An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Three cheers for Walgreens!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


(CBS/AP)

Walgreens takes four pharmacists to the woodshed for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. Target needs to take a page from this book -- don't cave to the fundies. It also helps, of course, that Illinois requires the scripts to be filled, thanks to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. I'm sure this will spark another round of wingnut fighting.
Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain by revenue, said it has put four Illinois pharmacists in the St. Louis area on unpaid leave for refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception in violation of a state rule.

The four cited religious or moral objections to filling prescriptions for the morning-after pill and "have said they would like to maintain their right to refuse to dispense, and in Illinois that is not an option," Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce said.

A rule imposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April requires Illinois pharmacies that sell contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control. Pharmacies that do not fill prescriptions for any type of contraception are not required to follow the rule.

Ed Martin, an attorney for the pharmacists, on Tuesday called the discipline "pretty disturbing" and said they would consider legal action if Walgreen doesn't reconsider.
The article also notes that:
* The four pharmacists were the first Walgreen had disciplined under the state's rule. Walgreen has 488 stores in Illinois, out of about 5,000 nationwide, with generally three to five pharmacists employed at each one.

* Eckerd and Brooks stores require its pharmacists to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, but spokeswoman Helene Bisson wouldn't say if Jean Coutu has taken action similar to Walgreen.

* CVS Corp., the nation's largest retail pharmacy as measured by number of stores, did not immediately return calls.

Thanks to Blender Cat for the pointer.


Donated organs rejected because Tucson man was gay

Blender Stu of Desert Rat Democrat sent a link to this outrage along from AZ Central:
Albert Soto, a Tucson actor and community activist who died Saturday, intended to donate his eyes and tissue after death, but both were rejected because he was gay.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established guidelines allowing centers to reject donations from men who have had sex with men within the past five years, said Sara Pace Jones, a spokeswoman with the Donor Network of Arizona.

Soto, an administrator with the Tucson Pima Arts Council, died after suffering a stroke on Thanksgiving Day. Though Soto, 51, intended to be an organ donor, the organ recovery network rejected his donations.
So, using this logic, a sexually promiscuous heterosexual would be a fine candidate versus a monogamous gay person, all health issues being equal. The CDC's five-year "no homo sex" rule makes as much sense as the three-year "no gay thoughts" rule for candidates for the priesthood.


Oops - more anti-choice Alito uncovered



The Smoking Gun has more Roe foe info from Sammy. It's nice to have a paper trail...
For those seeking further insight into Samuel Alito's abortion position, a newly released 1985 memo drafted by the Supreme Court nominee offers additional evidence of his opposition to Roe v. Wade and his desire to regulate a woman's right to choose.

...Alito recommended that the U.S. Solicitor General file amicus briefs in connection with appeals of two Court of Appeals decisions that struck down Pennsylvania and Illinois laws regulating abortion. While noting that the U.S. Supreme Court, which had agreed to review the two appellate decisions, was unlikely to reverse Roe, Alito, an Assistant to the Solicitor General, surmised that the high court "may be signalling an inclination to cut back. What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" In the amicus briefs, Alito recommended, "we should make clear that we disagree with Roe v. Wade and would welcome the opportunity to brief the issue of whether, and if so to what extent, that decision should be overruled." Addressing the portion of the Pennsylvania case dealing with what a woman should be told prior to an abortion, Alito wrote that if "abortion is a woman's choice, as the Court has held, then surely the choice should be informed."

At the memo's close, Alito wrote that "abortion is not unregulable" and advocated that the Reagan administration try to "nudge" the Supreme Court toward recognizing a state's "interest in protecting the unborn throughout pregnancy, or to dispel in part the mystical faith in the attending physician that supports Roe and the subsequent cases." A "frontal assault" on Roe, Alito concluded, was not preferable. A more measured approach "makes our position clear, does not even tacitly concede Roe's legitimacy, and signals that we regard the question as live and open."


The Chimperor's Plan for Victory


Left: Midshipmen catch naps as they wait for more than an hour for U.S. President George W. Bush to deliver his address. Right: U.S. President George W. Bush stands after delivering an address on the war in Iraq at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, November 30, 2005. Both photos: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to `stay the course. If by 'stay the course' they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they're right. If by `stay the course' they mean we will not permit al Qaida to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven for terrorists and a launching pad for attacks on America, they're right as well. If by `stay the course' they mean that we're not learning from our experience or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong."
-- your Dear Leader, trying to pump himself up.
Seriously, this was a pageant of delusion. The "The 35-page fighting strategy" document, titled National Strategy for Victory in Iraq is surely a mind-numbing affair of spin and blather. I expect we will see even more staged events like this meant to stroke the ego of this mentally ill, feeble man, as much as it is to rally the faithful.

Look at this meaningless hot-air passage that tells you nothing about actual plans:
"We expect, but cannot guarantee that our force posture will change over the next year, as the political process advances and Iraqi security forces grow and gain experience...While our military presence may become less visible, it will remain lethal and decisive, able to confront the enemy wherever it may organize."
Whatever.

Think Progress, as usual, has sliced and diced it well. Check it out.

Also:
* Michael Stickings at The Reaction - Divide and conquer: Bush's new strategy to win in Iraq and at home


Vermont teacher in trouble for 'liberal' quiz


(AP) -- A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right.

Bret Chenkin, a social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, said he gave the quiz to his students several months ago. The quiz asked students to pick the proper words to complete sentences.

One example: "I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes." "Coherent" is the right answer.
Luckily, our crack team of researchers have discovered the rest of Mr. Chenkin's sophomore English quiz:

2) "Lynne jumped in horror at the sight of the lump of extreme (girth, graft) hiding in the inner thight of Dick's pants leg."

3) "The level of Republican ethics in Washington these days is so (miniscule, macrobiotic) as to be undetectable."

4) "The theory that the universe could not exist without the guiding force of a divine creator is known as (science, religion)."

5) "The idea that 'we have to fight them over there wo we don't have to fight them over here' is valid if we assume that terrorists can't (multitask, masticate)."

6) "Pat Robertson is to Christianity as George W. Bush is to (leadership, lackadaisical)."

7) "Pouring water on a bound, upside-down, blindfolded prisoner's head to produce the terrorizing sensation of drowning in hopes of extracting sensitive information is known as (interrogation, torture)."

8) "When the rich white son of a rich former president is able to get into the Vietnam-era National Guard ahead of poor minority kids, and is able to get into Yale and Harvard Business school despite mediocre grades, and is able to get ahead in the business world through the help of daddy's rich friends, and is able to become president through partisan vote rigging and court decisions, that is known as (affirmative action, dumb luck)."

9) "Condoleezza's hair (steadfastly, stupefyingly) remained rigid and undisturbed by the light breeze.

10) "As a president, George W. Bush ranks as the most (corrupt, stupid, evil, deranged, sociopathic) ever." (Note: choose all that apply).


