shots at the President. Why don't you get lost? You add nothing to either side of an arguement you just take your shots at W. You're really starting to look like a DUmmy disruptor to me."

"Lets see, GWB was the Man because he only nominated "our guys to the bench". Miers must know what he was looking for cause she was in charge of the venting process. Bush knows her better than ANYBODY else that could have picked. That means that he sold us out. I think I must have missed something."

"ann coulter's ego seems unchecked especially when she is on bill maher's show. Too bad her appetite isn't as big as her ego."


Fox News anchor Shepard Smith outed; will people of note ever willingly come out?

Smith once chatted me up in a New York City gay piano bar, bought me drinks, and invited me back to his place. When I declined, he asked me to dinner the next night, another invitation I politely refused. We sat at the bar chatting and drinking martinis until 3 a.m., our conversation interrupted only when he paused to belt out the lyrics to whatever showtune was being performed.
-- Washington Blade Managing Editor Kevin Naff, on getting hit on by showtune aficionado Shepard Smith
Just getting around to surfing some of my regular pitstops, and both BlogActive and Julien's List point me to a great editorial, which dovetails nicely with my earlier post on the present-day Hollywood celluloid closet.

Washington Blade Managing Editor Kevin Naff was propositioned by Faux News anchor Shep Smith, and Naff decided to write about it. The Blade, you may know, has had a position that it won't out public figures, so this development was a surprise.

The editorial is broader though. It addresses outing and the cowardice of the famous and powerful.
When rich, famous, wildly successful Americans refuse to acknowledge their sexual orientation, they contribute to keeping us at the margins of society and send a message that homosexuality is somehow shameful.

There is nothing more ridiculous than a public figure refusing to reveal whether he or she is straight — no heterosexual person would deny being straight.
He goes on to describe the barely closeted Anderson Cooper, who won't say one way or another for attribution.
Cooper, the popular CNN anchor, coyly refused to answer “the question” in a recent lengthy profile in New York magazine. Though long rumored to be gay — he once suggested he is gay in comments made at a GLAAD Media Awards event — Cooper chooses the closet over honesty.

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,” Cooper told New York magazine, “and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that.”

Does he believe that female and African-American reporters lack credibility to cover stories since their minority status is showing? Should any heterosexuals who let it slip that they’re married to someone of the opposite sex be kept off the air, or does his rule apply only to gay journalists?
Exactly. It all tumbles out so easily when the person is straight. For gay people of note to come out certainly poses less risk that if the average queer person kicked open the door, yet these public figures suddenly find discussion of who they are seeking or are partnered with is "private." Oh? I see no evidence in my US Weekly, that heterosexual celebs and news figures have any problem talking about who they are dating and mating.
Jodie Foster’s recent film “Flightplan” spent two weeks atop the box office charts. She, too, continues to refuse any discussion of her private life.

Incredibly, even Sean Hayes, who plays the flamboyantly gay character Jack on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” won’t say whether he’s gay. Maybe when his hit show ends its run this year and the acting roles dry up, Hayes will muster the “courage” to appear on the cover of the Advocate.
And then Naff wraps it all up and ties it with a bow. It's exactly how I feel about this.
The biggest sleeping asset in the fight for full gay equality lies in the shadows of the closet. When we live openly, we force those around us to reconsider their negative views of homosexuality. That’s when the stereotypes give way to understanding and real change occurs.

No Human Rights Campaign ad campaign in the “red states” can produce the impact of gays who live in those states actually coming out.

How can we expect the construction worker making $20,000 a year to come out when the rich and pampered are still hiding in the closet? How will gays living in Peoria find the fortitude to live honest lives, when the gay denizens of New York and Hollywood won’t?

No one is asking Anderson Cooper to wear a pink triangle on the air or Jodie Foster to ride with the “Dykes on Bikes” contingent. Simply acknowledging the truth — whatever it is — would be enough.

We need role models and spokespeople to boost visibility, increase understanding and, most importantly, to inspire those living less privileged lives to come out and stand up to those who would deny us the right to marry, to adopt children and to go to work free from the prospect of legal discrimination.
Bravo.

Also see: Fight or flight, queer edition


The present-day celluloid closet

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fifties movie idol Tab Hunter recently published his autobiography, featuring an eye-opening look on his life as a gay actor in Hollywood when the closet was king. Having a starlet on your arm was a necessity if you were a gay man that wanted a successful career.

He wondered, in an interview in the Philly Inquirer, whether there's been any progress in the land of make-believe in terms of major movie stars kicking open the closet door.
Have things changed? So few big-name actors are out that the nation's few gay magazines stock their covers with nongay stars playing queer roles. A major film about two cowboys called Brokeback Mountain is about to be released, two cowboys in love, two cowboys afraid, two cowboys in a closet as big as all outdoors. We can already see the interview: Yeah, I had to kiss a dude, but I shut my eyes and thought about his hottie sister. They always say that.

So what's stopping you, Oscar-winner with yet another forgettable opus on the charts, or you, drop-dead-handsome lead with wrong-gender eye candy on your arm? Do you think you'll be importuned to raise money for causes that embarrass you, or be forced to grin and wave to hordes of ravenous gay teens? You do anyway.

A good actor can play any role, but sometimes the acting should stop.
No kidding. In a town full of gay folks at high levels of the industry, there is still plenty of room for homophobia based on the need to make a buck. Execs are nervous afraid of box office tanking based on any inkling of a portrayal of gay relationships or same-sex encounters (outside of indy films of course).



Look at the Oliver Stone film Alexander. The film's poor performance was blamed for scenes depicting same-sex acts between principal characters, by the director himself, who re-edited the film for release on DVD to pacify the bible beating set, back in May:
Director Oliver Stone has cut the gay references from his "Alexander" movie for the DVD version of the 2004 flop. Stone claimed his epic was unpopular with American audiences because of the subtle homosexual content.

He said, "They didn't even read the reviews in the South because the media was using the words: 'Alex is Gay.' As a result you can bet that they thought, 'We're not going to see a film about a military leader that has got something wrong with him.'"

In the DVD version, the relationship between Colin Farrell's Alexander the Great character and Hephaistion -- played by Jared Leto -- will be portrayed as simply a friendship. However, fans of Rosario Dawson will be pleased to know more angles of her character Roxanne's naked exposure will be included in the DVD.
Universal is so paranoid of homo-sex that the planned biopic of the life of Brit singer Dusty Springfield is going to be whitewashed of any lesbianism. And this was a woman that did eventually come out.



An anonymous Universal executive that was asked about the excision of Dusty's lesbian affairs said, "Film-goers are growing weary of overt scenes of homosexuality." WTF?

I guess Tab was right. Not much has changed. If these kinds of decisions are going on in Hollywood boardrooms, is it any surprise that PR gurus to the stars still keep their meal tickets locked away in the closet?

Strangely enough, some of our favorite TV stars of the past never played it straight, even if they never came out:



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

OK, gossip time, since it's a Saturday and all -- which stars need to come on out of the closet already?

Also see:
* Fox News anchor Shepard Smith outed; will people of note ever willingly come out?

* Classic Hollywood teen idol Tab Hunter comes way out in autobiography

Hat tip to Jennifer at Intous


Saturday night insanity



I saw this one up at Agitprop and couldn't resist. Blogenfreude's post is on this unbelievable dolt from the Midwest that tossed away almost a quarter of a million bucks at an "adult establishment" getting lap dances and who knows what else.

Sometimes I miss living in New York. When it comes to tabloid coverage of essential insanity like this, no one does it better than the Post and the Daily News. This tongue-wagger is from the NYDN:
A married business executive who dropped $241,000 during one wild night at Scores was an insatiable customer who hired a virtual harem of lap dancers, a strip club source told the Daily News yesterday.

Robert McCormick, 40, an Internet company CEO and Midwestern father of three girls, took over the exclusive President's Club when he showed up with some cronies the night of Oct. 22, 2003, the source said.

In the mirrored room, popular with high rollers and celebrities, the stripper enthusiast demanded 10 dancers lavish him with attention at the eye-popping cost of $4,000 an hour.

When their time was up, McCormick insisted club managers bring more girls - and keep them coming. "I need 10 more," he would say after the hour's entertainment was over, waving his arms like he was motioning a jumbo jet in for a landing, according to the source.
Later in the article, it turns out that after running up the huge tab on his corporate Amex card, McCormick said "psyche" and didn't pay up when the monthly bill came due. Amex is suing Scores because they feel the charges are padded. Unfortunately, McCormick signed a waiver to prove he authorized the charges presented by the company while he was getting "serviced."
"I am at Scores of my own free will. At the time of this transaction I am not drunk nor in any way impaired. I have not been coerced nor am I currently under any duress. I agree to pay any and all charges I have incurred as a result of my purchase of diamond dollars and/or food or beverages."
Notice it doesn't say anything specific about the babes, so I'm sure this will be tied up in legal knots for a long time to come.

Here's a sampling of equally entertaining NY tabloid headlines -- a real blast from the past. (New York Mag):
FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD
(Daily News, 1975)

HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR
(New York Post, 1982)

‘I AM DEATH WISH VIGILANTE’
(Bernie Goetz turns himself in; Post, 1985)

MARLA: ‘BEST SEX I EVER HAD’
(Post, 1990)

AMY’S NUDE ROMPS IN JAIL
(Post, 1993)

KISS YOUR ASTEROID GOODBYE!
(Meteor misses earth; Post, 1998)

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR
(Senate fails to convict Clinton; News, 1999)

FROM A BIG HOUSE TO THE BIG HOUSE
(Lizzie Grubman sentenced; News, 2002)

AXIS OF WEASEL
(Post, 2003)


Mike Tidmus slimes the DeLay mugshot



Mike's way too kind to me in this post, but it's funny. He's referring to my post earlier in the week on the sleazebag former exterminator's booking. I like the little sign o' the fish on his lapel, Mike. :)

Here's one to go on future lapels:
Pam Spaulding feels cheated by Texas Republican Congressman Tom DeLay’s much-anticipated mug shot. I can only imagine that Pam, the hardest working blogger in the blog-o-sphere, must have been handed one of those phony, heavily-PhotoShopped versions of the mug shot being furtively distributed by DeLay’s legal team. We can’t have Pam Spaulding feeling cheated now, can we?

So, here’s the real thing, completely unretouched by human hands (I used a mouse!). Note: absolutely no pixels were harmed and no predominately Democratic districts in Texas were gerrymandered in the creation of the image above.
Mike's got plenty of other Slime covers for you over at his place:

* slime slimed (11 October 05)

* ex-queen babs slimed (18 September 05)

* ratzi slimed (14 August 05)

* creationism slimed (14 August 05)

* turd blossom uncovered (18 July 05)

* coulterdice uncovered (20 April 05)


Dog day afternoon



Today it was overcast, but it was time to bathe the beasts.



Bailey, the Lab-Weimeraner mix, she was pretty fragrant. Anyone that owns a Lab knows those natural skin oils just function all year long, so if they are house pets, they need a regular bath. Plus she sheds like all get-out, which is why we have a Dyson vacuum.



Tonka, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is very fastidious, he doesn't like to get wet or dirty. They don't shed a lot, and rarely need bathing if they are housepets. I think I bathed my last Ridgeback Red maybe once a year; Tonka will probably need 2-3 a year.

Chloe, the Bichon Frise (up in the first pic of Tonka) hates getting a bath, but she's the dirtiest one of the lot. She adores being in the backyard and gets into everything. She watched the others get soaped up with peppermint Dr. Bronner's shampoo, but she got her turn in the bathtub after we finished off Tonka and Bailey.


The 'Olsen twins' of the White Pride movement

"We're proud of being white, we want to keep being white. We want our people to stay white … we don't want to just be, you know, a big muddle. We just want to preserve our race."
-- Thirteen-year-old Lynx Gaede, who, with her sister Lamb, are white nationalist singing group "Prussian Blue"
Oy, this is sad and sick. It makes you want to hurl. (ABC):
The girls from Bakersfield, Calif., have been performing songs about white nationalism before all-white crowds since they were nine.

...Lynx and Lamb have been nurtured on racist beliefs since birth by their mother April. "They need to have the background to understand why certain things are happening," said April, a stay-at-home mom who no longer lives with the twins' father. "I'm going to give them, give them my opinion just like any, any parent would."

April home-schools the girls, teaching them her own unique perspective on everything from current to historical events. In addition, April's father surrounds the family with symbols of his beliefs — specifically the Nazi swastika. It appears on his belt buckle, on the side of his pick-up truck and he's even registered it as his cattle brand with the Bureau of Livestock Identification.

...Songs like "Sacrifice" — a tribute to Nazi Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy Fuhrer — clearly show the effect of the girls' upbringing. The lyrics praise Hess as a "man of peace who wouldn't give up."
This sorry story reminds me of the horror of seeing children parading around at Westboro Baptist Church protests. This is what happens when children are infused with hate from day one. And they worry about gays having a negative impact on kids? Parents like the Gaedes and the Phelps clan are the real threat.


From the WBC protest in Durham of a production of The Laramie Project.


Children being poisoned by the hate of Fred Phelps.




'Ex-gay' James Hartline: Repug group will promote the homo agenda



It seems like this guy pops up every other week, uttering some kind of nonsense. "Former homo" James Hartline is now worrying about a Republican "cabal" that's not just going soft on homos, but it is working to promote normalization of the deviant behavior he's worked so hard to escape. He's probably losing sleep at night.
California-based Christian activist who spent 30 years in the homosexual lifestyle says Christians need to be aware of an organization known as the Republican Unity Coalition, which he believes has stayed under the "Christian radar." According to its own website, the Coalition -- "a gay-straight alliance of Republican leaders, working to encourage tolerance and to address concerns of gay and lesbian Americans" -- came about as an outgrowth of the George W. Bush campaign in 2000.


Simpson, Ford and Kolbe are too down with the homos for Hartline.

Christian activist James Hartline says the RUC has one goal: "to make homosexuality a non-issue within the Republican Party." He contends the group will "turn the party into pacifists when it comes to dealing with the gay agenda." And Hartline says the RUC has some pretty heavy hitters, including a former Republican senator and president. He points out that retired Senator Alan Simpson is the group's honorary chairman, and that the RUC Advisory Board includes former President Gerald Ford as well as Jim Kolbe, a homosexual congressman from Arizona. "These are liberal Republicans who are not strong advocates of Christian conservatism," the former homosexual states. Hartline says the RUC is fully committed to opposing a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.


Closeted Heterosexual Deputy Chief of Staff Ken Mehlman?

Friday, October 21, 2005

In the WaPo today, more desperation:
Out of the hushed hallway encounters and one-on-one conversations, several scenarios have begun to emerge if Rove or vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis Libby is indicted and forced out. Senior GOP officials are developing a public relations strategy to defend those accused of crimes and, more importantly, shield Bush from further damage, according to Republicans familiar with the plans. And to help steady a shaken White House, they say, the president might bring in trusted advisers such as budget director Joshua B. Bolten, lobbyist Ed Gillespie or party chairman Ken Mehlman.



...Mehlman, who was White House political director before becoming chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been a key adviser, although some colleagues worry that bringing in the party chief might send too political a message. [ROTFLOL!! With all the shills and hacks in this Administration, what message do they intend to send?] Some close to the White House suggest Clay Johnson III, the deputy budget director who was Bush's chief of staff in the Texas governor's office, could be part of a reconstituted team. Attention has also focused on former White House counselor Karen P. Hughes, but she was just confirmed by the Senate as undersecretary of state and seems unlikely to leave.
Please, if the Chimp starts crying, he'll call Mommy Hughes in.

And Kenny Boy taking on Rove's role? As much as I'd wish for that -- it would provide endless use of The Picture -- but we'd be able to refer to him as Closeted Heterosexual Deputy Chief of Staff Ken Mehlman. Chances are he'll be DreiredTM, though, and would be out of the running in short order.

The article continues, and you get the sense the White House is a haunted mansion, with spooks and ghouls scaring the be-jesus out of staffers, who are paranoid about discussing anything related to people getting indicted, resigning or dropping dead (Cheney).
Some GOP officials outside the White House say they believe the president rejects the idea that there is anything fundamentally wrong with his presidency; others express concern that Bush has strayed so far from where he intended to be that it may require drastic action.

...At the White House and among its close allies, discussion about Rove's fate is verboten -- in part out of fear and in part out of ignorance about what his legal vulnerability actually is. No one in the White House wants to talk about an indictment. As another former official said, "No one wants to believe anything's going to happen." Nor do people easily discuss other staff changes. "Anyone who talks about that kind of stuff should be shot," said a third Republican with close ties to the White House.
Is anyone else enjoying this meltdown as much as I am?

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Kansas courts can't single out gay teens

Surprisingly, a Kansas judge was able to see this clearly. Underage sex is underage sex, and the fact that a case may involve gay sex shouldn't mean the punishment should be more severe.
ansas cannot punish illegal underage sex more severely if it involves homosexual conduct, the state's highest court ruled unanimously Friday in a case watched by national groups on both sides of the gay rights debate.

The Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that a law that specified such harsher treatment and led to a 17-year prison sentence for an 18-year-old defendant "suggests animus toward teenagers who engage in homosexual sex."

The defendant, Matthew R. Limon, has been behind bars since he was convicted in 2000 of performing a sex act on a 14-year-old boy. Had one of them been a girl, the state's "Romeo and Juliet" law would have dictated a maximum sentence of 15 months.

The court said Limon should be resentenced within 30 days as if the law treated illegal gay sex and illegal straight sex the same, and it struck language from the law that resulted in the different treatment.
It's clear that this kind of sentencing is crazy -- what difference does it make if the parties are the same sex when a crime of this kind is committed?

Some may argue about what age should be considered the age of consent, but that's not the issue here. Attorney General Phill Kline's office considers the defendant a predator because of two prior offenses of a similar nature -- and required tough sentencing. Yeah, OK, so?

The problem is Kline's office wants to treat an illegal homosexual act as somehow more depraved and deserving of a stiffer punishment for no apparent reason except homophobia -- and that's what was outlined in a lower court ruling. It said that the state could justify the harsher punishment as "protecting children's traditional development, fighting disease or strengthening traditional values."

* Also see: Kansas AG Seeks late-term abortion records, including sex life history




Cookie-cutter Bush propaganda editorials

[UPDATE: the editorial-o-matic author is identified!]

Chris Kromm at Facing South is right to wonder about the origin of several editorials that contain the same following paragraph:
One of the smartest things President Bush did to reduce recovery costs in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was to suspend Davis-Bacon Act rules in the hardest hit states. But Congress is frantically trying to overrule the president, which would add billions of dollars to the already staggering recovery costs.
The almost-identical editorials appear in:
* Appeal-Democrat (Marysville-Yuba City, California)
* Daily News (Jacksonville, NC)
* The Free Press (Kinston, NC)
* Gazette.com (Colorado Springs)

As Chris notes, these are presented as unsigned editorials, which the reader will assume is a paper's original opinion piece - and the Colorado paper's headline on the "editorial" is "Our View."

The Bush propaganda to drive worker's wages down in the Gulf Coast is incredible; the editors of these newspapers are tools of the machine.

***

UPDATE: and it's hacktacular: The cookie cutter editorial writer decloaks.

Facing South's comments are peppered with links to additional papers running variations on the editorial. This is something Keith Olbermann should be taking a look at.

The author of the editorial-o-matic is Sean Paige, editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Who is this dude? He's right out of the GOP machine...From Sourcewatch:

From his bio at CEI.

According to a brief biographical profile supplied to the National Journalism Center, Paige attended a course in summer 1988 and has subsequently been "editorial page editor, Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, reporter, Insight, editor, WasteWatch (DC), staff assistant for communications, White House, analyst, Media Research Center, Warren Brookes fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute, director of press relations, Citizens Against Government Waste, press assistant, Representative Robert Lagomarsino, press secretary, Keyes for Senate [Oh gawd.], published in Chicago Tribune ,Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Washington Times".
You also might want to check out this 2002 Public Eye article from the Colorado Springs Independent on Sean Paige, written as he was coming on board at The Gazette:
So what can we expect from our new right-wing ideologue? Well, let's take a look at his background: From 1988 to 1989, Paige worked as a personal aide to John Sununu. Three years later Paige worked as the press secretary for Alan Keyes.

John Sununu! Alan Keyes! How can we possibly decide which of these powerbars taste better?

...Of course, it isn't fair to judge a man merely by the politicians he once worked for. But it is relevant to consider the kind of leaders that gets Paige's juices flowing.

So what has Paige been doing since the Sununu/Keyes salad days? Besides working as a columnist for a publication owned by the above-mentioned Washingtom Times, for the past two years, he has also worked as an adjunct fellow and editorial director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

According to PR Watch, the Institute postures itself as an advocate of "sound science," but, in fact, "is an ideologically driven, well-funded front for corporations opposed to safety and environmental regulations that affect the way they do business."
In another piece the following week, we find out how Freedom Communications' philosophy of journalism works.
...let's take a look at how The Gazette is pretending that some of its writers, who work in other states, are actually on staff and crafting their prose from the home office at 30 S. Prospect.

In a widely criticized move earlier this year, The Gazette's owner, Freedom Communications, based in Orange County, Calif., launched an exercise in what it calls "joint content." Essentially, the suits upstairs decided that film reviewing, travel and food were pretty much the same wherever you go.

So why on earth should staffers at three different papers specialize in those beats? Why not have just one film reviewer, one travel editor and one food editor write for their three largest publications, the Freedom flagship Orange County Register, The Gazette and the Mesa, Ariz. East Valley Tribune?

..."Basically it was a decision at the corporate level," said Warner. "It's not something we were solicited about; it was a business decision and one I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback."
I guess in 2005 it also applies to Sean's hacktacularly-crafted editorials as well. Sweet.

***

While surfing about for more information on Sean, I came across one of his Hannity and Colmes appearances that you may want to check out, while he was at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: Are Government Regulations Causing More Shark Attacks?. You have to read it.


Conservative group slams Ann Coulter in a documentary


From The BradBlog.
"9/11 brought out the worst in Ann Coulter. She proclaimed a crusade against pagans and a jihad against liberals. Coulter advocated slaughtering civilians, ethnic cleansing and identity papers."
-- narration from The Truth About Ann, a new documentary by conservative Daniel Borchers
The intellectually bankrupt, bed-worn b*tch of the wingnut set, Ann Coulter, has seen her base begin to bail on her, as the deranged columns and speaking engagements, full of her trademark meaningless, hate-filled vitriol, turn people off.

Brad Friedman of The BradBlog, who chased Ann off the air earlier this month in a debate on Ron Insana's radio show, is probably getting a good laugh out of this development.

Conservative Daniel Borchers of the organization Citizens for Principled Conservatism (CPC) is producing a documentary called The Truth About Ann, which is going to heap more misery onto the beast as potent as anything Michael Moore could have doled out. His purpose is to call out Ann's hypocrisy and bigotry, and the fact that ultimately, she's a phony conservative media whore out for the buxxx.

Borchers gets bonus points for planning the release of the documentary to coincide with the release of Coulter's next book. Yummy.
The Truth About Ann, the documentary DVD currently in-production promises to "expose the extremist nature of Conservatism's preeminent diva and reigning political icon," according to a press release given to The BRAD BLOG by CPC. The film is said to examine "Coulter's worldview, and the extremist polemics used to promote it."

"Ann Coulter is mainstreaming extremism within the Conservative Movement," warns Borchers. "Coulter has hijacked a substantial segment of the Conservative Movement and is re-creating it in her image. Her 'New McCarthyism' is poisoning millions of minds."
Brad's got the entire "Gospel of Ann" presentation, converted to Windows Media Player Video at his pad.

The racist man-vessel of the right wing elite has had to deal with some indiginities in the last few months...

* If you live in Tucson, Ariz., you won't find Ann's rants because the Arizona Daily Star dropped the WorldNetDaily columnist. The editor and publisher says, "many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited."

* In August, the right-wing blow-up doll was dumped as a speaker at Harding University, a Christian institution. The director of public relations said "We began to have second thoughts of the image that [Coulter] portrays in some of her presentations," and that the university did not want to be associated with Coulter's reputation for being "mean-spirited."


Time. (Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

It's likely Ann will always find some core Freepi fan base willing to shell out money for her latest book, but it will be interesting to see how many more movement conservatives abandon her. As one remarked in the Time April cover story on Coulter:
Some conservatives—many of them Coulter's rivals for screen time, as she points out—have also drawn their knives. "Ann's stuff isn't very serious," says a pundit who didn't want to begin a public spat with Coulter. "We have this argument every now and then among our side: whether she is a net minus or net plus to conservatism. I have come to the conclusion that she's a minus." Even fans speak of Coulter in ways that suggest some distance: "I think Ann is a brilliant girl, and she's got the quickest mouth in the East," says the Rev. Jerry Falwell. "Now, I probably won't use her on Sunday morning in my church because she is capable of getting a little aggressive."


The Blend is featured in an MTV.com article

I did an interview with MTV Online a while ago ago, and the article is now up, Diary to the Masses: Blogging Teens Learn the Pros & Cons of Publishing to the Web.

It's a good article on the issues teens face when choosing to blog, given what you say is broadcast all over the Web. This was certainly something that played out in the case of Zach, the young man that came out to his fundamentalist parents, who then placed him in a Love In Action "ex-gay" facility. He blogged about it and clearly had no idea of the impact his journal would have as word spread about the events going on in his life (I posted quite a bit on it). A snippet:
Young people have been using the Internet as a safe mode of communication for years. But the standard format has evolved from connecting through private chat room to letting the world in through blogs, the latest incarnation of the Doogie Howser-style electronic diary.

...But bloggers do face potential unintended consequences when they decide to type out their lives in cyberspace. The New York Times and dozens of other worldwide news outlets were able to use Zach's words - because he put them in the public sphere. In his most recent entry, Zach said he "feels annoyed towards a lot of things."

...But with so many eyes on your writing, there is always a risk that your message can be used in ways you cannot control, said blogger Pamela Spaulding, who established Pam's House Blend last summer to focus on LGBT issues in the months leading up to the presidential election.

"There's certainly a risk, because it's public," Spaulding said. "You're not writing in a personal journal that you can tuck back in your dresser drawer. You can share with people that you don't know, because you feel that you like them. But you're also sharing with everybody else."

Pam's House Blend has taken off in popularity and has received over 200,000 hits since its inception [It's up to 362,981 visits as of this AM, 15,197 this week]. BlogActive.com, listed as the most popular LGBT-focused progressive blog by the New Politics Institute, receives more than 13,000 weekly hits.

Nonetheless, Spaulding, Bowman and Lamont agree that the benefits of blogging far outweigh the risks - and the chances that personal entries will attract the kind of attention that Zach's did are slim.

"I think that it can help bolster the confidence of the person involved," Spaulding said. "If you're sharing stories about coming out to your parents, people who have already gone through that can give you advice, maybe even predict the possible reaction of your parents. I think it's more helpful than not."


Project 21 nutcase: blacks should thank God for slavery

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Unhinged black conservative Mychal Massie, getting chummy with Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum; winger radio host Janet Parshall feels she's Mychal's "sister" under the skin...

Ah...I haven't written about this clown, Mychal Massie, in quite some time. Media Matters has audio and a transcript of Massie making an ass out of himself on the air. He's like a bad penny -- he'll turn up sooner or later. Massie, you see, is a member of the shady Project 21, the "National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives." He got a tad overenthusiastic in his wingnuttery.
On the October 18 edition of the syndicated radio show Janet Parshall's America, Project 21 national advisory council member and columnist for conservative website WorldNetDaily.com Mychal Massie declared to host Janet Parshall that African-American churches today "have succumbed to hatred" and "disobedience to God." Massie went on to proclaim that "the black people today that curse America are cursing God because if God had not permitted the Ashanti and Dahomey tribes of ancient Africa to trap other Africans and sell them to Muslims, who sold them to Europeans, we would not have what we have today." Parshall praised Massie for his "straight talk" -- the name of a program Massie hosts on the conservative website Rightalk.com -- and called him "brother.
What's amusing about this story is that it's a less-than-six-degrees-of-separation from our man of the day, Tom DeLay. More on that later.

I blogged about this sad Project 21 organization at my pad back in January. Project 21 is not a free-standing organization; it is an "initiative" of the conservative think tank, The National Center for Public Policy Research. The sole purpose of Project 21 is to provide token talking head media whores to represent the right wing when they need a splash of color. They will always be able find someone to Tom for the Right.

It's too bad they can't find anyone intelligent to shill for the wingers. I imagine after the Bush Administration's performance during and after Katrina, it's kind of hard for P21 thicken its ranks if they are looking for black folks that have consumed gallons of the Mehlman Kool-Aid.

It's doubly sad because they couldn't even find a brother to run the joint. P21 headed up by the curiously pale David Almasi, who, as Media Matters points out, previously worked for the Reed Irvine-created batsh*t group Accuracy in Academia.



How is this tied to DeLay? Terrible Tom's friend, lobbyist Jack Abramoff gets around. He's affiliated with The National Center for Public Policy Research. Media Matters:
Roll Call reported on October 19 that Jack Abramoff, a former NCPPR board member, used the organization to funnel $25,000 he received in lobbying fees from an Internet gaming company "to pay for foreign trips for Members of Congress and staff." Roll Call noted, as did The Washington Post, that this money was used to help fund a May 2000 golfing trip to St. Andrews, Scotland, that included former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX).
And here's a priceless photo for you, just to prove that P21 is firmly in bed with those in the know:


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

Hat tip, Blogenfreude at Agitprop.




Fun with DeLay


House Blender Grayseeker surfed over to Awfulplasticsurgery.com (a great, if weird site, BTW, for looking at before/after celeb shots), which got in on the DeLay fun today. I never paid attention to the guy's nostrils. He's too creepy to keep your eyes on him for any length of time.


From Stealth Lesbian: U.S. Congressman Tom "The Dirt Bag" DeLay was ordered to appear for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges. Stealth Lesbian has obtained an unofficial photo of DeLay in booking from insider sources. Yes!!!!



Planning for future discrimination



It's interesting. I guess most of these religious organizations are not sure what to do with the possibility of dealing with openly gay Christians, let alone married gay Christians.
The head of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship says its student leaders must be Christians who abide by biblical norms for purity. Alec Hill says that rules out anyone engaged in either a homosexual or heterosexual relationship outside marriage. Asked whether a homosexual who is legally married in Massachusetts could be a student leader, Hill says, "That hasn't come up yet, but it will." The InterVarsity president says, "There's legal authority and there's scriptural authority, and we would go with the higher authority" in defining marriage. The Christian student group's leadership qualifications have put it at odds with some universities' non-discrimination policies.


The ACLU: loved and hated by the Right

Mike Tidmus usually has some keen graphic that I want to see. This time I'm pointing to a post of his that you'll want to read on street preachers, the ACLU and the hypocrisy of the religious right, which slams the ACLU at every turn (most recently, see my post: Homosexual Activists Suspected of Pulling Students' Strings in GSA Lawsuit).

Mike's post is a great read.


GOP: Dumbest. Tactics. Ever.

This is desperation, plain and simple. Ken Mehlman is flailing.
The Republican National Committee today unveiled a new interactive Web-based news program entitled "In The Know," seeking to shore up support for Bush court nominee Harriet Miers and efforts to reach out to minority voters, RAW STORY has learned.

"In the Know" mimics a CNN-style news program. An olive-suited auburn-haired anchor sits in front of an ghosted capitol and two active LCD screens.

"Each edition of In The Know and all of GOP.com will keep you connected to President Bush," she says. To view the program, go to GOP.com.
I sullied my keyboard by surfing over to the site. Let me tell you, I nearly had to pick myself off of the floor after laughing so hard that it hurt.
Other segments of the show, "On the Move" and "Life of the Party," examine the latest GOP happenings and events. The first edition features the Republican celebration of Hispanic Heritage month and the RNC summer meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The "Life of the Party" segment is available in both English and Spanish.



"Mi partido is su partido," declares Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.
I moved on to the GOP blog, where I read some illuminating commentary from a party functionary, "eCampaign Staff Assistant" Katie MacGuidwin, in a post with the enlightening title, "More On Miers: Questionnaire Reveals Much More Important Info Than MSM Reported."


In an effort to ensure that you are getting all of the information regarding Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, not just what the main stream media chooses to report, each day we will give you “More on Miers.”
Katie cites a chunk of an answer to question 28, which deals with "her judicial philosophy and feelings on judicial activism." It's quite dry pre-digested stuff you'd expect. Katie also notes that Dallas Bar Association will endorse Harriet Miers. That's the same Bar Association, along with the State Bar of Texas, that Harriet (or her staff) can't quite seem to figure out what she was doing when, as Harriet attempted to fill out her questionnaire for the Judiciary Committee:
Dallas Bar Association (joined in 1971)
1984-1987 President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President
Date unknown: Chair of the Board
Date unknown: Vice Chair of the Board
Date unknown: Vice President, Activities and Administrative
Date unknown: Secretary
Date unknown: Member, Evaluation Committee, Committee for a Qualified Judiciary
Date unknown: Charter Fellow, Lifetime Member, Dallas Bar Foundation

I have made my best efforts to include all organizations of which I was a member. However, I may have been a member of other organizations for which I no longer have records.


DeLay is booked and released


This is not a normal mug shot. I want the real deal.

Cheated. Where's the little sign that you hold when they snap your pic? Why isn't there a profile view?
Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself Thursday in at the Harris County sheriff's office, where he was photographed, fingerprinted and released on bond on state conspiracy and money laundering charges.

"He posted $10,000 bond and they have left the bonding office," Lt. John Martin with the sheriff's department said.

DeLay, accompanied by his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, showed up about 12:15 p.m., appeared before a judge and was gone in less than 30 minutes, Martin said.

The appearance came a day after a state court issued an arrest warrant for DeLay and set an initial bail, a routine step before the Texas Republican's first court appearance Friday in Austin.

DeLay had been expected to make the appearance in his home county, Fort Bend, a suburban county southwest of Houston, where an entourage of media had been camped out awaiting him. Under Texas law he could check in anywhere in the state.
Calling all P'shop fiends -- he's given us a blank slate, so make him look like the criminal that he is.


Politics in the Great White North



A potty break on the campaign trail. U.S. political sideshows cannot top this, though Mr. Floatie could represent a good number of our elected officials.
Mr. Floatie, a community activist who dresses up in a feces costume to decry the pumping of raw sewage into the waters off British Columbia's capital, has withdrawn his name as a candidate for mayor.

The city had planned to challenge Mr. Floatie's candidacy in B.C. Supreme Court.

James Skwarok, the man inside the costume, said the city apparently took issue with his candidacy because only real people can run for municipal office.

"Of course I'm not a real person," Skwarok said earlier this week. "I'm a big piece of poop."


Church holding 'ex-gay' therapy on public school property


Rev. Ken Hutcherson, speaks to his Antioch Bible Church congregation in the Lake Washington High School gymnasium, where the church meets. The non-denominational church has more than 3,500 members.

Why is this happening?!
Concerned about 'ex-Gay therapy' being offered on Lake Washington High School property, staff from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Puget Sound testified before the district's five member school board last week.

GLSEN's Executive Director Robert Raketty and Education and Training Director Joe Bento, M. Ed., spoke out against the school district's rental of space to the Antioch Bible Church. Under the leadership of openly homophobic Rev. Ken Hutcherson, the church provides 'ex-Gay therapy' on school property every Sunday and is planning to host Exodus International's Groundswell 2005 conference - intended to teach clergy and youth how to proselytize to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth - at its Redmond, Washington, offices.

"We believe the agreement has created an untenable situation - one that interferes with the mission of Lake Washington High School," contended Raketty.

Hutcherson is best known for his opposition to marriage equality and his effort to get Microsoft to pull its support for a anti-discrimination bill in the state Legislature.
Earlier Blend posts featuring Hutcherson:

* Take action! Microsoft f*cks over gays
* OMG: Ken's new Barbie
* More on homo-bigot Ken Hutcherson


'Cheeseburger bill' puts bite on lawsuits


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would block lawsuits by people who blame fast-food chains for their obesity.

The "cheeseburger bill," as it has been dubbed in Congress, stems from class-action litigation that accused McDonald's of causing obesity in children.

The legislation's backers say matters of personal responsibility don't belong in the courts.

"As one judge put it, if a person knows or should know that eating copious orders of super-sized McDonald's products is unhealthy and could result in weight gain, it is not the place of the law to protect them from their own excesses," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill seeks to thwart class-action obesity lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants.
I agree, to a point. If you don't know that a lifetime daily diet of Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese is going to eventually kill you, then your death from obesity is just weeding bad genes out of the pool.

However, I do expect some responsibility from the fast food industry in at least educating the public about the dangers of obesity and junk food. We expect tobacco companies and alcohol companies to put warning labels on their products and produce public ad campaigns touting how to quit smoking or how to drink responsibly. Why not fast food?

Moreover, why are food producers required to place nutritional content information on a bag of frozen french fries at the grocery, but not on cooked french fries at the McDonald's? That's all I ask for, is that every Big Mac wrapper, french fry holder, and soft drink cup be printed up with the same nutritional information the FDA requires of groceries.

Defenders of the industry would respond that all that information is available online or on a flier the restaurant will give you if you ask for it. OK, then why isn't that a viable alternative for groceries? Why is a manufacturer of bottled water forced to present all those zeroes on the nutrition label, but McDonald's can keep the fat content of a McNugget secret unless I specifically ask for it?

Finally, it is not always obvious to the consumer which choices are best for them. If you're trying to watch your fat intake, which is the better choice: the Fruit & Walnut Salad with Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette or a Cheeseburger and a Vanilla Ice Cream Cone? If you're watching carbs, is the Grilled Chicken Club a better choice than a Strawberry Sundae? If calories are your thing, should you go for the California Cobb Salad with Creamy Caesar Dressing or the 10 Piece Chicken McNuggets with two Spicy Buffalo sauces?

So let's compromise. If the fast food industry could agree to print nutritional information on their packaging, I could agree that they should never be sued for obesity-related claims. Seems fair to me.

(By the way, in case you're wondering, the second food choice in that list is the better food choice, according to McDonald's Nutritional Information online.)


Harriet doesn't know how to fill out the form



Harriet gets an "F" on her Judiciary Committee questionnaire, from both sides of the aisle. She better bone up pronto if she's going to get out of the gate; maybe good friend Condi can lend a hand on prep.
The top Republican and Democrat on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday told U.S. Supreme nominee Harriet Miers to elaborate on what they criticized as inadequate answers to a questionnaire prepared as part of an examination of her qualifications.

At a news conference, Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, described Miers' response to the questionnaire as "insufficient," and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, ranking Democrat, said some had complained the answers were even "insulting."



"Please prepare a supplement to your responses ... with as much detail, particularity and precision as possible," they wrote in a letter to Miers. It cited a number of areas, including her experience with constitutional issues and her brief suspension for nonpayment of dues to the D.C. bar association.

"We don't have enough in this questionnaire, the answers so far, to go forward," Specter said, complaining about what he called a "chaotic" confirmation process so far.
Don't take my word for it; you can see her responses here. Some sample answers...


State Bar of Texas
1991-1994 President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President
Date unknown: Director, Fact Finding Committee
Date unknown: Chair, Goals and Implementation Committee
Date unknown: Vice Chair, State Bar Antitrust Section Council
Date unknown: Chair and Vice Chair, Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters
Date unknown: Member, Administration of Justice Committee
Date unknown: Member, Directors Orientation Committee
Date unknown: Member, General Counsel Advisory Committee
Date unknown: Member, State Bar Litigation Section Council
Date unknown: Councilmember, Women in the Law Section

"I have made my best efforts to include all organizations of which I was a member. However, I may have been a member of other organizations for which I no longer have records."

"1989-1991: Chair, Railtran Advisory Committee. Contact information is not available."

"Dates unknown: Chair, Committee to Review City Budget Process, Contact information is not available."



"Dates not available: Member, Board of Directors, Tyler Cabot Mortgage Securities Fund, an investment company. Contact information is not available."

"In any instance in which I have not provided dates, my records do not indicate that information, and I have been unable to verify the dates of membership or service."

"Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia Bar were delinquent and as a result my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended. I immediately sent the dues in to remedy the delinquency. The non-payment was not intentioned, and I corrected the situation upon receiving the letter."



"The following list of speeches includes those I was able to locate after a diligent review of my records. I am confident that there are additional speeches, particularly prior to my appointment as Counsel to the President, to which I no longer have access or for which I did not prepare formal remarks. Although there may be press reports about these and other speeches that I have given, such reports are not all readily available to me. Any press reports I have located in my personal records regarding these or other speeches are included in my response to question 13d."
WTF is this?! Answers like the above go on and on and on, repeated many times. It's pathetic and really sad, come to think of it. She isn't ready for primetime, and the Chimp is leaving her out to dry, along with all of the rest of the folks he's trotting out to back her CV.

***

UPDATE: It's even worse than I thought. See the Raw Story article, "Miers provided misleading information to Judiciary Committee."
Miers also neglected to mention a class action lawsuit that accused the firm, Capstead Mortgage, of violating federal securities laws. The suit, which was later dismissed, came during the period Miers failed to include in her responses to the Senate questionnaire.

According to Capstead’s 1999 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Miers remained on the board as late as March 9, 2000. Miers opted not to stand for re-election, and in April of 2000, the former senior managing director at Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., Howard Rubin was voted on to the board and replaced her as chair of the Audit Committee.

But Miers 57-page questionnaire returned to the Senate on Tuesday claimed that her tenure at Capstead lasted only from January 1993 to 1997


When it's all going downhill, go after the homos


"This amendment represents, I think, the democratic process or the democratic response to recent and widespread efforts by activist courts to change this age-old definition of marriage."
-- Bonehead Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo), as he resurrected the FMA proposal

With the White House in chaos and the crooks and thieves on the Hill in trouble, it's time for a little diversion.

There's a fresh push by the Repug homo-haters on the Federal Marriage amendment; the Senate Sub Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution is holding hearings today, receiving testimony from those on both sides of the measure. The oh-so-pious attempt to keep marriage out of the hands of the Homosexual AgendaTM was reintroduced in January after failing last year, and a House version was submitted in March.

An interesting witness in opposition to an amendment is Dr. Christopher Harris, assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is a gay man, and has a 3-year-old daughter. His perspective, as a one of more than 750 pediatricians also opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, is that healthy families and kids result when gay and lesbian couples are able to form stable, legally recognized unions. And isn't a stable loving family what the Right is ceaselessly promoting? (365gay.com):
Harris said he will tell the sub committee that he agrees with the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that there are no relevant studies of the effect of parental sexual orientation on children that show any measurable effect on the quality of parent-child relationships or the children's mental health and successful socialization.

An analysis of the issue prepared for the AAP board of directors in July 2005, concluded, in part, that "Civil marriage is a social institution that promotes healthy families by conferring of a powerful set of rights, benefits and protections that cannot be obtained by other means.

Civil marriage can help foster psychosocial stability and financial and legal security as well as an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a more nurturing and secure environment for their children."
Of course, bible-beater conservatives are feeling let down by this Administration for not using up some of the political capital (and "mandate") the Chimperor had after the 2004 election to mount a campaign for FMA. Read the whining of Daniel Allott at Human Events. Saving marriage from the maurauding crowd of homos wanting to partake in oh, the little matter of civil equality seems to rank up there with Social Security reform in his mind.
Despite the perfect storm of judicial activism and vast public support for protecting marriage, a federal marriage amendment inexplicably continues to gather dust at the bottom of the president’s agenda.

In January, when asked about the prospects of a constitutional amendment, Bush simply shrugged and said it didn’t have enough votes, and “until that changes, nothing will happen in the Senate,” thus implying that there is nothing he can do. Since then, Bush has made no attempt to reassess the viability of an amendment.

While it is true that a federal marriage amendment does not yet have the support it needs to pass the Senate, neither did Social Security reform but that didn’t stop the president from spending enormous amounts of political capital to try and win over leery lawmakers and a reluctant public on personal accounts.

In truth, the reason marriage amendments have had the overwhelming support of the public in states as diverse as Michigan, Oregon and Utah is the same reason the public is skeptical of personal accounts. To most Americans, same-sex marriage represents an assault on an institution that has provided security and order to families and society for millennia. Americans understand that children fare best when raised by a mother and father, and have witnessed the deleterious consequences for children when the loving care and unique abilities of either is missing from the family unit.
That's funny. Has Danny Boy heard about depraved adoptive (and heterosexual) parents, John and Linda Dollar, whose children were spanked with belts, paddles, switches and whips -- and at least one occasion struck with a cattle prod? [The Dollars surrendered their parental rights in June.]

Or maybe Danny would prefer the healthy home of Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone, a Repug that just wanted to "whip the black off of" his son? I don't think there's a parenting book out there that will help Malone succeed at beating the melanin out of his 14-year-old son's hide unless he's got some kind of belt with magical, Neverland properties.

Maybe Daddy Dobson has a chapter on this in his child-rearing book.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world - and way too many people are parents that probably shouldn't be, but they do have the right to procreate, of course. Then you have gay people that desperately seek to be caring parents that live in states that make it hard or impossible to foster or adopt. The inability to marry makes it all the more difficult to form and raise a family.

You can take action on this inane waste of time and tax dollars promoting homo-bigotry by going to the Human Rights Campaign web site and fill out the "FMA Hearings: Tell your Senator to STOP wasting time on the Federal Marriage Amendment" petition to counter the AmTaliban's latest attempt to stir up a diversion from the corruption and thievery going on in this Administration.

Shakes Sis also has a good take on this.


Bill O'Reilly to 'retire' from this cruel world


Bring out the tiny violin for the blowhard: "Now it's so bad that I spend an enormous amount of money protecting myself against evil."

Bill O'Reilly had a sit-down with Newsday's Verne Gay (excerpts here are from NewsMax), and he poured his heart out about the liberal media and the public persecuting him. Waaaaah, poor baby.

The Faux News gnome, after settling the "loofah" sexual harassment suit brought by former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris, now appears to have lost whatever tenuous grip he had on reality.
O'Reilly told Newsday that he receives death threats and has to hire bodyguards. He can't check into hotels with his family. People on the street take his picture with their cell phones and then post it on the Web. "Who wants to live like that?" he complains.

As a result of the lawsuit settlement, O'Reilly must have a third person present whenever he conducts an interview or speaks to someone on the phone. "Anyone can accuse me of anything and it's on a Web site," he said in the interview.

Gay writes: "So little wonder that when Bill O'Reilly is asked about his future after his current contract ends a little more than two years from now, he blurts out one word even as the question is asked: 'Retirement.'"

But then O'Reilly backpedaled somewhat: "I might. I might. There's only so much aggression you can absorb."
Good lord, talk about aggression. O'Lielly has to be one of the nastiest, rudest, most abusive talking heads out there. I can't believe those words emitted from his pie hole. The paranoia truly has set in. All the better -- I hope he can put us out of our misery and get the hell off of the air before his two years are up.

The only sad thing is that Al Franken won't have him to kick around anymore.

I decided to visit the swamps of Freeperland, to see whether the knuckle-draggers are still defending the nasty pr*ck. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are in full revolt mode, even trashing former lovefest wingers Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Special fun is provided as they present their picks for a replacement for Mr. Loofah.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I believe the shark has bitten Mr. O'Reily."

"O'Reilly has always been good at playing the victim. He's a very insecure person."

"People on the street take his picture with their cell phones and then post it on the Web."

"Seems kinda thin-skinned. He's a public figure for gosh sakes. What does he expect? Bush has his picture taken every 15 seconds on a slow day. You don't hear him complaining."

"Hey Bill, move to Florida (I'm sure Fox can let you broadcast from there), fire your bodyguards, get yourself a concealed carry permit and announce on air that you have it and will use it - end of problem!!!!"

"What do you mean? He's looking out for us. LOL. See ya, Bill. Don't let the door hit ya in the ass..."

"Retire Mr. O'Reilly. The new 8pm Fox show will be The Rush Rules. We just have to find the right host."

"Bill O'Reilly is hardly the conservative stalwart that the political Left makes him out to be. The Left just cannot stand a World where there are people who disagree with them."

"I'd love to see Rush as his replacement. Runners up either Dennis Preger, Michael Medved or Hugh Hewett."

"Listening to O'Riley is like listening to paint dry."

"loofah + goofball = falafel"

"He has also hired bodyguards to protect himself. Phone sex with the wrong woman.?"

"Oh please don't retire Bill.(/sarcasm)"

"Used to watch him when he first started but like many he's become so full of himself he thinks he's more important than the stories he covers. No loss here. Have a happy retirement."

"Bill carefully crafts his spectrum of positions on issues so that he is able to please all of the people some of the time. It is a marketing strategy, purely and simply, based upon boundless greed and ambition and a total lack of personal integrity."



"I hope he quits... give Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham his slot."

"If he retires, he's just giving in to their smear attacks. I'll say one thing about Bill O'Reilly, he does more to protect America's children than most anyone in government."

"Prager will never have a prime time show, too thought provoking."

"How many bodyguards does a Leprechaun need?"

"e-mail the link to this thread to weeWilly at FNC: oreilly@foxnews.com"

"Well, The Leprechaun (Savage's term) is good for one thing. And as soon as I figure out what it is, I'll get back to you..........."

"Fox might be watchable again once they get rid of ORiley and Hannity. the 2 most over rated, pompous a$$es on TV. Legends in their own minds. Alan Colmes may be an idiot, but at least he is a gentleman."

"Both Laura and Ann have become so shrill and condescending the last year. I canceled my Laura 24/7 membership yesterday because I can not listen any more with out screaming! (and it is not over the Harriett nomination). BO was tuned out a long time ago over the same reasons."

"No, Bill, no! Don't retire! Because ...Huh. Can't think of a reason. Go ahead, then."


The Heretik on Humpty Dumbty Bush



The Heretik has the Chimp sitting on the edge of the wall...
THE NEXT WEEK WILL REVEAL whether the White House looks like the sequel to All the President's Men. [story]  If things get really bad, it might look more like Humpty Dumpty. All the kings horses and all the kings men may not be able to put Humpty Bush back together again.
Surf over for more.

***

Blender Joel Howard contributed a poem for this post...

Bush & Friends Are Going Down

By Joel Howard
(Sung to that old standard: “London Bridge Is Falling Down)

Bush and Friends are going down
Going down, going down
Bush and Friends are going down
Bush’ last days

Take a key and lock them up
Lock them up, lock them up
Take a key and lock them up
What a fine day

How will we get them out,
Get them out, get them out?
How will we get them out,
Bush’ last days.

Get them out with subpoenas
Get them out, get them out
Get them out with subpoenas
What a fine day.

Morals and truth they have none
They have none, they have none
Morals and truth they have none
Bush’ last days.

Break them down with honor and strength
Honor and strength, honor and strength
Break them down with honor and strength
What a fine day.

Honor and truth, squirm and squeal
Honor and truth, honor and truth
Honor and truth, squirm and squeal
Bush’ last days.

Build us back with old freedoms
Build us back, build us back
Build us back with old freedoms
What a fine day.

Democrats won’t fade away
Fade away, fade away
Democrats won’t fade away
What a fine day.

Build us strong with honesty
Build us strong, build us strong
Build us strong with honesty
Bush’ last days.


Starbucks bends over for the AmTaliban

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Rev. (and best-selling author) Rick Warren. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Starbucks got a lot of heat for creating cups with a quote by Armistead Maupin (below), so now it is soothing the sensibilities of the bible-beater set by finding Jeebus and putting on some spiritually-centered content. (USAToday):
Coffee drinkers could get a spiritual jolt with their java in the spring when Starbucks begins putting a God-filled quote from the Rev. Rick Warren, author of the mega-selling The Purpose-Driven Life, on its cups.

It will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign, The Way I See It. In 2005, Starbucks is printing 63 quotes from writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, politicians and cultural critics on cups for company-run and licensed locations to carry on the coffeehouse tradition of conversation and debate.

...Warren says the idea of a grande pitch for God as creator came to him after seeing a Starbucks quote on evolution from paleontologist Louise Leakey. Because Starbucks solicited customer contributions for 2006, Warren sent his in. On Tuesday, Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould confirmed that it would be used.

Baylor University pulled this Starbucks cup after objections to it; perhaps you catch homosexuality if you drink from them. Hey...we need to add this tool to our recruiting arsenal in our Homosexual AgendaTM.



One of the wingnut leaders that is marshalling a campaign against Starbucks is our homo-fixated friend Bob Knight, the penis-possessing leader of Concerned Women for America, and director of the organization’s Culture & Family Institute.
There are active homosexual groups in most major corporations now and they do a shake down, where they say, ‘If you don’t promote our events, you’re exhibiting bigotry and hatred, and we’re going to let everybody know that and you’ll feel bad about yourself and maybe it will hurt your sales.’ I don’t think it has ever hurt a company’s sales. I think they just cave in all too easily.”

...“It’s not enough not to go to Starbucks anymore,” he said. “You really need to visit your neighborhood Starbucks and ask to see the manager and just say, ‘You know, I’ve gone here a lot and I would love to go here but I have to tell you your company’s promotion of something that is against my values prevents me from having coffee here anymore, and I’ve found alternatives ... You make a great product, but you deserve to know why people aren’t buying your product anymore.’
Hat tips to Jennifer of Intous and Paul's Rants.


News from the coffeehouse...

Blenders, I have some interesting news to report this evening. If you click over to Pandagon, you'll see that I'm now a contributor at that fine blog.

I received an email from Amanda Marcotte yesterday, who has taken the blog over from Jesse, and she asked if I would tote some of my java over there once in a while. So I said yes.

I'll still be brewing the same Blend here, but guess this qualifies as offering take out...



Bush Disapproval Map - October Edition

Last month, I posted the Bush Disapproval Map. The idea is from the collected state opinion polls I've found at Survey USA. They list the difference between Bush's Approval Rating and Bush's Disapproval Rating. If the approval exceeds the disapproval, that's counted as a net positive for Bush -- in other words, that state "approves" of Bush. If disapproval is greater, that state "disapproves" of Bush.

Last month's map found 12 states where Bush had net approval, which I've marked in red, and 38 states where he had net disapproval, marked in blue. As you can see, things are getting rougher in this round of post-Katrina, post-DeLay, post-Frist, post-Miers, current-Plamegate-subpeona polling. Bush is down to seven states with a net approval (the purple states are where approval and disapproval are equal.)

Here's your Twelve Bush-lovin' states from last month and a look at how their minds have changed since September:
   STATE         OCT   SEP  DIFF
1 Utah +25% +27% -2%
2 Idaho +11% +17% -6%
3 Wyoming +10% +11% -1%
4 Alaska +8% +1% +7%
5 Nebraska +7% +13% -6%
6 Oklahoma +5% +5% 0%
7 North Dakota +1% +5% -4%
8 Mississippi 0% +12% -12%
8 Montana 0% +1% -1%
10 Alabama -1% +7% -8%
10 Louisiana -1% +5% -6%
16 Texas -12% +7% -19%
In other words, out of the twelve states where Bush still held a overall positive view from the people, that view has declined in ten of those states. It's not surprising to see a 6%-12% drop for Bush in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, but I'm shocked to see a 19% drop in his own "home" state of Texas! Yee-Haw!

For reference sake, here's the map from last month:



Another Gay Oregon Marriage That Started Straight


I've blogged previously about Donna Ross, the Oregon radio announcer who had a sex change operation. Donna was Ron when he married his wife, and after the sex change, Donna's marriage to a woman named Christy remains legal and valid in Oregon and, I assume, all fifty states, because the marriage began as "one man, one woman", and it doesn't matter that it is now "one gender-reassigned woman, one woman".

There must be something in the water here, because we've got our second legally-recognized lesbian marriage:
(Eugene Register-Guard) Russell and Marsha Taylor met at a party, fell in love, got married, had two children, grew a business and bought a big white house on a hill.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to living happily ever after: Russell became Rebecca.

Diagnosed with gender identity disorder, Rebecca Taylor last year flew to Thailand to see a doctor she regards as the best in the world for sexual reassignment surgeries. Taylor describes the day of the surgery, Feb. 12, 2004, as "my second birthday."

The difference between who she is now and who she was then, she says, "is the difference between being real and playing a role." In her view, gender identity disorder is no different than, say, having a cleft palate: "It's a medical condition that needs to be fixed."

Taylor, 38, defines herself as a homebody who dotes on her partner and children - and acts surprised when others are surprised that her marriage and family are intact.

"We are a great couple - far better now than when I was pretending to be who I was not," she says of her spousal relationship. "We are soulmates. The idea of us not being together is ludicrous."

"I love her," says Marsha, who is bisexual. "It doesn't matter to me what genitalia she has. It's her soul, her spirit, her kindness. Overriding all that is our relationship and her parenting skills."

Finally, in 2003, Taylor could pretend no longer, and sat down for a hard talk with Marsha: "I need to stop fighting this if I'm going to truly be happy in this life."

Marsha, not entirely surprised, worried for her partner, her children, herself.

"I made two promises," she says. "I said I'll be as supportive as I can be, and I'll never keep our kids away from you."

She chuckles when asked how things have changed for the better since her partner became a woman.

"Well, she likes to go shopping now," she says. "And we get to wear each other's clothes."

It's hardly been easy, however. Marsha tears up as she recounts some of the schoolhouse teasing she says their daughter has endured. And, with the exception of Rebecca's sister and Marsha's niece, they are estranged from most everyone in their respective families.

Within the family they've created, they insist theirs is a normal world full of love and laughter. The biggest difference, they say, is that the kids now refer to Rebecca as "Dama" instead of "Dad."

"Our kids know they have two parents who love them and are invested in their well-being and their happiness," Marsha says. "So in the end, I think they're going to be OK."
"It doesn't matter to me what genitalia she has. It's her soul, her spirit, her kindness." That's it right there. It's something that the American Taliban just can't wrap their minds around; the concept that one's genitals do not necessarily determine one's sexuality. It seems strange to me when you consider that they are the ones who believe in souls. If there's a soul, then Russell and Don had lesbian female souls trapped in male bodies, and Marsha and Christy's lesbian female souls fell in love with Russell and Don's lesbian female souls.

When straight women fall for straight men, is she falling in love with the man's twig and berries, or is she falling in love with his soul? If he loses his family jewels in a freak accident, does she love him less?

If the marriages of Donna & Christy and Rebecca & Marsha are legally valid, and they don't seem to be bringing down Western Civilization with their socially recognized lesbian marriage, then why should we not extend the same benefit to female couples who were both born female? If the man in "one man one woman" becomes a woman, why do they get to keep their "traditional marriage" intact?

My tongue-in-cheek theory is that the Religious Reich just has a mandatory one-penis-at-the-altar requirement for marriage. If that penis is surgically removed later, no big deal, so long as it was present for the big dress-'em-up say-the-vows matrimonial event.


Queen LaBarbera's mad at Walgreens for sponsoring Gay Games

"The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it's wrong for Walgreens to sponsor it. They've taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event."
-- Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute
It's like the AmTaliban jackpot today! Give a shout out to Walgreens, Kraft and Harris Bank for not caving to these bible-beating, homo-sex obsessing ninnies. (365gay.com):
Walgreens is the latest company to come under fire by a conservative Christian group for its support the 2006 Gay Games to be held in Chicago.

The drug store chain has given games organizers $100,000 and has been named a Platinum-level sponsor of the event. But, the Illinois Family Institute is calling for the company to take back the money.

The institute, which already has begun a campaign against Kraft Foods and Harris Bank which have each contributed $25,000 to the games, says that if Walgreens does not disassociate itself from the games it will encourage its members to stop patronizing the company's stores.

...The company, like Kraft and Harris, shows no sign of caving in to the institute's demands. A Walgreens spokesperson said that the company is participating in the Gay Games to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

LaBarbera said he has no problem with AIDS awareness and education because: "Homosexual behavior itself is a leading cause of HIV." But he said that he is opposed to an event to promote gay athletes to do it in.
Here are some choice quotes from Peter LaBarbera, who's also founder of something called "Americans for Truth":

"I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools...Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the 'sexual orientation' agenda works its way into their children's education."
(backing the Southern Baptist's call to investigate the influence of the homo agenda in public schools)

"It seems that liberals are afraid of Christians who will run for office as Christians. It's ironic that a group that fights discrimination is willing to basically foment discrimination against people of faith. I just found it shocking."
(whining that Christian candidates for public office feel like they have to "be in the closet about their faith.")

"We're opposed to the use of taxpayer dollars to promote an event that celebrates homosexuality. The idea of using sport to promote homosexuality is wrong."
(calling on Chicago to withdraw support for the 2006 Gay Games).


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."

Peter also spends a good deal of time "going undercover" to gay pride events, and in multiple instances, an International Mr. Leather event, to do research on deviance. He also doesn't take criticism well. When Fred Phelps decided to demonize poor little Petey, he decried that The Rotting CryptkeeperTM was a plant of the homo agenda.
"Politically and culturally speaking, Phelps and his protesters serve as a crude caricature of pro-family traditionalists who oppose the normalization of homosexuality. Fred makes an easy target for the media and secularists who are tempted (partly by their own prejudices) to paint any opposition to "gay rights" as hateful. For this reason, I have sometimes wondered if Phelps and his lawyerly clan are 'gay plants.' "
-- Peter LaBarbera, undercover homosexual lifestyle investigator
I think these companies can swat this gnat.


Ode to Daddy Dobson's child-rearing manual



Shakes Sis has an interesting item up about James Dobson and his tome on child care, Dare to Discipline, specifically the chapter "Teaching Respect and Responsibility to Children." It's a winner.


Waiting for that DeLay mug shot...


When they book this sleazebag, it will be a priceless photo.
A Texas court issued a warrant Wednesday for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear for booking, where he is likely to face the fingerprinting and photo mug shot he had hoped to avoid.

Bail was initially set at $10,000 as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and money laundering charges. Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County jail for booking.

The warrant was "a matter of routine and bond will be posted," DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin said. The lawyer declined to say when DeLay would surrender to authorities but said the lawmaker would make his first court appearance Friday morning.
UPDATE: and here is the arrest warrant:



Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Texas justice on Harriet: take my wife, please...

On Monday the White House trotted out six former justices of the Texas Supreme Court to vouch for Harriet's qualifications. That's no story. What is interesting is the observation Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill made about Bush's #1 fan.

Maybe there's something he knows about Harriet that we've only been speculating about...(Reuters):
The six former justices, all of them men, said they had worked with Miers while she was a lawyer in Dallas and they endorsed her Supreme Court nomination.



"I'd trust her with my wife and with my life," former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Hill told reporters on the White House driveway after a meeting with President George W. Bush.


Another Bushie under investigation


This toad Scott Bloch deserves his balls tightened in a vise. Photo: (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)
"The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection."
-- Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel -- and another administration henchman under investigation.
A little background...back in May, it was learned that Scott Bloch was failing to enforce the federal workplace anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, which was enacted when Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting bias in the civil service back in 1998.
If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.
But wait...is that really the policy? WTF? Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) grilled Bloch about this at the time. (WaPo):
..."Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation," the White House said in a statement. "President Bush expects federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work."

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

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

When Levin asked if Bloch would recommend that Congress clarify the law so that protections for federal employees extend to sexual orientation, Bloch declined to take a position.
Bloch, who took the oath of office from Clarence Thomas in February 2004, now finds that his lack of position on the matter (and other par-for-the-course behavior in this Admin) has landed him in hot water. (365gay.com):
A high level investigation into Special Counsel Scott Bloch was announced Tuesday by the Office of Personnel Management. The inquiry will be undertaken by Inspector General Patrick McFarland.

Bloch has been under fire for more than a year. The Office Of The Special Council is the agency that investigates complaints of discrimination by federal workers, but, Bloch has refused to take on complaints of discrimination based on sexuality.

He is also accused of heavy-handedness in dealings with his own staff. Both Federal Globe, the LGBT organization for federal civil servants, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a watchdog group, have called for an investigation for months.

On March 3, 2005, the groups along with the Human Rights Campaign and OSC staff members filed an official complaint against Bloch. With pressure mounting on the administration to act, the decision bring in Inspector General McFarland was made by Clay Johnson III, Deputy Director of the President's Office of Management & Budget.

The complaint specifies instances of illegal gag orders, cronyism, invidious discrimination, and retaliation. [What? Cronyism, retaliation? How could this be possible? Not in this Administration...]

The OPM Inspector General investigation into Bloch is the third probe into Bloch's operation after less than two years in office. The Government Accountability Office and a U.S. Senate subcommittee both have ongoing investigations into mass dismissal of hundreds of whistleblower cases, crony hires, and Bloch's targeting of gay employees for removal while refusing to investigate cases involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Read more about Bloch and his background in a good piece in the Boston Phoenix.


Wayne Besen on the 'Priest made me gay' story



J. David Enright IV, a New York socialite, recently went public about his molestation at the hands of Catholic priest Rev. Joseph Romano when Enright was a child. Enright told the NY Post that this incident "made him gay." He's suing the church for $5 million.
"I believe my life would be very different now. I'd probably be married, living in Greenwich, with four children in boarding school. I had a completely straight life in business, socially on Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Then there was this other world, which was slinking around Greenwich Village gay bars, finding mates."
Wayne Besen, via PageOneQ, takes on the twisted thinking behind this truly sad and bizarre story, and why the AmTaliban grips onto this theory. A snippet of his commentary:
This story of self-loathing is horribly wrong on so many levels. But let's first cut Enright some slack, for he is clearly a traumatized victim of child abuse and internalized homophobia. He is spewing nonsense as he tries to make sense of a childhood stripped away by a priest who couldn't keep his clothes on.

However, his frivolous lawsuit must be addressed because it contains damaging assertions that erroneously tie homosexuality to child abuse. At the very heart of his claim is the notion that homosexuals are simply misbehaving heterosexuals who perform deviant acts because they were screwed up as a result of poor parenting or child abuse.

...The truth is, there is no link between sexual abuse and sexual orientation. The vast majority of child abuse victims grow up to be heterosexual. The myth that abuse leads to homosexuality is kept alive because anti-gay political groups fear losing support if Americans believe that gayness is natural and inborn.


Homosexual Activists Suspected of Pulling Students' Strings in GSA Lawsuit

"They will be introduced to college-age and adult homosexuals, and they will be fast-tracked right into the active practice of homosexual sex. What school ever wants to be in the situation of saying [that] homosexual sex is no problem for youth?"
-- Linda Harvey, of Mission[ary Position] America on the ACLU's pimping of the homo agenda
The title of this post is the actual headline of the AgapePress article. Is the AFA web news rag slyly referring to pulling G-strings (like our friend Willie Wilson, who suggests that lesbian recruiting involves G-strings made out of Pez)?

It's like clockwork. The wingnut stories just fill up on my Bloglines feeds each day. It's a seemingly endless list stories with idiots like this woman spouting off. The AmTaliban that thinks the ACLU folks sit around thinking about how to corrupt and turn the adults of tomorrow into raging fags and dykes.

Good night, this is brain-dead logic.
A conservative activist group is accusing the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union of using students to further its radical, pro-homosexual agenda in schools.

Two seniors at Maple Grove High School have sued their school and the Osseo School District for allegedly discriminating against their student group called "Straights and Gays for Equality," or SAGE. The students claim the school has violated the Federal Equal Access Act by not allowing the homosexual group access to meeting rooms, bulletin boards, and the public address system on campus.

However, Linda Harvey of the conservative pro-family group Mission[ary Position] America believes the students' lawsuit is yet another ploy orchestrated by pro-homosexual activists in an effort to gain legitimization for homosexuality. "This is one more of these situations, I would have to say, where students are being motivated and manipulated by adult homosexual activists and civil liberties proponents, and especially the American Civil Liberties Union," she contends.

Harvey believes Maple Grove High School can avoid trouble by not considering homosexuality to be a viewpoint, as the students claim. She argues that the Osseo School District need not accept Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) like SAGE in order to have "viewpoint equality" on the campus, because homosexuality is not a viewpoint -- rather, it is a dangerous, high-risk behavior.

And the school, the Mission America spokeswoman would argue, has both the right and the responsibility to protect students from unhealthy or unsafe activities on its campus. "What's going to happen in these homosexual clubs," she asserts, "is that they are social venues where kids will meet other kids who are also inclined to homosexuality."
Regular Blenders are familiar with Harvey; the Stepford Wife has made a career of trying to protect young people from the evils of homosexuality. Here are some past posts from the tightly-wound woman:

* Ohio State's Queers on Wheels affirms the destructive homo lifestyle

* Another wingnut ties ACLU to the Homo AgendaTM. Check this post out, because it includes links to some of her essays, including: What homosexual 'marriage' will mean to America's children.


And I wanted to see Jo bed Blair



The Facts of Life According to Lisa Whelchel. AgapePress has a long profile on the former actress, who discovered God and has become sugar-sweet and light. I almost OD-ed on the glucose level.

I thought I'd pass the link so you could find out what happened to her, now that she's married to a preacher and has shot out a few urchins, who are now teens. Boy, I feel old.
But to Whelchel, risking success didn't matter when it came to her devotion to Christ. For example, she took a bold stand on the set of The Facts of Life early on in the show.



"They wanted my character to lose her virginity, and I was able to stand up and say, 'I can't do that. I can't use the talent God has given me to continue to perpetuate the lie that sex outside of marriage is just a normal fact of life,'" Whelchel recalled. "The producers were very honoring of that and respectful and didn't ultimately write that script for me.

"So I was thankful for the opportunity, however small, to take a stand for righteousness," she added.



Abstinence guru upset that contraceptives are reducing teen pregnancies

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


And her point is? Shouldn't Leslee Unruh just be happy teen pregnancies are down, no matter what the cause?
The president of Abstinence Clearinghouse says she is pleased that a recent study shows that the number of unmarried teenagers getting pregnant has gone down; however, some of the theories cited by the study as to why have her concerned.

The study Unruh is referencing, conducted by Columbia University, found that teen pregnancies are down about a third from their peak in 1991. The researchers credit this trend in part to higher numbers of teens remaining abstinent, but they also say that increased availability of contraceptives has been a factor.

The Abstinence Clearinghouse spokeswoman does not see this increase in the availability of contraceptive devices as a positive trend or a positive influence on youth. "Condoms are passed out in our schools; they are passed out everywhere," she laments. "You can hardly go anywhere anymore that you don't find some condom advertising."


Georgia's 'modern day poll tax' stopped by fed court


Good old boy Gov. Sonny Perdue tried to pull a fast one on the voters of his state.

I posted about this bullsh*ttery last month. Georgia wanted to require a driver's license or an ID card for a citizen to vote. No problem there. However, both of those IDs would be something that you must pay for. That's a no-no.

The real kicker was that out of 159 counties in Georgia, only 58 are set up to sell these ID cards. That's real convenient if you're poor and don't have transportation. Sonny's proposal only gives IDs away to those who cannot afford the fee. There's nothing wrong with requiring an ID to reduce fraud, but it must be free and easily available to everyone.

And the feds shot Sonny down.
In issuing the preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy said the law amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax because the state is not doing enough to make ID cards available to those who cannot afford them.

The requirement "is most likely to prevent Georgia's elderly, poor and African-American voters from voting," Murphy wrote. "For those citizens, the character and magnitude of their injury — the loss of their right to vote — is undeniably demoralizing and extreme."

So far, the law has been used only for local elections. The injunction could prevent its use during municipal elections Nov. 8.

Voter and civil rights groups sued over the new law, which eliminates the use of other forms of voter identification, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates or utility bills. Supporters, including Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, argued that the measure would help prevent fraud.

A driver's license with a photo is sufficient under the law. But those who do not have a license must obtain a state ID card, which can cost up to $35. The governor said such cards would be given free to those who cannot afford the fee.

..."We'll appeal it until the Supreme Court makes a decision. Hopefully by then the president will have a good conservative court up there that understands the will of the people," said Republican state Sen. Don Balfour.
Hat tip to The BradBlog. Brad's been all over this.


Woman refused emergency contraception at Target

Target's in deep doo-doo now. Man, I hate to be mad at this retailer, but this blows big time.

Via AmericaBlog, the latest in corporate womb control. A woman is unable to get emergency contraception filled at the red bulleye.
A 26-year-old Missouri woman was refused EC when she handed her prescription to a pharmacist at a Target store in Fenton, MO, on September 30. The woman was told by the pharmacist, “I won’t fill it. It’s my right not to fill it.” She was told that she could go to a local Walgreens instead. The woman said, “When the pharmacist told me she wouldn't [fill the prescription], I went from disbelief to shock to anger. I guess I'm still pretty angry. It seems unbelievable to me that a medical professional could/would deny access to a federally approved drug and impose their personal beliefs in a professional setting. I am also grateful that I did not need it filled at that time. I don't know how it would be if I had just been raped or if the condom broke and I was a feeling confusion and panic anyway -- and then was denied access and told to go across the street.”
There are several major corporations that have not declared what their policies are regarding pharmacists with "ethical or religious objections" to filling certain prescriptions. This is bull.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America has made three unanswered attempts to contact the following corporations in order to ascertain their policy regarding pharmacists' refusal to fill valid, legal prescriptions for birth control, including emergency contraception:

* Target
* Safeway
* Giant
* Duane Reade
* Piggly Wiggly


What you can do: go to the Planned Parenthood Fill My Pills Now campaign site and fill out a form to request that they release a public statement regarding their policies. Consumers need to know where to choose to spend their dollars if women cannot fill prescriptions in those stores.

You can also read more about refusals to fill from around the country here.


Packing heat or a colostomy bag...



Head over to Shakes Sis's pad to guess what's in the pants.

***

While we're on the subject of Darth, check out Catherine @ PovertyBarn's update on:
Libby's Loose Lips...


Printer dots and tin-foil hattery -- or not



Government Tracking You with Secret Code in Color Printers. I try to stay away from hard-to-prove tin-foil hattery like UFOs and the theory that Dick Cheney has a heart and Chimpy a brain, but this one you wish wasn't possible, and more disturbing, already in place.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which watches out for privacy matters in the digital realm as our Patriot Act-obsessed Administration strips our rights way, the major printer manufacturers have been co-opted.

I guess the only good news about this is most folks don't have color laser printers yet.
The US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public.

A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.

"We've found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.

You can see the dots on color prints from machines made by Xerox, Canon, and other manufacturers (for a list of the printers we investigated so far, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php). The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern, you need a blue light, a magnifying glass, or a microscope (for instructions on how to see the dots, see: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/).
The list of color lasers that do and do not have the tracking dots is here.

Thanks to KittenSnu for the pointer


Wow. Ask a rhetorical blog question...


WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday.

"If Congress passes a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit abortion except when it was necessary to prevent the death of the mother, would you actively support its ratification by the Texas Legislature," asked an April 1989 questionnaire sent out by the Texans United for Life group.

Miers checked "yes" to that question, and all of the group's questions, including whether she would oppose the use of public moneys for abortions and whether she would use her influence to keep "pro-abortion" people off city health boards and commissions.
Well, that pretty much answers my question, "Harriet, Harriet, quite contrary, yet how will you vote on Roe?", now, doesn't it? I wonder how the White House is going to spin this one into "gee, we have no idea how she will vote on Roe / but trust us, she's exactly the judge Jesus would want (wink wink, nudge nudge" territory...
"A candidate taking a political position in the course of a campaign is different from the role of a judge making a ruling in the judicial process." said Jim Dyke, a White House spokesman.
Rrright... Ladies & gentlemen, if you elect me to the exalted post of Grand High Poohbah, I swear I will do everything in my power ensure that only a woman in imminent mortal danger of death itself can get an abortion... but if I become a judge, you can expect me to make an absolutely dispassionate fair decision in any abortion case.

Who do you believe? The White House, or your own lyin' eyes?


Armstrong Williams back in hot water


Mike Tidmus gives Armstrong the big pimping.
"It's not about trying to dictate to adults what they should do in the privacy of their own homes. Let's be clear about that. Opposition to the gay marriage amendment isn't about disallowing homosexuals the same basic rights we extend to everyone else. It is about recognizing that marriage between man and woman is the bedrock of our society. It is about the citizens of this country saying, en masse, that they are unwilling to deconstruct certain basic and essential norms in our culture and society."
-- White House propagandist for cash and "commentator" Armstrong Williams, whose *ss is in the fire
He was paid $250K to shill No Child Left Behind for the Administration, and didn't disclose it in his "commentaries." Now he's under further investigation over his anti-same sex marriage propaganda.
The US Attorney's office has begun an inquiry into the use by the Bush administration of anti-gay commentator Armstrong Williams to promote its so-called marriage initiative. The probe was launched following a request from the Education Department after months of pressure by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

The Government Accountability Office has concluded that the Education Department engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose that he was being paid. The Education Department's inspector general also reviewed the Williams deal.

...Williams is a former aide to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In a column following the November 2 election Williams linked gay rights advocates with organized crime.

"Despite the rhetoric that you hear from the homosexual Cosa Nostra, the lack of support for the gay marriage amendment has nothing to do with prejudice," he wrote.

After Williams was exposed the White House pulled the plug on the operation, but sources close to the investigation say that Williams did not return any of the money, nor did the administration request it.

The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia is investigating whether Williams accepted public money without performing his required duties. The attorney's office has a range of potential remedies, from suing to recover the money to possible criminal charges,

"The inspector general wouldn't refer this to the U.S. attorney unless there was evidence of misconduct that requires further investigating," Dan Katz, Lautenberg's chief counsel, told the Associated Press.
It should be noted that homophobic sexual hypocrite and closet case Wilson was sued for sexual harassment by a man.
Stephen Gregory, a former male employee, sued Williams for $200,000 accusing the anti-gay commentator of sexual harassment. Gregory alleged that Williams kissed his mouth, fondled his fanny, groped his groin and climbed into bed with him on business trips. Gregory said that Williams – who denied being gay - fired him after he rebuffed the conservative’s advances.
Also, David Brock in his book Blinded by the Right said that Williams once made a pass at him in Williams' apartment, asking Brock if he was "dominant or submissive in bed."

Alrighty, then.


Gay-baiting in the Virginia governor's race



[UPDATE: I'm moving this post up because I'm interested in more discussion, and I added more on lesbian-baiting. Blender Sean in Dallas added some art at the end too.]

I don't know what to think of this bottom-feeding campaign. Is Repug Jerry Kilgore gay because he has a queeny voice? Or is it that his effeminate voice when paired with his homophobic positions - no gay marriage, no gay adoption, no civil unions, etc., leads one to the conclusion that the married-with-kids conservative is a self-loathing closet case? Or is he just a bigoted Repug that has a "gay-sounding," rural voice that is being gay-baited by the other side, playing on people's stereotypes and prejudices?


Opponent Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is raising that spectre, and people are talking -- get a load of this editorial in the Cavalier Daily:
So, Jerry Kilgore has a "gay-sounding" voice. This is apparent to almost anyone who has heard him speak. The Republican candidate also has a rural accent, but that's not what his Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, has been making fun of. Few outlets have dealt with this issue honestly, though several papers have danced playfully around it, such as the Staunton Daily News Leader, which has commented on "the 'Ned Flanders meets Mr. Rogers' whine that passes for Kilgore's voice."

These comments are, of course, meaningless, and insinuations drawn from Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice are based solely on unfounded stereotypes. There is no distinct correlation between voice and sexuality and Kilgore, for his part, is married and has two children.

But for Virginia Democrats, the idea of connecting Kilgore to a slate of negative stereotypes associated with gay men -- and to therefore weaken his support among conservative voters -- has proven tempting. Discussion of Kilgore's effeminate tone has been all over the Internet for months, and prominent Virginia bloggers have repeatedly speculated on Kilgore's sexuality and the effect his voice could have on the election. Suggesting that Kilgore's "gay-sounding" voice gives the impression that he is "weak" and effeminate, some online commentators have implored the Kaine campaign to take advantage of Kilgore's voice in order to implicitly connect him to gay stereotypes.
The Kaine campaign in my mind is crossing the line. If you have some factual information about Kilgore being a gay hypocrite and not just a homo-bigot with a sissy-boy voice, then out the guy. If you want to just point-blank ask the man if he's gay, do it. Don't do bush-league crap like this:
Last week, the Kaine campaign debuted a radio ad, "Weak." As the title would suggest, the spot suggests that Kilgore is "too weak to lead Virginia." Has Kilgore done anything, more than most other politicians, to define himself as "weak?" That's not clear. What is clear is the throwaway line in the "Weak" spot: "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight." The Kaine camp fails to add the obligatory "with voters;" the ad simply observes, "Jerry Kilgore is not being straight," period.
The bottom line is, if Tim Kaine wants to win by equating an effeminate voice with weakness and inability to lead, that's bigoted as well, regardless of whether his political positions are more favorable to gays than his opponent. He needs to be called out on this. As the Mike Slaven editorial notes:
But even if one accepts the principle that ends can justify means, it is not clear that Kaine could ever benefit the gay community as much as he is damaging it with a campaign that insinuates that sexuality is a matter of public discussion and fair ground for humiliation. After all, if such indignity can happen to a conservative, married father of two with a flutter in his inflection, what keeps it from happening to a self-avowed gay man?
I'd refocus that slightly. Sexuality is a matter of public discussion if you are a hypocrite in the closet who intends to oppose legal equality for gays and lesbians in the office you seek.

***

Blender Sean in Dallas thought the Kaine campaign might want this little bit of handiwork for their man's site, since sounding and appearing like a big old queen is all the rage...



***

Also, what about openly gay candidates that run? Is is OK for an opponent to run ads saying someone is "weak" if they are effeminate? What about dyke-baiting? Is that OK to do if you're a purportedly pro-gay Dem?

What about taking on a person's record, and their hypocrisy if that's what is going on? That's the issue at hand, not whether the guy swishes or sounds like Ned Flanders.

How does the person vote? How does the person lead? Are they a crook? Those seem to be more useful things to look at, not this kind of cheap shot.

Unless a campaign wants to publicly take on the justifiable charge that an opponent is an anti-gay homo, cut this vague, devious, dangerous sh*t out. It's confusing the issue for the average voter, and perpetuating stereotypes about gays and lesbians as capable leaders.

Female candidates face gay-baiting all the time, as a slur to suggest they aren't taking care of the hearth and home, that they are somehow fatally flawed, especially if they happen to hold pro-gay positions. Back in March I posted an item on the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's report, "Written Out: How Sexuality is Used to Attack Women's Organizing." It specifically tracked the impact of this on women here and around the world.
"With the rise of fundamentalism in both the U.S. and abroad, we are seeing that women who take public leadership on any range of issues are on the receiving end of very calculated attacks," says Susana Fried, IGLHRC's program director. "We want to connect the dots to show how women's sexuality is manipulated in this specific and increasingly common way to discredit and silence women around the world."

The 189-page report, written by Cynthia Rothschild, documents examples of such attacks in countries ranging from the United States to Argentina, India, Thailand, Costa Rica and more. "If a woman is single, she's attacked as a lesbian," says Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director. "If she's married, she's attacked for neglecting her family. Either way, the issue becomes gender and sexuality rather than the merits of the issue under discussion."

One result, says Ettelbrick, is that it becomes more difficult for women's groups to support gay and lesbian rights. "It makes our natural allies more afraid," she says. "We see female politicians retreat into self-censorship. Not only do campaigns go down to defeat, but leadership and vision suffer as well."
The Kaine campaign can and should do better than this. One would hope that if there were advisors or liaisons to the gay community in this campaign they wouldn't have let this kind of nonsense out there, but as we've seen with the self-loathing, closet case gay Repugs, sometimes the paycheck and power are worth more to them than principles.


'God blogging' conventioneers and the political power of the medium



Obviously you can blog about religion from the Left (e.g., Street Prophets) or the Right (pick any AmTaliban site), but I imagine more folks at this convention were of the Right-leaning variety, based on this article (and the fact that the anti-gay, conservative blogger LaShawn Barber was there). (Guardian):
What would Jesus blog? This was among the questions considered by a conference of God bloggers in California at the weekend, which heralded their growing numbers as potentially the most important development in the spread of Christianity since the Gutenberg printing press began churning out bibles in the 15th century.

The three-day gathering at Biola University brought together around 135 Christian bloggers to discuss topics ranging from their relationship with the traditional church to their growing influence on mainstream politics.

...Some commentators believe the growth of religious blogs will have political ramifications in the US. Christian conservatives make up the Republican "base" that was primarily responsible for putting George Bush in the White House, and the God blogging phenomenon could make them an even more effective political force. It is "certainly going to be [of] more benefit to Republicans than Democrats", Carol Darr, director of George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, told Fox News.

Matt Anderson, 23, the coordinator of the God Blog Convention, told the news channel's website that one of the goals of the conference was to see whether God, Christian-oriented blogging and politics were a good marriage, and if so, how they should match up.
Is there any way that those blogging from the Left on religious issues can make any headway?


'Senior White House official' is squealing for Fitzgerald

Monday, October 17, 2005

Something's about to hit the fan...
The case of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame is set to explode.

The New York Daily News is set to report in Tuesday editions that a well-placed source interviewed by the newspaper believes a senior White House official has flipped and may be helping the prosecutor in the case, RAW STORY has learned.

The Daily News will reveal that a top source believes that based on the questioning of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his other contacts with the investigation, someone in the White House has turned.

All eyes are on Dick Cheney, the News says, as the investigation wraps up.


Wingnut site: Oprah 'endorses homosexuality again' on upcoming show



Lifesite's a web portal that says it is "dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family" -- and features a thumb-sucking fetus on its "About us" page). It is fixated on Oprah's apparent influence on pro-gay and pro-choice politics, and they want to put a stop to it.

This time the site is getting on Oprah's case because she will have on as a guest, the straight guy that appeared on the fourth episode of Morgan Spurlock's documentary series "30 days: Straight Man in a Gay World." (Spulock's also the man behind Super Size Me). A description of the episode:
A God-fearing 24-year-old conservative homophobe from red state America travels to San Francisco's Castro District to live in what is notoriously known as one of the gayest areas of the country. As he joins a gay sports team, works a job that caters to gay clientele, attends gay-friendly church services and lives with a gay roommate, he gets an inside view of what it is like to live as a minority that still elicits strong feelings of hatred among many Americans.

Throughout the 30 Days this former youth minister and member of the military will have his Bible-rooted values severely challenged as these important issues become very personal.
This show has really set off the Lifesite people.
During this particular segment a farmer, Ryan Hickmott, from Michigan spends 30 days with a gay marketing consultant in San Francisco. The program notably did not address the sexual practices of many homosexuals that are said to often eventually lead to disease and other serious physical and psychological consequences.

While Hickmott doesn't disavow his belief that homosexuality is contrary to biblical teaching he does say that he has "a very positive image of homosexuals." He claims to be newly "open-minded, matured," and "a better person." He admits to having made uninformed opinions in the past.

For this reason Oprah is bringing the man onto her show. In 2000 Winfrey was the keynote speaker at a luncheon held by the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, a group whose priority this year is to ensure that minors, without parental consent, maintain their access to contraceptives and abortion. Winfrey's cameo appearance on the "coming out" episode of the TV show "Ellen" in 1997 raised concerns at the time over the promotion of homosexuality.
They also cite this bullsh*t from the Family Research Council.
Hollywood and the media relentlessly propagate the image of the fit, healthy, and well-adjusted homosexual. The reality is at polar opposites to this caricature: homosexual and lesbian relationships are typically characterized by instability, promiscuity, and unhealthy and risky sex practices, factors that greatly increase the incidence of serious and incurable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including hepatitis, HPV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and AIDS.
Can they just not tune if it's going to upset them so? Here are other ridiculous articles on Oprah at LifeSite:

* Oprah Winfrey support for abortion and homosexuality
* Culteral Icon Oprah Winfrey Promotes Acceptance of Homosexuality
* Oprah Promotes Homosexual Agenda Again Referring to Lesbians as "Married"


'Ex-gay' Janet Boynes and Michele Bachmann

She and Willie Wilson don't know each other, but I'm sure they'd get along like two peas in a pod, maybe trade stories about strap-ons, who knows...

Who is Janet Boynes?



She is featured in the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council's "Pro-Family News", and bills herself as a "former lesbian," speaking at engagements around the country to help call people out of their homosexuality by finding Christ.

Eva at Lloydletta and Dump Michele Bachmann has a good long piece on Boynes, who's the sidekick of homophobe Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann on some of these anti-gay publicity campaigns.
When Bachmann spoke in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Janet Boynes flew up with her and spoke also. (I still don't know who paid for the private plane.) I first saw Janet Boynes (but did not talk with her) when Dale Carpenter debated Glen Stanton at the MacLaurin Institute debate on the U of MN campus. Janet was sitting next to Michele Bachmann (who was seated right behind me). Janet asked a question after the debate, where she made the point that gays have a choice to be gay, and African Americans don't make a choice to be black. About a week after I saw Janet in Hutchinson, I saw her again at Outfront's listening session with minority gays. When I debated Michele Bachmann on KKMS, Janet called in and stated that gay women are frequently in butch/femme relationships, and so why not go for a male/female relationship.


You might recall Michele. Dump Michele Bachmann describes her this way: "Michele Bachmann is Minnesota's Answer to Colorado's Marilyn Musgrave. She is obsessed with gays at the expense of representing her district. This blog is here to chronicle why Sen Michele Bachmann needs to be retired from the legislature - and stopped from any future political career."

She was the unhinged winger that got caught last April at a gay rights rally at the state capitol, crouching behind bushes trying to get a look at what was going on, making a complete ass out of herself:


Bachmann crouched behind a bush, watching the homos; you'd think she was watching some dirty peep show.


Harriet, Harriet, quite contrary, yet how will you vote on Roe?


Don't let anyone talk you into thinking that no one knows much about Harriet "I ♥ GWB!" Miers and how she stands on the hot-button issues of the day. The press is trying to paint her as some stealth nominee whose views are unknown. The Republicans and the Evangelicals are trying to pull some "we don't think she's conservative enough!" wool over our eyes. The Democrats are doing their usual -- nothing -- and hoping the internecine friction on the right will bring down her nomination.

Don't buy it for a second. Bush and pals may be incompetent idiots when it comes to planning a war, running a war, managing an economy, reducing a deficit, preparing for a disaster, reacting to a disaster, making diplomatic friends, investigating intelligence failures, collecting anti-terrorism intelligence, saving the environment, defending the Constitution, and making America a better place for anyone making less than a million a year... but they are Hawking-level geniuses at politics.

They know exactly who she is and exactly how she will vote on everything. This supposed right-wing furor over her nomination will goad the Dems into inaction; they'll not seriously obstruct her nor filibuster, then, poof, the Repubs' concerns about her will disappear as they "take George's word" for her. Next thing you know, a Roberts - Thomas - Scalia - Miers - Kennedy majority is overturning Roe and the red states start locking up formerly pregnant teen girls and the doctors who help them.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, the woman already disqualified herself by lying. She once said, "George W. Bush is the smartest man I have ever met." If that's not lying, then it is proof of an extremely small network of friends or a critical misunderstanding of the word "smart", either of which do not bode well for a spot on the highest court in the land.

So Democrats, please, rent yourself a backbone and do all you can to oppose her nomination. You might want to start out by subpeoning these people:
(WSJ) Two days after President Bush announced Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination, James Dobson of Focus on the Family raised some eyebrows by declaring on his radio program: "When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."

On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained.

The call was moderated by the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. Participating were 13 members of the executive committee of the Arlington Group, an umbrella alliance of 60 religious conservative groups, including Gary Bauer of American Values, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and the Rev. Bill Owens, a black minister. Also on the call were Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Ed Kinkeade, a Dallas-based federal trial judge.

What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"

"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.

"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."

Shortly thereafter, according to the notes, Mr. Dobson apologized and said he had to leave the discussion: "That's all I need to know and I will get off and make some calls." (When asked about his comments in the notes I have, Mr. Dobson confirmed some of them and said it was "very possible" he made the others. He said he did not specifically recall the comments of the two judges on Roe v. Wade.)
Yeah, right.


My eyes!


Actual caption: Former U.S. president George Bush (R) and his wife Barbara Bush (L) are seen kissing on a giant electronic screen in center field showing the 'Kiss Cam' during the middle of the sixth inning in Game 4 between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series in Houston, Texas, October 16, 2005. Houston won the game 2-1 and lead the series three games to one. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Senior Repug saliva exchange. I think I'm going to be sick. Create a caption, folks.


Sore loser


Durham City Council member -- and recent primary loser -- John Best, Jr. cussed out a reporter with a "Zellfire"-type challenge.