The 'Constitution Restoration' Act

Someone has to stop these theocrats; measures designed to stop the judiciary from ruling on church-state issues are moving right along. This is scary stuff, first some unhinged maneuvers out of Lousiana. (WingNutDaily):
The Louisiana Legislature has approved a resolution urging Congress to pass the Constitution Restoration Act, a bill that would prohibit federal courts from ruling in cases involving government officials who acknowledge God "as the sovereign source of law, liberty or government."

During a special session this month to address Katrina recovery issues, Sen. Mike Smith, a Democrat, introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 30, which passed the body by a 34-0 vote. The measure passed the state House by acclamation.
And on the national front, the push for this crap is well under way:
The measure urges Congress to pass the Constitution Restoration Act of 2005, saying that by doing so lawmakers would be "protecting the ability of the people of Louisiana to display the Ten Commandments in public places, to express their faith in public, to retain God in the Pledge of Allegiance, to retain 'In God We Trust' as our national motto, and to use Article III, Section 2.2 of the United States Constitution to except these areas from the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court."


Aderholt, Shelby.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the legislation, H.R. 1070 and S. 520, sponsored in the House by Rep Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and in the Senate by Sen Richard Shelby, R-Ala., was birthed in the aftermath of the ouster of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was sanctioned by the courts for acknowledging God by way of a Ten Commandments monument in the state's judicial building. Moore, now a Republican candidate for governor, is a constituent of both lawmakers and was instrumental in drafting the measure.
The House bill is has 44 co-sponsors, the Senate bill has eight. Under the bill, a judge who violates the proposed rule will have committed an offense that is grounds for impeachment. Look at this language:
The Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

...In interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States, a court of the United States may not rely upon any constitution, law, administrative rule, Executive order, directive, policy, judicial decision, or any other action of any foreign state or international organization or agency, other than the constitutional law and English common law.
More information (FAQ) on the Constitution Restoration Act here.


Tidmus scorches the Pope on World AIDS Day



A well-deserved "ouch" for the Prada-wearing manly man of the Vatican from Mike Tidmus:
Papa Ratzi is celebrating World AIDS Day and the Vatican’s huge successes in the fight against the fight against AIDS by declaring just how close he feels to people living with AIDS. Ratzi said, “I feel close to those sick from AIDS and their families, and I invoke for them the help and comfort of the Lord.”

It was not immediately clear whether Papa Ratzi was referring to those with “deep rooted” AIDS tendencies, or to those with a mere “transitory” interest in spending the rest of their lives with AIDS.
Head over to Mike's pad for more.

***

Meanwhile, we have a reaction from Bob Knight to the Vatican document on homos in seminaries. What a laff riot, that Bob is...
Pro-family groups are praising a Vatican decision to toughen up its policy against allowing homosexuals to be priests. The Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by decades of scandals involving homosexual priests molesting young boys. Now the Vatican's ruling -- labeled as "Instruction on the Criteria for Priestly Vocational Discernment" -- basically states there should be no homosexuals in the priesthood.


Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute insists the Catholic Church has learned a hard lesson. "The scandals of homosexual priests that have rocked the church in recent years taught them the lesson that they can't mess with this stuff," Knight says. "If someone has that recurring temptation, they probably shouldn't be in the priesthood."

Catholic activist Judie Brown says it is now up to the church's seminaries to enforce the policy. She says rectors of seminaries who have an opportunity to interview individuals who are trying to discern whether they have a vocation to the priesthood "are not doing the homosexual any favors if they accept him into the seminary." The instruction confirms what the Vatican has said in the past on this issue, even though the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been more tolerant in dealing with homosexual priests, making provisions for some.


HR 550: Making sure your vote counts



The reverberations from the 2000 and 2004 voting irregularities are still being felt around the country. When the integrity of voting becomes a mysterious black box of confusion controlled by corporate interests, our democracy is at risk. Witness this news out of Raleigh about the Diebold weasel shenanigans in the Tar Heel State just a couple of days ago. The company never thought it would be forced to allow vetting of its equipment and software. North Carolina, after experiencing vote-eating by electronic touch screen devices last year, brought the hammer down on black box voting machines.
One of the nation's leading suppliers of electronic voting machines may decide against selling new equipment in North Carolina after a judge declined Monday to protect it from criminal prosecution should it fail to disclose software code as required by state law.

Diebold Inc., which makes automated teller machines and security and voting equipment, is worried it could be charged with a felony if officials determine the company failed to make all of its code some of which is owned by third-party software firms, including Microsoft Corp. available for examination by election officials in case of a voting mishap.

The requirement is part of the minimum voting equipment standards approved by state lawmakers earlier this year following the loss of more than 4,400 electronic ballots in Carteret County during the November 2004 election. The lost votes threw at least one close statewide race into uncertainty for more than two months.
and more, in California:
Diebold machines were blamed for voting disruptions in a California primary election last year. California has refused to certify some machines because of their malfunction rate. California officials have agreed to let a computer expert attempt to hack into Diebold machines to examine how secure they are.

On Monday, California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said his office might seek to expand such testing to all systems seeking certification for use in California's 58 counties.
If you're a regular reader of The Brad Blog, over the last year, Brad has tirelessly reported on countless stories of voting irregularities and shady, criminal dealings that make your skin crawl.

This is why we need HR 550.

House Resolution 550 is the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, sponsored by Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) and co-sponsored by 159 Representatives (only 9 are Republican - gee, I wonder why?). The bill, incidentally has been endorsed by the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform.

H.R. 550 will:
* Mandate a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;

* Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;

* Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;

* Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;

* Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter verified paper balloting; and

* Require full implementation by 2006

It's sad that we even have to talk about why it's important to have an auditable voting system in this country.

It's even worse that there's a need for legislation to mandate a paper trail.

It's practically criminal that any member of Congress should oppose such basic, fundamental principles about election integrity and the people's right for a vote to count. The lack of Republican support for HR 550 says it all.

In North Carolina, here are the members already supporting the measure:

Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 3/17/2005
Rep Etheridge, Bob [NC-2] - 2/16/2005
Rep Miller, Brad [NC-13] - 7/21/2005
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] - 2/2/2005

***

The Voter Confidence Petition in Support of H.R. 550 is here: http://www.rushholt.com/petition.html

THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE ADMINISTRATION COMMITEE:
If you are a constituent of Housing Administration Committee members, contact them and ask them to support H.R. 550:

Representative Robert A. 'Bob' Brady (Democrat - Pennsylvania, 1st District)
Representative John T. Doolittle (Republican - California, 4th District)
Representative Vernon J. Ehlers (Republican - Michigan, 3rd District)
Representative Zoe Lofgren (Democrat - California, 16th District)
Representative John L. Mica (Republican - Florida, 7th District)
Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald (Democrat - California, 37th District) Ranking Member
Representative Candice S. Miller (Republican - Michigan, 10th District)
Representative Robert William 'Bob' Ney (Republican - Ohio, 18th District) Chair
Representative Thomas M. Reynolds (Republican - New York, 26th District)

If you want to write a letter to the House Administration Committee, the address is: 1309 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6157

Phone or FAX the Committee
Phone: 202-225-8281
Fax: 202-225-9957

Additional Resources...
Verified Voting
Vote Trust USA
Voters Unite!