A real class act. Folks, if you run for office, this stuff is going to come out, and guess what -- reporters are going to ask you questions. (News and Observer):
Durham City Councilman John Best Jr. tried to put a positive spin on his poor primary showing against first-time candidate Mike Woodard, who outpaced the incumbent's vote total nearly 2-to-1 on Tuesday.

In a phone interview that night, Best emphasized that his distant second-place finish was still good enough to earn him a spot on the November ballot.

But when a reporter recounted how several voters leaving the polls said they supported Woodard because of Best's well-publicized jail visit for failing to pay more than $18,500 in alimony and child support, the Ward 3 conservative lashed out at the "liberal media" for harping on what he considers a personal matter. [Dude, it's in the public record.]

A part-time bartender, Best issued a lengthy verbal tirade that displayed an impressive and varied command of curse words for an elected official. He then laid down a fiery challenge reminiscent of former Sen. Zell Miller's on-air invitation of NBC's Chris Matthews to a duel.

"I'll meet you anywhere, anytime, you [expletives deleted]," the councilman screamed before hanging up.
Hat tip to J. Williamson at Watauga Watch and Blender katuah for the pointer.


Rove, Scooter and DeLay Death Watches

Blogenfreude at Agitprop is almost as happy as we are regarding the prospect of Turdblossom taking a flying leap onto a sword for the Chimperor, since Rove announced in Time that he will resign if indicted.
We at Agitprop are pleased to inaugurate our Rove & Scooter Death Watch (patent pending). Will Rove go first? Scooter? Could DeLay be first? Could dark-horse Bill Frist (God's Diagnostician) come from behind? The mind boggles.

These Watches are needed, of course, due to the grand jury testimony of Judith Miller. Miller can't "recall" who gave her Plame's name (inscribed carefully in her notebook as "Valerie Flame"). In her own NYT piece published today, Miller nearly bent double protecting poor Scooter.
While you're there, check out the fun with Darth, who needs to be on a different kind of death watch, in "Cheney to Fitzgerald - Bring it on"...


Think Progress reports this morning that Dear [Vice] Leader and Sith Lord Richard "Darth" Cheney is directly in special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's gunsight. Darth Cheney was interviewd back in the spring, but it hasn't been clear until recently that he might go down with Rove, Scooter, and the rest.


Winning Iraqi Hearts & Minds, Part 287b


Remember when US General Tommy Franks famously said "we don't do body counts"? Well, apparently the body count -- that cherished remnant of the Vietnam era -- is back, because we need to show all those doubters back home (the 56% who say the Iraq War is less likely to come to a successful conclusion and the 51% who say invading was a mistake) that, yeah, sure we've lost 1,976 American servicemembers in the war... but you should see the other guy!
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military said Monday that coalition forces launched airstrikes Sunday in and around Ramadi, west of Baghdad, killing "an estimated 70 terrorists."

Military officials said they had no reports of civilians killed.

"We do careful targeting to ensure minimum civilian casualties in the areas that the insurgents are operating," said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, director of the U.S.-led Combined Press Information Center.

In one operation Sunday, a precision-guided bomb killed up to 20 insurgents east of Ramadi after military personnel observed them planting a bomb at the site of Saturday's blast that killed five U.S. and two Iraqi soldiers, a U.S. military statement said.
Whoo hoo! Seventy dead insurgents! Precision guided bombs with careful targeting and special explosives that stop and ask "hey, are you an insurgent?" before their shrapnel rips through human flesh. Yea! The Iraqi people must really love us now that we're only blowing up the bad guys that put our lives and the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians in danger.


Or... maybe not so much:
But an Iraqi doctor who reported 20 people killed -- including six children -- and 25 wounded said all those were civilians.

An Iraqi Ministry of Health official also said one child was killed and two women wounded in the airstrikes.

"[They] were not terrorists -- they were only a bunch of civilians whose curiosity prompted them to gather around a destroyed Humvee," said Dr. Dhiya Fahdawi, who treated people at a hospital in Ramadi.
Well, don't sweat it, Doc. That's just a bunch of civilians who'll never have a chance to come to hate America for our freedoms. Their friends and relatives surely realize that those bombs were precision guided with careful targeting, so their loved ones must've just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. In no way should that motivate any of their friends or relatives to distrust America and support or join the insurgency.


Tidmus gives Willie Wilson the Shaft



Mike Tidmus...my hero!!! Brilliant as always -- he's given the good homophobic Reverend a 70s blow-out 'fro, though I certainly feel flattered by the Pam Grier casting (talk about over-the-top, lololol). Mike's post on the goings-on in DC over the weekend...
That Willie Wilson, he’s a bad motherfucker! Shut my mouth!

"Sisters making more money than brothers and it’s creating problems in families … that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians."

"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. Anytime 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."

"My son in high school last year, trying to go to the prom, he said, ‘Dad, I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. There ain’t but two of them straight and both of them are ugly. I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom.’"

"You can’t make a connection with two screws. It takes a screw and a nut!"

"I ain’t homophobic, because everybody in here got something wrong with him."


— All of these charming quotes come from arch-bigot Reverend Willie Wilson of Washington DC


Right Willie, you’re not homophobic and I’m not pansy pink! You are, however, one lesbian-love-obsessed, screwed-up nutcase.

Pam Spaulding has the goods on this pathetic homophobe and what he pulled at the Millions More March.

As gay rights activist and representative of the National Black Justice Coalition, Keith Boykin, was stepping up to address the crowd, as had been previously arranged with Minister Louis Farrakhan, the homophobic Wilson turned him away and Boykin was not permitted to speak.

Read Keith Boykin’s prepared remarks and his comments on the incident here.

For additional details, take a look at the Washington Post’s article, Gays Protest Rejection Of Speaker at Gathering.


Key: black pastor


Sleazy Dick Morris pumps Condi for '08



This media hog is going to be appearing in Durham at a local bookstore to promote his new tome pictured above. He's so full of hot air. Look at some of the BS that he's promoting in the book.
In “Condi vs. Hillary” you’ll find out:

--The former Clinton Cabinet member who goes on the record for the first time in Morris’ book to say Republican Condi Rice will take an unprecedented 40 percent of the black vote in 2008.

--How Condi will generate huge support among women, blacks and Hispanics – insuring a GOP victory.

--Condi’s real-life experience fighting the “war on terror” makes her the presumptive heir to the Bush presidency.

--Condi never held elected office, but could easily join other great American presidents who hadn’t held office either.

--The childhood vow Condi made to her father that someday she’d live in “that house” – the White House.

--Race: How her election to the presidency will be the final battle of the Civil War, break the glass ceiling and affirm America’s vision of equality for all.

--Condi and Bush: why they really hit it off (and it has little to do with politics).

--Condi’s fervent Second Amendment views and why she really believes in gun rights.

--The real Condi you haven’t read about in the liberal papers, and much, much more.
Then he goes on to describe Hillary's plan (as if he's privy to any of this, since no one trusts the guy).
--Hillary’s secret 2008 campaign: She has already raised millions for it – and incredibly, has even locked up 20 percent of the Democratic primary delegates! (You won’t read this in the New York Times!)

--Hillary’s ties to “Pardongate,” which helped her raise money for her 2000 Senate bid.

--How the Clintons’ “Rolodex of millions” has made them the most powerful Democrats in America.

--Bill Clinton’s secret role as Hillary’s media consigliere.

--Cat tricks: Hillary cleverly avoids getting photographed with Ted Kennedy.

--Hillary’s reinvention – how she has changed her image and politics – and why one poll even had 33 percent of conservatives supporting her.

--Unmasked: Despite the masquerading, Hillary remains a hardcore liberal -- for partial birth abortion, for more taxes, for lifting the travel ban to Cuba, for more union power and worse.

--Morris’s advice to Hillary on how to emulate Margaret Thatcher – and how Hillary has taken the advice!

--Why Hillary’s “Living History” was the ultimate “chutzpah.”

--Hillary’s two agendas in 2008; one involves Bill.

--Surprise: Morris says Hillary may actually drop out of the New York Senate race. (Morris reveals a private conversation with Terry McAuliffe about this.)

--2004 Games: The Clintons cleared the way for their 2008 run by sabotaging the Kerry campaign.

--Why Hillary has become scandal-proof and the old complaints over Whitewater just won’t work against her.
Well, it does sound interesting, almost high comedy -- he sounds like he's setting up a bitch-slapping fest. How does this sleazebag keep getting on the air to prognosticate anything? He will be all over the airwaves shilling this soon.

It's too bad for Dick that this news broke today: Rice Says No - and No Again - on Presidential Bid

I decided to wade into Freeperland to see how they view Dick Morris's predictions...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"And we should trust his advice...why?"

"Dick Morris has 'egg on his face' because of his assertion that Hillery would not run for Senator."

"Dick must be sucking on a bottle rather than toes these days."

"Dick Morris has been touting this for some time. Condit probably could stop Hillary, but I doubt that she is the only one. Ms.Rodham Clinton is one of the most divisive figures in the country, and thanks to Rush, the internet, Fox News, etc., the American people will not forget it as they may have in a less technological era."

"Most Republicans are in denial, but Hillary Clinton is the most likely person to be the next president. The GOP can beat her, but the GOP needs to start acting like Republicans, mainly getting the budget under control with significant budget cuts. Without some bold actions by the GOP, Judge Roberts will be swearing in Hillary Clinton on January 20, 2009."

"One problem with Morris' prognostication is that three years is an eternity in politics. He doesn't know who could emerge as a candidate between now and then. Who outside of Dem political elites had heard of Bill Clinton in 1989?"

"Dick has jumped the proverbial "shark""

"I do not "get" Dick Morris. The few times I have endured listening to him, he reminds me of a gossipy old granny."

"Dick Morris, go suck a toe."

"Morris is right this time, not because he says so, but because I say so. Rice can beat Hillary, but only if she gets lucky. Hillary has to be considered the favorite in this match up, for now. The real problem is that the Republicans are afraid of making her look like a victim, so they can't attack. Hillary has to devote very few resources for defense, and that's an important key to victory."

"I'd vote for Condi, but sometimes I think I'd rather see Cheney in the Oval Office. Why? So I could grab a folding chair and a bucket of popcorn, go to the Mall and watch the Moonbats have aneurysms. There is a serious reason for that, too. Bush is so hated by what has become the mainstream of the Left that the Left does itself damage by constantly blaming him for every stubbed toe and parking ticket in America. That has to have an effect on the perceptions of Joe Lunchbucket, the Undecided Voter. A Cheney presidency would make the Left show itself for what it is in ways that would be impossible to ignore or misinterpret."

"Cheney's circulatory system couldn't stand up to a presidential campaign."

"Morris is selling a book. A work of fiction disguised as non-fiction. He's picked a dramatic topic well in advance of it being falsified by events. and he's promoting it like the movie posters of yore, which hinted at more provocative content than was actually supplied."

"The Freeh book is at least supposed to contain facts."

"Morris has it in for the Clintons and the (D)s , he sees the ultimate slap in the face to them would be defeating them with the "loophole" of an untouchable PC candidate... black, female."

"Let me guess. Goatboy wants to erase the impeachment 'stain' by getting Hildebeast to install him as General Secretary of the U.N. I've been saying that for some time -- a couple of years. I outlined the idea to some poker-playing friends, and two of them immediately responded, "You've just described the coming of the Antichrist." Seems they'd been reading the Left Behind series."

"America will not elect Hillary over a strong, competant man like George Allen or even John McCain. Call it an embedded sexist streak if you want, but my reading of the tea leaves never allows a woman to get elected over any suitable man. Put Condi in there, all bets are off, and removes that hurdle for Hillary!"

"Hell, Bob Dole could probably beat her."

"But seriously, George Allen could, and so could Mike Pence. Probably all of your standard liberal Republicans could (Giuliani, Romney, McCain, etc.), but they wouldn't be much of an improvement over her. I also think that Tom McClintock, given an equilvalent amount of support from the party that other more well-known candidates would receive, would clobber her."

"The only thing that disappoints me about George Allen was that he voted in favor of the " Hate crimes " legislation bill, in which included sexual orientation in that bill. Even if you speak out against homosexually ( the banning of the Bible will be next on the homosexuals target list , because it will be considered " HATE SPEECH " ) the gays will still consider it a hate crime if you even speak out against homosexuality. Just take a look at what happened to that pastor in Canada if you don't think this can and will happen here in America. enator Allen voted in favor of that legislation, in which, was a BIG disappointment, because I was thinking of voting for him in 2008, but now, I have my doubts."

"A dirty little secret is that there are a lot of senior citizens (many of whom vote Democrat--retired union workers, e.g.) who are sexist. I learned that firsthand when we got a woman pastor at our church. The old folks (men and women alike) did not like it one little bit. She's won most of them over, but there are still some who don't think women should have such a position of leadership and power. These folks will not vote for a woman for President."

"Only Condi can stop Conservatism."


Posted over the weekend...

If you're only a weekday Blender, here are some popular threads you missed.

* Keith Boykin banned from the podium at the Millions More March. Homo-bigot Willie "Strap on" Wilson had him turned away. This was also a front-page diary on DKos (238 comments and counting). Read this and take action. Post about it on your blog, pass the word along.

* I'm not sh*tting you, Halloween edition
* You've got to be f*cking kidding: KKK programming in Michigan
* CBS rejects UCC ad - AGAIN
* Wingnuts at 'tent revival' kickoff for Reformation Ohio
* Friday night at the movies, weeper edition


The Dark Wraith He-Stuff Challenge (for Shakespeare's Sister)

The Dark Wraith Forums has begun a little benefit for Shakes Sis, who was sacked from her job a couple of weeks ago.

This is a very interesting challenge; I've heard our very own "Radical" Russ has received an invitation.
As many of you who visit this part of the Blogosphere already know, Shakespeare's Sister lost her job awhile back. She and her husband, Mr. Shakes, have been the beneficiaries of kind and generous donations to tide them through this difficult time in their life together. She is a good woman, and he a good man. They contribute greatly to our stand against a machine of repression, mendacity, and stunning incompetence that has opened the 21st Century on a trajectory as grim as any in American history. It is proper that we who are of like conscience in this time stand together and help each other.

Shakespeare's Sister and Mr. Shakes will emerge from this trial, and they will go on, together and as individuals, to do good and great things; but for the time that is now, they are still in need of donations.

I am, at my heart, an old-time capitalist: something should be rendered for something gained; and that which is rendered should be of value to the extent that the market for it is willing and able to pay the price. To that end, then, I offer The Dark Wraith He-Stuff Challenge.

This night and tomorrow, I shall be visiting selected sites of male bloggers. To the bloggers I visit, I shall deliver a slap-slap of masculine challenge with a link back to this post. If the he-blogger accepts, he must post his acceptance of the challenge on this thread to raise, in the period ending October 21, 2005, a sum of not less than Fifty Dollars ($50.00). The transfer is to go directly to Shakespeare's Sister at the donations link on her blog. She will keep track of how much has been raised in each participating blogger's name: each donor is to inform her by sending her an e-mail message at shakespeares_sister@comcast.net regarding.

Bloggers who reach a goal of $50 will be announced at Shakespeare's Sister at one minute past midnight on October 22, 2005.

Any blogger who raises the required $50 must then post by October 23, 2005, a full boob shot of himself. He may conceal or otherwise crop his face, but he may not in any other way retouch the photo posted. The photo and the associated post with it must remain at the top of his blog, or reasonably close thereto, until 11:59 p.m. on October 25, 2005. Light-up and lace-up piercings are discouraged, as are robotic enhancements and crass commercial messages.

A blogger who accepts the challenge must post his acceptance on his own blog, as well. Only those who are successful in reaching their respective, $50 goals will be announced at the deadline. This will avoid undue and degrading embarrassment to those unable to generate sufficient interest from their readers.

Now that Shakespeare's Sister has found out what's going on, she has published at her blog a post to parallel the one you are now reading.


And with this post, The Dark Wraith He-Stuff Challenge begins.
When Dark Wraith announced this to me over the weekend, I just pleaded to him that I don't want to see any he-chests that looked like the he-back in this post of mine...


Minor League Team To Host 'Hairiest Back' Contest.
Gag and hurl reflexes fully engaged. "The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League are ready to let the fur fly later this month."


Rove to resign if indicted?

Sunday, October 16, 2005



If what Time Magazine's saying is true, it would be an occasion for all of us to do the happy dance, just a little one, anyway.

Of course it's Rove's idea; we all know the man would fall on the sword for the Chimperor. Now we just have to hope there's an actual indictment. If the White House is floating this story for Time, they may be feeling cocky that there won't be one.
Karl Rove has a plan, as always. Even before testifying last week for the fourth time before a grand jury probing the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, Bush senior adviser Rove and others at the White House had concluded that if indicted he would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave, several legal and Administration sources familiar with the thinking told TIME. Resignation is the much more likely scenario, they say. The same would apply to I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the Vice President's chief of staff, who also faces a possible indictment. A former White House official says Rove's break with Bush would have to be clean--no "giving advice from the sidelines"--for the sake of the Administration.

Severing his ties would allow Rove--who as deputy chief of staff runs a vast swath of the West Wing--to fight aggressively "any bull___ charges," says a source close to Rove, like allegations that he was part of a broad conspiracy to discredit Plame's husband Joseph Wilson.
Oh, yeah. Bullsh*t charges. Man, he's knee-deep in pig manure; in fact, the Turdblossom specializes in rolling in it.


Rotting CryptkeeperTM Phelps flier on Judy Shepard appearance causes stir

This is via PageOneQ.



Fred's numnuts releasing a flier about IEDs when Matthew Shepard's mother Judy is planning to speak at a college isn't a bright idea, especially when the cops are taking it seriously as a threat. Because of threats made by the church, the Montana Human Rights Network has been denied the right to set up an educational table outside of the event, which will be at Carroll College, a private Catholic school, in Helena. There are also concerns about violent confrontations between pro-gay and anti-gay forces.

The Rotting CryptkeeperTM and his merry little drones aren't violent, just stupid. I don't know why this has set of the alarm bells -- the guy is clearly unhinged. What stinks is that it has now affected MHRN's ability to educate the public on tolerance and gay civil rights. In this case, Fred and his hatemongering wins.

There's also a story on 365gay.com about this.


Tidmus does it again



AbFab in the White House.
Patsy Stoned and Edina Rovina hit the bottle again. I guess with an orange jumpsuit in a certain someone’s future …

Sweetie! and darling! will be just a few of the sweet-nothings whispered by somebody’s new Leavenworth bunkmate.


More on Keith Boykin's banning from the podium at the Millions More March


Keith Boykin, and bigot Rev. Willie Wilson.

[I am posting a re-edited piece on the fallout at the Millions More March yesterday. This version has been front-paged at DKos. There are contacts at the end to take action on this bigotry. It's also time for a blogswarm. --P.]

Kossack TerrenceDC of the excellent Republic of T, had a diary on this subject that scrolled off very quickly yesterday and it deserved more exposure; I've excerpted snippets here.]

Several days ago, there was a meeting between Keith Boykin and members of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)  and Millions More March (MMM) leader Louis Farrakhan over GLBT representation at the march.

Keith Boykin was chosen to speak, but at the last minute, as he made his way to the podium, he was turned away by the homo-bigot co-organizer Rev. Willie Wilson.

Wilson was making sure that no one at that march was going to hear what Keith had to say about homophobia and the black community, or the need for gay visibility, recognition and acceptance.

From Metro Weekly's Will O'Bryan:
When NBJC president Keith Boykin and vice-president Donna Payne reported to the event on the Mall, they say, they were blocked from speaking by MMM organizer Rev. Willie Wilson.

Boykin was supposed to to represent the black LGBT community at the event.

Back at the Freedom Plaza rally, Payne said that when she and Boykin arrived at the MMM site, Wilson said, "They will not be speaking."

"I'm so angry, so angry," Payne said.
From TerrenceDC's diary, Million More March (Not) Missed:
The Million More March took place this weekend, and I did not miss it. Don't take that to mean that I attended, however, because I didn't. I didn't march, and I didn't miss marching either. After observing the behavior and listening to the words of those who organized the march, I don't believe I missed anything other than more of the same. And at this point in my life, I no longer wish to waste time on it.

...I've been over this ground before. I've been over it as a black gay man in an interracial relationship. I've been over it before in countless online flamewars and "blacker than thou" battles, in which it was asserted that I needed to prioritize one identity -- black or gay -- over the other; something I can no more do than, as I heard it put in Marlon Riggs' movie Tongues Untied, choose between "my left nut or my right."
I agree with Terrence. This is part of a sad sickness, a schism in our community that widens -- why should we have to choose? Why are the voices of bigotry against black gays and lesbians allowed to be leaders, to be organizers, to be arbiters of who is included and excluded in the community?

Wilson, a man placed in charge of organizing this march, said the following comments (and all involved, including Farrakhan knew he said these things) from the pulpit:


"But... 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. Anytime 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."

"No wonder your behind is bleeding. You can't make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female."
--The Rev. Willie Wilson
There's a real class act, huh? A man chosen to represent leadership in the black community for this march.

It is a sad state of affairs and if the other leaders present today are silent on this rebuff, they need to be held accountable.

Keith recounts what happened on his blog, in the post, "The Speech That Didn't Happen."
After eight months of discussion, four productive conversations with Minister Farrakhan and a heated exchange with Rev. Willie Wilson, the Millions More Movement March took place today and I was not allowed to speak. Although I believe we have opened the door for historic and positive dialogue with Minister Farrakhan, Rev. Wilson does not appear to be ready for such dialogue.

This is what happened today. After I arrived at the VIP tent shortly after 8 in the morning, my colleague Donna Payne spoke directly to Rev. Willie Wilson backstage, and he informed her that no one from the National Black Justice Coalition would be speaking today. Donna told Rev. Wilson that he was violating our agreement, and Wilson replied that the agreement was void because the Coalition had not responded by Friday. That was not true.

Rev. Wilson's excuse seemed a mere pretext to prevent us from speaking. Sadly, I am not surprised. He has been an obstacle to this process all along. Ever since his controversial July 3 sermon in which he blamed the rise of lesbianism for the problems in the black community, Rev. Wilson seems to have developed ill feelings toward the black gay community for responding to his attack. That was three months ago, and I had hoped to use my speech today to extend an olive branch to Rev. Wilson to move beyond our differences and heal our wounds, but his actions this morning made that impossible.
Eva at Lloydletta has thoughts on what went wrong.
I was thinking this probably happened because Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick did the outing campaign looking for stories about Willie Wilson being a closet gay. [I posted about the series on my blog here -- Pam]

This reminds me alot of what happened between Log Cabin Republicans and the Bush campaign in 2000. Jake Tapper's account discusses the Log Cabin internal divisions on this.
Keith gave it the old college try, but after Wilson's behavior (as a minister, no less), it's time to hang it up with getting a seat at that particular table.

Farrakhan knew exactly what he was doing when he extended the invitation in the first place. The National Black Justice Coalition had sent him a list of 10 prospective gay speakers for the MMM -- Keith wasn't on the list -- yet Farrakhan asked Keith to speak, knowing that Wilson was hopping mad over the outing campaign from a few weeks ago.

It's no surprise then, on the day of the event -- with festivities in motion -- Wilson could pull rank and block Keith from taking the stage and call it miscommunication. The goal is achieved -- the NBJC doesn't get a chance in front of thousands of people that needed to hear the message Keith planned to deliver.

For me, the larger issue is the whether there will be a follow-up reaction to this incident by the other black leaders at that march -- will they ignore this slight? Will they address Wilson's bigoted remarks and end-run on the black gay community?

These are the people that need to be asked to comment on what it means when a segment of the black community that has been marginalized and demonized is explicitly denied an opportunity to openly address a painful issue -- black homophobia -- with a message of hope.

Instead, Farrakhan and Wilson played Keith -- letting him publicize the "success" of being given a seat at the table, and then pulling the chair out from under him -- all to show him who was in charge. It's disgusting.

I don't want a seat at the table of homophobes and bigots claiming to be religious leaders. Keith, you're better than these people. They are brothers under the skin with the white evangelical AmTaliban -- they'd rather bed down with those jackals.

As Terrence noted in the comments of his diary in response to the above:

"A seat at the table? From what I've seen, we aren't even wanted in the house, let alone at the table."

Keith's speech -- the one that he could not give because of bigotry by a man of the cloth -- is powerful. You can read it here.

***

Sunday's press coverage on the conflict

The WaPo has an article on what occurred, "Gays Protest Rejection Of Speaker at Gathering," which describes Wilson's unhinged behavior at the meeting prior to the MMM, which tells you even more about this man.
Leaders said they were sure Wilson was responsible for the snub after their bizarre and angry meeting with Wilson earlier in the week.

...Boykin said Wilson said he was furious about hate mail and angry calls he had gotten since he was criticized for delivering a sermon at his Southeast Washington church that described gay sex in graphic and derogatory terms. He has since written about an "epidemic" of lesbianism among young black girls.

...Donna Payne, an organizer with the Human Rights Campaign who also attended the meeting, said Wilson told them he had to change his telephone number and was worried about his family. He then pulled out a book, "The New Joy of Gay Sex," and accused gay leaders of sending it to him.

Payne also said Wilson accused gay leaders of not knowing what is happening in the community.

Boykin and Payne said Wilson then grabbed a white plastic bag and pulled out a bottle of sleeping pills and a G-string made from Pez candies strung together. He said black girls use the items to try to turn other girls into lesbians.


***

Action:
You can find the contact information for the Congressional Black Caucus here, and ask if they have any comment on the outrageous statements and behavior of Willie Wilson.

http://www.congressionalblackcaucus.net/

Sheila Jackson Lee (202-225-3816 - phone, 202-225-3317 - fax), is on the board of the Millions More Movement.

I'll update with more contacts as I have time. If you have some, please post in the comments, and pass the word for a blogswarm.

Key: black pastor


Recruiting shortage...for priests

While the Pentagon is scraping the bottom of the barrel and trying to bribe folks to join the military, it looks like the Catholic church may be have an even worse time of it. No one is signing up for Ratzi's church. Gee, I wonder why? (NYT):
Faced with wounded morale and diminishing numbers in the priesthood, Roman Catholic bishops in the United States began a program yesterday to remind priests why they serve and to enlist them in a recruitment campaign.

In past generations, it was common for American priests to encourage young men to make lifetime commitments to the church. But a recent poll by the bishops found that one out of three priests were doing that now, said Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., chairman of the bishops' committee on vocations.

"This program," Bishop Cupich said, "aims at having priests step back for a moment, reflect on their own service and their own vocation call and then not only use that as an opportunity to renew themselves, but also to encourage them to share their story with others who can then be called to follow in their footsteps."

...The shortage of priests is so dire that more than 3,200 United States parishes are without resident priests, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. In 25 years, the number of priests in the United States has declined 26 percent, to 42,500, as the number of Roman Catholics rose 29 percent, to 65 million.

The Rev. Edward J. Burns, executive director of the bishops' Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation, said priests in a recent workshop said that among the reasons so few actively promoted the priesthood were low morale, fear of rejection and the sexual abuse scandals.

...The program includes a new video that features a young boy who is inspired to become a priest after watching a priest at the scene of a car accident administer last rites to a dying victim. Father Burns said the video was based on a true case.

"The program will make some difference, but I don't think it's going to make enough difference," said Sister Christine Schenck, who directs FutureChurch, a liberal Catholic group that advocates the ordination of women and married men as a solution to the priest shortage.


House Blend product endorsement - Neuton Cordless Electric Mower

[This is an irregular feature on the Blend, a sort of Epinions on products that Kate and I like. No compensation is involved. I'm just passing on info based on actual use in real-world conditions.]



This week, Kate and I give a thumbs up to the Neuton Cordless Electric Mower.

At my old house, it was a flat yard in back, and not that large. All I needed was Sears reel mower that I've had for years. Here in the new place, it is a small, irregularly shaped lot (about .2 of an acre), with a hilly front and a backyard with a downslope toward the house. Over the last year, we have attempted to kill off most of the grass that was in the back, and added a pebble path and put down timbers and mulch. Lots of digging...


Amateur landscaping hour. It did stop the erosion problem, though.

This year, the rest of that above grass is gone and it's all mulch. However, the front and side yards still require some mowing, though the prior owners did a great job of landscaping away most of the grass in the front. There is a pretty steep drop off down to the property line of our neighbor on the side. That has to be mowed and it's a b*tch with that reel mower, so we decided to see if going electric would tackle it.

We went to the local home improvement stores, but all of the mowers there are corded. I figured there had to be a cordless version, so I surfed the web and found the DR site, which has gas-powered and electric lawn care devices. Online ordering was a breeze, and since there was a six-month free trial, we really had nothing to lose by trying it out.

It arrived in only a couple of days, and, as usual, Kate was all excited to take this on as her project, but we both put it together. Assembly wasn't difficult, but as you all probably know, the instructions for these kinds of things suck. It's clearly written by someone for whom English is a second language. Even the diagrams were not all that helpful, but as U said, the assembly is fairly self-explanatory.

Charge up for the battery is overnight, and it's a pretty large one, but we're fortunate that there's an outlet in our garage near a shelf so it was out of the way. It easily drops in.

Both of us tried it out, and the operation is smooth. On the hill, Kate reported that it was tough going there; the grass is thicker and pushing it along was a chore, but clearly not as hard as the reel mower. She didn't find that she had to go over any areas twice though. Only once has the charge run out before she was finished (there had been a lot of rain and the grass grew a lot between mowings) and even then, she was almost done when it quit.

The bag attachment that came with it works well and is easy to empty. You can also get an edger attachment/spare battery package. The electric hedge trimmer we got with it pretty much sucks. Its charge doesn't last long at all, and our shrubs burned through it in a lot less than that. It really didn't cut well. I would hate to see the performance of the chainsaw, which they also sell.

The good:
* DR ships the thing like lightning
* it beats the non-motorized, old-fashioned reel mower we had
* it doesn't have a cord that you have to drag around
* operation is much more quiet than a gas mower
* no nasty gas fumes
* no maintenance, aside from cleaning clippings
* handles fold down so it's easy to store

The not so good:
* it's fairly easy to assemble, but the instructions are ESL godawful
* it's not so quiet that you can mow at 6AM on a weekend
* while lighter than a gas mower, it's still tough going on a hill and is not self-propelling
* battery needs to be unplugged after a charge if you're waiting a while between cuts, or its life is shortened

The bad:
* the battery doesn't last very long (hour or so), so if you have a larger yard, you'll need a second battery.
* it can get clogged and stall if the grass is very thick or wet; Kate from time to time has had to clear if of clippings before continuing on with the rest of the lawn
* the cordless hedge trimmer product blows donkey

Here's the product description for the mower:
Stop struggling with your hard-starting gas lawn mower. The NEUTON® Cordless Electric Mower gives you the superior cut of a gas mower, but uses today's rechargeable battery technology. It starts instantly with the gentle squeeze of the handlebar and runs for up to 1 hour on a single charge. Plus, because it doesn't use gas or oil, the NEUTON® never needs a tune-up. This quiet, lightweight lawn mower glides easily across your lawn and is easy for anyone to use, young or old. Battery charger included.

Specifications
Length with bag: 44"
Length without bag: 30"
Overall width: 18"
Height (to handlebar): 38-1/2"
Weight without battery: 33 lbs.
Weight with battery: 48 lbs.
Battery: 24-volt, 10-amp hour, sealed lead/acid type, with built-in carrying handle and charging receptacle
Motor: 24-volt, 21-amp permanent magnet electric motor
Run Time: Mow for up to 60 minutes on a single charge
Warranty: 1 year residential use; 90 days commercial use

6-Month Risk-Free Trial: any product purchased directly from DR® Power Equipment may be returned within six months of its ship date.
Review #1: Dyson Animal DC07 Vacuum Cleaner


Bright idea: Barbie clothes for human females

"When a teen or 20-something is carrying an Anya Hindmarch, Barbie bag it'll reinforce Barbie as relevant, cool brand for little girls. Little girls are growing up faster than ever and looking to adults and teens for inspiration, and Barbie is their aspiration."
-- Richard Dickson, senior VP of global consumer marketing and entertainment for Mattel Brands
This is sad. Who on earth hired the team at Mattel that came up with this dumb, dumb, dumb idea? I think this is back-to-the-drawing-board time. At the rate this economy is going, a "high-aspirational" clothing line based on a freaking doll is a real loser concept.

I'm no expert, but I would rate Mattel's stock a "sell" right now.
Toy maker Mattel Inc., known for Barbie fashion dolls, is expanding the plastic icon's domain to include high-end designer clothing and accessories for adult women. The merchandise, which includes jeans, shirts, handbags and jewelry, is designed by well-known fashion designers and will sell under the name Barbie Luxe.

Using Barbie as their "muse," designers like Anna Sui, Anya Hindmarch, Citizens of Humanity, Judith Leiber, Nickel, Not Rational, Paper Denim & Cloth, Stila and Tarina Tarantino have added Barbie-esque touches to their designs, such as pink stitching on jeans or a retro silhouette on a cameo pendant.

"Our target market is the fashionista," said Richard Dickson, senior vice president of global consumer marketing and entertainment for Mattel Brands. "From teens through adults in their 20's and 30's. It's not Mattel's usual target audience."

Weak sales of Barbie dolls, a lackluster retail environment, and strong competition have hurt Mattel recently. The company is working to raise Barbie's non-toy profile as well as tap a grown-up fan base as part of a long term plan to reinvigorate the toy brand...Mattel is hoping that the clothing and accessories will catch on with trendsetting teens and women and that popularity will trickle down to Barbie the doll.

The items aren't cheap, with jeans priced at $176 and a 3/4 sleeve hooded sweatshirt at $140, and this helps add to the cachet of the brand, which is designed to be "aspirational."
Hat tip to Blender Kris of ClassicDykes.


CBS rejects UCC ad - AGAIN

Saturday, October 15, 2005



CBS is refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed "too controversial." (Advocate):
Televison network CBS is again balking at a pro-gay commercial from the United Church of Christ, saying it amounts to "advocacy" and therefore cannot be aired because it runs counter to a network policy against advocacy ads. Last year the network refused to air the ad, in which bouncers are shown refusing gays and lesbians entry to a large church, followed by a welcoming message from UCC.

After a recent meeting with high-level CBS executives, UCC president Ron Buford said it appeared the network would again reject the ad. "We told them that the United Church of Christ commercial was not advocating anything; rather, we are letting people know that no matter who they are, or where they are on life's journey, they are welcome," Buford said.

After reaching an impasse, Buford asked the executives what would have to change for the ad to be acceptable. "The executives said that it would have to become commonplace across the United States for churches to welcome gays and lesbians," Buford said.
What kind of ass-hat logic is this? Running the ad would make it more likely that gays and lesbians would be welcome in more churches, not the other way around - if churches were welcoming, then the commercial wouldn't be needed.

Good grief, I guess you have to appreciate the ignorant honesty, but this is bullsh*t.

The spot, by the way, says nothing about gay marriage, and nothing specifically about gays and lesbians at all -- it's about the UCC's tolerance and extravagant welcome to anyone that wishes to worship. Even Jerry Falwell thought it was dumb not to allow it to run.

The last time around, back in November as the election neared, CBS gave an equally disgusting and inane response:
"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."
The ad also test-ran in the Triangle area last year, without fanfare or negative feedback -- there was no outcry, in fact several gay friends of mine specifically mentioned this ad renewing their faith and exploring the UCC.

Past Blend posts on the controversy last year:
* CBS and NBC are just f*cking wrong

* Media Matters for America corners CBS on rejection of UCC "tolerance" ad

* The UCC fights back for tolerance -- filing FCC license challenges

* United Church of Christ continues its "God Is Still Speaking" campaign

* What you can do to help the UCC take on CBS and NBC as it presses the FCC for a hearing


Wingnuts at 'tent revival' kickoff for Reformation Ohio

"Sound an alarm. A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place. Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load."
-- Rev. Rod Parsley, pastor of the World Harvest Church, met with thunderous applause, at a rally for his Reformation Ohio baby
After reading a quote like that, it's merely a revival missing the tent -- there's a political/evangelical event going on, so I'm sure there may be a few tents up there where Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) is heading to press the flesh.

In a truly scary AmTaliban move, Reformation Ohio seeks to converting 100,000 people to Christianity within four years (and get those voters registered), but the event is also being used by a who's who of right-winger politicians that are bellying up to glad hand with the "base," and to get those holy photo ops.

Televangelist clown Rod Parsley is the man behind this nonsense. Parsley and his political arm, Center for Moral Clarity is also planning to rally up wingnut support for homo-bigot Keith Butler in his race for the Senate seat in Michigan. (ABC):
A new coalition dedicated to converting thousands to Christianity and getting thousands more on voter registration lists got its start Friday with a tightly scripted rally that resembled a revival meeting.

More than 1,000 people gathered outside the Statehouse for the launch of Reformation Ohio. The group, founded by the Rev. Rod Parsley, a television evangelist and pastor of the World Harvest Church in suburban Columbus, vehemently opposes gay rights, and Parsley has written that the teachings of Islam were inspired by demons.

The group's formation comes after last November's election in which Christian conservatives helped pass a gay-marriage ban in Ohio and give President Bush the electoral votes he needed to claim victory.

Speakers included U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas who is considering a White House run in 2008; Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor next year.


Brownback was a supporter of FMA and promised not hire openly gay people for his staff. Ken Blackwell plans to profit from the support of the fundamentalists in his race for governor of Ohio. NC Rep. Walter Jones is pushing H.R. 235, which would allow pastors to endorse candidates without jeopardizing church tax exemption. (Blackwell photo: Greg Sailor for The New York Times).

Blackwell, who also won Brownback's endorsement Friday, praised the efforts of Parsley and others to sign up new voters. Parsley's goal is to add 400,000 people to voter rolls. "Reformation Ohio is about history-making times, reforming the culture," Blackwell said. "We are a government that governs only with the consent of the governed."

Brownback, who has emerged as a leading skeptic of President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, said the nation is engaged in a cultural struggle. "We need a culture that buttresses our families, not attacks them. We need a society that honors good and condemns what is bad," Brownback said.


Boykin banned from stage at Millions More March by homo-bigot Rev. Wilson



[UPDATE: More information on what happened below, including a link Keith's speech that he couldn't give.

Sunday, 10/16: I have an updated post on the Blend, the edited version that is a front-page diary on DKos today.]

Holy sh*t. Willie Wilson pulled him. (via PageOneQ):
Breaking news from Metro Weekly's Will O'Bryan, who's on-site at the National Black Justice Coalition's "We Are Family" Unity Rally at Freedom Plaza in D.C.

A month-long effort by the National Black Justice Coalition and the D.C. Coalition to secure a speaker at the Millions More Movement commemoration event that met with apparent success mid-week, was quashed this morning.

When NBJC president Keith Boykin and vice-president Donna Payne reported to the event on the Mall, they say, they were blocked from speaking by MMM organizer Rev. Willie Wilson.

Boykin was supposed to to represent the black LGBT community at the event.

Back at the Freedom Plaza rally, Payne said that when she and Boykin arrived at the MMM site, Wilson said, "They will not be speaking."

"I'm so angry, so angry," Payne said.
And from 365gay.com:
"In our previous conversations with Minister Farrakhan, he has consistently kept his word. Rev. Wilson, however, has not been cooperative. We call on Minister Farrakhan to fulfill our agreement," the statement said.

Wilson is executive director of the Millions More Movement. He is also pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington, the District's largest Black congregation and has a record of homophobia.

In July Wilson, warned his congregation that "Sisters making more money than brothers and it’s creating problems in families … that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians.”

In the July 3 sermon entitled “You’ve Got to Fight to Be Free” he also said, “Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I'm talking about young girls. My son in high school last year tried to go to the prom. He said, 'Dad, I ain't got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. Ain't but two of 'em straight, and both of them ugly.’”
***

[UPDATE: Keith says what really happened...]

He tried, he really did, but Willie Wilson, one of the organizers of the march, was making it clear that Keith Boykin was not going to give a speech today on the visibility of gays and lesbians in the black community. Keith recounts what happened on his blog, in the post, "The Speech That Didn't Happen."
After eight months of discussion, four productive conversations with Minister Farrakhan and a heated exchange with Rev. Willie Wilson, the Millions More Movement March took place today and I was not allowed to speak. Although I believe we have opened the door for historic and positive dialogue with Minister Farrakhan, Rev. Wilson does not appear to be ready for such dialogue.

This is what happened today. After I arrived at the VIP tent shortly after 8 in the morning, my colleague Donna Payne spoke directly to Rev. Willie Wilson backstage, and he informed her that no one from the National Black Justice Coalition would be speaking today. Donna told Rev. Wilson that he was violating our agreement, and Wilson replied that the agreement was void because the Coalition had not responded by Friday. That was not true.

Rev. Wilson's excuse seemed a mere pretext to prevent us from speaking. Sadly, I am not surprised. He has been an obstacle to this process all along. Ever since his controversial July 3 sermon in which he blamed the rise of lesbianism for the problems in the black community, Rev. Wilson seems to have developed ill feelings toward the black gay community for responding to his attack. That was three months ago, and I had hoped to use my speech today to extend an olive branch to Rev. Wilson to move beyond our differences and heal our wounds, but his actions this morning made that impossible.
Eva at Lloydletta has thoughts on what went wrong.
I was thinking this probably happened because Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick did the outing campaign looking for stories about Willie Wilson being a closet gay. [I posted about the series on the Blend here]

This reminds me alot of what happened between Log Cabin Republicans and the Bush campaign in 2000. Jake Tapper's account discusses the Log Cabin internal divisions on this.
Keith gave it the old college try, but after Wilson's behavior (as a minister, no less), it's time to hang it up with getting a seat at that particular table.

Farrakhan knew exactly what he was doing when he extended the invitation in the first place. The National Black Justice Coalition had sent him a list of 10 prospective gay speakers for the MMM -- Keith wasn't on the list -- yet Farrakhan asked Keith to speak, knowing that Wilson was hopping mad over the outing campaign from a few weeks ago.

It's no surprise then, on the day of the event -- with festivities in motion -- Wilson could pull rank and block Keith from taking the stage and call it miscommunication. The goal is achieved -- the NBJC doesn't get a chance in front of thousands of people that needed to hear the message Keith planned to deliver.

For me, the larger issue is the whether there will be a follow-up reaction to this incident by the other black leaders at that march -- will they ignore this slight? Will they address Wilson's bigoted remarks and end-run on the black gay community?

These are the people that need to be asked to comment on what it means when a segment of the black community that has been marginalized and demonized is explicitly denied an opportunity to openly address a painful issue -- black homophobia -- with a message of hope.

Instead, Farrakhan and Wilson played Keith -- letting him publicize the "success" of being given a seat at the table, and then pulling the chair out from under him -- all to show him who was in charge. It's disgusting.

I don't want a seat at the table of homophobes and bigots claiming to be religious leaders. Keith, you're better than these people. They are brothers under the skin with the white evangelical AmTaliban -- they'd rather bed down with those jackals.

Keith's speech -- the one that he could not give because of bigotry by a man of the cloth -- is powerful. You can read it here.


House Blender loses a best four-legged friend


BYS Tobin 10/26/1997 - 10/15/2005

Blender Steve T. at Whole Wheat Blogger had to put down his much-loved Lab Tobin today, and sent a link to great pictures of the "Lab-adore" and buddies. He gave me permission to post a pic and links.

Tails of the Tobinator

Stop by his pad and share some love.

The warm support you all gave me when I lost Red suddenly (he died under anesthesia) really helped me get through those tough times.


This just doesn't translate well across the pond


Actual BBC caption: "The Doody family hope to raise profile of faggots."

Via Gay Orbit, what is a most unfortunate name for a dish is compounded by the name of the family that have been crowned The Faggot Family in London in celebration of National Faggot Week.

From the article, "Family of faggot fans fly the flag":
The Doody family were chosen to front the campaign after impressing judges at the Savoy Hotel in London in November.

They displayed their fanaticism for the delicacy during quizzes, role-plays and mock commercials.

"The nation knows that the Cornish pasty, Yorkshire pudding, haggis and fish and chips are great British dishes, but all too often the faggot is left off that list," said Janet Doody.

Her husband Fred added: "It's unfair because faggots were a British delicacy long before any of the others.

"The great British faggot is full of flavour and a great belly warmer at this time of year."
I really feel like I'm in an episode of Three's Company with all of the lame double entedres that come to mind.


I'm not sh*tting you, Halloween edition

The method is timely! The message is timeless! Desperate times call for drastic measures! If your church or ministry is determined to take a stand against sin and the kingdom of darkness and to reach people for Jesus like never before, then this outreach is for you! Get prayed up and powered up and be prepared for the ride of your ministry life!
-- Senior Pastor Keenan Roberts of Destiny Church, and author and creator of The Hell House Outreach Kit
The Destiny Church, based in Broomfield, Colorado, has a special, seasonal outreach program -- it builds a haunted house that stages dramatic and timely messages on homosexuality, abortion, satanism and all the other wages of sin.

And when you come out at the end, you can receive pastoral counseling if you want to be saved.

What's really neat-o is how this church has built it all into a little enterprise, creating DVDs and materials for other churches ($299, with documentation of course), so they can scare the be-Jeebus into all comers on Oct. 31.

I had to keep digging through this web site to be sure that it wasn't a parody, because it is so off-the-hook, but I found articles on this nonsense in mainstream media publications, and other churches have picked up on this (see links at the end). This church really has the packaging down pat.


Shake your city with the most “in-your-face, high-flyin', no denyin', death-defyin', Satan-be-cryin', keep-ya-from-fryin', theatrical stylin', no holds barred, cutting-edge” evangelism tool of the new millennium!


Your church can buy the kit and construct sets to depict:
* Homosexuality — No one is born gay. Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in His own image. Homosexuality is sin and is not just an alternative lifestyle.

* Abortion — It is not merely a surgical procedure or the removal of a mass of tissue. It is the taking of a human life!

* Suicide — The solution to your problems and depression is not found through ending your life. Let Jesus carry you through those tough times and be the strength you are searching for.

* Drunk Driving — The false highs and constant lows of alcohol are never more sobering than when you realize that you are a killer.

* Satanism — The occult is very powerful and not something to toy with. Jesus Christ possesses the only power greater than the kingdom of darkness.

* Hell — Hell is not an eternal party place. It is the home of never-ending torment, anguish and permanent damnation and separation from God.

* Heaven – Heaven is the eternal reward for those whose names are written in the Book Of Life. It is a place of exquisite beauty crowned by the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy angels.
The site notes that Pastor Roberts has written twenty-five different scenes for The Hell House Outreach. Some of the extra modules you can purchase for your quest for salvation.


* Gay Wedding ($45) — This energetic scene will give you another powerful weapon in your arsenal against the homosexual stronghold and the born-gay deception. The demon tour guide conducts the ceremony that actually involves a young married couple. (The wife dons masculine make-up for the necessary male look.) The tour guide pronounces them “husband and husband”. Then the scene utilizes a time warp to move several years into the future with one of the partners dying of AIDS as demon imps swarm into a hospital room. This package comes with the originally produced rock-n-roll wedding march CD, the air of evil background music CD and the death drum track also on compact disc.

* Rave Scene — Youth culture often sees itself as wildly indestructible. The underground world of rave clubs and drug usage proves to be a deadly combination, and hell's demons rejoice.



* Gay/Lesbian Suicide ($45) — This scene creatively combines two cutting-edge issues into one script. The drama for the scene calls for a spiritual battle between the angel of the Lord and the demon tour guide. They wrestle for Jamie's intellect as she struggles with whether or not God has made her this way. This script captures an incredibly compelling exposé that unmasks the “born-gay” lie.



* Mother's Womb Abortion ($65) — A young mother is miraculously given the opportunity to learn from her mistake upon being blessed with a visit by her aborted daughter at four different ages of life.

* Sex Scene Package ($45) – This scene deals with the out-of-control sexual appetite our youth are demonstrating in their dating lifestyles. The scene is portrayed in a tasteful, yet sizzling fashion by a young married couple playing two teens who have planned for this event and are in her parents' bed. Mom and dad are gone for the weekend, but what the teens don't realize is that they’re not alone! The tour guide has been a part of orchestrating this delicious temptation that will “execute the pearl of her virginity as she gives away what she can never regain”. A powerful underwater drowning sequence is utilized to illustrate the killing of her purity at the hands of the demon. This package includes the drowning video and the drowning background effects track on CD.
The pastor also gives you handy tips on how to stage your performances:

It's holy fun constructing your Hell House Outreach!

Once you get a kit and understand the overall concept, you'll be able to maximize your space in the best possible manner. In fact, in the many years in which The Hell House Outreach has been performed, we have had the drunk driving scene outside as well as other scenes through the years in large rented tents just outside the main building. Depending on the size of your scenes and the allocated space for viewing visitors, groups will typically range in size from fifteen to twenty-five people. Those groups will tour each of the scenes with a demon (or perhaps multiple demons) from the cast as their tour guides. Most of the scenes last about five minutes.
Pastor Keenan is also available for on-site consultation and recommendations as you build your Hell House. He says that he has "a great deal of experience facing the media through the years whether it be live talk radio, foreign journalists, national magazines or newspapers, network television, live television or local news affiliates, he has had many opportunities to represent the purpose of this outreach via the media."

Articles on the Hell House phenomenon:
* NPR
* Waco Tribune
* ReligiousTolerance.org

Hat tip to Blender Val.

***

Click over for more House Blend, including:
* celebration of National Faggot Week
* Little Ricky getting Freeped over Miers


Spring/Summer fashion from Lisbon - and open thread



I thought you might want to see what's coming. This is an actual Reuters photo from a Dino Alves show.

While that won't end up in my closet, I've seen some horrible fashion trends come and go that actually made it to the general population. I can personally attest to wearing gauchos back around 1978, Wrong, wrong, wrong. also remember some really bad paisley shirts that were thankfully not committed to film.

Some of the items I wore back in the day have come back into style, like platform shoes, which I wouldn't be caught dead in now. I never thought bell bottoms and hip huggers would be back, but they are in slightly different form.

Guys, your stuff doesn't date as badly, though I don't get the whole vacillation between the wide and skinny tie thing. Unfortunately the seventies were not kind to men either. I recall a lot of paisley, plaids, and the dreaded Nehru jackets and "leisure suits". For those too young to remember the latter, the major selling point, which made them popular in Middle America and the South, anyway, is that they were wash and wear, 100% polyester guaranteed never to wrinkle, and designed to cook you if it was hot out.That really worked out great down here when it was 95 degrees out, and you slid into your 70s car with vinyl seats...


70s - Mens dark green with yellow and whit topstitching pearlized snap front with open square pockets long sleeve polyester jacket with Sears Best red green even plaid polyester pants. (rustyzipper.com).

***

Also, why do parents perpetrate bad fashion on their kids? Why, for instance did my brother and I end up in these outfits (this is around 1972)? Right now I am cringing just thinking about the 100% polyester I have on there...



Confess to supremely bad fashion that's still in your closet or in your past.

Also, feel free to go OT and blogwhore...


Little Ricky's getting Freeped over Miers

"When they nominated John Roberts, I was, 'Sounds great.' I think we deserve to know more, we deserve to have someone ... who has a record - not a better record, just someone who has a record."
-- Little Ricky
Poor little Ricky Santorum. The Chimp has let the true believer down. He's worried about Harriet and his re-election. How does he explain this buffoonery to his Pennsyltucky constituents?
Americans "deserve better" than President Bush's "trust me" approach to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said Friday, making his sharpest critique yet amid a right-wing revolt over the pick.

Santorum added, however, that he had not decided to oppose Miers and hoped to learn more about her views during confirmation hearings. "There is a lot of heat. I think there is a lot of disappointment that the president didn't put someone up there with a record we could examine," Santorum said on a local radio show.

"It is what I term the president's second faith-based initiative, which is `trust me,'" Santorum said. "I think, candidly, we deserve better than that."
The Freepi were not going to let him get away with that...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"The bottom is really starting to fall out on this Miers nomination. Last one out, turn off the lights."

"It is what I term the president's second faith-based initiative, which is `trust me,'" Santorum said. "I think, candidly, we deserve better than that.""

"Correct. Too bad you supported the RINO in '04 and are now going to lose your seat because of it."

"Because I have Faith in the President and that brings me to Trust his choice of Harriet Miers. And that could be why some conservatives, consciously or unconsciously oppose her. Is be because she is a convert? I think if Harriet Miers is confirmed, she will be the only evangelical on the U.S. Supreme Court."

"You are absolutely right. Also, Harriet Miers, when confirmed, will have more power as a swing SCOTUS judge for the conservatives than Santorum. That is what is eating at him so bad he is having a melt down. I love it!!!!"

"If I lived in PA I would be fighting for his defeat. Unless he wants to sign on to a new conservative motto, something like...No RINO's Never Again, for any reason."

"If Santorum loses in 2006 it will be because the Philly papers have succesfully whipped up the black vote in Philly and that the democrat fraud machine is working as well as in 2004"

"Gosh, and I though that Santorum knew what it felt like to campaign for someone, then have him basically stab him in the back.... I guess not."

"Santorum pissed his seat away and now he is trying to drag others down with him. I wish Santorum the best. But, he is in for a tough fight and needs all the friends he can find, yet he burns bridges."

"Sans-scr*tum is about as republican as michelle mooron"

"Nice pair Rick...try to be that way consistently please."

"Defeat Santorum so Bob Casey gets elected? Sorry, I'm going to vote for Santorum. If Specter croaks, Ed Rendell will replace him with a Democrat, probably from Philadelphia. Rendell is very unpopular in Western PA. If Santorum distances himself from Bush on immigration and out of control spending, he might have a chance to win. I don't want two 'Rats representing PA in the Senate so I'm voting Santorum."

"Ya gotta liten up thar a little. At least wait until the fat lady sings. Woops....forgot...you're judge, jury and executioner. Geeeeesh!!!"

"Labelling Santorum a 'Top' GOP senator is a title open to debate..."

"This man is irking my last nerve."

"Ronald Reagan would be proud of Miers. I bet he's looking down right now and saying to Santorum,....well....there you go again."

"America is not a Theocracy! Whether the President nominates an Evangelical, a Catholic, or a Jew is neither here no there so long as the nominee is a strict Constitutionalist. Playing up Miers' religion is not only hypocritical when the RNC chided the Dems for mentioning Roberts' Catholicism, but it also sounds like there's nothing else in her resume. /broken record mode"

"Damn! This is being blamed on black people 13 months before it even happens! Can you believe this?"

"That's my fear too, that Miers will be another "swing vote" instead of a solid conservative vote. Hopefully she won't be confirmed so there's nothing to worry about."

"Seems to me it would be difficult to resist W.H. pressure given what we know of their tactics currently, even to the extent of sending people to N.H. to intimidate possible '08 conservative challengers. Something they never do to the RINO's or Libs. If Santorum is responsible in some manner for ending this, he is deserving of returned "conservative" support. But, right now, I still fall under the line of thought these people are making noises of discontent to placate the base and will vote for her anyway. We'll see."

"Santorum knows that if he backs Miers and she ends up being another O'Connor or Souter, he will be looking for a new occupation by 2007. What Senator in his right mind would want to tie his or her political future to Miers?"

"If Santorum distances himself from Bush on immigration and out of control spending, he might have a chance to win. "

"It's too late....Santorum has already become a GOP country-clubber and will have to answer to PA conservatives."


Family Research Coalition's Tony Perkins blows a gasket



He's mad that Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform, accepted an invitation to speak at a Texas Log Cabin Republican gathering. Eva at Lloydletta, passed on the item from the FRC newsletter.

Tony seems to be really wound too tight and a bit panicked about the right wing's state of distress. I think he needs a little man-love. Maybe he can get it from his good friend David Duke.
Texas leaders of the Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual organization within the G.O.P., are headlining Grover Norquist as their main speaker at a fund-raiser tomorrow night. Norquist is the well-respected leader of Americans for Tax Reform, a group I was once part of as a Louisiana legislator. FRC has worked with Grover Norquist on tax issues and their impact on the family for many years. Because of our relationship we have voiced our concern directly with Mr. Norquist over his apparent support of this anti-family group. We pointed out to Mr. Norquist that some of the funds raised would be plowed into Log Cabin's fight against the pro-marriage amendment on the ballot next month in Texas.

Grover has spent years working to assemble a coalition of fiscal and social conservatives and his decision to aid those who are trying to destroy the institution of marriage is truly a disappointment and will no doubt split this important coalition. As social conservatives we remain committed to the country's fiscal and social well- being; we have tolerance neither for increasing taxes nor marginalizing marriage. If only that commitment ware mutual.
***

In other news, it looks like the whole American Family Association vs. American Girls/Girls, Inc. wingnuttery is finally blowing up in the news. You all got to read about it here on the Blend back on Wednesday...


More on the new Bond pick

Friday, October 14, 2005


Brits don't like him so far. Poll.

I thought I was finished with this story, but then I came across a couple of British papers, and Daniel Craig's getting slammed. One article, in the Daily Mirror, thinks he's a dullard.
Hours after officially landing the role as the super-smooth international spy, nervy Daniel Craig seemed more bland than Bond. Chomping on a piece of chewie, he gave a series of boring, monosyllabic answers about his major new role. This is how deadly dull Dan - the Man with the Golden Gum - failed on his first mission as 007...



Q: How do you feel about getting the job?
A: I can't tell you really. I'm speechless.

Q: Why do you want to play Bond?
A: Why not?

Q: Who's your ideal Bond girl?
A: I've got my ideal Bond girl.

Q: Why are you the ideal 21st century Bond?
A: I can't answer that. I don't know.

Q: What are the reasons for Bond's enduring popularity?
A: I don't know the answer to that.

Q: Are you looking forward to becoming a legend?
A: I don't know about that.

Q: What will you bring to the character?
A: I would love to give you a long convoluted answer but I don't have one.

Daniel's debut was in stark contrast to Pierce Brosnan's assured performance when he was unveiled as 007 in 1994. Brosnan confidently outlined his vision of a modern Bond - "flinty with a little more humour".

He added: "We want to peel back some layers of his character and see what demons may lie there." Sadly Daniel was a lot less forthcoming yesterday.
Ouch. The second story is a bit more interesting. This is London has the back story on "How Craig beat his rivals." It looks like the really cool Hugh Jackman's chances were hurt by playing Peter Allen, lol...
British actor Daniel Craig was confirmed as the sixth 007. He will be the first blond Bond - and, at 6ft, the shortest.

But according to a leaked memo from film producers, Craig was head and shoulders above his rivals for the part. Hugh Jackman, it read, was "too fey", Colin Farrell "too sleazy", Eric Bana "not handsome enough" - and Ewan McGregor "too short" at 5ft10.




Despite not having the "full head of black hair" described by Ian Fleming, the Chester-born actor is probably closest in build and character to the author's vision. In From Russia With Love, Bond's file reads: "Height, 183cm (6ft); weight 76kg; slim build; eyes, blue... vices, drink, but not to excess, and women."


Online cruising, Jim West style


Ryan M. Oelrich (L), and West
"He also asked me to accompany him to a (Gonzaga) Bulldogs game in California but told me there would only be one bed in the hotel room, and I would have to share it with him. He told me he'd pay for the expenses. I declined."
-- Ryan Oelrich, one of West's pursuits, who also received a job from the Spokane Mayor
I really don't want to visualize this, but the online chats of Spokane Mayor, the gay self-loather, Republican James West, have been released by court order. This humiliated, disgraced homo-bigot hypocrite won't step down, even now, when the dumb*ss's chats are out there for all to see. And so Blenders, you get to witness a yet tortured closet case exposed, this time e-cruising on the taxpayers' dime.
Ryan Oelrich, 24, was appointed to the Spokane Human Rights Commission by West, and later complained the mayor harassed him for sex.

In a detailed timeline released Thursday to the newspaper, Oelrich said he was first contacted by RightBi-Guy in August or September of 2003 on Gay.com and later by Cobra82nd, who said he'd changed screen names. Both were computer names used by West. Oelrich was a Gonzaga University student at the time.

After learning he was corresponding with West, Oelrich said the mayor promised to help him find a job, offered him a City Hall internship, and continued to pressure him for sex.

...West dropped by Oelrich's home, offered him $300 cash to swim naked with him and continued to press him for dates, Oelrich said

Oelrich used the online names "GonzagaRy" and "HappyCollegeGuy" in the conversations.

During Memorial Day weekend in 2004, Cobra82nd said he'd been working on his house.

"Now I'm looking for some cuddle bunny to nuggle with. You game?" Cobra82nd asked.

"You will never score with me," HappyCollegeGuy replied.

Later in the same conversation, Cobra82nd said he was getting a new Lexus convertible.

Cobra82nd: "You think? Maybe I'll have to give you a ride? Maybe give you a lil more."

Cobra82nd said he was buying the car because of a "midlife crisis."

"Is it over?" asked HappyCollegeGuy.

"No, just starting.haha.need a sports car and a new mistress you interested in being the latter?"

HappyCollegeGuy: "hmm, no. but best of luck anyway."
Oooh, strike out.


You've got to be f*cking kidding: KKK programming in Michigan



I know that the militia weirdos are in Michigan, but this sh*t is out of control - Klan TV on Midland Public Television.
"The Klan," a video news program distributed by the Ku Klux Klan will be airing on MCTV in Midland. The first airing of the program will be on Saturday, October 22nd at 11:30 pm.

According to their website, the Ku Klux Klan brings "a message of hope and deliverance to white Christian America. A message of love, not hate."

On the site can be found links to sign anti-gay marriage petitions, messages that 'race-mixing' is unholy, and articles stating Martin Luther King Jr. had ties to the communist party.
Back in 1996, the Michigan Klan had a little dust-up on the University of Michigan campus. National Imperial Wizard Jeff Berry seemed to toe the Klan line quite nicely, providing the juicy bigoted quotes you've come to expect, such as Klan thoughts about people of color and of Jewish descent: "We're against them. We're against interracial marriages. We go by the Bible and it says to marry in your own tribe."

In December 2001, Berry was sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring to commit criminal confinement.

Interestingly, Michigan State University Library has acquired estate materials from a local Klansman, including a patchwork quilt of all things.


Ku Klux Klan Quilt (Shoo-Fly Variation). Made by various individuals. 1926, Chicora, Michigan. According to donor Karl Rowe, a retired history teacher, this tied quilt was won by his grandfather at a raffle held at a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) meeting.

***

Maybe the Michigan Klan can get former KKK Wizard, cosmetic-surgery-enhanced, self-proclaimed head of the "European American" movement David Duke to land Family Research Council head Tony Perkins as a guest (Tony paid David Duke $82K for his Klan mailing list).

Hat tip, PageOneQ

Click over for more House Blend, including:
* plans for Halloween salvation with the The Hell House Outreach Kit
* Little Ricky getting Freeped over Miers
* Blogging and A-Lister Amnesia


Friday night at the movies, weeper edition

Shakes Sis always comes up with great questions of the day. I always want to rip them off because I want to know how Blenders will answer. We share a lot of readers, but I've got commenters that aren't over at her pad.

The other day she asked "what movie scenes always make you cry?" She got a ton of responses.

I posted my personal recollection there, and when I decided to expand on it here, I wanted to correctly describe how the scene in question unfolds, since I haven't seen the film in a couple of years...

M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999) had a profound effect on me, and I saw it twice when it was in theatres and bawled like a baby each time. It was a wonderful film, but its impact was so strong because it came out at a time when I was still very raw from my mother's death of lung cancer at 62.

At the time I was quite perplexed at the comments about the film being scary, a horror film, creepy, etc. I found the film deeply spiritual (even for this non-practicing Episcopalian), almost soothing for someone still in the throes of grief at a sudden, difficult loss.

In the film, there is scene in a car where Cole (Haley Joel Osment) and his mom Lynn (Toni Collette) are stuck in traffic because of an accident where a cyclist has been killed. Cole can see the dead cyclist, who appears outside the window. He then admits to his mother that the deceased grandmother comes to visit and talks to him.



He is able to prove to his skeptical mom that he is in contact with the grandmother by sharing with her a story that only she and the grandmother can know -- that she did go see Lynn dance in a recital when Lynn thought she didn't come after an argument. The grandmother also told Cole an answer to a question that his mom asked when visiting the grandmother's gravesite.

The grandmother told him the answer was: "Every day."

Cole says plaintively, "What did you ask?"

Lynn begins to tremble and weep and responds: "Do I make her proud?"



Geez, I'm welling up even as I type this...sorry. Sigh. That's exactly what I wondered, what ran through my mind after I watched my mom suddenly go code blue, as I sat in shock with my brother next to her lifeless body after the medics left the room.

***

One phenomenon that I noticed both times I saw the film in the theatre is that it was apparent from the random sobbing scattered about in the darkness -- it wasn't everyone -- that only certain people absorbed the scene with that level of intensity. I asked friends later who saw it (not at the screenings I attended), what they thought of that scene. Many found it quite moving, but not overly so, or some saw it simply as the significant, well-executed plot turn that it is. Others were reduced to blubbering mush, like me. What I found, interestingly, was that those most affected had lost a close relative or parent not long ago.

It made me wonder about whether Shyamalan knew what he was tapping when he wrote the screenplay, or whether it was just one of those flukes of Hollywood magic, a combination of things that just cannot be planned that hit a raw emotional nerve in a large group of people in such a specific way.



The Chimp's got it under control: insurgents take out power all over Baghdad

Baghdad Blackout Caused by Sabotage. Yep, there's nothing to see here (literally), elections to go on. Move along...
Insurgents sabotaged power lines to the capital Friday evening, knocking out electricity across the greater Baghdad area and plunging it into darkness on the eve of the country's key vote on a new constitution. Mahmoud al-Saaedi, an Electricity Ministry spokesman, said power lines were sabotaged between the northern towns of Kirkuk and Beiji leading to the Baghdad region.

He did not specify how insurgents damaged the lines, but militants in the past have used bombs to hit infrastructure. Iraqi and U.S. forces have clamped down with intensive security measures to prevent insurgent attacks on voters Saturday.

Al-Saaedi had earlier said "technical problems" were to blame for the blackout and that there was no sign of sabotage.

The lights went out soon after sundown, when Muslims break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan, at around 6 p.m. Power was still off more than two hours later, ahead of the start of the 10 p.m. curfew.


Sickness in Indiana: judge rips foster child from lesbian couple planning to adopt

"There is no justifiable reason for this family to be torn apart and their legal ties jeopardized. The adoption decree keeps Morgan in a stable and loving home where she has done well. It makes no sense to uproot her from her family in hopes that another will be better because the couple can marry."
-- Patricia M. Logue, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago
I am so damn tired of homophobes like this judge thinking that this kind of bullsh*t is somehow better for the child. The lesbian couple has had the baby since she was two days old, and now the judge wants to take her away and place her with a heterosexual couple, now that the lesbians want to adopt her. This is an outrage. It should be noted that Indiana has no laws banning gays and lesbians from adopting, so this is a cruel judge's call. (365gay.com):
Becki Hamilton and Kim Brennan for several years have served as foster parents to a number of Indiana children. In 2004 the lesbian couple was asked by the state to provide a home for an abandoned infant and to consider adopting her. They took the baby home when she was two days old and have provided care for her since then, including naming the child Morgan.

But when the judge supervising the child's foster care placement realized that the child's prospective adoptive parents were lesbians, the court ordered the State child welfare agency to find her a home with a heterosexual married couple instead.

The State did not locate such a family for many months and meanwhile the two mothers, who are licensed pre-adoptive foster parents, applied for and were granted an adoption by the Marion Superior Court. The Morgan Juvenile Court then ruled that the adoption was invalid.

Represented by Lambda Legal, Hamilton and Brennan have appealed the order. In papers filed Friday with the Indiana Court of Appeals, Lambda argues that the adoption must be honored.

"Morgan has been a part of this family since she was two days old, and is thriving. The judge's view that children should only be placed with heterosexual married couples is not the law and would leave her with strangers," said Patricia M. Logue, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago.
UPDATE: As Ms. Julien noted in the comments, Indiana is also the wonderful slice of America where a state legislator attempted an end-run on gays with a womb-control bill (that thankfully was withdrawn) that would have required the following from anyone thinking about artificial insemination:

* “intended parents” must be married to each other.
* an unmarried person could not be an intended parent.
* A doctor couldn’t begin an assisted reproduction technology procedure that may result in a child’s being born until the intended parents of the child have received a certificate of satisfactory completion of an assessment required under the bill.
* Info required from the prospective parents would have included:
-- the fertility history of the parents
-- education and employment information
-- hobbies and personality descriptions
-- verification of marital status
-- child care plans
-- letter of reference
-- criminal history checks.
-- a description of the "family lifestyle," including whether there is participation in faith-based or church activities.

Clearly the Hoosiers must not have any issues with crime, poverty, political corruption, environmental concerns and any other critical matters that need tending to if they are focusing on whether gays and lesbians are trying to raise the state's unwanted children or have some on their own.


Not even a blip on the big blog radar, but the Blend is growing

As I mentioned in the comments of the earlier post on what is an A-list blogger (which I am definitely not), this blog averages -- on Sitemeter -- about 1500-1700 unique visits a day, which is pretty decent, considering I hovered in the 100-300s for many months at the beginning -- the blog was launched last July.

However, those numbers are so far below the A-listers, who have thousands more per day (actually tens of thousands more). I think my record number of visits ever in a day was about 6,000, and it was for the Katrina post below, which was picked up by Buzzflash.

This AM I decided to look at my stats for September. At least you all keep coming back and finding friends to come by, lol. Here's a peek....

House Blend stats for September from Webalyzer:

Pages per Day 15911
Visits per Day 4206


Top posts: (not all posted in Sept)
* Condi, 'ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington
* Katrina body counting duties given to firm tied to Bush family
* Posse Comitatus: going down in a blaze of glory?
* Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster

Top search strings (this is always weird):
gay sex
the l word
ann coulter
porky pig
rednecks
nuclear bomb
redneck
the L word
l word
david lee roth
lesbians
gay ass
piss on ford
bulge
sex gay
jeff gannon
slut
stupid bush
beavis and butthead
mel gibson

And here is what SiteMeter looks like over the last year, by visit count



I'm sure the exponential growth is due to adding good old "Radical" Russ to the roster, eh?


Log Cabin head urges conservative gays to come out

For all the self-loathing Republican hypocrites out there, Patrick Guerriero, of the Log Cabin Republicans is issuing a challenge to you today in an editorial -- come out of the damn closet.

Our approaches have differed greatly -- Guerriero clearly is against forced outing of even the most offensive hypocrites, but even he realizes that the days of helping a bigoted boss to pass legislation detrimental to gays and lesbians (think Santorum's self-hating gay and black PR man -- there's a real double-dipper of a head case -- Robert Traynham).
Now is the time for closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted. Now is the time we can really make a difference. If every gay conservative came out of the closet today, the journey to full equality would be over in years instead of decades.

It would soon become ineffective to use gay and lesbian families as wedge issues in campaigns. The cynical efforts to amend our federal and state constitutions would be stopped. The hypocrisy of anti-gay political tactics being used by way too many Republicans and some Democrats would be finally exposed.

One of the biggest unkept secrets in Washington, D.C., is that closeted gay Republicans are everywhere: the White House, Republican Party organizations, the halls of Congress, the most influential law offices, and the most powerful lobbying firms in our nation’s capital.

Some of those who remain closeted have chosen to be either passive bystanders or, in some cases, active critics of our movement while comfortably partaking in the fringe benefits of our community work, sipping the finest martinis in our trendiest gay bars.
Who do you think he might be referring to...?



While as progressives we can differ with theoretical fully out gay Republican legislators on many political positions, It's pretty clear that we could unite on basic gay civil rights issues. But what's common among the closeted Republican homo-hypocrites is that their padlocked closets are impeding their ability to think clearly. They are are living a lie, and often they are products of their environment -- socially conservative families and neighborhoods, that make the personal aspect, let alone the political aspect of coming out too psychologically difficult to deal with. Look at Ed Schrock.

In my opinion, closeted gay legislators like Schrock that consistently work against the cause of gay civil rights have no business being in public office. They are simply unbalanced and not able to carry the weight of the closet, a weight I can guarantee you is more of a burden, as a human being, than coming out and dealing with the fallout. I don't know anyone that has come out that would prefer to be back in the closet.
During these historic times, the closet is not only a place that suffocates personal dignity, but that suffocates personal integrity that has the potential to change hearts and minds of even the most conservative Americans.

Coming out doesn’t have to mean putting a sticker on your car, flying a rainbow flag from your front porch or marching in a parade.

It may be as simple as putting a picture of your partner on your desk at work, sharing your personal story with your boss, or speaking up when someone says something anti-gay. It may be as difficult as offering a letter of resignation instead of implementing or assisting with an anti-gay campaign strategy.

...Only with the help of gay conservatives can we prevent anti-gay conservatives from hijacking the Republican Party. Only with the help of gay conservatives can we defeat the voices of fear and intolerance. The history books will note not only those who had the courage to stand up, but, sadly, those who remain silent. The time is now.
Time after time, you've seen on this blog that it is the publicly pious legislators who are privately deviant fools unable to reconcile who they are with their ethics, morals or basic priniciples. These people need to just come the f*ck out and get it over with, get a shrink, heal themselves, and not cast a vote on the floor to restrict my rights because they are a mental case about their orientation.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Bush bullsh*t news



The title of the post is actually the graphic's filename, which made me laugh out loud when I downloaded it from Mike Tidmus, the House Blend's wizard contributor of many a P'shop gem.

He having fun with our Dear Leader's photo-op-in-a-box teleconference with the troops. Mike's caption:
President Bush waves buh-bye as he wraps up his completely unscripted and absolutely spontaneous live video teleconference with American troops from the 42nd Infantry Division, currently serving in Tikrit, Iraq. When they’re not ferreting out Saddams’s massive stockpiles of WMDs, these guys and gals just love being used as expedient political props.




US Constitution: Article VI, Clause 3



The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Well, that seems pretty cut and dried, if you ask me. No religious test. Can't pick you because you're Methodist, can't disqualify you if you're Presbyterian. Can't consider you because you're a Christian, can't ignore you because you're an atheist. When it comes to senators, representatives, presidents, governors, and judges, the person's religion cannot enter into the equation whatsoever.

But then President Bush decided he wanted to name his own personal lawyer, the hyper-loyal and fiercely sycophantic Texas crony Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. She's never been a judge, though that's not necessarily reason to disqualify her; many Supreme Court justices were never judges. She once ran the Texas Lottery Commission. That's certainly better preparation for the Supreme Court than, say, judging Arabian Horses is a qualification for heading up FEMA.

The problem with Miers comes from Bush's own base of babbling Biblical literalists who have been fighting for three decades to install one of their own on the bench. Someone who will cast a stern vote against the culture war skirmishes on indecency, obscenity, homosexual rights, and reproductive freedom. The righties are up in arms because there is no discernable record on Miers' views on abortion, and some record of her support of gay rights. The wingnuts feel betrayed and they are letting Bush know it.

So recently President Bush had this to say:
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. . . .[one of the reasons is that] part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
Then we also get Dr. James Dobson, one of the leaders in the American Taliban, telling us this:
Support for President Bush's new nominee to the high court, Harriet Miers, came from different quarters today. Both Focus on the Family Action Chairman Dr. James C. Dobson, Ph.D., and Mier's minister, Pastor Ronald Key, assured evangelicals today they believed the 60-year-old White House Counsel and former Dallas lawyer would make a good Supreme Court justice.

He acknowledged the Miers nomination had "angered and disillusioned many Christian conservatives, many of my friends, many whom I love and have worked with for years."

But asking if it makes any sense that President George W. Bush would sabotage the base of conservatives who worked and gave and supported him, Dobson answered his own question with a resounding -- "I don't believe it!"

"I don't believe he's done that," Dobson said. "I don't believe he would have nominated Harriet Miers if he knew that she was going to assassinate what he believed in and that the court would not be reformed the way he wants it to be."

"She is a deeply committed Christian," Dobson said. "She has been a believer in Jesus Christ since the late 1970s. I know the person who led her to the Lord. I know the church that she goes to. I know it's a very conservative church. I know that she is a tithe-paying member at that church. I know that she has deep convictions about things. I have talked at length to people that know her -- and have known her for a long time. Some of them have been a close personal friend of hers for 25 years. I trust these people because I know them—I know who they are and I know their character and I know what they stand their heart for the Lord."
All of this religious talk from Bush and Dobson is meant to soothe the Religious Reich base. Don't worry, she's a "deeply committed Christian", she'll be just the kind of gay-hatin' Roe-overturnin' justice you've always dreamed of! It's all code, -- deeply committed Christian, strong religious background, strict Constructionist -- that all means Bush is sure that when it comes to Supreme Court cases, Harriet will ask "What Would Jesus Do?" before she asks "what do the Constitution and our laws say?" For more evidence of the code-talking, two days later, Dobson had this to say:
The founder and chairman of Focus on the Family spoke to listeners from his heart just days after Miers was nominated by President Bush, saying he supported her in part because of things he had been told by White House adviser Karl Rove.

"I can't reveal it all," Dobson said at the time, "because I do know things that I'm privy to that I can't describe because of confidentiality."
So now private religious leaders are made privy to confidential information by White House advisors regarding Supreme Court nominations? The Senate Judiciary committee was none too happy about that!
Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicated they were troubled by Dobson's comments.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is entitled to know whatever the White House knew," Specter said on ABC's "This Week." "If Dr. Dobson knows something that he shouldn't know or something that I ought to know, then I'm going to find out."

"If assurances were given of how any nominee, whether this nominee or anybody else . . . how they're going to vote in an upcoming case, I would vote against that person," Leahy said, also on ABC.

A third member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was pointed in his criticism of the administration.

"Karl Rove should let the public know what kind of assurances he gave James Dobson," Schumer said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Look, I've got no problems with good little Christians wanting to be judges, so long as they can keep God's law in their church and private life while fairly deciding Man's law in court for the public. Maybe Harriet Miers can do just that. But the signals I see from Dobson and Bush lead me to believe that her potential decisions on hot-button social issues are not at all in doubt in their minds, and they're trying to let their religious conservative base know it.

The biggest problem, however, comes back to that Article VI, Clause 3. Bush said that one of the reasons he picked Harriet Miers was because of her religion. Bush said she was the best person he could find for the job. If religion played a part in selecting her, then lack of religion played a part in disqualifying others. At this point, it doesn't matter how good or bad a justice she may or may not be; Bush has now offered up an unconstitutional pick to be confirmed by the Senate to adjudicate constitutional matters. Bush has used a religious test to select a judge.


New James Bond is Daniel Craig



Blondie Bond. I don't know who the hell Daniel Craig is. I guess I'm out of the Brit loop. They held a dumb photo op with Craig riding in on a boat, in a man-of-action PR stunt. W-e-a-k.


Practice what you preach - blogwhore open thread


What a hideous, evil corrupt toad. Turdblossom is testifying again: Rove appeared before a federal grand jury on Friday for a fourth and most likely last time as prosecutors neared a decision on whether to bring indictments over leaking a covert CIA operative's name. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas).

An open thread to post links to news or your musings at your pad about the state of this chaotic world.


Goodbye, Vivian Malone Jones



What must it have felt like like, knowing that your governor was blocking you from getting an education? You're a native of that state, your family paid taxes, and the highest official in your state deems you unfit to enter those doors. Vivian Malone Jones sure knew what that felt like. She died yesterday of a stroke at the too-young age of 63.

It hurts even more to know that we've also lost Constance Baker Motley (the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary and who served on legal team that won school desegregation decision Brown vs. Board of Education), mentioned in the story on Vivian Malone Jones from the Alabama Mobile-Register.
Jones, one of two black students to break the color barrier at the university in 1963, became the school's first black graduate in 1965. Acquaintances remembered her Thursday as a pioneer whose quiet determination made her the perfect person to do it.

"She was a remarkable woman. She was full of grace and enormous courage. She knew exactly what she was doing and why she was doing it," said Culpepper Clark, the dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences and author of the definitive book on the university's integration. "She was aware of the (dangers), and she did it anyway. That is the definition of courage. If I had gone and conducted a national search to find the right person (to break the color barrier), I would have found Vivian," he added.



Samory Pruitt, the vice president of community affairs at the University of Alabama, recalled meeting Jones in 1995 as part of an effort to endow a scholarship in her name.

"It's been a tough day," said Pruitt, who chaired the 2003 "Opening Doors" program, which lauded Jones and 39 other pioneers in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the school's integration. "It's an understatement to say she was an outstanding ambassador for this university."

Jones, along with James Hood, enrolled at the previously all-white institution after winning a federal lawsuit. The lawyer in that case, Constance Baker Motley, died last month.



...Jones graduated from Central High School in Mobile and then attended the historically black Alabama A&M University in Huntsville before transferring to Alabama. Hood recalled that Jones want to pursue a business degree, which was unavailable at Alabama A&M.

After graduation, Jones went on to a successful career in the federal government.

A deputy U.S. attorney escorted Jones and Hood into the university on June 10, 1963, and it inspired a Mobile high school junior named André Taylor.

"The day that occurred, I was sitting there watching with my family. After the story went off the TV, I said, 'I'm going to go to that school one day,'" said Taylor, who now works as vice president of communications at Alabama Gas Corp. in Birmingham.
Thanks to Blender Fritz for the pointer.


A-List amnesia

NC blogger and House Blend regular Coturnix of Science and Politics had the good fortune to be able to attend the recent ConvergeSouth conference in Greensboro, and he's got a great post on one of the many discussions sessions held there, this one by Tiffany of Blackfeminist blog.

It's a familiar topic if you're a regular reader around here or many other bloggrrrls' pads - the A-List political bloggers and the lack of promotion and linking given to other political blogs that are: a) smaller life forms in terms of traffic, and/or b) by women. It's like a broken record, and Coturnix agrees (emphasis is mine):
All the so-called "A-listers" are middle-class, middle-age, white, straight, and usually Christian, men. Every three months or so, one of them looks around and posts a question "Where are all the female political bloggers?". What inevitably ensues is a big fight in which hundreds of female political bloggers post comments saying, pertty much: "We are here, and if you looked around and linked to us every now and then, you would know there are hundreds of us".

Over the course of these discussions, an important point is always made and that is the fact that search engines (e.g., Technorati and Google) favor the early adopters, most of whom are computer geeks in engineering schools - the guys who developed the software we all now use. Kos, Atrios, Instapundit and others became big because they came to the game early.

Once a blog gets linked enough to become "A-listed" it is almost impossible to fall down in the hierarchy. Somebody later in the session pointed out an example of a blog that has not had a new post in over a year yet is still a "large mammal" in the TTLB Ecosystem.
It's clear that there is a level of elitism at work, with lines clearly drawn between the policy wonk/political academics versus what I would call the political/cultural bloggers, who tackle many of the same topics -- the church/state divide, social justice and rights, political corruption and scandal -- viewed and expressed in quite different ways.
Much of the debate also revolves about the definition of "political blogging" and possible sex differences in styles of political blogging. The typical A-listers are policy wonks. They cover, day by day, details of what is happening in Washington, the legislations, nominations, policies, etc. Lots of Iraq coverage, too. War is sexy for men.

Many other bloggers do not want to blog that way, yet thoroughly consider themselves to be political. Mixing purely political posts with posts about one's kids is NOT disqualifying.

Focusing on issues of local politics and the way national policies affect the real life is just as political, and perhaps more important, as anything discussed regularly by Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall or Ezra Klein.

Focusing on issues of sex, gender and marriage just shows that the blogger understands, perhaps just by gut-instinct, that all politics is sexual politics - something that is the main topic of my blog. All policies are based on one's basic worldview ("ideology"), which comes out of one's relationship with sexuality, which in turn results from one's upbringing (Dobsonian childrearing leading to wingnuttery via femiphobia). Usually the debate drifts from here into the "nice guys come last"-type discussion.
Both are valid types of political blogging, and I would argue, both types are essential to reflect the audiences served and the need for broad perspective. You can entertain and inform. You can be an egghead or casual or profane and still make a point succinctly. Folks surfing out there will find a wide range of approaches to political blogging, but it helps if the big dogs get out of their inner circle and see what talent is out there.

I'd also add that the if a identified-female blogger was as rude, profane and brilliant as the Rude Pundit, you wouldn't see her on those A-List blogs. My bloggrrl Shakes Sis comes to mind, who has received hilarious email chastising her for her profanity ("Queen C*nt of F*ck Mountain"). She's finally managed to crack a few A-lists, so more power to her. :)

I agree with Coturnix, it doesn't diminish a blog's relevance because personal posts co-exist with serious posts. I lob up items with pictures of my dog or post a review of a vacuum cleaner that my wife and I like. I am a real person, just like all of you out there (including the A-listers that act like they don't want you to think they don't have to use the can from time to time). ;)

Who wouldn't like to be on more big dog blogrolls, but what can you do when the system is quite closed, other than keep doing what you're doing and shout out once in a while. In an earlier post on this topic, one reader asked me why my voice would add anything different to the political blogging mix:
Are you saying you have something special to say that's not already being heard? If so, what is it? I've looked at your site. It's great, but I don't see anything here that would look out of place at Eschaton.

My response: I've written about plenty that you would see and wouldn't see on Eschaton. I write about general progressive politics, so yes there would be similar content, but have you ever seen Atrios talk about:

* the politics of having kinky hair
* being followed in a store while dressed up for the theatre by a store owner that thinks you're a shoplifter
* Southern politics, the black church and reframing gay rights
* what it's like to be a black lesbian in the South
* the 'Acting White' Myth

You get my drift (you can find those blog entries by scrolling down on this page to the 'Greatest Hits' section). Atrios may have an opinion about those issues, but I certainly haven't seen them expressed on his blog, or any of the other big bloggers. I've seen them on Daily Kos, because I've written diaries on those topics.

My complaint isn't that they are all white males, since some of the big bloggers are of color. It's the closed nature of the hierarchy/circle jerk that the big boys don't want to cop to.
These topics are highly relevant and political and I think expand a reader's thinking as well as my own, because I gain so much from the comments people share on these kinds of posts. My goal is to create an environment where asking uncomfortable questions on topics that make people uneasy is not seen as ignorant...and I'll still post all of the wingnuttery too.

Thanks for the awesome post and props, Coturnix.

Also see:
* Taking on the big, bad, blogging dogs so we can pee on the political hydrant too
* Gender politics, take 2 3 4?
* Skin and the color of money

The House Blend's main page.


Dobson and his sheeple

There's a very good article in the Palm Beach Post on Focus on the Family's Daddy Dobson. It's worth reading the whole thing. It helps shed light on why he's so popular with the masses. It does help that way too many people out there don't have a lot of brain cells to rub together, but it's Dobson's radio broadcasts and resources on child-rearing that have built his loyal, I'd say fanatical following.

The piece is part puffery, part sarcasm, but what is scary are the comments from clueless parents who just can't figure out why Daddy Dobson's advice just isn't working.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, an evangelical ministry, is known in Washington as a warrior for the religious right — relentless, ruthless and dangerous to cross. He's so influential that White House adviser Karl Rove rushed to line up his support for the nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court by personally reassuring him of her conservatism.

But if the political world treats Dobson as a power broker, to millions of Americans he is simply a friend. In daily radio broadcasts, monthly newsletters, 18 Web sites, nine magazines and 36 top-selling books, Dobson offers advice on toilet training, temper tantrums, infidelity and other stresses of family life. At the heart of his ministry is the toll-free resource line he has run for more than a quarter-century.



The calls to (800) A-FAMILY are personal, not political. Yet over the decades, the hot line has bolstered Dobson's influence in the Capitol by cultivating millions of grateful, reverentially loyal constituents. It also has emboldened him to use that clout to push a conservative social agenda.

"In those thousands of calls, we believe we're seeing the unraveling of the social fabric of this country," said Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy.

Focus on the Family gets almost 10,000 calls, e-mails and letters every day. Most are book orders or other purchases from the vast ministry warehouse. But up to 1,000 a day are more complex: Requests for help researching topics such as depression and divorce, or pleas from despairing men and women seeking Dobson's advice.

..."I don't know where else to go," one young mother told social worker Sarah Helus, breaking down as she described her headstrong 3-year-old. "I've tried spanking him with a switch like Dr. Dobson says, but it hasn't been effective. I've tried explaining to him that mommy and daddy make mistakes, too, and we all have to ask Christ's forgiveness. Nothing works. And I just lose it."

As her son howled in the background, the woman said she had read three of Dobson's parenting books, including The Strong-Willed Child several times. They hadn't much helped, but she hadn't lost faith. She begged for a few minutes to ask Dobson how, precisely, she should respond if her son throws a fit in Wal-Mart.

Helus told her gently that Dobson doesn't take calls. But his wisdom on scores of topics is loaded into two computers on every assistant's desk.

...Now, Helus scanned Dobson's writings on tantrums. "Dr. Dobson has said that kids like this are often really, really bright," she soothed. Glancing through a databank of book reviews, Helus recommended several parenting texts. Then she suggested a free phone session with one of the ministry's 16 licensed counselors, who handle 1,300 of the most serious calls each week.

"Does what they say correspond with what Dr. Dobson would say?" the mother asked anxiously. "Because I love Dr. Dobson."

Urging listeners to take control of their children, Dobson advocates spanking, though never in anger. He acknowledges that marriage is hard but opposes divorce in almost every situation. He teaches that homosexuality can be overcome with discipline and prayer.

...When Dobson breaks from his family-advice format to talk politics on the air — which he does only a few times a month — "you're going to pay attention because you know Dr. Dobson cares about you and wants to make a difference in your life," Hetrick said.

A recent poll for PBS found that 77 percent of white evangelicals view Dobson favorably. Other Christian leaders were far less widely trusted; Pat Robertson's approval rating stood at 55 percent and Jerry Falwell's at 46 percent.
Also see -- Dobson: gay marriage will lead to getting hitched to a donkey


Breaking...




AFA leader's head explodes as shoppers seek 'falling prices' on lube

No actual reports on the cranium detonations yet, but it can't be long...

Queen Drudge reports that sales of KY Warming Liquid are heating up as Middle America sweeps the lube off of the shelves at Wal-Mart, filling Johnson & Johnson's coffers.
Suddenly at the forefront of taking sex aids mainstream, conservative marketer Johnson & Johnson almost overnight has doubled sales of its once-sleepy K-Y brand for the second time in four years thanks to the blockbuster summer rollout of a new line of massage oils. And nowhere has that success been greater than at Wal-Mart, where K-Y Touch Massage oils have hit the list of top 10 new health and beauty products of 2005, according to J&J VP-Personal Care Marketing Jim Peterson.

J&J has found warming lubricants sell well not only for Valentine's Day but also around Memorial Day and Fourth of July. "We dubbed these sex holidays," Mr. Peterson said. "And we try to line up all our promotional efforts around them."
This newsflash should send the American Family Association's Don and Tim Wildmon over the edge, as Wal-Mart is always held up as the "family values" counterpart to evil, homo-loving Target by the Right. The retailer with the red bulls-eye logo was just chastised for selling specialty condoms and lubricant -- or as they called them, "sex-toy-related products."


How long will we have to wait for a press release from Rev. Don's AFA or AgapePress?

J&J is already on the Right's hit list, by the way, for advertising in The Advocate.

It seems to me, however, that the AmTaliban shouldn't blame the retailers carrying these products, it all falls squarely on the shoulders of all these deviant Red-state, all-American, church-going consumers buying them up and getting busy with them, right? It's just too much for their pious, brow-beating organizations to handle.

The House Blend's main page.


Spike Lee plans Katrina documentary



It will be interesting to see his take on Katrina (it will be produced for HBO). Most people think of Lee's work as controversial. That's generally true, as in the case of Do The Right Thing. It provoked discussion on the state of race relations with his portrayal of and ethinically diverse Brooklyn neighborhood in conflict. But the film was also seen as a work that would incite violence (none occurred), primarily because the movie made white people really uncomfortable - no clear resolution at the end, no reconciliation.

That said, I find Spike Lee's work mixed; he's often overly self-indulgent stylistically, and some of his films are annoyingly uneven. Man, I fell asleep in Mo' Better Blues (1991), and I thought School Daze (1988), which was smart from a political standpoint -- he addressed colorism in the black community quite humorously -- it really could have been a lot tighter.