Hat tips to DBK of Blanton's and Ashton's for the blogswarm info and Shakes Sis for launching the Big Brass Alliance swarm.


Why do Republicans hate Americans that take commercial flights?

If the training of federal agents to protect flights from terrorist acts had been sh*t-canned by a Democrat-majority Congress, we'd hear the wailing from Faux News, GOP goons and talking wingnut heads 24/7. Why does the GOP love Osama? (AP):
Efforts to train thousands of federal agents to protect commercial flights during heightened terror alerts were quietly abandoned more than a year ago because Congress objected to the cost, government investigators said Tuesday.

...The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, reported that the federal air marshal service suspended its efforts to develop such a "surge capacity" by training customs and immigration agents to protect passenger airliners.


LCR queen offended by drag show

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I have never been so offended, mortified, and angered at anything the University of Missouri has done in my nearly three years of attendance. It is with great regret and humility that I respectfully ask the citizens of Missouri to not judge the entire gay and lesbian community by the misguided actions of a few.
-- sad and extremely uptight head of the Log Cabin Republicans of Greater St. Louis, Charles Stadtlander
WTF is this about? I'm trying to wrap my mind around why a gay group would want an investigation of a freaking drag show. This is at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. (365gay):
The president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Greater St. Louis, Charles Stadtlander, said he attended the Oct. 14 drag show. He raised concerns that the show mocked heterosexual audience members, that performers wore revealing outfits, used inappropriate language and simulated sex acts.

He said university officials should not have allowed the event and raised concerns that tax dollars were involved. University spokesman Bob Samples said Stadtlander's complaint was the only one received about the event.

Taxpayer money was not used to fund the event and proper procedures were followed, he said. Samples said the matter was a First Amendment issue. He said campuses have hundreds of events annually, and not everyone finds them to be appropriate.
This guy is twisted - he must be a closet AmTaliban.


Musgrave gets her Chimp photo op today


King Furious George sucks the forehead of homo-bigot US Representative Marilyn Musgrave, R-CO, after speaking at her fundraiser at Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, CO. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)

He managed to make it all the way to the end of his prepared, stilted remarks yesterday to get to Marilyn's pet issue -- a federal marriage amendment. The fundraiser raked in $450K for this bigot.

Musgrave was recently named one of the ten most vulnerable Republican incumbents by former House Majority Leader Tom Delay's PAC, so it's no wonder Cheney swooped in last May, raising $200K to fill her coffers.
I'm also proud of the fact that she stands up for values that she thinks important. It's really important for the United States of America to promote a culture of life, to be a welcoming society -- (applause) -- to recognize the value of each person. Marilyn is a strong supporter of developing a culture of life. And she's a strong supporter of the sanctity of marriage -- (applause) -- who supported a constitutional amendment to make sure that activist judges do not redefine traditional marriage. And I'm proud of your support of that important piece of legislation, Marilyn. And the people of this district ought to send her back to Washington, D.C. because she shares the same values as most people in Colorado. (Applause.)
***

Also, the Chimperor spent a lot of time building up the "dark swarthy enemy" imagery in this speech. God, this writing is awful. The only numnuts that could possibly tolerate a speech like this are the hand-picked automaton event supporters. I'm just surprised that his staff can't come up with anything less hoary and tired to say than this.
We believe in the freedom of people to worship and speak their mind, the freedom of the press to print what they want. They believe in the opposite. They have a dark vision of the world. They have made their intentions clear. They want to establish a totalitarian empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. And one way for them to accomplish their objective is to drive us out of the Middle East, is to cause America to become isolated. It's not going to happen on my watch. (Applause.)

...This is an enemy that has declared their intentions in Iraq. They've got one weapon, by the way -- their ideology is so dark, nobody believes in it except for a handful, but they've got the capacity to kill innocent people and have those images on the TV screens around the world, all attempting to shake our will and to get us to retreat. They have stated openly their desire to do to Iraq what they did to Afghanistan, to convert that country into a safe haven so they can plan, plot and attack. We will defeat the enemy in Iraq. We will do our job to protect the American people. (Applause.)

The stakes are high, and it's important to have members of the United States Congress who understand that. Marilyn Musgrave understands that we're in a time of war.
Colorado Rep. Angie Paccione (D-Fort Collins) is her challenger (a post on her is here); she expects to raise $100,000 by the end of this year.


Please, I don't want 'Duke' in the club

Mike Rogers over at BlogActive always has lots of juicy tidbits, but this one is stomach-churning. It looks like admitted crook and former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham might bat for the home team, another GOP closet case:


Cunningham has long been rumored to be gay or bisexual. A chat today with Mark Olson, Rep. Cunningham's press secretary brought a swift reply to my question "Is the congressman an out member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community?"

"No," was Olson's reply, "the Congressman is heterosexual. He is married." (Of course he said it with the kind of inflection as if assume that a gay or bisexual member of Congress could not be married. Um, Mr. Olson, did you hear the tapes of Ed Schrock?

Ask me how suprised I am to see this scandal surrounding a guy who has a big score of ZERO from the Human Rights Campaign?
While over at Mike's site, check out these posts:

* Welcome to Dumbfuckistan (he's referring to homo-hating Virginia)
* Was Joseph McCarthy gay?...


Bailey's home

Kate picked up Bailey this afternoon. B is out of it after the oral surgery, but she actually ate some dinner (softened with chicken broth), and is resting now. Here are a couple of pictures. Tonka just wanted to be near her, and Chloe, the Bichon wanted to play (of course) and missed her photo op.





Antibiotics and painkillers for the next week or so, plus a recheck at the vet next week. Thanks, Colony Park Animal Hospital!



Clemency



Virginia Gov. Mark Warner granted clemency today to a convicted killer (the sentence was commuted to life in prison). According to the AP, Robin Lovitt would have been the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty back in 1976.
"No case has been more troubling," Warner said Tuesday on WTOP radio in Washington. "There's no case I've spent more time thinking about, praying about."

Warner, a Democrat, has never granted clemency in the nearly four years he has been governor. During that time, 11 men have been executed.
Is Lovitt guilty of the crime? Who knows, because the evidence that could have proven it one way or another has been lost.
Lovitt's lawyers, who include former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, and anti-death penalty advocates had argued that his life should be spared because a court clerk illegally destroyed the bloody scissors and other evidence, preventing DNA testing that they said could exonerate him.
***

Karla Faye Tucker wasn't as lucky as Lovitt. She and 152 others didn't stand a chance of getting clemency from the "Christian" Governor of the Great State of Texas, George W. Bush:


Texecutioner: During his six years as governor of Texas presided over more executions than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Tucker was executed in 1988 and was the first woman executed in the U.S. since 1984; the first in Texas since the Civil War.
In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, a number of protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Karla Faye Tucker. "Did you meet with any of them?" I ask. Bush whips around and stares at me. "No, I didn't meet with any of them," he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. "I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with Tucker, though. He asked her real difficult questions like, "What would you say to Governor Bush?" "What was her answer?" I wonder. "Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me." I must look shocked--ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel--because he immediately stops smirking.
- Time Magazine
By the way, now the 1,000th execution is scheduled for Friday in the Tar Heel State. Kenneth Lee Boyd is slated to die for the murder of his estranged wife and her father.