However, Do The Right Thing's a masterpiece of straight fiction from the perspective of that filmmaker. Spike's Academy Award nominated documentary, Four Little Girls (1997), was a highly acclaimed film about the church bombing in Birmingham in the 1963. It was straightforward and generally apolitical in its perspective (outside of the obvious context of why the bombing occurred). There was time and distance between the actual events and when the film was release, and that is a major factor. It's easy to see that black and white footage and the racist crackers and think "that was then, this is now."

I expect that the Katrina documentary will fall somewhere in between the two films. I don't see how he's going to be able to make a film about this without it raising hackles because so little time will have passed since these raw events occurred, and the issues of race and class together are nuclear.

I have no doubt Spike is also going to cover the tin foil hat ground -- that the flooding of the Ninth Ward was purposefully done to rid the city of the poor, black population. The Guardian article alludes to that.

How can he not? It's too "good" a thread not to weave in there with the chaos, bigotry, incompetence and disaster if you want to raise hackles, and accurately portray the range of views held in New Orleans at the time -- Spike Lee will take the heat.

***

Also see my post, Hate, race and class in a deep Blue city - NY.


NC Cat has 2 tongues



Is it something in the water in this state? (WFMY):
Let us introduce to you Five-Toes, a one-of-a-kind cat. The Dobson feline was born with five toes on each paw, hence her name. But what makes her even more unique is the fact she was born with two-tongues.


Her owner Bill Whittington remembers the big surprise he got last December. "I started out and she flicked them tongues out and with a yell I let out. I believe everybody and his brother would have heard it, if they'd been awake."


Keith Boykin to speak at Millions More March



The unhinged Minister Farrakhan finally relented and has asked the President of the National Black Justice Committee, Keith Boykin, to speak at the Millions More March in D.C., in acknowlegment of the existence the black gay community.

The NJBC had rightfully been a huge critic of Farrakhan for his homophobic statements, as well as those of members of the organizing committee, specifically the homo-bigot preacher Willie Wilson. The organization had planned a counter-rally to protest the lack of inclusion in the planning of the anniversary March.
Last month Farrakhan held a conference call with leaders of the groups - the first such meeting he has had with LGBT African Americans - in a bid to resolve differences over the weekend event to mark the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March. During the conference call Farrakhan said that he would consider allowing a gay Black leader to speak.

Last week the NBJC submitted a list of 10 names to Farrakhan of prominent black lesbian, gay and bisexual leaders. (story) Ironically Boykin's name was not on the list. Wednesday members of the NBJC board met face to face with the controversial Nation of Islam leader and the invitation was offered to Boykin.
I personally have no use for Farrakhan, he's incredibly divisive, anti-Semitic and prone to tin-foil hattery. But he had to be called out on this one, seeing as he touted the inclusive nature of his march, then backpedaled when it came to representing this segment of the community. If he's serious about the spread of HIV/AIDS in the black community, he needs to talk about the whole reality of the problem of acknowledging and supporting the LGBT population, the DL, and the demonization that is coming from the pulpit that is exacerbating the problem.

***

You'll recall my posts on this idiot Willie Wilson, who's responsible for saying, among other things in a sermon:
“I ain’t homophobic because everybody here got something wrong with him. But … 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. Anytime 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."


What's Chimpy thinking?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Actual AP caption: U.S. President George W. Bush faces the media in the Oval Office in the White House October 12, 2005. Bush's job approval rating has fallen to a new low of 39 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday. REUTERS/Larry Downing.

***

Maybe what he's thinking about is that little fantasy staged teleconference with members of the 42nd Infantry Division over in Tikrit, who served as props for the Chimperor today in a propaganda piece designed and rehearsed to dovetail with his goals in Iraq.



The sorry state of affairs for the President-now-without-a-mandate is such that even the coverage of the event points out the fact that the whole event is a sham. The headline: "Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged."
Paul Rieckhoff, director of the New York-based Operation Truth, an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, denounced the event as a "carefully scripted publicity stunt." Five of the 10 U.S. troops involved were officers, he said.

"If he wants the real opinions of the troops, he can't do it in a nationally televised teleconference," Rieckhoff said. "He needs to be talking to the boots on the ground and that's not a bunch of captains.
Think Progress has the video of the "prep."


AngryBlackBitch on abstinence-only sex-ed


One of my favorite reads in the blogosphere is AngryBlackBitch, written by an activist black woman in St. Louis. She does lots of volunteer work with the poor and homeless, runs the Church of Enlightened Bitchitude & Latter-Day Drunks (I think that's the name), and writes a pretty funny and very observant blog. She also helps me keep up with her obsessive observation of The Today Show and other morning shows I can't watch due to my work schedule.

Anyway, she had this piece up about "abstinence-only" sex education that required a Radical Retort (*'s added for The Blend so your Pr0n filters don't block it):
To screw or not to screw...

Americans are in a culture war over sex... who, what, when and where. This bitch has been more than a little annoyed. When my ass read this article about a new chastity group that was formed by Princeton University students... well... a bitch just wanted to scream!

A bitch understands that there are some people and groups that advocate abstinence until marriage. What my ass doesn't understand is why abstinence groups feel that other groups shouldn't discuss the alternative to abstinence...otherwise known as sex.

Let's be honest... there isn't a whole lot to discuss about abstinence other than the benefits of not getting pregnant or exposed to disease. A bitch can just imagine the meetings...

"Hello everyone! Well, no sex happening here. How about you? Still not f*cking? Great!"

Or maybe these abstinence group meetings are actually discussing the challenges of not having sex...

"Oh my Gawd... I so wanted to get laid yesterday. Sex was all I could think about. Thank Gawd I have this group to fall back on and discuss not having sex!"


Better yet, maybe they just sit around and get nasty...

"I had a dream last night where I was... well... I was horny! Yeah! And I just kept being horny!"

... nasty talk isn't all that kinky when you don't know what the f*ck you are talking about. sh*t, those fantasies have got to be boring as a motherf*cker!

Anyhoo, this bitch believes that abstinence should be a component of any sex ed. curriculum. However, sex ed. requires a discussion of sex too and my ass is f*cking tired of people acting like discussing sex makes people more likely to have sex.

This bitch was blessed to have participated in a comprehensive sex ed. class in school. Added to that was a healthy dose of my crazy assed mother threatening to kill me if I "came up pregnant" in her house. This bitch was scared off sex by the facts for years... .YEARS!

And when my ass decided to get it on this bitch was equipped with some knowledge and a realistic understanding of the consequences.

Yeah, this bitch supports abstinence... my ass wishes motherf*ckers would abstain from promoting abstinence only education.
My angry sistah, you've got it all wrong when it comes to "abstinence-only" sex education. For if we teach the kids about sex, that will only make them want to do it, and then they'll get the gono-ca-ca-caccus (Frank Zappa RIP) and die. Kids need to learn that the only safe sex is the sex you do not have, and that sex should be saved until marriage.

Kids are catching deadly STD's and getting pregnant in school every year. When we teach them effective dating techniques, encourage them to look out for their own sexual health, and outfit them with condoms and spermicides, we're only giving them a false sense of security and encouraging them to take risks in the dating world that could get them killed. After all, no condom or spermicide is 100% effective against disease or pregnancy.

We're expanding this logic to other school topics. We are about to start "walking-only" drivers education. For if we teach the kids about driving cars, that will only make them want to do it, and then they'll go speeding down the freeway, wreck their cars, and die. Kids need to learn that the only safe driving is the driving they do not do, and that driving should be saved until adulthood.

There are so many other activities kids engage in that need this sort of logic. Kids are seriously injured or killed playing high school football every year. When we teach them proper tackling techniques, encourage them to get in prime physical shape, and outfit them in body armor and helmets, we're only giving them a false sense of security and encouraging them to take risks on the football field that could get them killed. After all, no set of helmet and football pads are 100% effective against injury or death.

Therefore, we need to institute "no-contact" football education for our high school athletes. Kids need to learn that the only safe football is the football with no contact, and that tackle football should be saved until college.


Lou Sheldon and Tim Wildmon get their grooves on

Media Matters' David Grossman sent me two gems that are up today. You Blenders will love these -- it's right in that "you can't make this sh*t up" category of wingnuttery.

Homo-infatuated AmTaliban big shots Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA), and Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), teamed up on a radio show for a real love-in on homosexuality. Lou, in this case, seems to be a big advocate of exorcism as "reparative therapy," and clearly doesn't have a clue about what gender identity disorder is. From the October 11 broadcast of American Family Radio's Today's Issues:
WILDMON: And let me just say one other thing, and we'll go on to our next caller. And I'm not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, or a social scientist, or anything like that. But I have heard from people who know and understand these things that two of the most difficult sins or bondage to break out of are alcoholism and homosexuality.


Sheldon graphic:Mike Tidmus

SHELDON: Oh definitely, because the groove is built, and I've talked to many psychotherapists who are Christian, and they say once you enter into that lifestyle -- Now, you may have gender identity conflict -- that's the medical-scientific name for homosexuality --where you're attracted to the same-sex person, but once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater, and all of that kind of -- and gay travel -- once you immerse yourself into that, you have really put yourself into a groove that only a sort of an exorcism can release you from.

WILDMON: Wow.
Do you think Tim and Don really want to get their groove on, or should I just put them down for a RealDoll stud dressed as a priest edition?

***



Bonus points for Tim: we get a two-for-one special, a double-dip of insanity. He agrees with a caller that is concerned about the possible preponderance of homos on HGTV -- and Animal Planet. I hate to inform Tim, but there is no need for evidence-gathering on that matter, at least HGTV or any of the home-related channels. There is faggotry and dykery at every level on almost every program. It's called Home and Garden Television for god's sake! Designers and carpentry!



Perhaps the caller was not sure whether Christopher Lowell is queer.
From the October 11 broadcast of American Family Radio's Today's Issues:

CALLER: I just wanted to make a comment that you really, really, really have to watch what you are watching on TV. I have come upon evidence of homosexuality and lesbian people on programs like HGTV and Animal Planet, where you really don't expect this to be an issue.

WILDMON: Right. You're very perceptive, [caller], because that does happen, even in the most innocent of places. You have to watch out for children's programs today as well because they'll slip it in there as well.


Nancy Goldstein on Harriet as the Right's Picture of Dorian Gray



Nancy hits one out of the park again with a column on the highly entertaining unraveling of the Right over the Miers nomination.

They've waited so long for one of their true believers to ascend to the Supreme Court, and the Chimperor has let them down with a lesson on how the world really works in his mind -- cronyism and loyalty. Its all about him.
For five years, the fops, chickenhawks, and sons of privilege who make up this administration's elite have been stomping around acting as though their positions at the top of the Bush food chain, where they advocate ultra-conservative ideology, were achieved via intellectual muscle and oh-so-butch ways.

Now the curtain has been pulled aside, and behind it sits Harriet Miers, a living, breathing incarnation of the real qualifications for a place at the frontline of Bush's mission. What a blow to Bush's acolytes to learn that — so far as the president is concerned — any acquiescent, born-again former Texas state former lottery commissioner turned White House Counsel with a history of work on behalf of the oil industry and a boner for the Bush family and against Roe v. Wade will do.

...Beyond that is a larger power struggle, of course. For years, the folks over at Heritage, American Enterprise, and Cato have called this administration's policy-related shots; now they're slapping down Bush for having the temerity to think that he can go ahead and make a decision without them and just say "Trust me." It's the tail trying to wag the dog, and so far the dog will have none of it.
***



Also, I just caught another great column, this by Wayne Besen on PageOneQ, "Stuck in a Quag-Miers." It's a great roundup of the Right's revolt.
The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is driving the right wing crazy. Well, they were always nuts, but now President George W. Bush is the surprising target of their vituperation, even as he desperately seeks their cooperation. The last time conservatives were this angry, it was over another presidential worshipping White House groupie. But at least Bill Clinton didn't nominate Monica Lewinsky to the Supreme Court.

Originally, Bush thought by choosing a crony with no paper trail he would inoculate himself against Democrats. What he did not expect was that conservative discontent would spread faster than avian bird flu. It appears that the only vaccine to stop this right wing pandemic of pandemonium is the withdrawal of the Miers nomination.


Bob Knight debates Jason West at Colorado school



The mayor that married gay and lesbian couples in New Paltz, NY, locked horns with the unhinged, homo-fixated male representative from Concerned Women for America in a debate at the University of Northern Colorado last night. It sounded like a festive occasion.
Knight told the audience about two friends he believed to be gay. He said he worries about the men's safety from disease and their eternal salvation.

...Knight, the director of the Culture and Family Institute, has become a conservative leader in the fight against same-sex marriage. He warned those who attended the debate any sex outside marriage was harmful and could be treated with prayer and counseling.

West caught attention when he became the mayor of New Paltz, N.Y., as a Green Party candidate at age 26. He became even more famous when he performed 25 same-sex marriages in February 2003. He said the legal rights tied to marriage forced him to treat it as a civil rights issue.

More than 250 people packed the ballrooms at the University Center to listen to what the men had to say. Organizers had to retract a center divider to enlarge the room and students and members of the community lined up five to eight people deep behind microphones to ask questions.

...Knight compared the homosexual urges some feel as teenagers to inclinations to start smoking. Knight, who frequently referenced scientific studies and a theological basis for his arguments, said he would accept the label of politically incorrect in order to steer kids away from a lifestyle that put them at risk for AIDS and damnation.

West responded that straight and gay couples could enter into dangerous relationships, and it was the disastrous relationship they should avoid.


Game over, man: Kenny and Chimpy and the black vote



It's just too bad. All that work with the darkies, Ken. Aside from the bigoted pastors and black Republiclowns you've bought up over the last few years, it looks like your big man in the White House flushed that effort down the toilet. The numbers are in free fall. Dan Froomkin in the WaPo:
In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.

A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent.

But Bush's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina -- seen by many blacks as evidence that he didn't care about them (see my September 13 column ) -- may have brought support for the president in the African American community down to nearly negligible levels.

Tim Russert called attention to this startling statistic on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday: "Brian, listen to this," he said. "Only 2 percent -- 2 percent! -- of African-Americans approve of George Bush's handling of the presidency -- the lowest we have ever seen in that particular measure."

So this morning, I called Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, to get a better sense of the significance of the results.


Rubbing for luck: it ran out.

"African Americans were not supporters, but I don't think that they outright detested him -- until now," Hart said. "The actions in and around Katrina persuaded African Americans that this was a president who was totally insensitive to their concerns and their needs."

Hart said he has never seen such a dramatic drop in presidential approval ratings, within any subgroup.


Marrying when the time is right (or not)

Blender oddjob points to an article that shows more couples are delaying marriage, and outlines regional differences in co-habitation, education level, the biological clock and the statistical connection of single motherhood to poverty.

The findings are not surprising, nevertheless, it's clear we are a patchwork of very different societies, based on where we live. The bible belt's sanctimonious preaching rings hollow when you see the numbers.
A Census Bureau study being released Thursday found many regional differences in the marrying habits of Americans, with those near the East and West coasts generally waiting longer to get married than those in Middle America. The study also found that Southerners are the least likely to live together without getting married.

“Later marriage is very strongly associated with higher levels of education,” said David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. “That’s why people in the Northeast have such a late age of marriage.”



The age when couples get married can also be influenced by religion and whether they are willing to live together without getting married, Popenoe said.

“It delays marriage,” Popenoe said of living together before marriage. “Men marry too late from the point of view of women, especially educated men. It leaves more women single, or marrying beyond the age of childbirth.”

...“Single parenthood and poverty are about as closely related as you can get,” Popenoe said. The states with the most unwed new mothers also tended to be the ones with the highest percentage of new mothers living in poverty.

Washington, D.C., had the highest percentage of new mothers who were unmarried, at 53.4 percent. The city also had the highest percentage of new mothers living in poverty, at 36.3 percent. West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana also had high percentages of unwed mothers living below the poverty line.


Must-see TV



There's some interesting programming scheduled over at the Mike Tidmus pad.
7:30 (7:00 Central) Love That Bush In tonight’s hilarious episode, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, America’s perkiest housekeeper, Harriet "Schultzie" Miers, has a culinary quandary.
Surf over for details on the quandry.


Honda Insight tops fuel economy list


My last post about the bio-fuel school buses made me curious about where cars are falling on the range of current fuel economy standards. Thankfully there's an AP story out today that saved me the surfing.
The manual version of the hybrid Honda Insight tops the latest government auto fuel economy list, with 60 miles per gallon in the city and 66 mpg on the highway.

The competitor hybrid Toyota Prius was second with 60 mpg in the city and 51 on the highway, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Ford Motor Co., with its hybrid SUVs, was the only American carmaker to crack the top-10 list for 2006 vehicles.

Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen make eight of the top 10 cars, mostly hybrid electric-gas or diesel-powered. Ford Escape hybrid SUVs, two-wheel and four-wheel drive, round out the list.

The only gas-only vehicle to make the top 10 is the manual Toyota Corolla.
By classes of vehicles:
* SUV: Ford Escape, with 36 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.
* Pickup: Ford Ranger, 24 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
* Station wagons: the manual Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Corolla Matrix (both 30 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway)
* Minivan: Honda Odyssey, 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.
* Cargo and passenger vans: Chevrolet and GMC, each with 15 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway.

The guzzlers...

* The automatic version of the Dodge Ram pickup - 9 mpg in the city and 12 mpg on the highway.
* SUV: The Dodge Durango, 12 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.

The list didn't include Hummer H2 or the Ford Excursion because the law exempts vehicles that weigh more than 8,500 pounds from fuel economy standards. Good grief.

You can also check out the government site, http://www.fueleconomy.gov/


You want fries with that ride?


Gaston school buses are filled up with 20 percent biodiesel fuel and 80 percent diesel fuel.

School buses in Gaston County, NC are running on bio-diesel fuel. Now you can smell like a fry cook if you get behind one, and the county can save a ton of money -- $150K a year, to be exact.
The Gaston County school system has found a unique answer to rising gasoline prices. It is producing its own biodiesel fuel by recycling cooking oil that comes from school cafeterias and area restaurants.

“We expect to produce 12,000 gallons of biodiesel this year, with the possibility of producing more than 60,000 gallons in the future,” Superintendent Ed Sadler said Tuesday.

After the cooking oil is collected, the school system pumps it into giant pots and mixes it with the right amount of alcohol and sodium hydroxide. The cooking oil is mixed with alcohol and sodium hydroxide. “The sodium hydroxide, it has to be exact,” said Grady Truett, the county’s assistant director of transportation. “If you don't, then you make a pot of glob.”


Good riddance



AP Top Story: Fox cancels "The Simple Life" because Paris and Nicole hate each other. Take the mannequins away.


Homo-bigots protest Connecticut civil unions


Skinhead losers tear a rainbow flag at the State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Shouldn't they be off getting sh*tfaced somewhere?

Aside from that nonsense, here is a good guide to what CT civil unions legally mean for couples, from GFN.com.


Frist is subpoenaed



Oh, this is rich. It gets better and better watching these drunk-with-power Repug crooks circle the drain.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws.

Frist aides previously said he had been contacted by regulators but did not mention that the lawmaker had received a formal request for documents. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the investigation, said Frist is expected to testify under oath about what he knew about the company's health in the weeks before he sold stock.


Keith Olbermann and the 'coincidences' on the terror alerts

As promised, Keith put the facts out there for naysayers to digest. He outlined 10 incidents on Countdown, but he details 13 on his blog (not enough air time to do the other 3).
Last Thursday on Countdown, I referred to the latest terror threat - the reported bomb plot against the New York City subway system - in terms of its timing. President Bush’s speech about the war on terror had come earlier the same day, as had the breaking news of the possible indictment of Karl Rove in the CIA leak investigation.

I suggested that in the last three years there had been about 13 similar coincidences - a political downturn for the administration, followed by a “terror event” - a change in alert status, an arrest, a warning.

...We bring you these coincidences, reminding you, and ourselves here, that perhaps the simplest piece of wisdom in the world is called “the logical fallacy.” Just because Event “A” occurs, and then Event “B” occurs, that does not automatically mean that Event “A” caused Event “B.”

But one set of comments from an informed observer seems particularly relevant as we examine these coincidences.

On May 10th of this year, after his resignation, former Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge looked back on the terror alert level changes, issued on his watch.

Mr. Ridge said: “More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert)… there were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said ‘for that?’”
Go check out the list and post what you think.


Texas gays denounce marriage amendment with ad

Wow. The ads not only bash the amendment, they actually feature gay couples talking about their lives in the spot, not just presenting an intellectual argument why banning same-sex marriage is wrong.
Dave Fleischer of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said the ads were unusual in featuring gay couples. Ads in other states with similar campaigns avoided direct use of the words "gay" or "marriage."

"We're going in a different direction here," Fleischer said. "If we're honest with voters, that's how we'll earn their votes."

Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for the Liberty Legal Institute, which supports the ban, said he thinks the ads will bring much needed attention to next month's election. He believes if there is a large voter turnout, the proposition will be approved.

"We disagree with the ads. We think that marriage is very clearly between a man and a woman," he said. "But we think most Texans know what's true and an ad will not dislodge their understanding about what marriage is."

Fleischer said the ad campaign, which cost about $200,000, would run in Houston this week. There were no immediate plans to run the ads in other Texas cities.


Please, no more

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Arkansas Mother Gives Birth to 16th Child.


In this photo released by the Discovery Health Channel shows the Duggar children and their father Jim Bob Duggar, top center, gather as their mother Michelle holds the 16th addition to the family Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005, at St. Mary's Hospital in Rogers Ark. The girl Johannah was born Oct. 11, at the hospital. (AP Photo/Discovery Health Channel, Spencer Tirey)

I saw the Discovery Channel documentary on the Duggars several months ago when she shot out #15. At that time, this fundamentalist family was building their own compound to house the non-stop baby factory. The article says that it will have nine bathrooms, dormitory-style bedrooms for the girls and boys, a commercial kitchen, four washing machines and four dryers.

Apparently Jim Bob leaps right back on her as soon as she's able to take it.

A few random Freepers weigh in...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Every sperm is special.
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

We had a fire chief in a nearby town with the first name of "Seventeen", and yes, it was because he was the seventeenth child, and his mother ran out of names.

I grew up next to the family known locally as the ABC Smith's (not their real last name). The oldest was Abe, then Betty and so on. They eventually got to Ione.

I just hope I am not paying for the sperm.

Was that comment really necessary? "You could probably park a car in her uterus. Criminentlies!"

I'm thinking, "knife in an empty mayonaisse jar". Good gracious, she's been pregnant for 18 years!

You are an ass.

Check out the DUmmie response to this news story. It seems most of them are in agreement that they support a woman's right to choose, providing the choice she makes is to have an abortion. They also support everything from "tax disincentives" for having children to China's "one per customer" policy. There's also more than one snarky comment about the condition of this woman's uterus. I do wonder if they'd be this judgmental if this was a muslim family or an inner-city black family with 16 kids.

Good for this family. I think the average American family should be encouraged to average at least four children. Of course, abortionists might have to look for other work...maybe euthanizing aging baby boomers.



Cheney under Fitzgerald's microscope



Darth's ass may be in a sling faster than you can say "defibrillator." (Raw Story):
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine whether Vice President Dick Cheney had a role in the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, people close to Fitzgerald have confirmed. Plame’s husband was a vocal critic of prewar intelligence used by President George W. Bush to build support for the Iraq war.

The investigation into who leaked the officer's name to reporters has now turned toward a little known cabal of administration hawks known as the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG operated out of the Vice President’s office and was chaired by Karl Rove, Bush's senior advisor.

Fitzgerald’s examination centers on a group of players charged with not only selling the war, but according to sources familiar with the case, to discredit anyone who openly “disagreed with the official Iraq war” story.

...Two officials close to Fitzgerald told RAW STORY they have seen documents obtained from the White House Iraq Group which state that Cheney was present at several of the group's meetings. They say Cheney personally discussed with individuals in attendance at least two interviews in May and June of 2003 Wilson gave to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, in which he claimed the administration “twisted” prewar intelligence and what the response from the administration should be.

...Sources close to the investigation have also confirmed that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine Vice President Cheney's role in the outing of Mrs. Wilson, more specifically, if Cheney ordered the leak.


Pathetic turnout on primary day



I almost forgot to post about yesterday's primary elections here. Our current mayor, Bill Bell, destroyed the competition, with 88% of the vote.

According to the write-up in the Durham Herald-Sun, only 10.9 percent of the city's 118,098 registered voters turned out (that's almost a third lower than the 2003 primary and the lowest in at least a decade). I don't want to hear any belly-aching from my fellow citizens about anything.

When I went to vote around 11:30 AM, there were only two people in the polling station besides me, and the election official was reclined back in a portable chair he brought in. He looked as though he was about to enter R.E.M. sleep any minute.

I see Kathy at Birmingham Blues is sad that only 25% of the folks in that city bothered to vote. You've got something to be proud of in comparison to the slackers here.

***

The real news, however, is that about 180 of my fellow Durhamites are complete morons, casting invalid votes for a mayoral candidate whose name was still on the ballot but who dropped out of the race. When I flipped on the local news to see how things turned out, I saw 183 votes were cast for Vincent Brown on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. My jaw dropped.

Brown bowed out when it was revealed that he had a mile-long rap sheet. His slogan was "A New Beginning." I suppose he was referring to a new identity for himself. Among his untouted qualifications to serve:

* 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 without a license (it was permanently revoked in 1992)
* promoting the prostitution of a minor (with three charges involving the same victim).

This was all over the papers, yet 183 knobends still voted for the guy. They can't all be relatives and friends.


How Harriet sucked up to the Chimp

"It really portrays what a hack she is and how easily anyone can compliment George Bush and stroke his fragile ego, and he’ll put them on the Supreme Court. Her credentials are not putting her there, nor is her standing with the religious right – it’s all her constant caressing of George Bush that seems to have gotten her where she is."
-- Michelangelo Signorile
He's not kidding. In letters released yesterday by the Texas State Library we get a better idea of the kind of adoring bootlicking of the most brilliant man Harriet ever met went on. No wonder she earned her status as the apple of Chimpy's eye. Good grief, read this:
Most of the documents were routine legal memos, press releases and transcripts, but the letters offer a rare glimpse into the psyche of the woman Bush wants to place on the high court.

In a brief 1995 note, she thanked Bush for a ride in a plane with him, calling it "cool!"

The following year a letter thanks Bush for serving as chair of a Dallas luncheon honoring Miers, then the first woman president of the bar association, and spoke of a little girl who had asked for Bush’s autograph. "I truly believe if the governor told her she should be an Astronaut, she would do her best to become one," Miers wrote. "I was struck by the tremendous impact you have on the children whose lives you touch."

In 1997 she wrote another note thanking him for meeting with a job applicant for the lottery commission. "You are the best!"

Later that year she wrote another letter - a belated birthday wish - saying, "You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect!"
Meanwhile, SpongeDob Squarepants is causing a firestorm because of his little meeting of the minds with Rove, who told him Miers' churchgoing habits are indicative of something important about her political leanings, but it's no litmus test, right?
On a radio show broadcast Wednesday, James Dobson, founder of the conservative Focus on the Family, said that before Miers was nominated, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove reassured him that she was an "evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life."

Religion was an area the White House carefully avoided in pushing the chief justice nomination of John Roberts just a month ago. During his confirmation hearings, Roberts sought to assure senators that his rulings would be guided by his understanding of the facts of cases, the law and the Constitution, not by his personal views. "My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role," said Roberts, who is Catholic.

...The Rev. Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said anyone who tried to bring up the topic of religion during the Roberts confirmation was labeled a bigot. "Now Bush and Rove are touting where Miers goes to church and using that as a selling point," Lynn said. "The hypocrisy is staggering."


You might want to check out the Scottie McClellan punching bag session today, where he had to deal with an onslaught of questions about Harriet's churchfying that had him curling into a fetal position yet again from the press beating.


Brushes with fame...

Shakes Sis has a question of the day going on at her pad that I'm ripping off because it's interesting. Have you had any brushes with fame? Had a chance meeting with a celebrity or landed on TV?

I had to think for a while, racking my brain for some instances to add. Here's what I came up with...


* Lame one: I was in the audience of the Phil Donahue show way back in the day (late 80s) and he actually dashed up the aisle to give me the mic to ask a question of the guest (which was designer Bob Mackie, of all people; Liz Taylor was a guest as well).


* Bill Russell (the basketball player) actually came to my house when I was little. I cannot recall why he was there, but I didn't know who he was at the time.


* I shook hands with Al Gore and talked to him for about a minute when he came down to my office after a stop on his book tour for "Earth in the Balance." Nice guy, clammy hands.


* VP Hubert Humphrey, came to Durham in 1966 to dedicate the opening of the NC Mutual building. He held up three-year-old little Pam after he gave his dedication speech. The photo made the paper. I sadly, don't have a copy of that one.

Boy did I forget a big one -- Frank McCourt, of Angela's Ashes fame. He was my English teacher at Stuyvesant High School in NYC.


From my 10th HS reunion in 1991 (before Angela's Ashes), and his pic from my yearbook.

I met up with him again, after he was a big celeb: he was in Durham, NC in January 2000 to promote 'Tis. I was asked by a local bookstore to introduce him before a crowd of 2500 people that turned up to hear Frank speak at a fundraiser for one of our magnet high schools.

It was great to see him; I went backstage before he went on, and of course he didn't recognize me from the last reunion, but I brought my trusty '81 Indicator yearbook (he recognized me in that context), and my copies of Angela's Ashes and 'Tis for him to sign. He was mobbed like a true celebrity after the event. More HS pics are here.

He's got another book coming out in November, Teacher Man: A Memoir, that covers his years as a teacher.


Gay news bites


* LCR's Patrick Guerriero gets a chocolate pie in the face. Some dolt threw a pie at the Log Cabin Republican president when he was here yesterday at UNC, and mostly missed. At least he had a sense of humor: "I faked to the left and moved to the right, which is probably something I do in politics sometimes." I may think the LCR is misguided in its positions a lot of the time, but please, save the pies for more worthy targets.


* Gay 'Arson Victim' Charged With Setting Fire: it's now confirmed that the Florida couple that was burned out of their home was an arson perpetrated by one of them. Christopher Michael Robertson confessed to starting the fire and has been charged with arson, making fraudulent insurance claims and filing false reports to law enforcement.

This is just awful, sick news, because so many GLBT citizens are victims of homophobic attacks. An incident like this, along with cases of women that report falsely that they have been raped, make it easy for unsympathetic people to dismiss the real cases. Which leads me to...


* It's the seventh anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard. He was abducted pistol-whipped, robbed and tied to a fence outside Laramie, WY, left to die. While the use of the gay panic defense landed Aaron McKinney's ass in prison it looks like lawyers are still floating that ludicrous crap in cases. Witness...

* Man Gets Four Years in Prison for Transgender Slaying."Estanislao Martinez didn't deny that he repeatedly stabbed Joel Robles with a pair of scissors, but his lawyer told the judge he had a good excuse — he killed the victim in what he called a 'gay panic'." He stabbed the man 20 times and is only going to serve four years.


* A gay priest speaks on impending Vatican document. This is a great interview with an "anonymous gay priest" in the National Catholic Reporter. A snippet:
If an openly gay man, committed to living celibately, were to come to you today seeking your counsel on joining the priesthood, what would you tell him?
I’d say wait until this document comes out. I know a couple of guys who have entered seminary this year. One of them is just beside himself. And I know a few people who are in seminary who are not too far from ordination who are just absolutely devastated. They don’t know what to do. They spent years thinking about their vocation and thinking about the priesthood and thinking about entering seminary.

And interestingly, even if the document doesn’t come out, there is going to be this tension -- this threat that the document might come out. Certainly the Vatican is not going to say, “We welcome gay men with open arms.” And they’re probably not going to say, “We’re not going to issue a document like this.”

If a document comes out barring homosexuals from entering the priesthood you are going to have gay men who feel that they can live celibately and who feel called to the priesthood turning away from it. You will have a severe reduction in vocations. And you are going to have gay seminarians who are celibate and gay and who are going to be faced with this horrible choice: Either leave the seminary and turn away from your call or lie about your sexuality so you can get ordained. Frankly, lying as a way of approaching sacramental orders is just incredible. And you want to talk about a healthy way to live celibately? I guarantee you, the worst preparation for it is not talking about it.

And then you will have gay priests who will be demoralized even further. Some of them will leave -- I know a surprising number of people who have told me in the past couple of weeks that they would answer any move by the Vatican to discourage or bar homosexuals from the priesthood by turning away from the priesthood.

To be a gay man in an organization that says we should have no gay men is just too much for some people.

News of this proposed document has placed an enormous amount of stress on me personally. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what kinds of plans I should be making. It’s very difficult to do the work of a priest and to celebrate Mass and baptisms and hear confessions and have this sword hanging over your head. It’s tremendously stressful.


Falwell's legal group disses Miers; Crazy Pat issues threats

“Bush has turned his finest hour into a political debacle that threatens to split his conservative base. The reverberations from his decision to nominate Harriet Miers have political consequences, if not corrected, that will haunt the Republican Party for some time.”
-- Matt Staver, on Liberty Counsel's call for the withdrawal of the Miers nomination
Ouch. All's not well in Rev. Tinkywinky land. While the artery-clogged minister is standing by the Chimp on Miers, Liberty Counsel, headed by his legal bootlicker, Matthew Staver, will not support the stealth candidate.
Falwell said Liberty Counsel is an independent organization that operates separately from Jerry Falwell Ministries. Liberty Counsel, which has an office on the Liberty University campus, is asking Bush to withdraw Miers’ nomination. The group called on Bush “to keep his campaign promise that he would appoint Justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.”

In a news release, Staver said he was disappointed that Bush decided to nominate “someone who operates under the radar.” In announcing Miers’ nomination, Bush cited her lack of a judicial record as a positive point in assuring her nomination.

Staver said that during the 2000 presidential election, which was legally contested all the way to the Supreme Court, everyone knew the real battle was over who would appoint the next Supreme Court justice.

I didn’t litigate nonstop for five weeks for a stealth nomination,” Staver said. “Nor did African-Americans and Hispanics jump party lines to join a record number of evangelicals and others in 2004 to support this President for a nomination where our only assurance is ‘Trust me.’ I’m not a gambling man, and I’m not about to blindly roll the dice on this nomination.”


Meanwhile, Crazy Pat Robertson is issuing threats to conservatives that don't get behind the Miers nomination. Boy, it's hard to keep track of all the wingnut positions on this. I love the disarray.
Rev. Robertson suggested that people should look at who is supporting Miers before they doubt her conservative credentials. He named James Dobson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jay Sekulow of the Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, and himself as proof of support for Miers’ nomination from the Right. Robertson concluded by noting: “These so-called movement conservatives don’t have much of a following, the ones that I’m aware of. And you just marvel, these are the senators, some of them who voted to confirm the general counsel of the ACLU to the Supreme Court, and she was voted in almost unanimously. And you say, ‘now they’re going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative President and they’re going to vote against her for confirmation?’ Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office.”


Dreier was passed over because he's a fag



Everyone and his mother knew that Denny Hastert's pick to keep felon-in-waiting DeLay's majority leader post, California Representative David Dreier didn't get the nod because the bible-beating conservatives didn't want a pole smoker in the chair.

There was no other possible reason to nix Dreier - he's the Right kind of guy:

* he has a solid 92% Christian Coalition voting record,
* he supported the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act
* he voted for the Marriage Protection Act (which would have stripped fed courts of jurisdiction over challenges to DOMA
* he was for a measure that banned gays from adopting in Washington, D.C...

Dreier's been outed already in the blogosphere, and the AP outed him in all but name in a story last week. John Byrne at Raw Story reveals that the media was thisclose to reporting on that little bit of business, but was gun shy about not having enough "confirmation" to run with it. The whiny Dreier naysayers whispered about him being "too moderate," but as you've read above, his record is nothing of the sort. Barney Frank quipped about that load of crap:
Responding to reports that Dreier was nixed because he was a moderate, openly gay congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) remarked, "Yes, in the sense that I marched in the moderate pride parade last summer and went to a moderate bar."

RAW STORY revealed that Dreier was gay and that he had lived with his male chief of staff, with whom he had traveled to dozens of countries at government expense. The story was later broadened by LA Weekly. Reports Dreier had lived with his male chief of staff were first floated by blogACTIVE.com.

...Frank said he had several conversations with mainstream reporters who declined to print his allegations.

"Many of the media who cover Congress say that the gay piece was a factor," he quipped. "I'm not saying that it was the reason, but I think that it was a factor. Stem cell research is not an issue for them. [Sen. Bill] Frist (R-TN) and [Sen.] Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would not be rejected as moderates." Frist and Hatch support stem cell research, a position not held by conservative Republicans.

Several Washington reporters, who would not go on record by name, confirmed Frank's account. Each said concern surrounding Dreier's sexuality was a major factor in the decision, but added that there was not enough information to write a story on the issue.

The issue at hand, Frank says, isn't whether Dreier is gay, but that a decision would be made based on perception of a congressman's sexuality.

"It's reflecting this review that gayness is so terrible that it's the unmentionable of unmentionables," Frank told RAW STORY. "I believe there are journalists who know this and won't say."


Come get your 'sex toy' aids at Target



Gee, I'm in that store all the time and I haven't seen a sex toy yet. Is the American Family Association surfing the aisles looking for these sorts of things?

I've notice the normal stuff that you'd find in any pharmacy - lube, condoms, etc. The condoms I have seen in Target are kind of amusing because these Trojans have packaging and marketing that targets women directly:



I can't believe that this is what the AFA is obsessing about. Target is apparently the hotbed of homo-sex and homosexual promotion. Oh, and the AmTaliban is still sore that Target is not allowing the Salvation Army to put their kettles out.
Target Corporation will continue to ban the Salvation Army from their 1,351 stores this Christmas season. The Army will not be allowed to place their red kettles in front of Target stores.

Despite increased need caused by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Target will continue their ban.

Many observers feel that the ban by Target is a result of pressure put on the company by homosexual groups. Homosexual activists have targeted the Salvation Army for years because of the Army’s refusal to recognize their lifestyle. Target is a supporter of various homosexual causes.

While Target contributes to homosexual groups, the company publicly states that they will not contribute to any religious groups. For Target, homosexual organizations are worthy of financial support, Christian and Jewish organizations are not.

Further showing their true colors, WTOP Radio Network in Washington, DC, reports that Target has begun stocking sex-toy-related products. "Formerly the domain of sex shops, such products have been brought out of the shadows by popular television shows like 'Sex and the City,'" WTOP reported.

Elexa by Trojan spokeswoman Cassandra Johnson says the products will be "discreetly packaged and sold in the feminine care aisle." Although not directly selling the "vibrator ring," Target is selling creams, gels, and stimulants associated with it. Click Here to see the product list website.
And bonus points for the AFA this week - it is also promoting a petition against an organization called Girls Inc. for promoting abortion and encouraging lesbianism.
Possibly some of you have daughters who play with the American Girl dolls or read their books. You may even be thinking about buying a doll or books for Christmas. Well, it turns out American Girl (owned by Mattel) is partnering with a group called Girls Inc. to sell a bracelet, the "I Can" band, which financially supports Girls Inc. Seventy cents of every purchase goes to Girls Inc. The band is sold on the American Girl webpage with a large ad and a link to the Girls Inc. webpage.


I guess the Girl's Inc. "I Can" band leads to dead fetuses and wanton dykery.

In addition, the webpage says American Girl is giving $50,000 to Girls, Inc.

The problem here is that Girls Inc. has on their webpage a statement saying they particularly support abortion and a girl's right to abort an unwanted baby. They were quite clear about their support for Roe, so there is no mistake or room for confusion on that count. Additionally, Girls Inc. supports contraceptives for girls.

They also support and offer resources encouraging lesbian and bi-sexual lifestyles, actually offering resources for girls. One of their publications states, "The emergence of a lesbian identity is an ongoing process, rather than an event."


The spoiled brat in the White House



Shakes Sis has a great post up that makes a convincing argument that what we are seeing in the Chimperor's behavior is that of a spoiled child, one that has no business running a company, let alone a nuclear power.
Mannion takes on Bush’s obvious behavior issues and suggests that our petulant president may have undiagnosed learning disabilities. One of his readers, Anne Laurie, suspects that ADD, along with alcoholism, runs in the Bush family. I certainly don’t intend to contradict any of the possibilities they have posited, although any analysis (amateur though it may be) of Bush’s childhood issues is surely incomplete without an acknowledgement of that which plagues many children, conceivably those from wealthy and/or powerful families more than most—being excessively, and damagingly, spoiled.

Spoiling a child in the extreme can, much like learning disabilities or chemical dependencies, have the effect of emotionally stunting the indulged child. Bush and his siblings may or may not have been spoiled with “things,” but clearly all of them were spoiled with reassurances about their future successes, spoiled with often undeserved opportunity, and, in W’s case, this immoderation clearly continued into his adulthood, as his mistakes (Air Force antics, DUI, etc.) were handled by others on his behalf, as much as they could be. Whether Bush suffers from depression, untreated learning disabilities, addiction, we can only speculate from the sidelines, but there is undeniable evidence that he has been irreparably spoiled.

...The young George Bush undoubtedly had an insular childhood, while his parents refused to sully their beautiful minds worrying about the troubles of others, and in his adulthood, he has recreated that insular world. The only construct he knows, and the only one in which he feels comfortable, is that in which he is the star—the good ol’ boy jokester, the fearless leader, the #1 muckity-muck whose wisdom cannot be questioned or denied.



In an article by Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch: High Plains Grifter, the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush, it's clear that this theory holds water.
[Justin] Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, zeroes in on the crucial first five years of W's existence, where three factors loom over all others: an early trauma, an absent father and an abusive mother. It is a recipe for the making of a dissociated megalomaniac. Add in a learning disability (dyslexia) and a brain bruised by booze and coke and you have a pretty vivid portrait of the Bush psyche.

With this stern upbringing, is it really surprising that Bush evidenced early signs of sadism? As a teenager he jammed firecrackers in the orifices of frogs and snickered as he blew them to bits. A few years later, as president of the DKE frathouse at Yale, Bush instituted a branding on the ass-crack as an initiation ritual. Young pledges were seared with a red-hot wire clothes hanger. One victim complained to the New Haven police, who raided the frathouse. The story was covered-up for several decades until it surfaced in Bush's first run for governor of Texas. He laughed at the allegations, writing the torture off as little more than "a cigarette burn." From Andover to Abu Ghraib.


The President Who Cried Wolf


The indictments in the Turd Blossom Plame Leak are coming. The president's approval ratings are in the toilet. More than half of America thinks Iraq is a mistake. Bush's base doesn't like his new Supreme Court nominee. Republican congressional leaders are being investigated. People are still talking about the whole Mike Brown / FEMA/ Katrina debacle.

Time for one of those orange terror alerts!

OK, so the recent terror alert citing specific, credible threats to New York's subway system at a specific date and time using specific methods turned out to be a specific hoax. And maybe it's unfair of me to jump Bush's case when it was Bloomberg and the locals calling for the heightened alert. But just where does New York City get its high-level classified international terrorism warnings from, anyway? They're not printing it in the Post, and I'm pretty sure Bloomberg doesn't have an enormous international al-Qaeda infiltrating spy ring.

This has all the earmarks of the White House ringing the terror bell again, but being smart enough to keep their fingerprints off of it.

Tonight on Countdown on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann will be examining the correlation between thirteen incidents of bad political news for the president and thirteen subsequent increases in the terror alert level (from yellow to orange to burnt sienna to raw umber to crimson to...) Now, of course, correlation does not prove causation, but it does lead one to wonder about a pattern.

But Russ, what do you expect them to do? If they don't raise the alert and an attack does happen, then you'll be screaming about them not warning the public. That's true. For safety's sake, I'd much rather overreact to a terrorist hoax than underreact to the real thing.

The problem lies in the lies. I've heard so many lies from the Bush maladministration that their credibility is shot. I have no margin to forgive overreaction now, no benefit of a doubt to give, no reason not to believe the terror alerts are anything but politically motivated. Former Homeland Insecurity Secretary Tom Ridge all but admitted as much.

There is no trust in the intelligence gathering capabilities of this maladministration. When there was a real terrorist threat, in August of 2001, when Harriet "Bush is the most brilliant man I know" Miers was handing Bush some intelligence entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the US", when agents were learning of young Muslim students learning to steer but not land jumbo jets, when Kindasleezzy Lies was saying no one could imagine flying planes into buildings, when we really could have used a terrorism "red alert", we heard nothing. The intelligence was right, but it was never used.

Then in the run up to the Iraq War, we heard about all sorts of intelligence. Saddam has WMDs. Saddam has ties to al Qaeda. Saddam sought significant quantities of uranium from Niger. All sorts of intelligence that was wrong, but was hyped to the extreme to get us into Iraq.

Then there's the intelligence used to plan and execute the Iraq War. We'll be greeted as liberators. It'll only take six months and cost few lives. The country can pay for its own reconstruction. Mission Accomplished. Once again, bad intelligence.

The maladministration says they've foiled 10 terrorist plots. Interesting how we're only hearing about them now, isn't it? We really haven't seen much proof of such a thing, but assuming it's true, then good for them... and us. Really, it's not like I sit here wishing for a terrorist attack to come true just to make Bush look bad (or, I suppose, look good by vindicating the rise of a terror alert level). What I wonder, though, is how those ten foiled plots had anything to do with raising the terror alert level from canary to pumpkin? If they can foil these plots without scaring the bejeebus out of us, what's the point in scaring the bejeebus out of us?

Another maddening thing is how these terror alerts rally the red state masses, but have very little practical effect on the red states themselves. New York City is overwhelmingly Democratic and they not only suffered the most from domestic terrorism, but they also get the brunt of all these alerts. Is anyone in Rexburg Idaho, Ames Iowa, or Pigs Knuckle Arkansas really worked up about terrorism? No. An orange terror alert does nothing to disrupt the everyday lives of your average red state Bush voter. But in the blue urban cityscape, from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego on the left coast to Boston, New York, Philly, and DC on the right coast, and every major city in between, Bush-hating commuters (and even many Bush-loving commuters) have to put up with increased stress, invasion of privacy, police intimidation, security checkpoints, long waits, frustrating commutes, and the worry that maybe, just maybe, BushCo got the intelligence right this time and we might really get blown up.


Gay-baiting coach needs to zip it

"I struggled with whether I should just walk away and try to forget what happened. I finally realized that I could never put this incident behind me as long as other students were being subjected to the same sort of humiliation and discrimination I experienced from Coach Portland."
-- Jennifer Harris, a former basketball player for Penn State, on Coach Rene Portland's abusive homo-bashing attitudes.
Penn State's basketball coach Rene Portland has a problem with lesbians. She doesn't want them playing on her team.

In fact, despite Penn State adding sexual orientation to the school’s non-discrimination policy in 1991, she told the media that she does not allow lesbians on her team. [I hate to tell Portland the obvious, but it's likely she's coached many a lesbian on the b-ball team in spite of whatever bullsh*t beliefs she has.]

Finally, a player is coming forward calling Portland on her bigoted ways. (365gay.com):
Jennifer Harris was a 6 foot guard from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Despite Harris’ outstanding performance as a player during her two-year career at Penn State from 2003 to 2005, Coach Portland repeatedly questioned Harris about her sexual orientation, repeatedly threatened to kick Harris off the team if she found out Harris was a lesbian, and eventually told other players not to associate with Harris because she believed that Harris was gay.


I guess Portland better be careful about hugging the lesbos -- it might be catching...

In 2005, Coach Portland abruptly told Harris to find somewhere else to play.

“My departure from Penn State was very painful,” said Harris. "...In the end, I knew I had to speak out. Coach Portland very nearly destroyed not only my athletic career, but also my dream of completing my education and becoming a doctor. I do not want to see a single other student damaged in this way.”

Harris transferred to James Madison University.

...Tuesday the National Center for Lesbian Rights sent a letter to Penn State University President Graham Spanier, demanding that action be taken against Portland.

Despite student protests and an alleged investigation into Portland’s anti-gay conduct, Penn State has refused to take any action against her.

...“Coach Portland’s anti-gay recruiting methods and infamous ‘no lesbians’ policy have continued for nearly three decades. Coach Portland’s behavior not only violates the school’s anti-discrimination policy, it is illegal," said NCLR Regional Counsel Karen Doering.


Caption these

Photo 1: Bush reading during the reopening of Delisle Elementary School in Pass Christian, Miss.


Blender Sean in Dallas sent in the one on the right.

Photo 2: Habitat for Humanity/Today Show photo op in Covington, Louisiana.



Los Angeles archdiocese admits it didn't shield kids from pedophile priests

"Based on the documents that we've seen, based on the investigations that we've conducted, based on the police reports that have been made public, this is a scant glimpse into the truth," he said. "They reveal decades of participation by the archdiocese in molesting children."
-- Raymond P. Boucher, lead attorney for the plaintiffs suing the archdiocese
At least eight predator priests serving in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were allowed access to childen even after complaints of abuse were raised. That number is twice what the church has admitted to, and now documents from church files prove the failure (and ineptitude) of the archdiocese to deal with the problem, given the gravity of this immoral, criminal activity. (LATimes):
The documents, which became public Tuesday, indicate that numerous children might have avoided harm if church leaders in the 1960s, '70s and '80s had reacted more vigorously to warnings about abusive priests. Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese, said the documents would be posted at midnight Tuesday on the archdiocese website, http://www.la-archdiocese.org .

The documents offer the most unfiltered look yet at the way the archdiocese responded to child-molestation allegations involving its priests over the last half-century.

In one of the newly revealed cases, a parishioner in 1980 passed a rumor to archdiocese officials that a young boy was spending every weekend at Father Richard Henry's home. In the decade that followed, the church received additional reports about Henry, including two in 1988, one from a nun at Our Lady of the Rosary in Paramount who said that the priest was partial to boys, and the other from a layperson who said he "grabs little boys and hugs them."

Despite the reports, Henry was allowed to remain in his parish while undergoing therapy. Church leaders say they did not know that he continued to sexually abuse young boys. He wasn't removed from ministry until the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation in 1991 that ended with Henry pleading no contest to four counts of lewd conduct with a child. Henry went to prison in 1993 and served three years, according to court documents. He was removed from the priesthood in 2003.
What can you say behind this diseased, sickness? Take a look at the spin offered by the church's attorney. It makes your blood boil.
J. Michael Hennigan, the church's lead attorney in more than 560 sexual-abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese, said the newly released documents show that "since the middle 1980s, there was never a time when a priest was transferred without counseling after a credible complaint." The documents "show men of good will and intelligence struggling" with how to handle sexual abuse, he said.

...Seven accused priests remain in active ministry today, according to the archdiocese, with at least one abuse allegation against each of them. Church officials said accusations against the seven have not been substantiated. In all, at least 245 clergy members from the L.A. Archdiocese have been accused of molestation, according to the documents. Church officials had previously put the figure at 219.

...Last year, the Diocese of Orange settled 90 cases for $100 million. Parties to the current suits have estimated that suits against the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which involve alleged abuse by more than 200 priests, could cost $1 billion
Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


Moving the 'homosexual agenda' forward

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We are hard at work these days putting our plan of homosexual domination into motion, right? I cannot seem to go a day without coming across unhinged, bible-beating, closet-case individuals that are spewing stupidity in the name of god, country and procreation.

House Blender Joel dropped me a line with a few ideas and said I could share it with you all -- since you're a deep pool of talent, helping to fight AmTalibannery each and every day. He's a man with a plan. Mwahahahahahahaha...
Dear Pam,

I’ve hit upon a plan to mimic the street outreach folks, the God Squad evangelicals such as Denny Green of Life and Liberty Ministries. [see the post "Convincing Reasons Homosexuals are Hellbound."]

I’m in the midst of developing some literature to convert innocent (yet woefully lost!) heterosexuals to our way of life. We absolutely need more homosexuals, and I see direct, man-to-man (or woman-to-woman, of course) sidewalk proselytizing as the best means to accomplish this lofty goal.

The country hears it with great regularity from the pulpit: “those homos are out there recruiting!”. Well, I have taken it to heart and feel we need to make their fantasy into a reality.

With this literature (currently consisting of two-color one-fold leaflets: black and pink), I aim to reach their seething, confused sexuality and change it. Additional funds, if available, will allow even more eye (and sexuality) catching promotional pieces. I envision a rainbow of colors, with purple hues predominately featured in each piece.

Tentatively titled “Hey, Hey, Take the Gay Way”, I will endeavor to enlist an army of fellow homos to reach unsuspecting (and again, woefully lost) citizenry from Utah to Alabama. How can we leave these poor, wandering heteros to continue in their lives of bad clothing and hideous coifs and not feel a calling to make them whole - and presentable?

While in its infancy, I have a strong belief that a cadre of impeccably dressed boyz and flannel wearing womyn can propel this to a final goal of widespread and welcomed gayness. The US of A will be the go-to nation as a shining example of Architectural Digest homes and cutting edge mullet cuts (for the ladies, natch).

I welcome all interested parties in this program. Perhaps local troops can organize under a set of bylaws modeled on that fine and welcoming institution known as the Boy Scouts of America.

In Deep and Constant Homosexuality,
Joel

(any comic book aficionados out there, please step to the front and consider lending your talents to creating a superhero type duo...... a Batman and Robin-esque team of do-gooders who do makeovers for our converts)


A girl (or boy) friend that's easy to please

Some stories are so bizarre that when you read them it's almost like an out-of-body experience. It was kind of like that when I was surfing along and found the web site that inspired the post " Harry Potter, faggotry and the comic book salvation."

This Salon story (hat tip to Amanda at Pandagon and Shakes Sis), is either going to a) cause that out-of-body experience of disbelief; b) make your skin crawl, c) have you rolling on the floor laughing, or d) sad at the sorry state of affairs in human relations.

Or maybe you'll just think this is another kink. I tend to think that spending $7000 for a life-size, "life-like" doll to serve as your companion and sexual recepticle is just way beyond my bizarro meter level (or maybe I'm just cheap). And I thought the idea of Furry sex was over the top.
Davecat keeps a picture of his girlfriend in his wallet. She's pretty, with long black hair, an alluring mole under her left eye, and glossy red lipstick. Her sheer tank top shows off her full breasts and the hoop through her left nipple.


Davecat and his doll, Sidore, do everything together, including playing video games. (Photo by Elena Dorfman)

Ask Davecat about Sidore -- pronounced She-doh-ray -- and he'll tell you she's everything that turns him on: beautiful, loyal, a great listener. Si-chan, as he affectionately calls her, is half British, half Japanese, which is nice because he's always had a thing for both British and Japanese culture. Even their clothing style and taste in music is simpatico -- they're both Goths.

Like many born in the sun sign Cancer, Sidore is a homebody, but then, she couldn't leave the comfort of the bed she shares with Davecat even if she wanted to because Sidore is a 100-pound solid silicone Real Doll.

From the actual FAQ page of the RealDoll site:
Question: How flexible is the REALDOLL?
REALDOLL's silicone skin is extremely flexible and will sustain almost any reasonable position. There are some positions which are more stressful on both the silicone flesh and the internal joints. REALDOLL cannot be "twisted into a pretzel," compressed into a tight fetal position, or squeezed into a small storage area, and expected not to break or tear.

Question: What happens when "the honeymoon is over" and I feel that the doll is not for me and wish to return it?
Although we'd like to fully satisfy all our customers, our firm policy is: ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

Question: Does she come with a warranty? What happens if she breaks?
REALDOLL is very sturdy, but not meant to sustain extremely violent abuse. Due to the nature of the product, we cannot accept returns. However, we stand behind our product and do whatever we can to satisfy our customers. In the unlikely event of a tear in the silicone flesh, you can easily repair the damage yourself with commercial grade silicone caulking, found at your local hardware store. Step by step instructions for such repair are included with your doll. We also offer full technical support on any repair you may have to perform.

Question: Do you have any rejects or used models I can buy for cheap?
No.
Oh, and there has been a big demand for a male RealDoll and the company has made good on its promise...



Maybe some of our AmTaliban friends would like to have him under their Christmas trees.



50% of Americans favor Bush's impeachment if he lied about Iraq

Maybe the pathologically lying Chimp Administration has finally jumped the shark...
By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 6-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."
And if you think, "Hmmm, 50% isn't a large enough margin," consider the President's margin of victory and his "mandate." Or maybe this:
In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton (http://democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls). Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.



Bloggrrrl writing on Miami's nightlife for the ladies...



Ms. Julien of Julien's List has a cover story in Girlfriends magazine on the lesbian nightlife of Miami. Go girl! :)


Surprise...NYC subway threat is a hoax



The Brad Blog has links to video and articles on this development. MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann plans to look into what we all know -- these terror alerts are used as political tools by this Administration.
OLBERMANN: And then there is the intersection, or at least the juxtaposition, between politics and terror. We noted it here last week when, after a speech by the president about the war on terror and after the word that the special prosecutor would not guarantee to Karl Rove that he would not indict him, New York City suddenly announced there was credible, specific intelligence about a terror threat to its subway system.

...OLBERMANN: Last Thursday, we spoke of at least 13 coincidences of timing between bad political news for the government and a terror or terror-related event. We will be presenting a special report detailing those and other coincidences on Wednesday night's edition of this news hour, "The Nexus of Politics and Terror" on COUNTDOWN this Wednesday at 8:00 and midnight Eastern here on MSNBC.


Setting a really low bar for the Iraq referendum


There's nothing like a photo op with a a little brown child, right Chimpy? Doesn't Laura look thrilled? This was taking at a visit to a kindergarten class during the reopening of Delisle Elementary School in Pass Christian, Mississippi today. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Bush expects violence in Iraq. He can't sugar-coat it this time around. Everyone knows that the situation there is out of control, so he doesn't even bother trying anymore -- but he's still delusional.
President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he expected violence in Iraq before the country' constitutional balloting this weekend but also expects Iraqis to turn out to vote.

..."I expect violence because there's a group of terrorists and killers who want to try to stop the advance of democracy in Iraq," he said. "I also expect people to vote, which is a remarkable achievement," he added. "We had a remarkable achievement last January when millions of people voted and now have a chance to vote on a constitution that will help unify the country."



In Iraq on Tuesday, two bomb attacks killed nearly 30 Iraqis in the northern town of Tal Afar and in Baghdad, four days before a referendum on a draft constitution that has divided Iraq's main communities.

...He said the people of Iraq are paying "a heavy price for democracy."


Homo-bigot church protesting Coming Out Day at UNC


Patrick Wooden. Holy bigot.

I received an email from Blender Heather at UNC who received word from the school's LGBT listserv that a homophobic ministry plans to hold an anti-gay protest over National Coming Out week on the campus today. I was not surprised to hear that it is the Upper Room Church behind this nonsense.
Friends -

I am writing to you about an action planned for tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11 in response to an anti-LGBTQ demonstration that is being staged in the Pit at 7pm. The Upper Room Ministry is planning a "Christian Coming Out Day" in protest of the GLBT-SA's Coming Out Week.

The event flyer they were handing out today in the Pit reads as follows -

***

"Calling all Christians - Christian Coming Out Day This is a call for ALL CHRISTIANS on this campus to take a stand against the HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA at UNC. The WORD OF GOD, unmistakably declares that HOMOSEXUALITY is an ABOMINATION in the sight of God. We, the Upper Room Campus Ministry, in order to combat "Coming out Week" have declared TUESDAY 10/11/2005 "CHRISTIAN COMING OUT DAY." [Isn't that every day?] At 7PM we will be RALLYING in the PIT for PRAYER and a preached WORD. Please wear BLUE JEANS and a WHITE SHIRT. Join us as we take a STAND for CHRIST on this campus. "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination..." -Leviticus 20:13 NKJV"

***

We are currently mobilizing communities of faith as well as other groups and individuals who share alternative visions of justice and love to respond to this event. Our plan is to gather in front of Wilson Library in Polk Place at 6:45pm, and have a quick group discussion to make sure we are all on the same page and that we have a shared vision of what our presence should convey. At 7:10 we will walk over as a group to the Pit and stand there alongside Upper Ministry members. Some people may choose to bring signs with LGBTQ-affirming or other relevant messages. People may wish to hold hands to show solidarity as a group - LGBTQ and allied folks alike. We will stand in silence for twenty minutes. The goal is to keep the messages we deliver and our presence overall as positive as possible. We are NOT aiming to silence or disrupt their event but to offer an alternative vision to them and to the campus community of what God's love, or a positive justice-oriented worldview in general, can and should like.
The pastor of the Upper Room Church of God In Christ, based in Raleigh, is Patrick L. Wooden, well-known here on the Blend for his over-the-top rhetoric.

He has been a hostile local force against gay people in the Triangle and has no problem railing on about gays in print:


"I cannot stand by and say nothing while this wicked phenomenon takes place."

"We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals," he said. "They are not gay. We've got to use terms like 'deviant' and 'abomination.' "

"If we're labeled as being fanatical Christians, we embrace it."

"[Homosexuality is] 'one of the greatest enemies of Christianity.'"


* Wooden proudly bought a full-page newspaper ad urging 'all Christians to spend their hard-earned dollars with merchants who include the greeting 'Merry Christmas' in their holiday advertising promotions this Christmas'. The church spent $7,600. How many homeless could that have fed?

* Wooden said the NC needs another added level of protection that only a constitutional amendment can bring. "Let's just put another lock on the door, just in case, just for safekeeping."

* Wooden sent about 100 members of his flock from Raleigh in a chartered bus to chastise the supporters of a non-binding motion by the Chapel Hill Council against the state's marriage amendment, as well as the current Defense of Marriage Act push back in March. [They were handily outnumbered.]


A new take on Time's gay teens issue


Mike - "America’s leading highly-paid homophobes : Left to right, Cult of the Family Headmistress, Robert H Knight; Dr James, the SpongeBob Slayer, Dobson of Focus on the Homos; and Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Homophobic Values Coalition."

Mike Tidmus tosses in his contribution to address the wingnuttery in my earlier post, "Bob Knight wigs out over Time piece on gay teens."


National Coming Out Day



October 11 is National Coming Out Day. The theme this year is "Talk About It."
A poll of GLBT Americans last year showed that startling amounts of people not only conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity from people in their lives, but many people who consider themselves to be "out" also refrain from speaking to others about GLBT issues. Among the findings of the poll: only 3 percent of members of the GLBT community are out to their doctors, and less than half are out to their bosses at work.

"Obviously, coming out for the first time is important for leading a whole and complete life, but we also want to help encourage and empower people to talk openly about their lives each and every day," said Mark Shields, director of the Coming Out Project.

The Coming Out Project is particularly focusing on supportive straight people and working to give them resources and opportunities to voice their support for equality.

"We will only achieve equality by growing the number of people who stand with us," said Shields. "Every time a straight person speaks out against an anti-gay joke, or joins a gay-straight alliance, they are having a coming out experience. We want to honor that, and make sure it happens more often."
Companies are realizing that the value of a diverse workforce, and this year, 92% of Fortune 500 companies protect their gay and lesbian employees. In the 2005 HRC Equality Index:

* 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.

Despite all that good news, not everyone has the option of coming out --
* gays can still legally be fired from a job
* gay folks can most certainly get the crap beaten out of them or worse in many parts of the country
* and it goes without saying if you have anti-gay parents and you're not yet 18 (or are dependent on them for support), coming out is probably a really bad idea unless you are prepared for the consequences of them taking the news badly.

That said, coming out is the most powerful thing one and can do, but it cannot be done in isolation; straight allies have to be willing to publicly defend their gay friends and acquaintances. The fear is that people are coming out in such numbers that are scaring the bigots we read about every day. When the homo-haters' discomfort has reached a level that causes them to lash out -- like burning a Florida gay couple out of their home, the clear message is to recloset or get out.

The homophobes would love nothing more than to reclaim "God's country", and shuttle gays, brown people of any sort, and probably anyone of a religion other than fundamentalist Christianity off to distant areas of Blue. At this point in gay rights history, the bigots are now content to cede the deep Blue enclaves to ethnic, religious and gay populations as "lost causes." The real battlegrounds are the suburbs, rural areas and states that have not had to deal with large populations of diversity. I guess the small victory is that they don't want the Blue back; the battle is over the Purple areas from tilting more Blue, and to stop any attempts to "corrupt" the deeply Red areas in any way.

The more of us that come out, the fewer places the bigots have to run off to. Let them find a state to take over and secede to create their Jesusland.

In the meantime...

* I think about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) County board voting to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy, despite a vile campaign by the sick elected nutcases to stir fear and misunderstanding. This county, and cities and towns across the country, are quietly acknowledging that we deserve respect -- and equality.

* I remember the eloquent words of a straight ally in the Texas House of Representatives, Senfronia Thompson, and the bravery she showed in a speech that brought tears to the eyes of so many readers back in May.

* I admire The Montgomery [AL] Gay and Lesbian Association for holding the city's first gay pride festival in seven years, facing bigotry and disdain from the likes of the Christian Coalition (which didn't have the balls to show up). Red State Pride!

* I thank the gay organizations and progressive forces in my state of NC. The Tar Heel State, for the second year in a row, was the only state in the Southeast that faced an anti-gay amendment and stopped it in the legislature.

I'm sure you can think of many positive examples you've read about from all over that tell you, in spite of the intolerant bible-beating, we are still making progress. You know a corner has been turned when even Jerry Falwell thinks gays and lesbians are entitled to basic civil rights.

It's time to come out.

As I said back in February...

* Support Equality organizations in your state, if it is at risk for an amendment challenge. Give your time and money, if you can spare. In North Carolina, the organization at the grassroots level is Equality NC.

* If you are gay and if it is at all possible for you to safely come out, DO IT. No one ever regrets throwing open that closet door, even if the path is difficult for a while. The more that people realize we are your neighbors, co-workers, teachers, police officers and leaders in the community, the less effective the "fear and loathing" demonization campaign by the Right is. We're usually living average, boringly normal workaday lives like the average American and no threat to life as we know it.

* If you are straight and an ally, COME OUT. Support your gay friends and loved ones when you hear intolerant conversation, politely engage ignorance with information.

* Make the Democratic establishment get off of their asses on this issue. Too many are DINOs, ready to sacrifice all principles for a vote as a career politician. Courage is in short supply, apparently, so these losers need to be threatened with the electoral boot. Party hacks need to be held accountable. Write them and call them out in emails and in the blogosphere. So far, I've only heard Mel Watt (D-NC) make a persuasive case on how to approach gay civil rights in the public sphere. Where are all the other Dems? Let them have it. Don't give a dime unless they are willing to take a real position, not the punt of "marriage is between a man and a woman" so there's no need for a constitutional amendment, "unless the courts see otherwise."

***

Whew, that was a long post. Questions for the gay folks out there:

Are you out to...
-- your friends?
-- your immediate family?
-- your extended family?
-- any/some/most of your colleagues at work?
-- your boss?
-- your doctors?
-- your neighbors?

I'm happy to say that I can check off all of those today, but it took years of constantly coming out, choosing when "the right time" would be to come out to any of the above groups. It's a seemingly endless process, never easy, almost always awkward (since I'm an introvert to begin with). It's not like something that comes up in casual conversation, nor do you really want it to. But eventually kicking the door open beats life in the closet.

For my straight readers:
-- are you "out" as an ally?
-- are you able to talk about gay friends or relatives with others?
-- are you comfortable shooting down homophobes when they spout off during a conversation?





Enough said.

Hop over to Perrspectives for the "cavalcade of Republican corruption," and this:



More "love the sinner, hate the sin" bullsh*t in TX

Monday, October 10, 2005

That's what Blender Sean in Dallas wrote me a bit ago. He was passing ona link to some letters to the editor in The Dallas Morning News in response to a column by Jacquielynn Floyd, "Proposition 2: Bigotry wrapped up in cruelty." Prop 2 is the anti-gay marriage amendment (that Governor Rick (Metrosexual?) Perry enthusiastically endorsed, which will be on the November ballot. From Floyd's column:


If you're opposed to gay marriage, you can take a stand: Don't go to any gay weddings. If you really want to signal your disapproval, don't send a present.

But don't vote for the mean and meddlesome proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot that would amend the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Proposition 2 is a cruel piece of ideological bigotry that attempts to create and solve a problem that doesn't exist.

It's hard to understand why so many otherwise sensible people have seized on gay marriage as the most menacing potential threat that American society faces. And it's hard to understand why otherwise decent people see a need to purposely discriminate against couples who want the same workaday legal safeguards as everybody else.

... A lot of people seem to view the "threat" of gay marriage as emblematic of everything that seems to be deteriorating in our selfish, vulgar, navel-baring popular culture. Marriage sometimes looks less like a sound foundation to our societal structure than it does a tabloid soap opera.

They see marriage cheapened by partner-swapping celebrity dimwits, by selfish jerks who don't stick around long enough to watch the kids grow up, by the cartoonish Anna Nicole Smith and her late husband, J. Howard Marshall II, who was 90 when he died.

Or they believe the hysterical predictions that gay marriage is the first step in a long decline toward institutionalized polygamy, or weddings uniting people and donkeys. [Hey Daddy Donkey Dobson!]

...Proposition 2 will not stop people from being gay. It won't stop them from moving in together or throwing housewarming parties or joining the PTA. All it will do is make life a little harder for them, and why do you want to do that to people you don't even know?
What a nice piece. But in the Lone Star State, Sean notes, the following letters are more reflective of the current popular sentiment.
I'm sad to say, these opinions are typical of the mindset here. Little is said in public about gayness, and in Dallas there's a thriving, large gay population...but the majority of voters here are moderate Baptists who fully subscribe to that old horror, "love the sinner, hate the sin."
And so I surfed over to the Dallas News to take a peek at the response to the column. Sean's right; most people just don't get it -- or really just don't want to confront reality, even if they know gay people. How cruel is that?
Love doesn't have to mean lifestyle approval

I am no bigot, although I may at times be mean, meddlesome and cruel; ask my 7-year-old son. Being a musician, I have many gay friends whom I love and respect, and I still support Proposition 2.

Name-calling, stereotyping and exaggeration are vices used by both sides of any issue. Unfortunately, it masks the real issues and sends the offensive message that to be on the other side of an issue, you must be backward, fearful, prejudiced, an idiot or all of the above.

To love someone, you don't have to approve of his or her lifestyle. I don't believe our society should be forced to redefine marriage. Please don't presume that to be a friend to gays you have to vote against Proposition 2.

Gay marriage won't destroy civilization

It's nice to hear a voice of reason. With so many other things to worry about, why are we, along with our political representatives, still wasting time on the gay marriage issue?

Gay marriage is not going to destroy civilization as we know it. As Jacquielynn Floyd writes, it won't affect you unless you are invited to the wedding.

Marriage is for stable families, reproduction

I wondered when Jacquielynn Floyd would start talking about me. I consider myself neither a bigot nor an ideologue nor driven by hysteria or prudish sensitivity. It appears that Ms. Floyd is talking to a caricature of who she feels I am.

Marriage serves a societal function, encouraging individuals to form stable family units and reproduce. Gay marriage is not a benefit to the institution or to society.

I am a Christian who accepts gay couples as genuinely good people, but I see gay marriage as a meaningless discarding of a purposeful, longstanding institution in our common society.

Same-sex unions don't move us forward

We are on this planet to forward the progress of mankind. Promoting same-sex unions is a move in the opposite direction.

Gays and lesbians have proven themselves as loving, dedicated and talented, and America needs their children. What if Albert Einstein's mother decided to be gay and had no children?

My brother was gay. He was the light of my life, until AIDS killed him. I wish I could tell the son or daughter he never had how great he was.

Apply her logic to prostitution, bigamy, pot

To illustrate the absurdity of Jacquielynn Floyd's reasoning, I make the following (sarcastic) suggestion:

Those opposed to prostitution, bigamy or marijuana should take a stand by not associating with prostitutes, bigamists or marijuana smokers, but they shouldn't support the mean and meddlesome laws that prohibit prostitution, bigamy or marijuana possession. Would Ms. Floyd agree with that?

She also states that it's hard to understand why so many otherwise sensible and decent people oppose gay marriage. I can't understand why an otherwise sensible and decent columnist seems obsessed with promoting the cause of people who clamor for "rights" on the basis of their perverted sexual orientation.

Bill Morgan, Dallas


First magazine for gay Arabs debuts

"Homosexuality is seen as being exported to the region by a country whose armies and fleets have attacked Arabs: the United States, so homosexuality is widely seen as a disease spread by the United States and Israel to corrupt Arabs and undermine their religious faith."
-- Dalal al-Bizri, a Cairo-based Lebanese sociologist, noting that gays are more reviled than drug addicts in the region.
In spite of that sentiment, gay Arabs can now read BARRA, a new quarterly that provides a free forum "for gays and lesbians in the region to express their feelings of social oppression and stigma."

What a welcome publication this must be in one of the most hostile regions in the world for queer folks. Helem, the first Arab non-governmental organization that fights for the rights of gays and lesbians, is behind the publication. (Lebanon Daily Star):
Currently releasing its second issue, Barra incorporates several features and news articles written by Helem activists or independent homosexual writers from all over the region.

Helem's coordinator Georges Azzi said his group tries to raise awareness by speaking at colleges. "There are increasingly more gay-friendly bars, also, for instance the International Day Against Homophobia (last May) was observed for the first time in Lebanon," Azzi said, "with Helem marking the occasion with a gathering of about 200 people, straight and gay, at a seaside hotel in Beirut.

"It also organized a screening of 'I exist,' a documentary on homosexuals of Middle Eastern decent living in the United States, and distributed buttons and pamphlets with the slogan, 'You drink coffee, I prefer tea. Does that mean one of us is abnormal?'"
Looking at the Queer Lebanon site at Helem, it's kind of sad -- the ability to be out is so restricted that the resources and places to meet people are very limited, with no completely safe space yet. One lonely cafe entry notes a Dunkin Donuts as a pick-up arena.
[Dalal al-Bizri] said that more Arabs were coming out as gays, or "at least coming to terms with their sexuality, even though in some countries they face laws that can land them in jail, and extremists who beat them up because of Islam's condemnation of homosexuality."

According to Azzi, Lebanon is the only Arab country where gays can find refuge and Helem is the "first Arab non-governmental organization openly fighting for their rights." Helem was set up last year despite a vaguely worded law punishing "unnatural sexual intercourse" with up to one year in jail.

"Lebanon, with its mixed population of Muslims and Christians, has a history of religious pluralism and exposure to the West. But elsewhere, homosexuals are on their own," Azzi said.


A little more on the wonderful documentary film mentioned above, I Exist: Voices from the Lesbian & Gay Middle Eastern Community (2002). The "traditional values" of Middle Eastern culture, as you might imagine are completely and dangerously intolerant of homosexuality. The gays and lesbians interviewed in this film face rejection, violence and even death for coming out.

The interesting aspect of the film is that there are profiles of native-born Middle Easterners as well as Arab-Americans. The bigotry and rejection occurs within their families because of the strong cultural ties.

This film was extremely moving and disturbing for Kate, who is of Lebanese descent. Her father's family (even though they are at third-gen American) mirrors some of those prejudices. It doesn't help that her family settled in that hotbed of progressive thinking known as Alabama, either. But I can also say that, on a personal level, there has been much progress in understanding over time, given the various cultural issues at play.


Direct line to God's press secretary

Paul is rocking a hilarious rant over at his pad. A snippet of the post, "God: New Tactic; Preemptive Strikes. Thousands of Fag Enablers Now Dead."
Heaven, October 10, 2005 - In a press conference held Monday morning outside of The Pearly Gates, God's press secretary, Michael (The Archangel) Smith, told reporters that God had opened a new offensive in the war against the sodomites with two preemptive strikes, one in Central America and a second in Pakistan.

Smith said that a stealth earthquake was launched against Pakistan after Heaven's intelligence agencies confirmed reports that two fourteen year old boys in that country had been having sex with each other for the past two weeks.

Smith said that the two teenagers had been killed along with some 20,000 others whom he characterized as collateral damage. "People have to know," Smith said, "That if they harbor sodomites in their midst, they will suffer the same fate as the sinners."
Go read the rest. I'm still laughing...


Establishment Dems trying to screw Paul Hackett over



I'm sorry, but this is the dumbest news I've heard in a looong time. Talk about Dems shooting themselves in the foot. Hackett has the cojones that these brain-dead Party apes have been missing for ages. (WVXU):
An advisor to Democratic candidate Paul Hackett says the Iraq war veteran is being pressured to drop out of Ohio’s US Senate Race. Mike Brautigam says after Congressman Sherrod Brown announced last week he would run for Mike Dewine’s seat, Hackett started getting phone calls pressuring him to get out. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Charles Schumer of New York to drop out of the race. Brautigam says Brown had told Hackett earlier he would not be a candidate and Hackett now feels betrayed by the Democratic party.


Sherrod

Brautigam says the Democratic leaders say it’s Brown’s turn to run. [What kind of top-down sh*t is this? ] He says Hackett is still making up his mind about what to do and expects to make a decision by October 24th, the day he had planned to officially enter the race. Hackett narrowly lost to Jean Schmidt in a special election to fill the seat left vacant when Rob Portman took a position in the Bush Administration.
Is it going to take a grassroots revolution for the Democratic Party to understand that upstart Paul Hackett skyrocketed from zero recognition to a near-victory with the support he received from the people (not the party) and the word of mouth in the blogosphere?

UPDATE from the blog Basie, Jonathan Singer reports: DSCC Denies Asking Hackett to Drop Out
Moments after noting that we had yet to receive comment on the late breaking story that DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer was trying to push Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race, we received a call from DSCC Communications Director Phil Singer (no relation). Simply put, he said the previous report that Schumer had called Hackett to ask him to bow out "false" and "not true."

We've now put in a call to the Hackett campaign for comment and will let you know when we hear a reply...


Harry Potter, faggotry and the comic book salvation


Cleanse your mind of sorcery with Hairy Polarity; it's the creative work of evangelist Tim Todd (seen here with his family). No Photoshop was involved.

The Religious Reich creates its own bastardized version of Harry Potter, just in time for Halloween. Praise Jeebus!
A green-haired demon holds his foot on Minnie's neck and warns her friend Ari, "Put down your magic wand, Ari Potiphar -- or I'll deep-fat fry Minnie and the others!"

Minnie urges Ari to use his magic to free her, and Ari wonders, "How did it ever come to this: how did I end up here in this wack world of wizards? I never imagined such a thing could be for real...."


The scene is the teaser for Hairy Polarity and the Sinister Sorcery Satire, a 32-page, full-color comic book that takes its characters on a dangerous adventure through the world of the occult. The story incorporates a number of themes that will resonate with youth -- peer pressure, rebellion against parental authority and witchcraft.

It is an original creation from Truth for Youth. Evangelist Tim Todd, founder of Truth for Youth, believes the state-of-the-art comic story can be a powerful evangelistic tool during the Halloween season.



Other Christian leaders have cited that potential as well. For example, Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, said, "The unique format of Hairy Polarity and the Sinister Sorcery Satire grabs young people's attention with the biblical truths that will transform their lives."


Tim also transforms young lives by having his "little friend" deliver messages from The Good Book.

The ministry inserts attractive full-color comics in the front section of the Bibles. Each comic story addresses a specific moral issue -- abortion, peer pressure, drug abuse, homosexuality -- and examines how the Bible deals with the subject. Hairy Polarity is the latest addition to the comics, and Truth for Youth makes it available in single-comic format. In fact, for Halloween, it can be purchased below cost through the Truth for Youth website.
But wait! You can learn the Truth About Homosexuality on Tim's youth site, with the stark, direct (and well-informed) message about faggotry in his comic book, "Father Figure."





And you thought the AmTaliban wasn't down with new, hip ways to work that Bible.

UPDATE: Shakes Sis is sharing images from a Satan-thumping comic her nephew got in his Trick or Treat bag last Halloween.



Take a look at the rest.


Batsh*t crazy Pat: disasters point to second coming

"It's possible. I don't have any special revelation to say it is but the Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time. And could this be it? It might be."
-- Robertson, thinking aloud on live TV with Wolf Blitzer
He's at it again, spouting hysterical end-times nonsense, comparing recent natural disasters to labor pains indicating the Rapture is upon us.
This weekend's catastrophic earthquake in South Asia in the wake of recent U.S. hurricanes and December's tsunami is catching the eye of televangelist Pat Robertson, who says we "might be" in the End Times described in the Bible.

"These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity," Robertson said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Robertson, a former GOP presidential candidate and host of the "700 Club" daily Christian TV show, noted, "If you read back in the Bible, the letter of the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonia, he said that in the latter days before the end of the age that the Earth would be caught up in what he called the birth pangs of a new order. And for anybody who knows what it's like to have a wife going into labor, you know how these labor pains begin to hit. I don't have any special word that says this is that, but it could be suspiciously like that."
Pat also took this live news opportunity to lash out again at Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias, accusing him of negotiating with Iran for nuclear material and sending $1.2 million to terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"One day we're going to be staring at nuclear weapons and it won't be Katrina facing New Orleans, it's going to be a Venezuelan nuke," Robertson said in an interview.

On Aug. 22, Robertson told viewers of "The 700 Club" program that the United States should kill Chavez to prevent the Latin American country from becoming a "launching pad" for extremism. The next day, the television evangelist said his comments were misinterpreted.

Robertson also said yesterday that "sources that came to me" [Are these actually voices speaking to him at this point?] told him that Venezuela sent money to bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also said Chavez befriended Moammar Gaddafi of Libya and "these people who are considered terrorists."
Venezuela Electronic News commented on Pat's utterances, referring to him as a "millionaire Bible-basher" with this:
Robertson's increased senility apparent in CNN Late Edition Chavez nuke spook!.

US televangelist Pat Robertson is showing distinct signs of advanced senility in his latest rabble-rousing on Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias. Ranting again on CNN's Late Edition program, Robertson now says that "this man (Chavez) is setting up a Marxist-type dictatorship in Venezuela."

Letting off more steam, the claims that "he (Chavez) is trying to spread Marxism throughout South America ... he is negotiating with the Iranians to get nuclear material...Big deal! The only operative nuclear reactor in Venezuela is factually a mini-moke located at the Venezuelan Science & Technology Institute (IVIC) near Caracas ... for 'peaceful' research into medical dangers inherent in dental X-rays...

...The Bush administration will now have to again deny any connection between the Bush family's favorite propagandist and already-developed CIA contingency plans to remove President Chavez from power by fair means or foul ... undoubtedly a White House spokesman will again trot out meaningless platitudes that Robertson's latest tirade "in no way reflects United States policy..."


No shirt, no shoes, no pants, no service

This Utah man landed in the clink for drive-thru nudity, with a cherry on top of witness tampering. At least he called the store in advance to announce he was stripping and dropping by. (Utah Standard-Examiner):
Last month the 51-year-old Sunset man allegedly entered a local convenience store in the buff on multiple occasions. Clearfield Police say in August he also made a trip through a restaurant drive-thru, au naturel.

City prosecutors have charged the man in justice court with misdemeanor lewdness. But now the Davis County District Attorney's office is investigating allegations of witness tampering, which could result in third-degree felony charges.

Police say that over the past week, the man has telephoned the same convenience store, asking for permission to enter the business naked. He was attempting to talk clerks out of testifying against him, said Greg Krusi, assistant police chief for Clearfield.


Christian Coalition teeters on insolvency

Another article on Crazy Pat's baby dying a slow death. It's $200K in the hole and counting. Sweet justice. Now if only Focus on the Family would go under.


Empty Wig Dole being slammed for lackluster GOP Senate candidates


The Joker, er, Liddy Dole (NC), is taking heat for the lack of worthwhile GOP candidates to field.

As I've said many times before, is there are more empty, meaningless, ineffective vessel than Elizabeth "Empty Wig" Dole? It looks like the Repugs are saying the same thing, although they need to look at the vapid figure sitting in the White House as well if they are assigning the blame for the malaise in the party. (WaPo):
Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects.

Prominent Republicans have passed up races in North Dakota and West Virginia, both GOP-leaning states with potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Earlier, Republican recruiters on Capitol Hill and at the White House failed to lure their first choices to run in Florida, Michigan and Vermont.

...These setbacks have prompted grumbling. Some Republican operatives, including some who work closely with the White House, privately point to what they regard as a lackluster performance by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that heads fundraising and candidate recruitment for GOP senators.

But some strategists more sympathetic to Dole point the finger right back. With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President Bush suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid. Additionally, some Capitol Hill operatives complain that preoccupied senior White House officials have been less engaged in candidate recruitment than they were for the 2002 and 2004 elections.
I love how Katherine Harris is getting dumped on by her own party, given all she's done for the Chimperor. It's lovely watching them all squirm over her electability.


Perhaps no state has frustrated the GOP elite more than Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is trying for a second term after winning his first with 51 percent of the vote. After failing to persuade Rep. Katherine Harris to stay out of the race, GOP leaders began a public search for an alternative candidate. State House Speaker Allan Bense was courted by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) before bowing out. Dole took a private plane to New York in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade conservative commentator and former Florida representative Joe Scarborough to make the race.

[More on the Scarborough fallout here and here.]

Many Democrats and some independents revile Harris for the role she played, as Florida secretary of state, in favoring George W. Bush in the 2000 recount process. But she has enough hard-core conservative fans to scare away other Republican Senate hopefuls, and Democrats are gleefully watching the dispute roil their rivals.


Christian Coalition leader accused of molesting generations of family members

Via Wayne Besen, yet another sick, pious hypoctrite that needs to be added to the Conservative Values Monitor. Two of the cases occurred more than 10 years ago, and in Oregon, the statute of limitations on sex abuse cases is six years. One case, however, does fall within the timeline for prosecution - the abuse of an elementary-school age female family member. Gee, all the wingers tell me that only homos are the depraved child abusers, not fine, upstanding Christians like Louis Beres...
The Oregonian reported today that police are investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, molested three female pre-teen family members.
"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffereall my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with (Beres)."
Rich Galat, 41, of Oakland, Calif., is Beres' nephew. He said he told detectives that Beres has molested several female family members over two generations.
"My family has gone through hell," Galat said. "Lives have been ruined. Those of us who have come forward have been ostracized, verbally abused and the victims of character assassination...It must stop."
The details are new, but the story is ancient. The very right wing zealots who want to tell everyone how to live are the very people most likely to be knee-deep in sin. These creeps are so filled with guilt that they often project their own insecurities and sick longings into the political arena. Imagine this pig working to keep loving same-sex couples from marrying, in an effort to supposedly save the American family! The hypocrisy is breathtaking.
One should note that the CC's web site describes itself as 'Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage.'


Convincing Reasons Homosexuals are Hellbound

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I go surfing around, minding my own business and somehow I manage to find mind-blowing AmTalibannery in the dark reaches of Chimpy's internets.

I've not heard of Life and Liberty Ministries before, but it has an impressive selection of anti-gay propaganda up on its web site. The organization just wrapped up some sort of Outreach in Philadelphia, where they teamed up with our friend Repent America's Michael Marcavage, who helped "ensure that the outreach participants would be unmolested by some of the more hostile hearers." [More on Marcavage here.]

It's run by this weird dude named Denny Green, Pro-Life Missionary, who believes in "sidewalk counseling" and educating the masses about homos and sexual purity.


Green and Marcavage.

There's so much rich material there that it was hard to pick just one snippet for you Blenders, but this one, "Convincing Reasons Homosexuals are Hellbound," was quite entertaining, and disturbing. What this shows me, yet again, is that the Religious Reich spends an awful lot of time thinking about orifices, bodily functions and fluids and fornication. Certainly much more than any gay folks I know. And as we've seen time after time here on the Blend, the ones that think about these things constantly seem to be the ones participating in the very "deviant" behavior they despise.

The over-the-top rhetoric on this site is almost as good as a Westboro Baptist Church press release (when Fred was in his prime, of course). Here's an abbreviated edition of the article by Dr. Patrick Johnston, of Where the Truth Hurts.
FOUR REASONS & PROOFS:

REASON #1: HOMOSEXUALITY IS UNNATURAL AND ABNORMAL!

THE BIOLOGICAL FACTS show why homosexuality is a high-risk behavior.

Homosexuals are living a lifestyle in conflict with the laws of their design. When you eat pudding with a shovel or dig a ditch with a spoon, you are using objects contrary to their design, and harm will certainly result. Homosexuals bring destruction to themselves and others. You do not need to read the Bible to know homosexual intercourse is perverse, you just need to know what your penis is for!!! Urination and copulation. The penis was not designed to be shoved up another man’s rectum. The rectum was not designed for penile penetration, a fist, a bottle, a gerbil... The tongue was not designed for the anus, urine for the mouth, etc. (all of the above perverse acts admitted to by a majority of homosexuals in scientific surveys). God created man and woman, and designed sex between them (Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!). God’s laws are for mankind’s benefit. These laws provide the boundaries where sex can be safely enjoyed and maximally productive. God is good and just; therefore these laws have sanctions for transgressors, which is why HOMOSEXUALS are HELLBOUND!!!

VAGINA
• has an acidic environment which hinders bacterial and viral growth

RECTUM
• has an alkaline environment, which promotes bacterial and viral growth

VAGINA
• is lined by a thick layer of stratified squamous epithelium which is resistant to tearing RECTUM • is lined by a thin layer of simple cuboidal epithelium which can tear easily with unnatural forces

VAGINA
• secretes a lubricant during intercourse

RECTUM
• does not secrete a lubricant, only expels feces

...Rebuttal: "But don’t some animals engage in homosexual activity? Doesn’t this prove it is natural?

Answer: Some animals like sheep do engage in homosexual behavior. However, this would only suggest that homosexuals have the IQ of sheep. It does not prove it is natural for humans made in the image of God. The males of some ape species have sex with their young, the female black widow spider eats her mate, mice may even eat their young when they feel threatened, some sharks leave gaping bite marks on their mates during sex, other animals force themselves upon the opposite sex - would this justify this behavior in humans?

REASON #2: HOMOSEXUALITY IS A VIOLENT LIFESTYLE!

"As far as passionate crimes... the homosexuals are the ones that come to mind for really throwing themselves into their work, so to speak. You generally find THE MOST FEROCIOUS CRIMES ARE HOMOSEXUAL.” (Chicago police officer, interviewed in WHAT COPS KNOW, by Connie Fletcher; NY:Villard Books, 1991, p.67)

Leading serial killers are all homosexuals!!! Donald Harvey (37 murders), John Wayne Gacy (33 murders), Patrick Wayne Kearney (32 murders), Bruce Davis (28 murders), Dean Corli, Elmer Wayne Henley, David Owen Brooks (27 murders), Juan Corona (25 murders), Jeffrey Dahmer (17 murders), Stephen Kraft (16 murders), William Bonin (14 murders)... (New York Times / Associated Press article, 8-15-92)

Reason #3: HOMOSEXUALS SPREAD DISEASE AND DEATH!

AIDS Statistics: AIDS kills over 30,000 Americans yearly. 65% of those fatal cases are sexually transmitted (mostly homosexuals). Almost all of the others got it through shooting drugs with a sex pervert or receiving a blood transfusion contaminated by a sex pervert. Homosexuality is considered by medical professionals to be a “high-risk” sexual activity and, in addition to AIDS, homosexuals are prone to catch hepatitus A, hepatitus B, herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, intestinal parasites, tuberculosis, and a host of other contagious diseases. Medical professionals who treat AIDS patients and those who room with AIDS patients are also at increased risk.

Reason #4: HOMOSEXUALS ARE CONDEMNED BY GOD!!!

The Bible says:

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an ABOMINATION: they shall surely be PUT TO DEATH....” (Leviticus 20:13)

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is ABOMINATION.” (Lev. 18:22)

“God gave them up unto VILE affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is AGAINST NATURE: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is UNSEEMLY (grossly improper)... they which commit such things are WORTHY OF DEATH....” (Romans 1:16-32)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived... neither fornicators,... nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoites in the Greek, which means homosexuals)... shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:9-11) YOU CAN BE AN EX-SODOMITE TOO, IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS AND BY GOD’S SPIRIT!!!