O'Reilly shows us what Christmas is really about



[UPDATE: Bill has lived up to his word and has started his "enemies list." See more at The Brad Blog, Shakes Sis and Huffington Post. ]

Via Think Progress. The piehole of Bill O'Reilly opens and the verbal diarrhea pours out. Since he believes that there is a "secular progressive agenda" to destroy the holiday (he's bunking with Rev Tinkywinky on that front), he decided to share the true meaning of Christmas with his audience last night...
Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming "Merry Christmas."

Featured prominently on his website is "The O’Reilly Christmas Store," where loyal Factor viewers can buy books, jackets, and coffee mugs featuring the right-wing commentator’s favorite slogans.
Video of the f*cker over at Media Matters.


SCOTUS leaves Fed whistleblowers high and dry



Today the Supreme Court dismissed without comment, a lawsuit brought bya former FBI linguist who said she was canned in 2002 for coming forward with info on security breaches, possible misconduct and bungled translation work. Sibel Edmonds was left high and dry. This will definitely have a chilling effect on other potential whistleblowers that are thinking of coming forward to save taxpayers from losing money on government waste, fraud and abuse. The government's defense? It's all a state secret. The Heretik:
THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMS states secrets privilege more than it admits, sixty times since the concept was born in the McCarthyite, anti communist hysteria of the Nineteen Fifties.  In most instances, the state secrets privilege has been used to prevent certain pieces of evidence from entering court. As evidenced in the Edmonds case,  the Bush Administration is expanding scope by seeking dismissal of entire cases.  National security turned out not to be the issue in the first case that formed the basis for thestate secrets privilege doctrine, United States v. Reynolds.  What was argued as a case involving secret military equipment and national security 50 years later turned out to be shoddy maintenance of the United States B-29 fleet.

IN THE EDMONDS CASE testimony given  to Congress in open session was later retroactively classified.  The way the Bush Administration uses the state secrets privilege the truth may be classified forever.

Shakes Sis also weighs in.


Ken Mehlman, practicing some 'hot moves'

You may want to put whatever you are drinking down before you click this link to a series of pix on Capitol Buzz, where the RNC head is showing the ladies his groovy hetero vibe in a DC bar/club called the Guards...his mouth is still hanging open, btw, awaiting the next housefly (or something).


Kenny at work; Kenny at play. Care to caption?

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Chimp on the loose, jabbering for GOP candidates


AP Photo/Evan Vucci
"I, fortunately, have had my fill of campaigns, but there's nothing like walking into a room full of enthusiastic supporters to give you that spirit, to kind of put that wind behind your back."
-- Bush, at a fundraiser for masochist Arizona Senator John Kyl.
There's wind, all right, and it's blowing in the space between the President's ears.

As blow-addled Whitney Houston said back in the day, "crack is whack." However, I don't think the Chimperor took the wisdom of Bobby Brown's wife seriously. Bush has his mouth soldered to the end of the pipe, and he's hallucinating that he's got the juice to boost GOP candidates. Whose idea was this - Ken Mehlman? (ABC/AP):
Despite his low standing in the polls, President Bush is working to help Republican House and Senate candidates build their campaign war chests while promoting his own troubled agenda.



...On Tuesday, Bush was slated to appear at a fundraising luncheon for Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in Denver at the end of a two-day swing to pitch his immigration reform proposal.
I guess homophobe Marilyn's out to keep those true-believers riled up. At this point, if she needs to rally the Freepers, she's in trouble.

Please, keep the Chimp on the road. We may see the delusional clown have the on-air crack up that we've been waiting for.


Vatican officially releases the homo purge document


"Those people [you homos out there] find themselves, in fact, in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women. One cannot ignore the negative consequences that can stem from the ordination of people with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies."
-- from the Vatican document on regulations for men entering the priesthood, officially released today
At long last...now we can sit back and see if American Catholics, and the priests that disagree with Papa Ratzi are going to take this on the chin.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, and gay Catholics that were hoping for more inclusion and less demonization over time have been given the finger. They now have a pope that plans to turn back the clock and slam the closet shut while the pedophiles in their midst continue running free -- and the collection plate revenue is paying off the lawsuits.
"If instead it is a case of homosexual tendencies that are merely the expression of a transitory problem, for example as in the case of an unfinished adolescence, they must however have been clearly overcome for at least three years before ordination as a deacon.''

For many Catholics the document raises as many questions as answers. What exactly is meant by a "deep-seated homosexual tendency," is unclear since a definition isn't provided. Nor is there an understandable definition of "expression of a transitory problem".

The document, called an ``Instruction'' is only five pages, including footnotes. It was signed by the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education on Nov. 4 and says it was approved by Pope Benedict on Aug. 31.

"We are calling on all Catholics of goodwill to speak to their priests and express their deep concern at this decision," said Harry Knox, Director of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion and Faith Program.


News Telegraph

"We're speaking directly to Catholics in the pews and urging them to consider what Jesus would do if he saw his neighbor treated this way."

Britain's OutRage called the document bigoted and hypocritical.

"It will encourage dishonesty, fuel homophobia and lead to Vatican sex spies snooping on trainee priests," said OutRage's Peter Tatchell.

"If these rules had existed in the past, many existing Archbishops and Cardinals would have never been allowed to enter the priesthood. Given the high proportion of gay clergy in senior positions in the Vatican, this new policy is rank hypocrisy."
Catch this choice headline:

* Vatican confirms ban for 'deep-seated' gays (Independent/UK)

***

And the fallout begins -- Anti-gay edict stirs priest to step aside. An Arizona priest steps down over the bigoted policies of the church.
The Rev. Leonard Walker, 58, who as pastor was chief executive of Queen of Peace church, is the first priest in the Phoenix Diocese to resign over church treatment of gay men, specifically a new Vatican document aimed at keeping gay men out of the priesthood.

Walker declined to disclose his sexual orientation, but he said he was no longer comfortable "wearing the uniform" of the priesthood.

"It's like a Jew wearing a Nazi uniform," Walker said. "I could no longer stay in that institution with any amount of integrity."


Mercer University screwed over by Georgia Taliban

If there was no spiritual reason whatsoever to discourage homosexuality, certainly the blight of AIDS should be adequate to surmise, 'This is not a good thing to promote at our university.
-- Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Director J. Robert White
In a post from a couple of weeks ago, Baptist bucks force disbanding of gay group at Mercer University, it was clear that the pressure was on Mercer's administration by the Georgia Baptist Convention to distance itself from the Mercer Triangle Symposium, a gay support group. MTS was not sponsored by the university, mind you -- it simply held meetings on the campus.

The Georgia Taliban warned that unless Mercer University President Kirby Godsey pulled the plug on the group, the bigots were going to pull the millions in funding that the college receives from the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Apparently disbanding the MTS was not enough.

The Baptist bible-beaters are severing ties anyway, because Mercer has faculty members that are supportive of the homos.
Southern Baptists in Georgia are disassociating themselves from a historically Baptist school that employs two Christianity professors and several other faculty members who support homosexual student activism on campus.

By a 98 percent vote, the Georgia Baptist Convention recently decided to sever ties with Mercer University in Atlanta because of the school's endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle. The school hosted a "gay pride" event whose supporters reportedly included faculty and members from the school's Department of Christianity. If the Convention votes in a similar fashion next November, Mercer will no longer be considered a Georgia Baptist school or receive $3.5 million a year in funding from the Convention.

...Dr. Tony Romans is the pastor of North Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta. He says theological liberals are at home in an academic setting -- and likely could not survive in the pulpit.

"A lot of the men who go through seminary and get the academic training who are liberal in their theology cannot make it as a pastor in most of the local churches," Romans exclaims. "They can't go to their pulpit and preach that liberal theology; the people won't stand for it."


Bailey's in surgery today



[UPDATE (11:45): Just got a call from the vet - Bailey's out of surgery and we'll be able to pick her up at 5 today. She'll be on a new course of antibiotics, but should be fine in 2-3 days. Whew!]

Kate and I are both on edge this AM, because one of our babies, the Lab/Weimeraner mix Bailey, is going in for oral surgery today. One side of her face has been pretty swollen off and on for the past week or so.

We're both having flashbacks to February, when we lost Red, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. His heart stopped while under anesthesia. Needless to say, we're at a different vet now. The memories are too painful.

Bailey is about 8 years old; she was adopted from a Raleigh shelter. She was found in a mall parking lot, left by some cretin. She's our alpha dog, a real trouper and really doesn't show the level of pain she clearly has to be in, according to the vet.

Hopefully I'll get good news later in the day.


Watch your back, Wilkerson


(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Former aide to Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, paints another interesting picture of the delusional, power-mad men in the Chimp administration. (AP):
A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees arose from White House and Pentagon officials who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful" and the Geneva Conventions irrelevant.

In an Associated Press interview, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of postwar planning. Underlings exploited Bush's detachment and made poor decisions, Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

On the question of detainees picked up in Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, Wilkerson said Bush heard two sides of an impassioned argument within his administration. Abuse of prisoners, and even the deaths of some who had been interrogated in Afghanistan and elsewhere, have bruised the U.S. image abroad and undermined support for the Iraq war.

Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the United States is all-powerful, that as commander in chief the president of the United States can do anything he damn well pleases," Wilkerson said.

On the other side were Powell, others at the State Department and top military brass, and occasionally Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, Wilkerson said.

Powell raised frequent and loud objections, his former aide said, once yelling into a telephone at Rumsfeld: "Donald, don't you understand what you are doing to our image?"
Isn't it refreshing to hear the truth from an insider?


Canada's government topples after no-confidence vote


Prime Minister Paul Martin turns towards a Liberal caucus member as Consevative leader Stephen Harper looks on during the vote on a non-confidence motion in the House of Commons. Photo: Tom Hanson/CP Photo


Expect Stephen Harper to rail on about gay marriage as a means to whip up his base of wingnuts, while capitalizing on the scandal-ridden, 17-month-old government of Paul Martin, which was toppled on a 171-133 no confidence vote last night, forcing a January election. (365gay):
Passage of Canada's national gay marriage law was one of the few successes the Martin government has had. The legislation became law in July despite fierce opposition in Parliament by Conservatives. Conservative leader Stephen Harper has vowed to bring in legislation to repeal the marriage act if his party forms the next government.

Although he has said he would not use a rider in the Canadian Constitution allowing a government to opt out of any single provision in the Charter of Rights most legal experts say that would be the only way to overturn the law. The procedure has never been used by a federal government.

Short of an absolute majority government it is unlikely that any attempt to overturn the law would succeed. Both smaller opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, support the law, along with most Liberals.
Maybe Canadian Blenders can chime in on the mood there...


CREW files IRS complaint about Daddy Dobson

Monday, November 28, 2005



Yes! Via PageOne Q, most excellent news about the head of Focus on the Family getting the heat turned on him by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The complaint asks for the IRS to investigate activities by the group which may violate IRS regulations and require a revocation of its tax-exempt status.


Coburn, Ballantine.

Although barred from electioneering, Mr. Dobson has endorsed candidates for political office several times. In early April, 2004, Mr. Dobson endorsed Republican Representative Patrick J. Toomey in his race for Senate in Pennsylvania. In addition, it was reported that Mr. Dobson actively campaigned during a rally for Rep. Toomey. Other candidates that Mr. Dobson reportedly endorsed in 2004 include North Carolina Republican candidate Pat Ballantine for Govenor and Oklahoma Republican candidate Tom Coburn for Senate.

“Mr. Dobson’s egregious violations of IRS code demand an investigation into his improper activities that break both the spirit and the letter of IRS law,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today.



Recently, the IRS has actively pursued investigations against several perceived liberal groups. The IRS targeted the NAACP’s chairman Julian Bond for a July 2004 speech in which he criticized the Bush administration's policies on civil rights and the war in Iraq. [See my Blend posts here and here.]
This act is notable because the Bush administration has been threatening the tax-exempt status of a progressive church for simply holding sermons against war.
Additionally, the IRS has threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California because of an antiwar sermon there during the 2004 presidential election. In his sermon "If Jesus Debated Sen. Kerry and President Bush," the Rector Emeritus of the church, George Regas, never encouraged parishoners to vote for one candidate over another, but only to vote their deepest values.


Rep. 'Duke' Cunningham resigns after guilty plea


"He did the worst thing an elected official can do — he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there."
-- U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, on Republican California Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's guilty pleas
This member of the "party of values" needs his entry in the Conservative Values Monitor updated, Russ. Tee hee. He entered pleas of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, tax evasion and wire fraud. Whatta guy! (AP):
Cunningham answered "yes, Your Honor" when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.

Later, at a news conference, he wiped away tears as he announced his resignation. "I can't undo what I have done but I can atone," he said. [Boo-f*cking-hoo...]

Cunningham, an eight-term Republican congressman, had already announced in July that he would not seek re-election next year.

...The former Vietnam War flying ace was known on Capitol Hill for his interest in defense issues and his occasional temperamental outbursts. After the hearing, Cunningham was taken away for fingerprinting and released on his own recognizance until a Feb. 27 sentencing hearing. He could receive up to 10 years in prison.

He also agreed to forfeit to the government his Rancho Santa Fe home, more than $1.8 million in cash and antiques and rugs. In a statement, prosecutors said Cunningham admitted to receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid to him by several conspirators through a variety of methods, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.


Seriously, is the President batsh*t crazy?



There's an excellent DKos diary up, Sy Hersh's new New Yorker article "Up in the Air" that sadly seems to confirm we have a delusional man running the country. We're talking about a state of mental illness that is not being treated, paranoia that is coddled, and aides that want to keep Bush in his altered state of reality.

Read on if you really want to raise your stress level. My emphasis below...