'Manchurian Candidate' Chimpy gets torn to shreds

This has to hurt - when foreign business publications that hailed the 2000 election of the Chimperor as a conservative start ripping him a new one. Jumping the shark would be an understatement in this case. You have to read The Business Online's editorial. It is a scorching rebuke of the Administration's performance in Iraq, the Miers pick, the faux conservatives in Congress spending the taxpayer's bank account away, a government full of corruption and scandal and an incompetent boob in the White House. The Left couldn't have done a better job of picking Bush apart.
It should have been the crowning moment of his administration, the opportunity to exercise one of his most important privileges as President by picking two new judges to serve on the Supreme Court, thereby stamping his mark on American society for the next few decades, as only a few presidents have done before him. Instead, President Bush’s astonishingly short-sighted decision last week to nominate a close colleague with no judicial track record for the Supreme Court, following an earlier uninspired choice, risks condemning his administration to being remembered as the most debilitating since the sorry rule of Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

There is no pleasure in recording this. This newspaper is second to none in its pro-American sentiments; in the early Bush years it devoted much ink to defending the President against the often malevolent and ignorant attacks of a congenitally anti-American European media. But we know a lost cause when we see one: the longer President Bush occupies the White House the more it becomes clear that his big-government domestic policies, his preference for Republican and business cronies over talented administrators, his lack of a clear intellectual compass and his superficial and often wrong-headed grasp of international affairs – all have done more to destroy the legacy of Ronald Reagan, a President who halted then reversed America’s post-Vietnam decline, than any left-liberal Democrat or European America-hater could ever have dreamed of. As one astute American conservative commentator has already observed, President Bush has morphed into the Manchurian Candidate, behaving as if placed among Americans by their enemies to do them damage.
And this paragraph kicks the Chimp and the Repug-controlled Congress hard, starting off with Bush's response to Katrina.
A president who, whatever his other shortcomings, had claimed leadership skills and competent administration was stripped bare. It was not a pretty sight and the response to his political plight was typically Bush: he announced his intention to throw a massive $200bn into reconstructing New Orleans. This merely completed Mr Bush’s demise among America’s wisest conservatives, who have always regarded his big-government conservatism as the greatest betrayal of all. Nor is it just the White House that is contaminated by it: when senior Republican leaders in Congress, who have presided over an orgy of public spending and pork-barrel, claimed that there was no fat left to cut in federal spending and that “after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good”, it was clear that the inmates had indeed taken over the asylum.


16 months of outing hypocrites

Mike Rogers over at BlogActive took inventory of the hypocrites that he's outed over the last year or so, and he came up 31 losers that actively work against the cause of gay civil rights. The links below go to his reporting. Take a look -- and a laugh, in many cases -- at the pathetic closeted-for-professional-consumption individuals below.
United States Representatives
US Rep. Ed Schrock
(VA)
US Rep. David Dreier
(CA)
US Rep. James McCrery
(LA)
US Rep. Mark Foley
(FL)

Senior Republican Staff
Jay Timmons - National Republican Senatorial Committee
Dan Gurley, National Field Director, Republican National Committee
Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee
Jay Banning, Chief Financial Officer & Director of Administration, RNC

Senior Senate Staffers
Robert Traynham, Rick Santorum (PA)
Jonathan Tolman, James Inhofe (OK)
Kirk Fordham, Mel Martinez (FL)
Dirk Smith, Trent Lott (MS)
John Reid, George Allen (VA)
Paul Unger, George Allen (VA)
Linus Catignani, Bill Frist (TN)

Senior House Staffers
Jim Conzelman, Rep. Mike Oxley (OH)
Lee Cohen, Rep. Melissa Hart (OH)
Robert O'Conner, Rep. Peter King (NY)
Pete Meachum, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (FL)

Bush Administration Staffers
Israel Hernandez, office of Karl Rove and Assistant Secretary of Commerce
Jeff Berkowitz, Bush Liaison to Jewish Community

Local Elected Officials
Vincent Gentile, NY City Council

The rest of the gang...
Ed Koch
, former mayor of New York City
Jennifer Helms-Knox, Judge in NC campaign staffer for Jesse Helms Campaigns
Armstrong Williams,
Talk show host.
Matt Drudge
, Headline writer
Steve Kreseski
, Governor Bob Erlich of MD
Chip DiPaula
, Governor Bob Erlich of MD
Lee LaHaye, the chief financial officer of the Concerned Women for America
John Schlafly, Eagle Forum legal staff



Out of control


(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Orleans Police Beating Caught on Tape. Can they just fire them all and rebuild the force from scratch?
Two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another city officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and the three officers were to be suspended, arrested and charged with simple battery Sunday, Capt. Marlon Defillo said. "We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar near Bourbon Street. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. One of the four then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Meanwhile, a fifth officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

"I've been here for six weeks trying to keep ... alive. ... Go home!" shouted the officer, who later identified himself as S.M. Smith.
If these officers have a level of PTSD that results in this kind of behavior, they need to be off active duty.


What about the rights of the Iraqi women?



Mike Tidmus and I want to know why, with less than a week left before a vote on the Iraqi Constitution, is the current and future status of women not on the radar of the media. I've blogged on this topic before, it's like a broken record:

* Iraqi women say freedoms are slipping away

* Meeting deadline for Iraq constitution more important to U.S. than women's rights

* Bringing democracy and freedom to Iraq - but not for women

* Freepers on the Iraqi draft constitution

And there's even less media coverage of the topic now than at that time of any of those entries. Back in August, I posted "The Iraq mess and the rights of women", addressing the growing desire along the political spectrum to pull out and cut our losses.
It may be useful to try and think pragmatically, but it's easy to speak this way when you are not from an oppressed group, or in this case a group -- Iraqi women -- that is looking down the barrel of a gun of Sharia law about to blast basic rights away. The path this constitutional draft is currently heading in regards to women's rights is unacceptable.

Bush has repeatedly talked about democracy AND freedom. Freedom includes women's rights if I'm not mistaken. I think it's unfortunate to say that "there is very little the United States can do" when none of its citizens are about to lose basic civil rights. Why in god's name is it expected that a nearly destroyed country such as Iraq must take only a few brief months to craft a document that is to serve future generations of Iraqis, not the U.S.'s desire to get out ASAP because it fucked up.

South Africa took almost five years to work out a final constitution, and it wasn't a country blown to shreds. It was, however, a country made up of many races, religions and factions that united to craft a document that everyone could agree on. Even the rights of gays and lesbians are protected. That couldn't have been an easy negotiation.
With such murkiness in the current iteration of the constitution, if approved it would not be surprising if the end result would be civil war because it is not a document with true buy-in by those affected by its adoption. What protections for women that are there on paper, clearly can be diluted in practice. Emboldened radical clerics are already beginning to harrass women that do not cover themselves in public.

But our President is working hard to make it possible to say that whatever chaos ensues as a result of his immoral adventure is not our problem. Is that OK? Is the MSM just going to let it ride?


VA Victoria's Secret display freaks the AmTaliban

The display ''is not about lingerie. It's about sadomasochism and three-way sex.''
-- Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition


"I've already tried to get security to arrest them for indecent exposure and I've talked to the managers in there. They don't care. They're just more happy they're getting the exposure and the marketing."
-- outraged citizen with nothing better to do, Tim Cutler
Too much time on their hands. The nutjobs at Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition are protesting a Victoria's Secret display in a Tysons Corner mall because it "promotes lesbianism and sadomasochism."
About 30 women -- no men -- picketed the Tysons Corner (Va.) Center store Friday. Some of them were not satisfied that store workers had toned down the display, and promised to boycott the newly expanded mall, now among the nation's largest.


Does Lou Sheldon want to smack her bottom? (WRC-TV)

A mannequin that had been tied up was unfettered, though it still leaned against a pole with arms raised above the head, and a rope and pulleys still loomed ominously in the background. Two female figures spooning in a bed were replaced with a single mannequin sitting with legs crossed.

The company calls the new display ''Back Stage Sexy,'' and a company spokeswoman at the mall Friday said the Tysons store is the nation's third outlet to adopt the theme. She referred other questions to a corporate spokesman, who didn't return calls. The mall had received complaints almost since the new display went up, and after discussions with Victoria's Secret's corporate parent, Limited Brands in Columbus, Ohio, it announced Thursday that the display had been changed.

Others weren't bothered by the display. About 40 customers were lined up and roped off outside the store waiting to get in Friday afternoon. ''It was fun. It was different. That's what I liked about it,'' said Alexis Daisley, 19, who shopped at the store with her mother and left with a large bag full of merchandise.

''I had no problem with it, and I had no problem taking my daughter there,'' Lesley Daisley said.
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Howler -- Dobson: gay marriage will lead to getting hitched to a donkey

How about group marriage? Or marriage between daddies and little girls? Or marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights will be doable, and the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed." Now, that's more or less a prophecy. Not a divine prophecy, but a prediction.
-- James Dobson, on his October 6 radio show
OMG. We're moving from man-on-dog, to man-on-box-turtle, to this ass-inine speculation, courtesy of James Dobson (via Media Matters). Give him queer meter points for managing to toss in the old saws of incest and group marriage while he's at it.

Media Matters notes that Dobson's above comment was in response to Roll Call's Morton M. Kondracke on the August 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume. Kondracke is intimidated by Dobson because "he says that, you know, gay marriage is the end of Western civilization. And he can shut down the phone system at the Capitol if he energizes his base."


Mort, grow a freaking spine.

Dobson continues his unhinged tirade on his radio program...
And that's why it [same-sex marriage] will destroy marriage. It will undermine the traditional relationship between men and women. It has happened in the Netherlands. Young people are not getting married. When you go in that direction, you confuse the meaning of marriage, and then it is destroyed. The family is destroyed. That is the foundation for Western civilizations, and I tell you it will bring the destruction of this nation and many others if we go in that direction. Mort Kondracke said I'm scary for that reason. Well, OK, Mort, fine, you disagree, but I think you're wrong.
The MP3 of Daddy Dobson is here.

Hat tip, House Blender Jennifer of Intous .

UPDATE: Ms. Julien has added her two cents in on this at her pad -- and some research that should rock Dobson's world...
I find his antics humorous in the extreme, considering the following from this month's HARPERS:

Number of U.S. states where bestiality is legal: 20

WTF??? 20??? Which states??
Surf over and take a peek to see if your state is on the list. Whew - NC isn't on there.


Question of the day: tipping



When we go out to eat, we often strike up conversation with the waitstaff because they do work hard. Most we've encountered deserve a good tip. Often we see other tables that stiff the waitstaff or tip poorly, and it seems to be rampant.

I wonder - do customers just not care or are they ignorant that waiters and waitresses earn very little base (one told us $2.13/hr.)? They really do have to earn their living on gratuities. In full-service restaurants, waitstaff have told us that tips are pooled and split in varying percentages by class of staff - servers, busboy, host, etc. Some waitstaff do a lot of side work (rolling silverware, making sure coffee/beverage stations/ice are stocked, etc.) and do bus their tables. All, in all, they do work hard, and we almost always give 20%, and minimally 15%, even if the service is marginal.

The sad thing is, a good tip must not happen too often, because waitstaff always seem to remember us when we come back -- and they treat us well, and are friendly because we do ask about their work -- when they seem the approachable type (that's more often the case than not, because it is the South, you know). :)

I did leave a penny one time. It was when I was out of town (I think in Roanoke Rapids, NC) and stopped at a breakfast joint. The waitress there couldn't be bothered to even refill my tea, never checked back to see if I needed anything, and spent the majority of her time chatting up this table of men right next to me, who looked like they were regulars - and who brought their own cereal to eat. All they bought was coffee. So I left the penny. When I went to the front to pay, all of a sudden the waitress appears and throws the penny on the counter and says "You forgot something!" Nice.

Anyway, what is your tipping philosophy? Share any good/bad experiences.


Books on the Blend bookshelf



Here are a couple of books that are going up on the House Blend shelf. I'm in the midst of both.

The first is a wonderful book Pride and Politics: The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town by Erin Quinn (Mix Multimedia/Hudson House, $17.95, paperback). Quinn, an award-winning reporter for the New Paltz Times and Woodstock Times, chronicles the historic same-sex marriage blitz in New Paltz, NY, led by the city's young Mayor Jason West.



While it was big news in February 2004 when West married 24 gay and lesbian couples, this milestone in gay rights was overshadowed in by Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco marriages, which occurred around the same time. I'm glad Quinn, a native of the area, has given new life and detail to the events that occurred in New Paltz. From the book description:
Like a microcosm for the national debate that raged during the political campaigns in the fall of 2004, New Paltz was often divided by those who supported same-sex marriage and those who did not. Quinn recounts the national media frenzy that ensued, and details how New Paltz was a magnet for all sides of the American political spectrum. From visits by Robert F. "Bobby" Kennedy, Jr. and Ralph Nader to MTV and Reverend Jerry Falwell's Liberty Counsel, New Paltz was in the cross-hairs of those with vested interests in the civil rights debate.

With candor, compassion and humor, Quinn recounts the events as rumors first began to surface that the young Green Party mayor would conduct same-sex marriages and the touching moment when Billiam van Roestenberg and retired Army Major Jeffrey McGowan became the first gay couple married in New Paltz. She meticulously describes the legal actions, motions and procedures that lead the court to issue restraining orders prohibiting the mayor from performing same-sex marriages and the controversial charges the Ulster County district attorney leveled against West for violating New York State's Domestic Relations Law. Quinn passionately relates the solidarity of the New Paltz community when it was invaded by protesting Christians on Palm Sunday and when the hope for a better America almost faded away with the November 2004 election results.

Quinn shares an intimate portrait of her town, its people and the diverse range of opinions and emotions surrounding the weddings. By examining the complex issue through the eyes of her neighbors, friends, collegues and her own family, Quinn provides the reader with a glimpse into the heart of the same-sex marriage issue and why it polarized the nation.
Also noteworthy is that Quinn, Jason West (Dare to Hope: Saving American Democracy) and Jeffrey McGowan (author of Major Conflict: One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military) are all New Paltz authors and held a panel discussion, "Family Values for New Paltz and the Nation" last week in at SUNY-New Paltz to discuss their common threads of their works -- why gay marriage, Green politics, and DADT and the military have had an impact on social and political discourse on “family values” in America. I certainly would have loved to hear that talk.

***



Next is The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat (Doubleday, $15.98, hardcover), by Pedro Sanjuan.

Sanjuan, as you can tell from the title, is no fan of the UN. However, he speaks from his personal, behind-the-scenes experience there when he was appointed in 1983 by Vice President Bush as director of political affairs at the Secretariat, to monitor Soviet espionage activities. For UN-bashers, this is an cornucopia of anecdotes ranging from basic inefficiencies, to ties to organized crime, but overall I found it an entertaining read. How can you not find the absurdity of incompetence and corruption interesting -- after all, I blog about that kind of stuff all the time...
On the day Pedro Sanjuan moved into his new office at the UN Secretariat in 1984, he had the foresight to unscrew his telephone receiver. Out fell a little packet of high-grade cocaine. When he confronted the undersecretary to the chief Soviet diplomat-really a KGB colonel and the top Russian spy-the agent laughed good-naturedly and congratulated him on passing the test.

...Sanjuan soon discovered that incompetence, corruption, anti-Semitism, and outright criminality were rife throughout the UN Secretariat. Among the shady activities that he personally observed or documented were rigged bidding for major service contracts; drug transactions conducted in the UN's parking garage; sale of shotguns and beryllium directly out of the UN building; ties to global organized crime figures; use of UN Information Centers and other agencies to disseminate anti-US and pro-PLO propaganda; systematic theft and abuse of UN facilities and budgets in East Africa; graft and corruption in Vienna; widespread sexual harrassment; use of the UN employee's lounge to plan anti-Israel and anti-US activities by Muslim delegates; open celebration of 9/11 by said delegates in the halls of the UN; and inexplicable tolerance of all of the above on the part of the secretary general and the US government.
If you Google this title, you'll find reviews by right-leaning organizations that love this book because it clearly paints a horrible picture of the UN as Sanjuan experienced it. The book, even if you think the UN is a worthwhile, necessary entity, is quite effective in presenting the argument that the rampant corruption and disorganization hampers the UN from being effective on many levels. Whether the book reflects the whole truth is irrelevant; it's one man's experience.

I'm not sure that international politics can ever be neat and tidy (or "clean") anyway, given the level of religious/ethnic/racial/economic conflict around the world, so reading these stories just don't shock me, I guess. If you throw a bunch of diplomats and bureaucrats from around the world into one building, I would imagine it would look like organized chaos. Maybe I'm the one that's too cynical. The only thing that is odd is that there isn't more discussion or rebuttal regarding the charges leveled by Sanjuan. Then again, given the entrenched bureaucracy in the UN, I doubt any effort to respond, let alone change, would be slow in coming.

Other reviews:
* Daniel Drezner, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago who has also served as an unpaid foreign policy advisor for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, doesn't think much of the book.
Remember when Robert Reich published his memoir Locked in the Cabinet, and then Jonathan Rauch discovered that Reich had either made up or exaggerated certain events and quotes? Reich's defense was that this was how he viewed the events at the time. The UN Gang suffers from the same defect.

Let's put it this way -- if I was a lawyer trying to indict the UN, there is no way in hell I would call Sanjuan as a reliable witness. If you think I'm exaggerating, either buy the book or check out Sanjuan's web site (the quote from the review comes from this page) and draw your own psychological profile about Sanjuan's world view.
* The Washington Times was, not surprisingly, quite favorable in its assessment of Sanjuan's book. The review raises a point that I agree with, given that the book levels some serious accusations about corruption, but doesn't outline enough strong recommendations for change.
Alas, Mr. Sanjuan devotes only a few pages to reforms needed to put the U.N. Secretariat on a track of transparency and efficiency. He outlines 10 such reforms for us. All are sensible; however, he gives us neither a prescription for achieving them, nor does he predict the odds of success (perhaps slim, given the vested interest of many members in the status quo).


The numbers are incredible - earthquake toll 18K to top 30K

Saturday, October 08, 2005



UPDATE (10/9, 9:30AM): Asian Quake Death Toll at Least 20,000.
Pakistan called Saturday's magnitude-7.6 earthquake the country's worst on record, and the president appealed for urgent help. Rival India, which reported more than 465 dead, offered assistance.

"I have been informed by my department that more than 30,000 people have died in Kashmir," Tariq Mahmmod, communications minister for the Himalayan region, told The Associated Press.

In mountainous Kashmir, the quake flattened dozens of villages and towns, crushing schools and mud-brick houses. The dead included 250 girls at a school razed to the ground and more than 200 Pakistani soldiers on duty in the Himalayas.

The quake was felt across a wide swath of South Asia from central Afghanistan to western Bangladesh. It swayed buildings in the capitals of three nations, with the damage spanning at least 250 miles from Jalalabad in Afghanistan to Srinagar in northern Indian territory. In Islamabad, a 10-story building collapsed.

"We are handling the worst disaster in Pakistan's history," chief army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said.

Officials said Balakot was one of the hardest-hit areas. Near the ruins of one collapsed school, at least a dozen bodies were strewn on the streets of the devastated village of about 30,000. At least 250 pupils were feared trapped inside the rubble of the four-story school.
***

Yesterday: CNN was just told this.
The earthquake that hit northern Pakistan and India on Saturday killed 18,000 people in Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman told CNN. About 40,000 people were injured in the 7.6 magnitude quake that struck nearly 24 hours ago, said the spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan.


Gay radio show debuts in SC, Christian Exodus conference coming up

More power to them! SC is definitely a hostile state if you're queer -- you'll recall that the wacko Christian Exodus organization is based in SC -- that outfit wants to create a Christian State -- and separate from the rest of the U.S. If that's the case, "Rainbow Radio" will have to look for a new home...
The first gay and lesbian radio show in South Carolina will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday. "Rainbow Radio: The Real Gay Agenda" will debut two days before National Coming Out Day, on Oct. 11.

The S.C. Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement and the Harriet Hancock Center of Columbia sponsor the show. "This is historic. This is just incredible," said Ed Madden, president of the pride organization.

"Rainbow Radio" will broadcast on WOIC-AM 1230, Columbia's Air America affiliate. Air America, which is broadcast on more than 50 stations nationally, was created a little more than a year ago to counter conservative talk shows on AM radio. "Rainbow Radio" consists of interviews - with topics such as marriage, religion, sexuality and special issues for black gays and lesbians - and commentary.

Madden said he expected a positive response to the show. "The point of the show is to give the gay and lesbian community a voice," he said. "It's on Air America, so we're already assuming a progressive audience." Archived shows will be available at www.scglpm.org.


Speaking of Christian Exodus...it is in the news because it is going to hold its national conference next week in Greenville, SC.
ChristianExodus.org is coordinating the move of thousands of Christians to South Carolina for the express purpose of re-establishing Godly, constitutional government. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christians to withdraw our consent from the current federal government and re-introduce the Christian principles once so predominant in America to a sovereign State like South Carolina.

...Cory Burnell, the president of Christian Exodus, stated, "We're very excited to discuss our vision for government reform. We have received a tremendous amount of support, and believe everyone will have a wonderful time on the 15th." He went on to say, "Our mission is to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles. So I hope other folks with that same desire will come out to the conference and see how we plan to do it."

In addition to Mr. Burnell, the conference will also include the following speakers: Dr. Hugh Cort running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, Michael Chapman from American Heritage Research in Minnesota, Larry Kilgore running for the Texas Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2006, Dr. John Cobin the talk show host of Christian Worldview in Greenville, and Arthur Bryngelson running for Dorchester County Council in 2006.
There was a little media stir for Colorado wingnut Rep. Tom Tancredo, who's giving a speech that has been "endorsed" by Christian Exodus, and his camp is having to disclaim any affiliation with the nutso organization.



You might recall that the feeble Congressman Tancredo made the news back in July when, in an on-air interview, he gave the following response to a question about how the country should respond if terrorists were to strike several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons:
"Well, what if you said something like - if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.

"You're talking about bombing Mecca," [WFLA's Pat] Campbell said. "Yeah," Tancredo responded. The congressman went on to say that he was "just throwing out some ideas" but that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."

Tancredo released a statement Sunday evening in which he said he was simply trying to figure out what the United States could use as a threat to deter future attacks.

"Among the many things we might do to prevent such an attack on America would be to lay out there as a possibility the destruction of these sites," he wrote.
And what has to be one of the funniest punchlines ever:
His spokesman, Will Adams, said the congressman is a "free thinker" who was grappling with a hypothetical situation.
Adams left out a word. He meant intelligence-free thinker.


How did I miss Franklin Graham's unhinged Katrina comments?

"New Orleans has been known for years as a party town. It is a city that has strong ties to the gay and lesbian movement, and these types of things."
-- Franklin Graham, in an interview this week with the AP


"There's been satanic worship. There's been sexual perversion. God is going to use that storm to bring revival. God has a plan. God has a purpose."
-- Graham on New Orleans, at Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church's Super Conference 2005 on Monday
When I clicked on the story, I thought these quotes were from around the time of Katrina, but no. A month and a separate hurricane later (a storm that hit the God-fearing Christian state of Texas, no less), Billy's son just can't go without intimating that something terribly, morally depraved was going on in New Orleans -- and he's not talking about the poverty, either -- it's those damned homos and voodoo practitioners. He's framing these utterances as hope for a new, godly New Orleans -- a "spiritual rebirth," as it were. (CNN):
Graham, the son and designated successor of the Rev. Billy Graham, said he doesn't believe the devastating storm was a punishment from God for what he sees as the city's ties to satanic worship and sexual perversion.

"I'm not saying that God used this storm as a judgment," Graham said. But he said the city's Mardi Gras revelry and ties to voodoo were adverse to Christian beliefs..."The good news is that God loves sinners."

...Graham said he has prayed with clergy in New Orleans for deliverance from "this dark spiritual cloud," and he sees signs of promise as churches "black and white work hand in hand" to restore the city.


Dean to overhaul Democrats?



Unless he's going to pull up a dumpster and just shove out all the entrenched, tired, hangers-on at the DNC, he's not going to get much done. Most of the things mentioned in Ron Fournier's AP piece are common sense items:

* Merge political information about voters with their consumer habits to figure out how to appeal to them.
* Make Democrats the party of values, community and reform; recast the public's image of Democrats with a unified message.
* Build a 50-state grass-roots organization, using the same Internet and community-building tools that took Dean's presidential bid from obscurity to the front of the pack before Iowa.
* get outside help from private-sector consultants who specialize in creating and strengthening corporate images -- or "brands."

The piece also addresses some of the discussion here about the Dems lack of ability to make hay of the GOP's current implosion. The main problem is that calling attention to the issue without something to offer has left Dems twiddling their thumbs.
The lack of a message or brand makes it difficult for Democrats to capitalize on Bush's political slump and a series of GOP scandals. While the party is unified in accusing Republicans of creating a "culture of corruption," Democrats still need to give voters a compelling alternative to GOP rule.

A March 23, 2005, memo by DNC pollster Cornell Belcher found that most voters view politics through a values-laden prism rather than through the economic framing traditionally used by Democrats. On a list of issue choices, "moral values" ranked in the middle of the pack and well ahead of abortion and gay rights. That suggested to Belcher that moral values has a broader meaning for voters than do social wedge issues.

"When voters think about moral values, they may in large part be thinking about the strength, leadership and moral fortitude of the candidates ... rather than the candidates' positions on specific social wedge issues," Belcher wrote.

Dean's take on the polling is that Democrats must recast the values-and-morals debate. "It's morally wrong that so many children live in poverty. It's morally wrong that we have so many working poor people who can't pull themselves out of poverty," he said. He also believes that voters are more interested in a candidate's intangible leadership qualities than his positions on lists of issues. "We have to appeal to people's hearts and not just their heads," he said.
Exactly. The GOP knows to target the heart, more precisely the fears, of the sheeple, and that's what we saw in 2004. Swift Boat diversions, endless gay-marriage-baiting, terror alerts jerking people's emotions over and over, scaring the sheeple, training them to look to the Great and Powerful Oz for support and guidance.



With Katrina, The Great Oz is exposed, and he's a tinier, more incompetent little half-wit than the sheeple ever imagined, and all his friends are corrupt little meglomaniac Munchkins with their hands in the cookie jar. If Dems can't capitalize on this, they are doomed.


Rent-boy Gannon and Turdblossom may be sporting matching orange jumpsuits


I thought Chimpy was whispering sweet nothings in Karl's ear, but maybe he was asking about Bulldog.

Salon's Joe Conason is reporting (sub/ad view req'd) that the swirling Plamegate drama has not only swept up Karl Rove, but our friend Bulldog, the White House prostitute-cum-cub reporter "Jeff Gannon".
Another intriguing possibility in the leaks case brings back the baroque personality of right-wing pressroom denizen Jeff Gannon, born James Guckert.

The New York Times reported Friday that in addition to possible charges directly involving the revelation of Valerie Wilson's identity and related perjury or conspiracy charges, Fitzgerald is exploring other possible crimes. Specifically, according to the Times, the special counsel is seeking to determine whether anyone transmitted classified material or information to persons who were not cleared to receive it -- which could be a felony under the 1917 Espionage Act.

One such classified item might be the still-classified State Department document, written by an official of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, concerning the CIA's decision to send former ambassador Joseph Wilson to look into allegations that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger. Someone leaked that INR document -- which inaccurately indicated that Wilson's assignment was the result of lobbying within CIA by his wife, Valerie -- to right-wing media outlets, notably including Gannon's former employers at Talon News. On Oct. 28, 2003, Gannon posted an interview with Joseph Wilson on the Talon Web site, in which he posed the following question: "An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that?"



Gannon later hinted, rather coyly, that he had learned about the INR memo from an article in the Wall Street Journal. He also told reporters last February that FBI agents working for Fitzgerald had questioned him about where he got the memo. At the very least, that can be interpreted as confirming today's Times report about the direction of the case.
I remember speculating about Gannon and his extraordinary level of access, when the whole mess was blowing up in the blogosphere:
Will we ever know the extent of JG's sexual activities and relationships with the White House and in the DC power elite? Who knows. What I do know is that Guckert's high profile of late is a wise move if he doesn't want to be, let's say, taken out of the picture. Better to take the fall and be discredited and humiliated, I suppose, than to rat out folks that won't wish you well.
Hat tip, AmericaBlog.

***

See the National Journal story: Rove Assured Bush He Was Not Leaker


Freeper rats abandoning ship over Chimp's poll numbers



Poll: Bush Disappointing Conservatives (39% approval rating). This is an article on the winger site Newsmax, that shows you how shaken the fringe Right is over the Chimp's sinking polls (my post yesterday on a poll is here).
Among those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year are white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.

Bush's supporters are uneasy about issues such as federal deficits, immigration and his latest nomination for the Supreme Court. Social conservatives are concerned about his choice of Miers, a relatively unknown lawyer who has most recently served as White House counsel.

"Bush is trying to get more support generally from the American public by seeming more moderate and showing he's a strong leader at the same time he has a rebellion within his own party," Thurber said. "The far right is starting to be very open about their claim that he's not a real conservative."
His defenders left in Freeperland are shrill, and they are starting to feed on one another. Lovely...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Can you imagine how much lower Bush's approval rating will go if Miers gets onto the court and isn't another another Scalia? I don't see things getting better unless Bush replaces Miers with a known originalist and rallies the base."

"Have faith is our President. He knows Miers better than anyone and he is not one to sell out his base or what is right by Jesus."

"I have problems with this nomination, evidence points logically to wide disagreement over it, but I can't validate a poll I do not have faith in under any circumstance. Nor am I willing to consent to the Liberals with allowing them a role in this family dispute. They may watch from the outside. I will not include their polls in this fight. RASS, FOX, battleground and Mason Dixon remain the only polls I'll acknowledge."

"I feel very let down by the Mier's pick and the Robert's pics as well. Why gamble. It doesn't matter that he knows Miers to me. I'm an ardent Bush supporter, but I've been shaking my head all week about this."

"Yawn - Leaders don't worry about polls - We have a leader as CIC - The whirlwind is in the thorn tree. It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Till Armageddon, no Shalam, no Shalom."

"The Republican majority is jeopardy. Only fool can't see the damage being done to the Republican party with a revolt occurring in the base."

"Just wait until Bush starts pushing his illegal alien amnesty /open borders plan in the next couple of months. His approval rating should go to 25%. Hell he could do everything his "base" wanted tomorrow and the next day "the base" would be screaming about some new "betrayal". It has been that way for 5 long years and "the base" hasn't stopped screaming for more than 48 hours. If it were me, I would tell "the base" to piss up a rope."

"Our third term may be jeopardy. And if our third is, so is our fourth. The conservatives I know, who have steadfastly supported the president through all challenges, are starting to bail on him and everyone associated with him. They were willing to overlook all the other grave missteps including our porous borders and Bush's signing of McCain's campaign finance reform abomination. But allowing Harry Reid to nominate nonentity Harriet Miers to replace O'Connor was the last straw. They look at it as an act of gross and unforgivable stupidity if not betrayal."

"If it were me, I would tell "the base" to piss up a rope. I would prefer an old Irishism, he should tell them to go crap in their hats."

"Im one of the conservatives who disaproves of how Bush is handling his 2nd term. No one can say Bush has been a conservative this 2nd term... well maybe Sean Hannity."

"'I guess his Third term is in Jeopardy'" No, but the Republican Party's is. That is unless they start doing what the hell we sent them to Washington to do."

"The base should be ashamed of itself in my opinion. I am just appalled at the behavior. That poor woman won't need the rats attacking her, her own side is doing a darn good job of it. I am sickened by all of those doing this."

"Yeah I haven't heard so much bellyaching in my entire life. It's disgusting."

"These mutineers have the astoundingly idiotic notion that they have some kind of say so over who their Commander-in-Chief chooses for the supreme court. They don't and in the course of their crybaby tactics they reveal their true lack of backbone in backing our President. This collective insanity will not escape the notice of the American public and will result in an enormous blowback in '06 and '08."

"I sit here and witness this hysteria and can only conclude that there is little difference between the squawkers over at DU and the squawkers here on FR. We know nothing about Harriet Miers, yet the doom and Gloomers have their bags packed as usual"

"Memo to the sniveling, naval-gazing, pathetic whiners(Kruthammer, Will, Coulter, Frum, Crystal, etc) who have gone off into barking moonbat land over the Miers nomination. As Jon Podhoretz said today "GEORGE BUSH WILL PULL THE TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ BEFORE HE WITHDRAWS the MIERS NOMINATION. It's not going to happen so STFU, already."

"Bush doesn't have to worry about it, he's not running for a third term. The republicans in congress need to worry about it though, because Bush is the biggest fund raiser the republican have ever had. If they keep stabbing him in the back, he has no reason to go out and raise money for them, and if they keep stabbing him in the back, half the pubbies who do like Bush will be turned off and not turn out to vote. Bush only has to continue to prosecute the WOT and finish up in Iraq. Even the senate isn't stupid enough to try to stop that. One major attack on US soil because of their bickering and interferring and they're all dead meat, both republicans and democrats."

"Oh, give me a break! The true American spirit is to question our leaders...it should be done FAR more often. We wouldn't be in our current mess if more had dared to do so. I'm far more concerned about lemmings, and "cult-of-personality" types who think that "trust me" is an acceptable response to legitimate questions. Amazing how many high and mighty self absorbed know-it-alls think they know more than Bush and badmouth him in public."

"My question for the anti-Myers zealots is what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Crickets chirping..."

"It baffles me completely that the Bush White House has let things get this bad. Bush was handed a golden opportunity to rally the conservative base, boost his approval ratings, establish a Reagan-like legacy, and save the nation from the destructive Euro-style secular socialism that the Democrats have been foisting on us through the courts for decades, and Bush comes up with.... Harriet Miers. The magnitude of this blunder cannot be overstated. I read here that Rove had a hand in this nightmare. If that is true, then so much for the legend of Karl Rove. Talk about over-rated."

"Perhaps Bush Jr. could rally the disappointed 61 percent with some of his usual articulate masterful rhetoric, explaining in persuasive nuanced detail why Miers is a great idea."

"I hadn't realized until this week that we've got a Howard Dean wing in the Republican Party. I used to have great fun making light of the moonbattery over at DU but darn if the loonies on the right didn't do them one better this week."

"I will bet you right now any amount of money you want that the Democrats will lose again in 2006. There is absolutely nothing positive being proposed by the Democrats right now, and that has been the case since 2001. It takes an inspirational message to rally the people, and there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING inspirational in the Democrat message these days."

"We have a choice... We can be doom and gloomers like them, or we can continue with our optimistic agenda, or we can throw our arms in the air and surrender and watch Hillary get sworn in as POTUS in 2009"

"Excuse me! This is the President that gave us Campaign Finance Reform, Prescription Drug Benefit, and out of control spending. And you say he won't sell out his base, that train left a long time ago!


Huge quake in Pakistan


A bird eye view shows the collapsed 10-story apartment building following a severe earthquake which hit Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, Oct 8, 2005. A magnitude 7.6 earthquake rocked parts of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, injuring at least a dozen people and damaging dozens of homes and shops. Part of a 10-story apartment building collapsed in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, and dozens of people were feared trapped in the rubble. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed).

A Reuters report puts deaths in the thousands.


House Blend product endorsement - Dyson Animal DC07

This is a new feature that I'll run from time to time, a sort of Epinions on products that Kate and I like. No compensation is involved. I'm just passing on info based on actual use in real-world conditions.



This week, Kate and I endorse the Dyson Animal DC07 vacuum cleaner.

With three dogs, frequent vacuuming is essential. When we had carpet, we went through TWO Hoover vacuum cleaners -- both choked and broke. What pieces of sh*t they were! We kept seeing the Dyson commercials and wondered whether James Dyson, the inventor, was blowing smoke about his product's technology never clogging or losing suction, two things guaranteed with every vacuum I've ever owned.

Anyway, we decided to save money up and try a Dyson. Thrifty Pam surfed eBay and found a new-in-box, full-warranty Animal for about $330 (shipping included). This was last year, and the retail at that time was $499, so I got a bargain.

Kate wanted first possession (she's the vacuum queen), so she put it together and tried it out. She was immediately doing the happy dance at how effective it was. She did the bedroom carpet and couldn't believe the amount of dog hair that came up AFTER first vacuuming with the on-its-last-legs Hoover. She reported the following about the Dyson:

The good:
* it sucks (in a good way), and lives up to the no-clog pitch
* emptying the bagless container is great; the design is well-thought-out to avoid making a mess
* the beater-brush attachment included with the Animal works very well on upholstery

The not so good:
* it's heavy (uprights generally are, but the Dyson more so); thankfully our house is one-story; I wouldn't want to have to drag this sucker upstairs!
* using the extension wand takes getting used to (it's oddly part of and inside the handle of the upright)

The bad:
* price, but it's cheaper than going through vacuum cleaners

As regular Blenders might recall, in the spring Kate and I had the remaining carpet in all but one room removed and hardwoods were put in; the Dyson works wonderfully on carpet, wood and vinyl flooring.

Here's the product description:
All-new, top-of-the-line Telescope™ Animal™ pet-owner's upright (purple) features Dyson's newest Root Cyclone® configuration for even more efficient suction power! Other improvements include an easy-access long Telescope™ wand for reaching corners and a larger vacuum slot for picking up bigger debris.

What makes Dyson different? Dyson doesn't lose suction! Vacuum cleaners with bags clog and lose suction. Dyson, with no bag, has constant, powerful suction.

This is a gorgeous, brilliantly engineered machine that just happens to be the best vacuum cleaner on the planet. James Dyson, its inventor, explains his inspiration: "I was frustrated with my vacuum cleaner because the bag quickly clogged with dust, destroying the suction. So I set about developing an entirely new type of vacuum cleaner to solve this problem. More than 5,000 prototypes later, I was ready to launch the patented Dyson Cyclone, the first vacuum that doesn't lose suction."

Traditional bag vacuums — and imitative "bag-less" vacs — rely on bags or filters to trap dust and dirt, and their small pores start to clog the moment you start vacuuming. Their suction power drops to half (or less) after picking up just 10 ounces of dust, and the more you use them — the more you need them — the less they work!

This is where James Dyson's innovation saved the day — designing a no-bag vacuum with patented Root Cyclone® technology, a large cyclone chamber topped by a ring of seven smaller "cyclones" using 100,000 Gs of centrifugal force to efficiently remove all dust and dirt from the airflow. Because nothing obstructs the airflow, Dyson doesn't clog and doesn't lose suction! Dyson cleans the last room as well as the first.

Dyson's other innovative and unique features include a quick-draw 17-foot hose that makes it easy to vacuum on a staircase. Lifetime HEPA filter helps keep germs and mold out of the air (in fact, Dyson is endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation). Features a gentle "bare floor" mode plus automatic adjustment for short- versus long-pile carpet. When the permanent, clear collection bin looks full, you don't have to touch anything that's dirty. Instead, just lift it out by the large handle, carry to the trash and pull the trigger; the trap door falls open and the bin empties itself — hygienic and quick! And with no bags to buy or filters to replace, Dyson costs next to nothing to operate.

Comes with a special turbo pet-hair tool for upholstery; a low-profile floor tool for vacuuming under furniture; and Dyson's Carpet Care Kit with Zorb™ powder for deeply buried dirt and Dysolv™ stain-removing spray. Includes three high-velocity airflow attachments (crevice, brush and stair tools) — all neatly stored on board for easy access. Additional 26 1/2 ounces of Zorb™ carpet maintenance powder to keep carpets looking new are available (DY506, order separately). It stands 45" tall x 13 1/2" x 14" and weighs 18.5 lbs. Two-year warranty.


In the Blend mailbag

An entertaining letter from someone named Bart:
Pammy, if you are a Catholic, then you are goin' to fn' Hell. Father Walter Cuenin has been replaced with a real man. No fags are allowed in our Church. If you are a liberal Catholic, if you believe in a, "Women's Right to Choose", then you are just a "Pretend" Catholic. Benedict does not allow women priests, queers, lesbos, etc. Abortion is pure evil. You can play "Church" all you want, Pamela, but in 100 years there will still be NO women priests. That's what Jesus wants. Now take your place, be submissive, and go to Confession for defying your leader, his Holiness. Just because you can vote in the US doesn't mean you have the same rights in the Church. I'll be keeping my eye on your pathetic sissy blog.

A (Real) Catholic Woman
The spledidly gifted "fan" is referring to my post, "MA: Gay affirming priest replaced by Vatican stooge," which covered the ouster of Father Walter Cuenin of Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton, MA for his pro-gay and progressive stances. He was replaced with Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, who served as archdiocese mouthpiece during the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

My reply:
Sorry Bart. I'm an Episcopalian, home of the fag Bishop Gene Robinson.


Michigan state senator unloads a truckload of anti-gay bullsh*t

Friday, October 07, 2005


"Homosexual and lesbian unions under any arrangement does not, and never will, constitute a family...Simply put, no homosexual or lesbian union is ever appropriate; rather, it is utter perversity."
-- Michigan state Senator Michael J. Goschka
He's completely unrepentant too. When confronted by a gay rights organization about it, he unloaded some more In an email to constituents Goschka, the Saginaw News reports, invoked God and Christian principles as "bedrock" reasons to prevent gays access to health care through a partner's public-sector job.
"I see it as very hateful to put the term 'utter perversity' on any group," said Jay Crane of Bay City, president of Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays -- PFLAG -- which has 55 member families in the Tri-Counties.

"I see it as endorsing hateful actions and behavior against a minority group or individuals," Crane said. "We call on Senator Goschka to apologize for his hateful condemnation of our loved ones."

Goschka laughed at the demand.

"They should apologize for their lifestyle and tolerating something so terrible," Goschka said. "The lifestyle, the act itself, it is utterly perverse. It's not natural. "It's not a personal attack," he added. "I've had gays work for me. Not a lot. But I don't ask."
This bastard's cut from the same cloth as our local homo-hater, Bill James over in Charlotte (see "I wasn't kidding when I said the NC wingnuts are sick").

Mike Goschka
By Phone: (517) 373-1760
By Fax: (517) 373-3487
Email: senmgoschka@senate.michigan.gov
Web site


No wonder he wants martial law

Bush needs the troops for crowd control, because if a flu pandemic makes it stateside, we're f*cked because he has no coherent plan, other that to estimate how badly society will unravel. Read the whole frightening article. (NYT):
A plan developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history.

A draft of the final plan, which has been years in the making and is expected to be released later this month, says that a large outbreak that began in Asia was likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within "a few months or even weeks." If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed; riots would engulf vaccination clinics; and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The 381-page plan calls for quarantine and travel restrictions but concedes that such measures "are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the U.S. by more than a month or two." The plan's 10 supplements suggest specific ways that local and state governments should prepare now for an eventual pandemic by, for instance, drafting legal documents that would justify quarantines. Written by health officials, the plan does yet address responses by the military or other governmental departments.

The plan outlines a worst-case scenario in which more than 1.9 million Americans would die and 8.5 million would be hospitalized with costs exceeding $450 billion.

It also calls for a domestic vaccine production capacity of 600 million doses within six months, more than 10 times the present capacity.


Bob Knight wigs out over Time piece on gay teens


The penis-possessing head of the Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute is losing it again: "Clearly, the homosexual movement's effort to recruit children has never been stronger than it is now."

Two explosions from the AmTaliban in one week on the Time article on gay teens. The first was an unhinged response from "ex-gay" Stephen "Brightsmile" Bennett, who claims the article is full of pro-homosexual propaganda.

Now we have the homo-obsessing heavyweight weighing in -- the very male Bob Knight of Concerned Women of America. Bob's take on the article is that Time is playing into the hands of the homosexual agenda's scheduled plan of domination and wanton recruitment.


One might remind Bob that his boss, the lightly-embalmed Beverly Lahaye, has an openly gay son named Lee who works for the organization as Chief Financial Officer. Lee clearly didn't turn gay as a a result of Gay-Straight Alliances or by growing up in some sort of imagined "deviant" environment. Here is the Time article (via gayteens.org). See if anything you read there remotely resembles the hysterical perspective below. It's laughable.
A TIME magazine cover story and a recent pro-homosexual school event should leave no doubt that homosexual activists are recruiting kids into homosexual sex and a “gay” identity, using “tolerance” as a ruse.

The TIME October 10 piece, “The Battle Over Gay Teens,” which includes not a single reference to the extremely dangerous medical consequences of homosexual behavior, especially for boys, includes these details:

• A cocktail party in Manhattan with billionaire liquor magnate Edgar Bronfman, Sr. and Clinton political strategist David Mixner was held in May to raise money for the Point Foundation, a scholarship program to turn “gay” kids into homosexual activists.

...• “Gay kids can now watch fictional and real teens who are out on shows like Desperate Housewives, the dating show Next on MTV and Degrassi (a high school drama on the N network whose wild popularity among adolescents is assured by the fact that few adults watch). Publishers like Arthur A. Levine Books (of Harry Potter fame) and the children’s division of Simon & Schuster have released something like a dozen novels about gay adolescents in the past two years….Gay kids can now subscribe to the 10-month-old glossy YGA Magazine (YGA stands for ‘young, gay America’) and meet thousands of other little gays via young gay america. com (sic) or outproud.org.”

• “‘We’re gonna win,’ says [GLSEN founder Kevin] Jennings, speaking expansively of the gay movement, ‘because of what’s happening in high schools right now.’ … Jennings recalls that when he first started raising money more than a decade ago, ‘the attitude was either “Isn’t it cute that you’re working with kids?” or “Why are you working with kids? What are you, f------ crazy?”’”

Editor’s note: In other settings Jennings has used the “f-word” to dismiss faith-based opponents, and has said he envisions a day when the schools openly embrace homosexuality. At a GLSEN conference, a teacher said she thought it was important to acquaint pupils with homosexuality beginning in kindergarten because “that’s when the saturation process begins.”

But the overall impact of the article helps validate the idea of “gay kids,” and will undoubtedly induce some to act out their sexual curiosity since so many others appear to be doing so. The constant focus on homosexuality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, much as TIME’s frequent articles during the 1960s and 1970s about the “growing phenomenon” of illicit drug use helped spur some kids to try marijuana and LSD.
Nothing is surprising about the level of wingnuttery here as Bob's railed obsessively about gay dominiation in his typical ass-hat fashion before.

Also see:
* I think Robert Knight secretly wants to let his hair down and get nasty
* Robert Knight: The homosexual agenda is more powerful than the Reich
* Bob Knight: ACLU's part of the homo agenda
* Robert Knight is obsessing about homos again


Washington Monument evacuated

CNN says there's a threat of "limited credibility." This sh*t is over the top.