Sy Hersh appeared on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer about this New Yorker piece and had this exchange with Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: In this new article you have in The New Yorker, you also write this about the president: " 'The president is more determined than ever to stay the course,' the former defense official said. 'He doesn't feel any pain. Bush is a believer in the adage, "People may suffer and die, but the Church advances." ' He said that the president had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney. 'They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,' the former defense official said."

[...]

BLITZER: Here's what you write. You write, "Current and former military and intelligence officials have told me that the president remains convinced that it is his personal mission to bring democracy to Iraq, and that he is impervious to political pressure, even from fellow Republicans. They also say that he disparages any information that conflicts with his view of how the war is proceeding."

Those are incredibly strong words, that the president basically doesn't want to hear alternative analysis of what is going on.

HERSH: You know, Wolf, there is people I've been talking to -- I've been a critic of the war very early in the New Yorker, and there were people talking to me in the last few months that have talked to me for four years that are suddenly saying something much more alarming.


(AFP/Jim Watson)

They're beginning to talk about some of the things the president said to him about his feelings about manifest destiny, about a higher calling that he was talking about three, four years ago.

I don't want to sound like I'm off the wall here. But the issue is, is this president going to be capable of responding to reality? Is he going to be able -- is he going to be capable if he going to get a bad assessment, is he going to accept it as a bad assessment or is he simply going to see it as something else that is just a little bit in the way as he marches on in his crusade that may not be judged for 10 or 20 years.
***

Sy Hersh's intimation that Bush has a tenuous grip on sanity dovetails with recent articles about his isolation from staffers that he feels betrayed him. You may recall an earlier post, where Insight Magazine reported that the Chimperor is only talking to Condi, his mom, Laura, and Karen Hughes because he feels under siege from within, from those who are not among his perceived true believers.
The president’s reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.

"The atmosphere in the Oval Office has become unbearable," a source said. "Even the family is split."

Sources close to the White House say that Mr. Bush has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials in the wake of plunging domestic support, the continued insurgency in Iraq and the CIA-leak investigation that has resulted in the indictment and resignation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.
You may also remember the post on a BBC documentary (which the WH dismissed as hogwash, of course) that presented our dear leader telling the Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister in June 2003 that he was "on a mission from God."
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.'"
That portrayal of Bush doesn't seem far off from Sy Hersh's reporting. No one is laughing now.

Trust me, if mainstream journalists are getting leaks from "anonymous officials" in the White House on Bush's "stubbornness" and "resolve" that at this point sound more like "he's crazy," the truth about the president's sanity has got to be a hell of a lot worse than anything that has landed in print.


Bruise from the "pretzel choke incident."

Bush sounds completely batsh*t detached from reality. Is this "dry drunk" mentally competent to run this country if he is suffering from untreated depression and religious megalomania? Should we be considering, as John over at AmericaBlog says, the 25th Amendment?

I don't think this will ever happen, unless someone catches him setting his dog on fire on the White House lawn or streaking out in public. There are too many minions that would just have the guy sedated for the rest of his presidency. Perhaps they can find a lookalike (as in the movie Dave) to sub for the feebler-in-chief.


MJ's attorney says he likes the Jews


WTF went terribly wrong?

Good god. The human advertisement for excess plastic surgery and untreated mental illness known as Michael Jackson keeps opening his mouth with idiotic, anti-Semitic bullsh*t. And worse, out trots his self-loathing Jewish attorney to defend him. Give that man a Project 21 award.
Michael Jackson's attorney does not deny the pop star called Jews "leeches" in a voice mail, but says the pop star is not anti-Semitic.

The Anti-Defamation League has demanded Jackson apologize for the voice mail he left two years ago, which was aired this week on ABC.

In it, Jackson blames Jews for his financial woes. "Michael Jackson has an anti-Semitic streak," ADL director Abraham Foxman said. "It seems every time he has a problem in his life, he blames it on Jews."

Attorney Brian Oxman doesn't deny his client left the message.

But he told the New York Daily News: "I have been with the Jackson family for 15 years, and I'm Jewish. I have never once seen anything anti-Semitic from him or from his family."
Just when you think it can't get any more bizarre, MJ plans to convert to Islam. (Eurweb):
Speaking of unsubstantiated information being disseminated, there were also reports over the weekend that Jackson may be planning to convert to Islam. According to Israeli Web site Ynot.com, an Arab Israeli newspaper quoted sources in Bahrain who said that Jackson is already following the five tenets of Islam.

A second report from an Iranian news site says Jackson has donated money toward the construction of a new mosque near where he plans to live in Bahrain. Jackson’s older brother Jermaine has already converted to Islam.
Whew. Take him away.


Warner on MTP: Bush Should Use 'Fireside Chats' to build support for Iraq war


Sen. John Warner, R-Va

Perhaps Warner meant something more like "light a roaring fire under Bush's ass." (AP):
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sunday suggested that President Bush use an FDR-style presentation to update people on progress in the war in Iraq.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., recalled that during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt often went on the radio in "fireside chats" to explain to the nation in detail the conduct of the war in Europe and Asia.

"I think it would be to Bush's advantage," said Warner, who served in the Navy during the war.

"It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of this concern that understandably our people have, about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public," he said.
Uh, right. It will take more than the Chimp in a sweater, a log on the fire and a cup of cocoa to fix this problem.

While we're on the good Senator, John Warner got his behind kicked all over the set of Meet the Press yesterday by colleague Joe Biden on the Bush Iraq "strategy". You know the GOP has no game plan when Warner says he trusts the Chimp because he knows the Bush family. Read and weep:
MR. RUSSERT: ...The State Department was very, very clear about that; the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Department of Energy. And in the National Intelligence Estimate there was a caveat which said, "We don't believe these tubes could be used for anything like that." Do you believe, in all honesty, that the administration took the very best spin on intelligence they could get in order to help buttress or support the case for war?

SEN. WARNER: You know, I've known the president quite well. I knew his father well. I actually knew his grandfather, met him. You remember, he served on the...

SEN. BIDEN: I only know the father and the...

SEN. WARNER: Well, anyway, the grandfather served on the Armed Services Committee as a senator. That's a family that's been known for its integrity and public service for generations. Our president would not intentionally take any facts and try and mislead the American public, in my judgment. What was before all leaders of the world at that time were facts that gave rise to the--Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and some potential for nuclear weapons. When we went in, in '91, we underestimated how far he had proceeded in his programs. Now, we recognize he didn't have them but he certainly had the infrastructure to which he was going to direct moneys, if he ever got it, to go back into the business of weapons of mass destruction, had not this invasion taken place.
I wonder if John Warner had to put on a pair of Depends for this interview, because he looked like a helpless infant up there babbling about the failed policies of his master.


The batch of Kool-Aid at the White House is 100 proof

Sunday, November 27, 2005

"He thinks that would be an admission he's screwed up, and he can't bring himself to do that."
-- a former senior staffer on any suggestion to the Chimp that Karen "Mommy" Hughes should be summoned back to whip the White House message into shape.
A NY Daily News article reports -- via anonymous sources of course, since fear rules in this White House -- that there is a lot of self-delusion about how bad things are, and true to form, the Chimperor wants to keep the wagons circled, and ignore the obvious breakdown on all fronts.
Embattled White House aides have begun to believe President Bush must take the reins personally if his evaporating agenda and credibility are to be salvaged.