I would rant for a while on this, but Paul the Spud over at Shakes Sis said it all ahead of me (part 1, part 2).


Headlines of the day



Ala. Church Youth Swallow Live Goldfish. Hat tip to Ms. Julien on this one --"So, if they actually chew them, does that mean they are even closer to jeezus?" This is taking place in Florence, Alabama.
The First Assembly of God Church has a Fear Factor ministry that lets youths swallow live goldfish in order to teach them about fear. "We need to be realistic about what the Bible says about fear and not be afraid to share our faith in school," youth minister Anthony Martin told the TimesDaily in a story Thursday. "We can't let that fear rule our lives."

..."Through this ministry, kids are surrendering their lives to Jesus and developing a deeper relationship with Jesus," Martin said. "The method of the ministry that we use to bring people is going to change, but the message is going to stay consistent."

In teaching the lesson about fear, participants in last week's round were asked to pull a number — between one and three — from a bowl that would indicate how many live Comet goldfish would be swallowed.
Just when I thought that one couldn't be topped, I came across this:

The Winner Is... Fake Dog Testicle Creator. I don't think there's anything I can really add.


Gregg Miller with Buck, a bloodhound, in April, 2001 at home in Buckner, Mo. Miller mortgaged his home and maxed out his credit cards to mass produce his invention, prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs. Miller was honored as part of Harvard's IG Nobel Awards, which is a spoof on the Nobel Prize awards, whcih combine humor with scientific discovery. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Gregg Miller)


Little Ricky's in trouble



Man-on-Dog better find some traction, or he'll be hitting the winger speaking circuit after the election. I wonder how much money Mehlman and the meaningless, ineffective vessel Empty Wig Dole (of the National Repug Senatorial Committee) will want to throw behind Ricky's sinking ship?
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robert Casey, Jr., has opened a 52 - 34 percent lead over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the 2006 Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 - 39 percent Casey lead in a July 13 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University. Democrats back Casey 81 - 8 percent, and independent voters back him 52 - 29 percent, while Republicans back the incumbent 67 - 22 percent.

Sen. Santorum has a split 43 - 41 percent job approval, his lowest ever and down from a 51 - 35 percent approval rating July 13. Pennsylvania voters split 41 - 42 percent on whether he deserves to be reelected. Santorum's politics are "about right," 40 percent say, while 29 percent say he is "too conservative," and 9 percent say he is "too liberal."
Who on earth are those 9 percenters that think Santorum's a flaming liberal?


Get your Tidmus Homeland Insecurity Chart



Mike has this up at his pad. Also, check out the Christ of the White House merchandise.


Feingold: Condi's making sh*t up

Call her on it. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), has obviously had enough of the hot air coming out of the Administration on Iraq, and he took a swipe at Condi, ha ha ha. (Raw Story):


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asked whether Iraq was a hotbed for insurgents by Newsweek last month, said, “The argument that I find rather bizarre is that somehow we created more of them by going after it, when, in fact, I think what had happened was that they had not been challenged… And now they’re being challenged.”

Feingold said her statement “makes absolutely no sense.”

“She is just literally making things up, saying that Iraq was a hotbed of terrorism before we went there,” he averred. “The recruiting is done because we are there.”


The Vatican's insane trial balloon re: gay priests

I saw this headline, Vatican Reportedly 'Softening' Stand On Gay Priests, and wondered what on earth this story was going to be about, considering the witch hunt underway at seminaries to root out homos. I thought maybe Papa Ratzi was beginning to see the nonsensical position the church has put itself in when considering banning gay future priests while allowing the ordained queers in its midst to remain, celibate or not.

The "softening" in the article is actually more ridiculous than I imagined. I was laughing out loud.
On Friday, Corriere della Sera, a major Italian newspaper with close ties to the Vatican, reported that a total ban on gay priests may be relaxed to permit gays to take their vows if they can prove they have been celibate for at least three years. It does not say how gay, or suspected gay priests, would be expected to prove they were celibate.

The paper also says that men who "publicly manifest their homosexuality" or show an "overwhelming attraction" to homosexual culture [even if only intellectually]" would be banned.


Inciting homosexuality at a Catholic church near you.

The report prompted one American gay priest, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, to suggest that any man who watched the TV show "Will & Grace" or collected Cher or Bette Midler records could be barred from the priesthood.

The Vatican has not commented on the Corriere della Sera report.


How low can his numbers go?



The Chimperor's numbers are record-setting (CBS):
President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows.
...37 percent now approve of the job he is doing as president, while 58 percent disapprove. Those in his own party are still overwhelmingly positive about his performance (nearly 80 percent approve), but the president receives little support from either Democrats or Independents. And while views of President Bush have lately not changed much among Republicans or Democrats, his approval rating among Independents has dropped 11 points since just last month, from 40 percent to 29 percent now.

...And for the first time in this poll, fewer than half the public approves of the way he is handling the campaign against terrorism. 46 percent now approve, but 46 percent disapprove.

Approval of Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina is about the same as last month, and now stands at 45 percent. Overall evaluation of how he has managed all the recent hurricanes in the Gulf Coast is 46 percent.

Since earlier this year, the President has been viewed as out of touch with Americans. Only 32 percent now think he shares their priorities for the country, while twice as many think he does not. At earlier points in his presidency, more Americans felt he shared their goals.



Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has more on to say on the Chimp's sinking numbers.


Back to the subject of "outing"

This week there is an interesting poll and an AP article on the practice of "outing" on AOL News. (it's still open so you can cast your vote; see current results below).

The article itself defines "outing" as exposing "secretly gay" public figures, but for most of us that use the term it is more narrowly defined as outing gay hypocrites. Most of the people we're talking about are not closeted in their social circles; their friends, staffers and colleagues know of the person's orientation.


Results as of 10/7, 8:30 AM.

People against the practice of outing always try to toss in the unfair outing of private citizens or celebrities in the same basket. This is ridiculous. We're not talking about speculating about the sexuality of Jodie Foster or Tom Cruise; that's just plain gossip -- fun gossip of course, but it's not like John Q. Public doesn't speculate who's doing who in the celebrity world. Check out A-List for goodness sake. That's not what we're talking about here.

The problem for gay activists is these self-loathers of political or social influence. The person in question chooses not to let constituencies that might find their queerness objectionable in on the "secret," since the hypocrite is directly involved in either 1) publicly promoting homophobia or 2) is actively working toward the legislative restriction of gay civil rights, even as they boink someone of the same sex on down time.

I have a problem letting someone that earns their bread and butter attempt to restrict gay rights even as they seek out same-sex action. That, to me, is pathological. They need to be publicly taken to the woodshed.



Look at former Congressman Ed Schrock for god's sake, who's mentioned in the article. This tortured closet case had no business being in Congress, given his 92% Christian Coalition rating, his co-sponsorship of the Federal Marriage Amendment and the fact that he was cruising for sex with men via the MegaMates/ MegaPhone Line, leaving recordings like this:
"Uh, hi, I weigh 200 pounds, I'm 6'4" (inaudible) blond hair....very muscular, very buffed up, uh, very tanned, uh, I just like to get together a guy from time to time, just to, just to play. I'd like him to be in very good shape, flat stomach, good chest, good arms, well hung, cut, uh, just get naked, play, and see what happens, nothing real heavy duty, but just, fun time, go down on him, he can go down on me, and just take it from there... hope to hear from you. Bye."
After Mike Rogers outed this bastard, was it any surprise that the Schrocking news resulted in Ed canceling his re-election bid without commenting why. After all, the man served the Virginia 2nd district, home to the headquarters of televangelist Pat Robertson, and said ridiculous statements like this about homos:
From the Virginian-Pilot, October 22, 2000: Schrock favors ending the Clinton administration's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy on gays in the military. He supports asking enlistees whether they have had homosexual experiences in an effort to to try to keep gays from serving. ''You're in the showers with them, you're in the bunk room with them, you're in staterooms with them,'' Schrock said.
The AOL news piece also makes reference to Dave Dreier, the California congressman that almost got the chance to keep Tom DeLay's seat warm as majority leader -- except his conservative collegues didn't believe in equal homo opportunity. They don't name Dreier in the piece, but acknowledges that his homosexuality is a poorly-kept secret within media circles and the Beltway.
Not all outing campaigns gain traction. A cadre of activist bloggers and alternative-media journalists have been contending for more than a year that another Republican congressman is gay and yet has often voted against gay-rights legislation. Thus far, the mainstream media - both national outlets and those in the congressman's home region - have declined to report on the campaign, although the effort is common knowledge among political reporters and on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public, said he does not know if the targeted congressman is gay or not. However, Frank contended that the perception that the congressman might be gay had damaged his standing with some fellow Republicans in the House - and Frank said this issue of bias should be aired publicly.

"I think he's wrong to be silent about this," Frank said of the congressman. "You should not cover up this act of prejudice."
I'm not sure why Dreier is being protected by the media silence; is it his rank? He certainly seems confident that the press won't "go there," despite much dancing around the fact that his orientation had a lot to do with why he didn't get DeLay's position.

I'm glad to see a mention of the work of activists Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick to out homophobic black pastors, which I posted about on the Blend last week. Their efforts add a new dimension to the practice of outing, targeting a community -- the religious black community -- that has needed to get this crap out into the open for so many reasons. Jasmyne and Keith are taking a lot of heat if you look at the comments on their blogs, but this is something that needed to be done, considering the influence of the black church. Tolerating the public comments of someone like of Willie Wilson is just not acceptable.

Gay rights organizations continue to condemn outing, which is not surprising. They are trying to work within the system; Human Rights Campaign and the Log Cabin Republicans don't want to get dirty in the trenches. I am pleased, however to finally see an acknowlegment by someone in the mainstream movement that there is a role for activists that promote outing.
The president of the [Gay and Lesbian Victory] fund, which recruits out-of-the-closet gay and lesbian candidates to run for office, has mixed feelings about outing.

"If we ever outed anyone, we'd lose our credibility with the people we work with," said Chuck Wolfe. "On the other hand, who can condemn people for using whatever weapons they have to fight for equality and point out hypocrisy? It seems exactly why we have a democracy."
More House Blend:
* 'Jeff Gannon' on Miers
* The Vatican's insane trial balloon re: gay priests



'Jeff Gannon' on Miers


Jeff in the good old Bulldog days. And today.

I deigned to sully my keyboard by surfing over to the former White House rent-boy-cum-journalist's blog to see if the self-appointed "Voice of New Media" is still opining, and lo and behold, he weighs in on Miers in the post A Stealthy Court Pick. He has nothing to say about her positions re: gay civil rights while running for city council back in 1989. Interesting, no?
Conservatives are up in arms because Miers does not have a known judicial philosophy. She is not one of the judges that the Right views as the payoff for supporting Bush for another term. They wanted another Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. Pricilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown were favorites of the movement conservatives because their views are well known. They’ve been gearing up for this fight for a long time, to avenge Robert Bork and compensate for David Souter.

Rush Limbaugh said that the pick was made “out of weakness.” Bill Kristol said he was “disappointed, demoralized.” Ann Coulter called Miers a “complete mediocrity.”

I have to confess I wanted a nominee that would be the “stick in the eye” that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid warned the President would trigger a filibuster. Like most conservatives, I have grown weary of how the Democrats continue to assert their relevance in governance when voters have removed them from power and reduced their numbers in three successive elections.

When you peel away the top layer of beltway bloviation, the brilliant strategy becomes easier to see. Bush has worked closely with Miers for over a decade and knows her philosophy. Conservative critics point to her campaign contributions to Democrats in Texas in 1988 as some indication that she might have liberal tendencies. That may trouble some, but I am encouraged, since I know that a convert to a cause seems to adopt its principles with greater fervor than those who come to it naturally.
The Freepers had a bit to say about Gannon and his comments in this piece...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Does anyone really believe Harry Reid would have urged Bush to nominate her if he thought there was only a snowball's chance in hell of her even inching the SCOTUS rightward? Stealthy candidate for some, perhaps; but not for Reid, I fear."

"I think Harry Reid got played. Now he's stuck with it."

"This is true. I wonder how many understand how and why this turned out this way. Harry got played, but he also got "consulted." LOL!!!"

"You mean Bush tricked Reid into urging Bush to nominate Miers? I wonder how he did that? I doubt Bush told Reid she'd make a fine conservative judge. Reid wouldn't be too enthusiastic about that. So maybe the conversation was more along the lines of, "Hey, Harry. I'll tell everyone she's a conservative; but, to tell you the truth, she's just another Darth Ginsburg. It'll be our little secret, 'kay?""

"Reid thought she was one of Sappho's daughters?"

""An indication of her stance on gay rights comes from this questionaire from the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas Miers filled out while running for the Dallas City Council in 1989. In it, she supported full civil rights for gays and lesbians and backed AIDS education programs for the city of Dallas. (Source: Quorumreport.com)""

"OK, I read it--what am I not supposed to be worried about again??"

"Glad you posted this. I was waiting to see the gay escort view on the pick."

"Wait, I'm confused. Are we still listening to what Jeff Gannon thinks? I think that's a bad sign, frankly, to even be paying attention to such a discredited and immoral person. Isn't there any better commentary out there to link to? This is disappointing."

"I support civil rights for homosexuals! However, I in no way agree with their lifestyle. In fact, I support civil rights for adulterers too! Whatever, started AIDS is now a moot point, it is a social disease that requires public funding. Remember Bush's $15 billion to Africa for AIDS? Guess what, that was public funding!"

"Now "special rights", the kind created by activist judges, I believe should never be supported. I made my choice last November and remember, we could be talking about a Kerry nominee named Mitchell, or something fun like that, today."

"I agree with you--I didn't even read the header article. I had just seen the Drudge headline and wanted to comment, so I chose the newest thread. I think this Gannon character is a liability. We are lucky that situation didn't get very ugly. Could have been that there was no there, there, but those photos! Yeesh! I was afraid he might have a "contact" in the WH."

"I think what alleged conservatives are doing is shameful. What you are doing is requiring is a litmus test that you have used to criticize democrats for the last twenty years. This president promised conservative nominees; he's delivered for over 5 years; and he's earned the right to nominate whomever he wishes that is qualified--at least that's what you were saying a month ago about Roberts. Y'all think he's going to blow his chance to change the direction of the court on this nominee? I think not. What he has done is brilliant in political reality, a nominee where no one can require a litmus test."
Also see: Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster


Friday pet blogging - lazy Tonka edition

Tonka's my third Ridgeback, and true to form, he is fastidious and hates getting wet. It was raining out and he stayed firmly planted on the sofa...



Caption this


More on Rove being recalled before the federal grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA officer:
Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, said that it was unusual for a witness to be called back to the grand jury four times and that the prosecutor's legally required warning to Rove before this next appearance is "an ominous sign" for the presidential adviser.

"It suggests Fitzgerald has learned new information that is tightening the noose," Gillers said. "It shows Fitzgerald now, perhaps after Miller's testimony, suspects Rove may be in some way implicated in the revelation of Plame's identity or that Fitzgerald is investigating various people for obstruction of justice, false statements or perjury. That is the menu of risk for Rove."
What is the Chimp whispering in Turdblossom's ear?

More House Blend fun:
* 'Jeff Gannon' on Miers
* Back to the subject of "outing"
* The Vatican's insane trial balloon re: gay priests



Boy, isn't this a little f*cking late

Thursday, October 06, 2005



Bush Presses Vaccine Makers on Bird Flu. Calling for an effort to get a flu vaccine out and ready at this point only calls attention to the fact that this Administration just doesn't take preparedness seriously at any level.

The Chimperor should have taken action after last winter's vaccine shortage produced images from all over the country of high-risk people and the elderly in wheelchairs falling asleep in line waiting for access to the regular flu shot. Now we're facing a possible pandemic and he's just now calling a meeting.
President Bush summoned vaccine manufacturers to a White House meeting Friday, hoping to personally boost the rickety industry amid increasing fears of a worldwide outbreak of bird flu. It's the latest in a flurry of preparations for a possible pandemic after criticism of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

This month, vaccine maker Sanofi-Pasteur begins the first mass production of a new vaccine that promises to protect against bird flu, producing $100 million worth of inoculations for a government stockpile.

But it would take months to create a new vaccine from scratch if a different strain of bird flu than today's known as H5N1 emerges. Even if the vaccine works, Sanofi is producing enough to protect anywhere from 2 million to 20 million people — depending on how much must be put into each dose — and it's not clear when or where similar large stockpiles could be made.


NY: gays in small NYC firms now eligible for domestic partner benefits

Another big woohoo for the Big Apple and equality. (365gay.com):
Employees of large companies statewide had been covered for some, and although the companies had been offering domestic partner benefits to small companies outside New York City, they had resisted extending that to the Big Apple which has the nation's largest LGBT community. Businesses with fewer than fifty employees were not permitted to add a rider to their existing policy to provide domestic partner health coverage, even if they wanted to.

For employers that believed it was important to provide all employees the opportunity to insure their loved ones, it meant having the employee purchase an expensive individual policy for their partner and then bearing the cost by reimbursing the employee for the policy. "This was never a realistic or economical solution to what is a critical problem for our families," said Alan Van Capelle, Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director.

...Following meetings with the mayor this week Group Health Incorporated (GHI), Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, HIP Health Plans of New York, and Horizon Healthcare Insurance Company of New York said they would begin offering the benefits.

"For too long, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees working for small businesses have had to dig deep into their pockets, if they could even afford it, to pay for expensive individual health policies for their loved ones," said Van Capelle.

"Now, small businesses that want to do the right thing and provide all their employees the ability to insure their partners will be able to do so at a reasonable economic rate. Conversely, small businesses that continue to discriminate by offering their straight employees one set of health benefits and their LGBT employees a lesser set of health benefits will no longer be able to hide behind the claim that domestic partner health coverage is not available."


Today's moaning of dingbat wingnuts



Bring out the tiny violins again.

Our first victim is Daddy James Dobson. He's whining that Repugs of the highest ethical standards (you know, DeLay, Frist, folks like that), are being smeared to hurt his man Chimpy and the AgendaTM.
Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson says conservatives are being attacked in an effort to intimidate the president and Republican leaders.

During a recent interview on the Fox News Channel, Dobson said the recent indictment of Texas Congressman Tom DeLay for an alleged campaign finance scheme, and questions about the timing of a large stock sale by Senator Bill Frist, are both attempts to undermine Republican strategy. The ministry founder said the media's response to such attacks differs greatly from its reporting during the Clinton administration. "In the nineties, we heard an awful lot about the 'politics of personal destruction' [from people defending] President Clinton when he lied under oath," Dobson pointed out. "You don't hear that anymore -- the media doesn't talk about that." But Dobson is convinced that, indeed, that is what is happening now. "If you just look at the people who have been targeted, I think it is the politics of personal destruction," he stated.
I'm wondering if Daddy Dobson has taken a look at this story: Emails may show DeLay role in illegal fundraising case.

***

I guess the lack of a Miers paper trail is making the Right sweat profusely. Look at these squirming wingnuts...



Pat Buchanan sounds like he's about to lose it:
For as of today there is no evidence Harriet Miers possesses the judicial philosophy, strength of intellect, firmness of conviction or deep understanding of the gravity of the matters on which her vote would be decisive to be confirmed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

If she does not exhibit these qualities in testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Harriet Miers should be rejected. That she is a woman, a good lawyer, a trusted friend of the Bush family, a born-again Republican and Evangelical Christian is not enough. That Dr. James Dobson has been secretly assured by Karl Rove she is pro-life is not enough. After all, we have a president who professes to be "pro-life," yet cannot bring himself to say that Roe v. Wade was an abomination he hopes will go the way of Dred Scott.

Because of the immense damage the Supreme Court has done to our society over fifty years, seizing upon and dictating on issues beyond its constitutional province, imposing a social revolution from above, tearing our country apart over race, religion and morality, conservatives cannot take any more risks. We are too close, now, to the promised land.


...Why did Bush do it? Is he unaware of the history or savagery of this struggle? Does he not understand the cruciality of this one court appointment to conservatives who vaulted him to the nomination over McCain and gave him the presidency twice? Does he not care?

***



Little Gary Bauer's having second thoughts about his "wait and see" approach on Miers when it comes to Roe v. Wade. Retro-female Elaine Donnelly is obsessing that softball-playing Harriet might be willing to allow homos in the military and women in combat. Why am I having way too much fun watching them squirm?
Gary Bauer's Washington, DC-based group, the Campaign for Working Families, labels itself as "unapologetically pro-family, pro-life." Bauer himself is considered by many among the conservative community to be the most effective spokesman on behalf of the family and unborn children. That is why the CWF chairman is concerned about conflicting reports regarding the pro-life stance of the Texas native who could be the next Supreme Court justice.

Bauer is concerned that "not one friend, associate, co-worker or White House official is able to produce one sentence she has written or spoken in criticism of Roe v. Wade." And he admits he is troubled by her apparent silence on the controversial issue -- especially since she was baptized into the Christian faith more than 25 years ago and is an active member of an evangelical church in Dallas.

"Surely in a pro-life state like Texas," Bauer wonders, "there was no reason for her to be silent on the fundamental legal controversy of our age."

***



Elaine Donnelly, however, is openly expressing her disappointment in President Bush's choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the high court. The conservative military watchdog, who heads up the Center for Military Readiness, says while it is true that Harriet Miers does not have a judicial paper trail, her record as White House counsel is a legitimate cause for concern.

"I've been told that she has been the gatekeeper on all legal issues in the White House," Donnelly shares. "The issues of concern to the Center for Military Readiness -- such as women in combat, women's continued exemption from registration for Selective Service, and of course homosexuals in the military -- I have sent numerous messages to the White House [regarding those issues]. But apparently those messages did not get through the gate -- the gate that Harriett Miers was keeping."

The CMR president says she is concerned that once Miss Miers is on the Supreme Court, she might side with those who want to use the military for social experimentation. And Donnelly is also anxious about the fact that Miers, in her capacity as White House counsel, apparently has not advised the president to enforce the ban on women serving in ground combate.

"We see the president saying in January, 'No women in land combat' -- and yet the Department of the Army has been changing the rules without notice to Congress, which is required by law," Donnelly observes. "You would think that the White House counsel -- the president's good friend -- would say, 'Mr. President, the Army needs to be brought back in line with the law.'"


Threat to NYC Subways?


In this image taken from television, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes remarks concerning the heightened state of alert in the New York City Subway system Thursday Oct. 6, 2005 in New York. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly looks on at right. (AP Photo/APTN)

Just heard this was breaking on CNN. I'm about to head to my car, so post updates in the comments if you know more. Credible threat or Administration diversion from the sh*tstorm of bad news? Just asking. (NY Newsday):
A "credible threat" to the subway system has prompted a vast mobilization of police officers, law enforcement sources said today.

Hundreds of officers were expected to be dispatched as early as this afternoon to every station in Manhattan -- and possibly system wide -- to thwart the attack, which was said to timed to the Jewish High Holidays and the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Scores of officers from various narcotics units are being called in to assist in patrolling the subways, beginning as early as this afternoon. Many were expected to convene first at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Police sources also said that cops were expected to be kept on 12-hour tours over the weekend. Police could not yet identify the source of the threat, other than to call it "credible."

It comes as the city emerges from two days of hightened alert during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. Police officers patrolled outside of synagogues as thousands of congregants attended services.

MTA officials said they were unaware of the threat until alerted by a reporter. They were expected to return calls later this afternoon.


BBC: Bush said he was on a mission from God



Can it get any worse? We already knew Bush was delusional, sociopathic and ethically challenged, but to see the pathology laid out like this on the BBC is frightening. I will expect the President of the United States to begin speaking in tongues during foreign policy jaunts. (BBC Press Office via Raw Story):
In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday 10, Monday 17 and Monday 24 October), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq '?" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."
And over on AmericaBlog, John is speculating that it's more than a religious experience that explains the Chimperor's demeanor:
A source in the media, who has the opportunity to see the president in person regularly, has pointed out to me that Bush appears to be uncontrollably grinding his teeth, or having a jaw spasm, when he speaks.

Reader Eric sent me a link to a video on the Huffington Post (the video is here, their post on an unrelated topic is here) that clearly shows this problem at the end of Bush's sentences, his lower jaw twitches or grinds. Eric and his friends noticed it too.

I'm told by folks who know that this is something that happens when people do too much cocaine. I've also heard that alcohol abuse can do the same.


Breaking: Karl's going to need diapers



Rove Said to Testify in CIA Leak Case. He's coming in at the last minute because he feels an indictment nipping at his fleshy rear-end -- Turdblossom's scared sh*tless now. How does it feel, Karl? Is he going to take someone out with him?
Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.

The persons, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has not made any decision yet on whether to file criminal charges against the longtime confidant of President Bush or others.

The U.S. attorney's manual requires prosecutors not to bring witnesses before a grand jury if there is a possibility of future criminal charges unless they are notified in advance that their grand jury testimony can be used against them in a later indictment.

Rove has already made at least three grand jury appearances and his return at this late stage in the investigation is unusual. The prosecutor did not give Rove similar warnings before his earlier grand jury appearances.


'Ex-gay': Time article on gay teens is propaganda


"Former homo" Stephen Bennett says homosexuality can be overcome by dealing biblically with the root causes of same-sex attraction.

My earlier post on Time Magazine's article on gay teen is here. Can you read what this man says without laughing? (AgapePress):
A former homosexual turned Christian activist is denouncing a new Time Magazine article on homosexual teens. The Time cover story "The Battle Over Gay Teens" reports that kids are disclosing their homosexuality with unprecedented regularity, and they are doing so much younger.

Evangelist and recording artist Stephen Bennett, who spent 11 years in a homosexual lifestyle before becoming a Christian, believes the Time piece written by homosexual John Cloud derides Christians and former homosexuals. Meanwhile, Bennett contends, the article propagates false information and functions as a "major pro-gay puff piece."

The evangelist notes, "One of the lines in there that really struck me as just an outright lie -- and there are many in there -- says, 'The appearance of so many gay adolescents has predictably worried social conservatives, but it also has surprised gay activists, who for years did little to help the few teenagers who were coming out.' That's a complete lie. The Human Rights Campaign for years has had a major campaign helping teens to come out."

Cloud's article reports that, from young ages, "straight kids are growing up with more openly bisexual, gay, and sexually uncertain classmates." However, Bennett asserts, "This article is filled with tons of misinformation, mocking of Bible-believing Christians, of people who have come out of homosexuality such as myself and who are happily married now."

As head of Stephen Bennett Ministries (SBM), the Christian spokesman works to combat the kind of misleading, pro-homosexual propaganda he sees in the Time article. SBM believes no one is born homosexual; that unnatural homosexual attractions tragically develop early on in the childhood; and that homosexuality can be overcome by dealing biblically with the root causes of same-sex attraction. As an educational organization, SBM works to raise awareness of the truth about homosexuality and to inform the church and the public about the dangers of misinformation being promoted by homosexual activists.

Bennett offers himself as proof that people can find freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction through a relationship with Christ. "I am happily married to my wife of over 12 years, have two beautiful little children, and don't struggle with this whatsoever," he says. The former homosexual turned ministry leader sees Time's article on homosexual teens as another attempt to obscure the truth and promote lies about the inherency and immutability of the lifestyle. "And this is very tragic," he says.
For those of you seeking relief from your homosexuality, I point you to Stephen Bennett Ministries' brand new one-hour audio CD, "The 10 Most Effective Ways to Reach the Homosexual for Christ."


Kentucky pastor pleads guilty in tax case


Pastor Larry bought himself a Porsche and played the ponies with church funds.

As Blender Holly says, here's another pious crook for the Conservative Values Monitor. (Cincinnati Enquirer):
The Rev. Larry Davis pleaded guilty this morning that he lied on a loan application and didn’t pay his federal income taxes in 2003. Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring, faces 24 to 30 months in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Bunning on Feb. 17.

...It is unclear if Davis will continue to be pastor of First Baptist. However, he led church members during their Wednesday evening prayer service.

As part of the plea agreement, Davis pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with a loan application and one count of income-tax evasion. Federal prosecutors dropped three counts of tax evasion and two counts of interstate transportation of stolen funds in exchange for the plea.

Darryl Neltner, the former treasurer of First Baptist, was among the half-dozen people who attended the court hearing. The federal investigation was launched after Neltner wrote a letter to law enforcement officials in January 2004 questioning how Davis handled church money.
So here's the fun Pastor Larry had with the flock's dough:

* He ran up $40,000 of debit card transactions from church accounts.
* $7,400 of that money was withdrawn at horse race tracks.
* Davis set up an account in the church’s name of which congregation members were not aware.
* Davis purchased a Porsche with church money.
* Pastor Larry drew down hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal use from building accounts – and even withdrew money at racetracks.
* When church trustees set up a $3.5 million construction loan, Davis forged documents claiming that the church authorized a loan of $4 million -- and skimmed the difference for himself.
* Over a three-year period the indictment states he either grossly underreported income or did not file an IRS return at all.

It's nice to know that Larry's showing moral leadership like this to his parishioners. And now he'll have some large, buff inmates to minister to in the future.


WY Pharmacy board gets slammed with feedback on proposal

"The option of transferring the prescription to another pharmacy is not a valid option in our state. There are may rural communities with only one pharmacy for many miles."
-- Dr. Lisa Williams, a Cody, Wyoming OB/GYN, in a letter to the State Board of Pharmacy
In a follow-up to last week's post, Wyoming pharmacists may be allowed to refuse to dispense AIDS meds, Blender Michelle points to a positive AP story that shows strong opposition to the proposed Board of Pharmacy rule change, which would allow druggists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on religious convictions.

Thankfully some good folks out there with common sense are letting the Board know this is bullsh*t.
Just days before the Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy was to consider a rule change that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on personal objections, the board had received more than 100 letters objecting to the rule - and not a single letter of support.

The board was scheduled to hear public comments on the proposed rule Wednesday in Jackson, but scores of people sent their comments ahead of time.

The letters - mailed, faxed and e-mailed to the pharmacy board's Casper office and provided to The Associated Press - showed opposition to the rule from all corners of the state. Writers most often cited the state's rural nature, the long distances between pharmacies and concern about women being denied certain medications as their reasons for opposing the rule change.

An AP review of state pharmacy licenses found at least 11 communities with only one pharmacy; because the records included some hospitals and clinics that had pharmacy licenses but did not offer retail services, several other communities may have fewer actual pharmacies than they had licenses.

"As a practicing Ob/Gyn physician in Cody, I am concerned about the choice of the pharmacist to dispense medications to a patient based on the personal views of the pharmacist," wrote Dr. Lisa Williams. "This could limit the dispensing of oral contraceptives, emergency contraception, continued dispensing of antidepressants or other medications that the pharmacist disapproves of."
Some winger pharmacists and members of Right to Life Teton County were in favor of the proposal, but didn't forward support during the public comment period. At this point, the executive director of the pharmacist board, Jim Carder, indicated that the board would likely to reconsider the issue at a future meeting, based on the heavy volume of public feedback received.


Torture is A-OK for these Senators

Yesterday the GOP-controlled Senate voted 90-9 to back John McCain's amendment to the $440 billion 2006 Pentagon authorization bill that would prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

That's a slam dunk vote, wouldn't you think, even as it is a slap in the face of the Chimperor. Apparently nine GOP clowns have a problem with disallowing torture...


"Uncle Pork" Ted Stevens - Alaska


Wayne "Marriage Protection" Allard - Colorado; Kit Bond - Missouri


Tom "Dr. Mengele" Coburn - Oklahoma; Thad Cochran - Mississippi


John "Box Turtle Sex" Cornyn - Texas; James "no gays in my office" Inhofe - Oklahoma


Pat Roberts - Kansas; Jeff "Lynch 'em" Sessions - Alabama.
The latter brainiac was quoted as saying: "We do not have ... systematic abuse of prisoners going on by our United States military."

OK, never mind this.





I'm sure they are simply in line with our Attorney General on the matter.


Cheney had spy on his staff

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A spy running around inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue stealing documents? Why should this be shocking -- after all, they had rent boy-cum-cub reporter "Jeff Gannon" signed in and roaming at all hours of the day and night -- what's the big deal? At least this criminal was arrested. There are probably dozens more in the Administration that need to end up in the paddy wagon.

What I couldn't get over is the Yahoo/AFP page with the story. Get a load of the pic of Cheney (click to enlarge)!



There's also been a series of amazingly unflattering pics of the president up on the wires as well, all at the public pontificating events over Miers' qualifications:









Perhaps Mike Tidmus can make an interesting collage (hint, hint).

UPDATE: Blender Sean in Dallas beat Mike to the punch; here's his submission (click to enlarge):


The thumbtack fun refers to yesterday's post, NC student "turned in" to Secret Service by Wal-Mart photo lab.

Blenders, feel free to jump in with your own P'Shop interpretation of the Chimperor's expressions. :)


Indiana legislator pulls womb control bill

"The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission."
-- Indiana State Sen. Patricia Miller (R-Indianapolis), coming to her senses

Did she just come out from under a cultural rock? This gal had no clue the poorly conceived (pun intended) legislation to control procreation outside of the fertile, married, male-female, faith-based experience was a flaming pile of sh*t? Looks like a little fire was lit under the ass of this Hoosier, so she pulled it.
A controversial proposed bill to prohibit gays, lesbians and single people from using medical procedures to become pregnant has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.

...Miller had asked that committee -- a panel of lawmakers who meet when the Indiana General Assembly is not in session to discuss possible legislation -- to recommend the bill to the full legislature when it meets in January.

Under her proposal, couples who need assistance to become pregnant -- such as through intrauterine insemination; the use of donor eggs, embryos and sperm; in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer or other medical means -- would have to be married to each other. In addition, married couples who needed donor sperm and eggs to become pregnant would be required to go through the same rigorous assessment process of their fitness to be parents as do people who adopt a child.
My earlier post: Hoosier legislators want to quash lesbian pregnancies

***
And in related news, perhaps this idiot's theory is what the Indiana boobs looked to for inspiration for the legislation.

'Sexless' Pregnancy's Threat to Families
Author and Stanford University research fellow Jennifer Roback Morse is pointing out a trend she finds very disturbing -- the increasing incidence of "instant" or "sexless" pregnancies.

A recent article in the London Telegraph newspaper highlighted this rising trend among career-driven women in England who want to have children. Despite being perfectly healthy, many of these women either do not have the time or the inclination to start a relationship in order to create children naturally. So, instead, these career-focused women are turning in increasing numbers to in-vitro fertilization.

Morse, author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook-Up World (Spence Publishing, 2005), contends that such "sexless pregnancies" only serve to further society's disconnect between having sex and the act of procreation. In effect, she says, something that should be an act of pure love is being replaced with technology.

"And many people who are using this technology to create a baby without sex are doing so precisely because they are afraid of having the relationship with the opposite-sex person that, for whatever reason, don't want to deal with," Morse asserts. "They think it's easier to have a baby basically by themselves, without having that relationship with the other person."

Those touting the "sexless pregnancy" option are trying to turn the right of a married couple into an individual right "so that a woman can have a baby on her own terms -- with or without getting involved with a man," the researcher says. "And this, I think, is deeply, deeply wrong from the point of view of the child," she adds, "because often what these technologies turn out to do is to create a situation where the mother has planned in advance that her child will never have a relationship with his or her father."


Houston pols come out against marriage amendment



It takes some cojones to "come out" against the bigot amendment in Rick Perry's manly Lone Star State.
Some of Houston's leading city politicians are voicing their opposition to a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Led by City Controller Annise Parker a number of council members joined members of the Houston Equal Rights Alliance outside City Hall on Tuesday to condemn the amendment.

Parker, who is a lesbian and will run for reelection this fall unopposed, has a longtime partner and adopted children. She told reporters that if the measure passes it will promote homophobia and discrimination. "I would hope and pray that most Texans wouldn't embrace something like this," she said.

...Texans will vote on the proposed amendment on Nov. 8. It would define marriage as a union solely of a man and a woman and bar civil unions in Texas. The state already has a law banning same-sex marriage, but supporters of the amendment say that by that putting it in the state constitution judges would be prevented from overturning the law.

Among the supporters are Gov. Rick Perry. In June Perry signed the legislation sending the amendment to voters. Although his signature was not needed [the very heterosexual] Perry said that the symbolism was important. Following the signing the governor was asked at a press conference how he would tell Texas gay and lesbian war veterans that they cannot come home from the war in Iraq and get married.
And then Perry said the following...



As I said in my original post, Rick Perry, eat my dog's waste product.


Pennsylvania wingnuttery reigns supreme

There's quite a bit of asshattery going on in Rick Santorum's home state. From AgapePress, for your laughing pleasure...


* "Family-focused" whackjobs chastise GOP congressmen on anti-discrimination vote: A Pennsylvania pro-family organization says five Republican congressmen from the state are traitors to the pro-family cause. Diane Gramley (pic.), president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, says the five lawmakers were among 30 Republicans in the entire House who voted for Amendment 25 of the Children Safety Act of 2005. Gramley says that amendment adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the federal hate crimes bill.


Diane says Charlie Dent is down with the homos; she fears more PA Repugs have those "tendencies."

Rep. Charles Dent, she says, has a record, even on the state level, to be "pro-homosexual," so his vote did not surprise the pro-family leader. But she says she was surprised by two of the Republicans -- Mike Fitzpatrick and Curt Weldon. Both Fitzpatrick, who Gramley describes as "the new kid on the block," and Weldon have a history of being on the pro-family side -- "but not this time," she notes. Gramley says the other Republicans who supported the amendment were Jim Gerlach and Todd Russell Platts.

* They dig up scientists to defend "Intelligent Design": As a judge in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, considers whether even brief mention of intelligent design should be banned from a York County classroom, some 85 scientists are coming to the defense of the Dover Area School District. The group has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, urging the judge to affirm the freedom to pursue scientific evidence "wherever it may lead."

Not all the signers are proponents of the intelligent design model, but all agree that "protecting the freedom to pursue scientific evidence for intelligent design stimulates the advance of scientific knowledge." The brief says a ruling against Dover's policy would have "far-reaching detrimental effects beyond the schoolhouse doors." Discovery Institute senior fellow David DeWolf says doubts over whether Darwin's evolution theory adequately explains the evidence should be resolved "in the laboratory, not in the court room." A trial brought by eight families and the ACLU began last week and is to resume today (Wednesday).


I can't wait to see Daddy Dobson repent on the air

Focus on the Family's James Dobson has thrown down the gauntlet. After he declared that he knows something about the softball-playing Harriet Miers that no one else does from people close to her, he's raised the stakes by saying he trusts the Chimpster on this pick or he's going to publicly flog himself over being wrong. Please, I'll even drop on my knees to see this one take place.
Those individuals, says Dobson, have confirmed reports that the 60-year-old nominee is an active and dedicated Christian who serves in her nondenominational, evangelical Dallas church -- Valley View Christian Church. "She is a deeply committed Christian," said Dobson, "and a tithe-paying member" of her church, according to those conversations. LifeNews.com reported this week that Miers has taught Sunday school and served on the church's mission board for years. And the pastor of her church, according to that report, is a staunch pro-lifer.

According to a New York Times article yesterday, Miers made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ in 1979 and was baptized soon thereafter at Valley View Christian Church. Her longtime friend, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht -- who prayed with Miers when she accepted the Lord -- told the Times he knows where she stands on abortion. "Yes, she goes to a pro-life church," he said, adding, "I know Harriet is, too."



Dobson also took time during his broadcast to address recent allegations that Miss Miers, in the late 1980s, had voiced support for homosexual rights and financially supported the presidential campaign of Democrat Al Gore. Dobson noted that in a 1989 survey Miers said she supported equal, not special, rights for homosexuals -- a stand consistent with his own beliefs, said Dobson; and in the same survey also state she did not support repeal of the Texas sodomy law, a statute that was later overturned by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas.

...But aside from Miers' apparent stand on hot-button social issues, Dr. Dobson spent ample time explaining why he believes President Bush ought to be trusted on his selection of the former head of the Texas State Bar. Thus far, he said, the president has been true to his campaign promise to place conservative, strict constructionist judges on the federal bench. So the ministry founder wonders why -- with his political legacy hinging so heavily on his judicial appointments -- would the president "sabotage" that legacy with an appointment inconsistent with his own tenets.

"It would contradict his basic philosophical beliefs," said Dobson. And lest he be accused of being a "shill" for the president, Dobson noted that he does not agree with every policy coming out of the White House, such as how to deal with illegal immigration. But as far as the Miers nomination is concerned, he said, "I believe in trusting this president at this time." [Right about now, I have to think Dobson is losing his mind if he thinks the Chimperor has principles. If that's what he's hanging his support on, he needs to drop to his knees and start praying hard.]

Dobson concluded by saying that if he is wrong on the nomination of Harriett Miers, he will come before the microphone and "repent."
See Shakes Sis for a hilarious post on Dobson.


Yawn



Who didn't see this one coming?

That couple is about as interesting as the hygienically-challenged Federlines.



I love that trashy mag. Kate's aunt gives us a subscription to US Weekly every year. It's a fast five, maybe ten-minute read. I was laughing at the last issue; it had a quote from the designer Valentino saying he would never make anything for Paris Hilton because "she is so vulgar."

Hat tip, Shakes Sis


Chief Justice Roberts' first case: Oregon's Death with Dignity Act


It's Chief Justice John ("no innkeeper, that IS my real name") Roberts' first case on the Supreme Court, and it's one of the most contentious cases in years. It's Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, a citizen-initiative passed with 51% of the vote in 1994. An attempt to repeal it in 1997 was rejected by 60% of the voters. In the time it has been active, 208 terminally ill patients have ended their lives using the Act.
(AP) Under the Oregon law, terminally ill patients must get a certificate from two doctors stating they are of sound mind and have less than six months to live. A prescription for lethal drugs is then written by the doctor, and the patients administer the drugs themselves.
Of course, these lethal drugs are restricted under the Controlled Substances Act, the laws written by the feds to control access to harmful drugs. And as we saw from last term's Gonzalez v. Raich decision, anything that threatens federal power to maintain prohibition of drugs is going to get hammered.
At the outset, Roberts laid a barrage of questions on Oregon Senior Assistant Attorney General Robert Atkinson before he could finish his first sentence.

Roberts asked whether such state laws would undermine the effectiveness and uniformity of the federal Controlled Substances Act, as the Bush administration argues.

Justice Antonin Scalia also seemed skeptical of the state's position. "I think that assisted suicide would have been just as unthinkable at the time this (the federal law) was enacted as prescribing cocaine for recreational use," Scalia said.

Justice Stephen Breyer asked whether states could make marijuana or morphine legal. Other justices asked whether states could allow doctors to prescribe steroids for body building.

"It's a tough case," noted Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate.
Now, nothing these justices decide is going to stop the suicides of terminally ill people. Our law just gives people the option of a painless drug rather than the hose in the tailpipe in the closed garage, or the slit wrists, or the gunshot to the roof of the mouth.

But in order to keep marijuana illegal -- and believe me, with the recent Raich case and one-fifth of the states declaring marijuana legal for medical use within their state, that's the subtext here -- the feds can't have any backdoor loopholes in the Controlled Substances Act. It's the odd Drug War Exception to the usual States' Rights stance of conservatives like Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts.

It's also odd how the Drug War makes such strange ideological bedfellows. In the Raich case, Scalia concurred with usual liberals Ginsburg, Stevens, and Breyer, and moderates Kennedy and Souter, in asserting that the state regulation of medical marijuana was still governed by the Interstate Commerce Clause, even if the marijuana was never bought, sold, shipped, manufactured, or used across state lines. Liberals like to maintain federal power to regulate the states (it's the reasoning behind many civil rights victories, among others), so they too could not let the states regulate marijuana when the feds say no.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor immediately challenged Clement, asking if the federal act also prevented doctors from prescribing drugs for lethal injections of death row inmates.

"The practice of medicine by physicians is an area traditionally regulated by the states, it is not?" O'Connor asked Clement.

Justice David Souter described it as a "bizarre result" to suddenly give the attorney general effectively sole authority over whether a state may authorize physician-assisted suicide.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked whether the federal government had abandoned the position it took in a 1997 case that assisted suicide was a matter for the states to decide.

And Justice Anthony Kennedy said he found the administration stand "odd" when Oregon strictly limits how the drugs could be administered and in what cases.
It's hard to tell where the case may fall. SCOTUS watchers figure that Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and perhaps Kennedy will decide that Congress did not intend to help people die when it passed the Controlled Substances Act. Justices O'Connor, Ginsburg, Souter, and perhaps Stevens seem to favor the idea that there is a 200-year-plus tradition of allowing states to regulate the practice of medicine. Justice Breyer seems to be the swing vote on this case.

The monkey wrench in all of this is that O'Connor is retiring just as soon as Bush's next nominee is seated. If that happens before the case is final, O'Connor will not vote and we could end up with a 4-4 deadlock, leaving the opinion of the 9th Circuit in effect (supporting Oregon's law). If the case is then re-argued, and we have a Justice Harriet ("I'm Bush's personal lawyer, but of course I'll be completely fair... ain't that right, Dubya?") Miers on the court, you know she'll be on the Roberts / Scalia / Thomas side.

Like I argued for the Raich case, I'll argue for this case. Oregon's Death with Dignity Law is a popular and well-meaning law that has been in effect for eleven years without any problems. States have the right to regulate the practice of medicine. People have the right to determine the end of their own life. It is about personal liberty, self sovereignty, and the right to make confidential medical decisions between patient, doctor, and no one else.

That's why I fully expect the Supreme Court to decide against Oregon. I'm betting it won't even be close, maybe even a unanimous decision, that the Controlled Substances Act means the feds can control substances and doctors can't give lethal prescriptions. Because any other decision means that people, rather than government, might actually get to decide how to medicate themselves, and we can't have that!

"If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." -- Thomas Jefferson


NC student "turned in" to Secret Service by Wal-Mart photo lab

More police-state insanity in Bush Country - you can't even have a little photo fun without the fuzz coming to your door. Barco, the town where the student's school is located, is across the sound side of the Outer Banks of the Tar Heel state. (Raw Story):
Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

...Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights," she says. One student "had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.
What would be the potential charge? Assaulting a photo of the Chimp?

In another report, it looks like SS didn't file any charges.
Concerned that the thumbtack might represent a potential threat to the president, the company that developed the student's film notified authorities.

...The Secret Service closed its investigation after learning that the photo was noth