"We're just plodding along," admitted a senior Bush aide from deep within the West Wing bunker. "It's up to the President to turn things around now." Even as his poll numbers tank, however, Bush is described by aides as still determined to stay the course. He resists advice from Republicans who fear disaster in next year's congressional elections, and rejects criticism from a media establishment he disdains.

"The President has always been willing to make changes," the senior aide said, "but not because someone in this town tells him to - NEVER!"

For the moment, Bush has dismissed discreetly offered advice from friends and loyalists to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and bring back longtime confidant Karen Hughes from the State Department to shore up his personal White House staff.

..."The staff basically still has an unyielding belief in the wisdom of what they're doing," a close Bush confidant said. "They're talking to people who could help them, but they're not listening."

Two sources said Bush has not only lost some confidence in his top aides, as the Daily News has previously reported, but is furious with a stream of leaks about the mood within the West Wing. "He's asking [friends] for opinions on who he can trust and who he can't," one knowledgeable source said.

...Gone from the schedule are weekly cholesterol-laden breakfasts at Rove's home where top Bush hands discussed strategy. Also missing are Sunday "message meetings" with outside thinkers like GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman, campaign pollster Matthew Dowd and superlobbyist Ed Gillespie.


Poor Ken-bot's not invited to message meetings any more. Boo-hoo.

A card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House recently encountered several senior presidential aides at a dinner and came away shaking his head at their "no problems here" mentality. "There is just no introspection there at all," he said in exasperation. "It is everybody else's fault - the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They're still in denial."
It really sounds like there are mentally and emotionally unhinged people running this joint, desperately need of therapy, meds or both. If they are getting help, it's clearly time to change doctors, folks.


Empty Wig Dole on Iraq (and fundraising)


Before/after: Surgically preserved Elizabeth Dole (a.k.a. "Empty Wig", "Sugar Lips" or "The Joker").

Liddy's not cutting and running. Is this not the most ridiculous crap from the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair and devotee of plastic surgery? From one of the mailing lists that I don't know how I got on. This one is entitled "U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole: Continued Progress in Iraq"
Iraq is the central battleground in the War on Terror. And yet despite the evident progress, some want to cut and run. They claim that our troops have simply done all that they can do, and that the United States should set arbitrary timelines for withdrawing our forces. Mr. President, I strongly disagree and believe that setting such a timeline would only embolden the terrorists and send the message that the United States has lost its resolve in the War on Terror. This is the wrong message. Any timeline for withdrawal must be driven by success - not artificially tied to a calendar.

...Much of this defeatist criticism is being leveled by the very same people who, having access to the same intelligence as the president, agreed that Iraq posed a real and immediate threat. And these very same people supported going into Iraq to fight the War on Terror. Now they want to throw up their hands and walk away before the job is done. ...

...Freedom and democracy in Iraq are the terrorists' worst nightmare. They know what is at stake and try desperately to derail our success. In a letter intercepted last month from Bin Laden's deputy Zawahiri to Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq - the terror network's plan was exposed: to expel the Americans from Iraq, establish radical Islamist authority in the country, and extend the terrorists' jihad into neighboring countries and around the world. They seek to destroy our very way of life. We cannot cut and run - We know all too well what is at stake in this global war against terror. To our men and women in uniform who are protecting our freedom and our security - I say thank you and God bless you - you make us so very proud.
***

Here's a bonus letter I received from Liddy as head of the NRSC, breathlessly asking me to fork over the dough because Democrats are cozying up to limousine liberals.
The New York Post recently reported on the Democrats' strategy for tapping into mega-millionaire elites:

"First, it was Hollywood Hillary, now it's fellow New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's chance to schmooze the stars. Schumer has corralled A-list bombshell Lindsay Lohan, hotshot comedian Ben Stiller and powerful producer Marci Klein - daughter of Calvin - to headline a [Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee] fund-raiser ... [with tickets going for] a 'suggested donation' of $10,000 a head."

That's right. At a rate of $10,000 a head - or more - the national Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is tapping into Hollywood and Chairman Chuck Schumer's Manhattan connections to raise record sums for their candidates who want to defeat Republicans.



The only way we can keep up and protect our Republican Senate majority is if our supporters in the Heartland - what the liberal elites like to think of as "fly-over country"! - take immediate action.

While liberal millionaires and billionaires finance the Democrats' effort to take over the Senate, we rely on thousands and thousands of common-sense citizens like you to pitch in with whatever you can give.

So click here to give $1,000, $500, $100, $50, $25 or even $6 for '06. The terrific thing is that on the Internet, every gift makes a real impact because the cost of fundraising is almost nothing. So help me kick off our NRSC "Heartland Stars" program in November. Our goal is to match what the Hollywood Stars raised for the Democrats at their swanky Manhattan soiree. It will take 400 Republican stalwarts giving $25 each to match one gift from just one Hollywood liberal. Then forward this email to everyone on your personal address book.

The Democrats have one goal in mind: regaining control of the United States Senate.

...They want Harry Reid setting the agenda in the Senate as Majority Leader, Ted Kennedy running Health Care policy, Pat Leahy applying his liberal litmus test to every nominee before the Judiciary Committee, Robert Byrd handing out Appropriations and Carl Levin overseeing America's Armed Services.

Please take just one minute right now to click and pledge $33 - just $1 for each of our 2006 Republican Senate candidates.
Boy, this is the best she can do? It's laughable.


The Sixth Floor Museum



On Wednesday, we drove to Dallas from Arlington (I was visiting Tim for Thanksgiving) to go to the Sixth Floor Museum, which is in the Texas Schoolbook Depository building. Depending on whether or not you accept the Warren Commission report, this is where sole gunman Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.



It was a beautiful fall day, much like the day the tragedy occurred. Since the events occurred 42 years ago, almost to the day -- and at the same time as the assassination (12:30 PM) -- we saw everything in Dealey Plaza in the same lighting. That made it extremely eerie to be in this place, seeing the "grassy knoll," the surrounding structures and buildings, and Houston and Elm streets, which have largely remained unchanged because of the historic nature of Dealey Plaza. It seems a smaller space than I imagined.



Left: a memorial poster of sorts on Elm Street; right: The sign for the museum at the book depository, which is on the corner of the Elm extension.





Left: the grassy knoll. The arrow in the picture on the lower right points to one of the "X" marks on the pavement on Elm Street -- noting where shots struck Kennedy. The bottom picture is of the railyard monitoring station, which is behind the grassy knoll, separated by the infamous wooden fence where conspiracy buffs say another gunman took the fatal shot at the president. The area is now the parking lot for the museum.

There are plenty of exhibits on the first floor, which is open to the public, including a graphical timeline, and artifacts, such as the scrubs and shoes worn by one of the doctors at Parkland Hospital where the limo raced with Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connolly.

We went up into the museum ($13.50 with the audio tour), and we spent nearly three hours up there. The sixth floor of the building has retained the feeling of a warehouse, but it has been completely transformed and filled with physical exhibits and photos. As you wind your way through, there are areas with video terminals that play news reports or interviews with witnesses, and alcoves with seating where continuous short films play on various topics (American culture at the time, milestones in the Kennedy administration/policies, world reaction to the assassination, media coverage, etc.).

The museum doesn't shy away from Kennedy's political failures (The Bay of Pigs), and thankfully steers clear of the woman-chasing nonsense, which doesn't belong in this particular museum. One of the short films featuring Walter Cronkite, underscored the reality that JFK was only in office for a thousand days; we'll never know what he might have done in a second term that would have affected this country for good or ill (Kennedy never dipped below 56% approval, btw). However, JFK had a completely different, more sophisticated world view and optimism about our country (the space program), its potential to effect positive change (Peace Corps) and trust in the people -- the current man sitting in the Oval Office looks like a f*cking clown next to JFK.

The seventh floor is equally engaging; it houses a new exhibit, Covering Chaos, which is devoted to the media coverage of the assassination, which was a milestone in terms of television news coverage (four days straight, no commercials). It made me feel old to see the faces in the video footage of the coverage of Oswald's murder by Jack Ruby. Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Bob Schieffer, Robert MacNeil, and Jim Lehrer were at the beginning of their careers. Jennings actually flew to Dallas on his own tab from Canada to cover the events. Another segment of the exhibition compares the technologies of 1963 and today; it was interesting to see the huge cameras used. I don't know how they fit these gargantuan objects, along with the journalists, in the crowded hallways of the police station where Oswald was perp walked.

We made our way toward the exit, where they have guest books for people to sign with their impressions. Above the guestbooks was this quote, which made me cry, and it affected Kate as well...

We seek a free flow of information... we are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
-- JFK, on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, in February 1962.
Yes. That is where we are today. A time where we have the Patriot Act and the Pentagon is expanding its domestic surveillance activity. After seeing all of the museum, and thinking about this state of things, I contributed my two cents to the guestbook:
I cannot fathom how far the promise of this country has fallen. For all of Kennedy's mistakes and flaws, his sense of what we as a country are capable of cannot be denied. The current administration shows us what happens when amoral people helm the greatest country in the world. This is a sad situation.


The 'new blackface' lesson

"I do not think the girls were trying to be racist; I honestly believe that they do not understand what they did."
-- Stetson University student on members of the women's softball team that thought blackface as a Halloween costume was a good idea


"I feel that these girls, if they have offended anyone, should be told what harmful consequences their costumes may have caused. Instead of sending them to the (dean's) office, I would instead have them get a look of shame and a reminder to be considerate of others' feelings as much as possible."
-- Stetson student, Ian Wasser


"We don't condone that behavior, and it is not an accurate representation of Stetson and what we stand for. I was surprised that they may not have understood the breadth of the impact of their actions."
-- Michelle Espinosa, Stetson's dean of students
History does indeed repeat itself, because human beings are so damn dumb. Even worse, there are people making excuses for the behavior, blaming on ignorance of history. OK. If that's the case, I have another question -- why have these students not been exposed in our educational system to history and ideas that would have enlightened them enough to think that this was offensive? They shouldn't need special "diversity training" to figure this out. This bit of fun comes to us from DeLand, Florida. (Local6.com):
Several women on Stetson University's softball team are under fire over blackface costume photos recently posted on the Internet, according to a Local 6 News report.

Members of the Stetson team dressed up as school basketball star Grlenntys Kicking Stallion Sims on Halloween by painting themselves black, wearing cornrows and fake gold teeth. Some players wore the blackface costumes to a contest to a Deland bar, according to the Stetson student newspaper.

The blackface photos some how ended up on a Web site this month and have since outraged civil rights activists at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, Local 6 reporter Tarik Minor said.

"I can see why people would consider it offensive," Sims said. "They said they wanted to dress up as us but they didn't say they were going to paint their bodies or anything. We are real close with the softball team and we didn't think anything of it. We gave them our jerseys."

Some people on campus are angry with the photos, saying they remind them of the humiliation and mockery blacks suffered before desegregation, Minor said. "Not too many people know the history of blackface, student Cameo Humes said. "It was a form of basically mocking African Americans by painting their faces black and giving them exaggerated features, such as big lips."
Leonard Nance, chair of Stetson's diversity council, said the university plans to sponsor campuswide diversity dialogues and workshops in response to the incident. He said: "This is a perfect teaching moment for us to help students understand why this is inappropriate and unacceptable. It's nice to know that Stetson has faced some other "teaching moments," such as this opportunity:
The school's student newspaper was suspended in 2003 following an April Fool's edition containing racist, misogynistic jokes and a sex column that many interpreted as promoting domestic violence.

Espinosa said the university learned a great deal from the newspaper incident. "We learned that the quickness of response sends a clear message that that kind of behavior is not accepted, not appropriate and not tolerated on our campus," she said.

"We learned that students sometimes learn more from discussions that arise as the result of difficult situations, real situations and not hypothetical ones. We hope to apply some of what we learned in this situation, too."
Alrighty then. So, hypothetical situations just don't cut it anymore as a tool to teach adults about offensive behavior -- they need real-life concrete examples of the offensive behavior for the dim bulbs they call brains at Stetson to fire up. Got IQ?

While the incident at Stetson is in the news, it seems like their are plenty of "opportunities" for teaching tolerance around the country. People don't shoot out of the womb as bigots - this is taught. No one is addressing the fact that this is about unlearning prejudicial cultural upbringing, learning and home environments that promote a complete lack of intellectual curiosity about the world outside of their own (dominant culture) experiences. Real exposure to the history of that outside world would render a thinking person incapable of making such ignorant decisions. All that is offered up is remedial training. (SPLC):
About a dozen high school students in Rising Sun, Ind., caused an uproar last week when they wore Ku Klux Klan outfits to a school Halloween dance.

"I think it gets back to the education we need to do not only as a school but as a community about why these things are unacceptable," Superintendent Steve Patz told WCOP News. The students involved were told they would have to attend sensitivity training or risk suspension.

At Highland Park High School in Dallas, Tex., students and faculty agreed last week to end "Thug Day," a three-year homecoming tradition where students at the predominately white school wore Afro wigs and gold teeth to school.
Over in Freeperland, where they claim that racism is not tolerated (is that laughable?), the response is, well, worthy of a thread-pulling, but it's still up as I type this. I left out the Al "The greatest entertainer ever" Jolson love-fest going on over there.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

They "remember" times before desegregation? How old are these people? Plus, how is someone in blackface so insulting? They're all @#@&(# retards."

"There will be even "better" news coming out of Stetson in the coming days and weeks. Some of my friends on College Republicans started a conservative magazine, only to be barred from distribution both on and off campus due to disagreements over the conservative content. All attempts at compromise have been unsuccessful so far. We have already contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and they have taken our case. Hopefully we can settle but we are prepared to protect out legal rights."

"They committed the greatest of all crimes: ethnic humor at the expense of one of the favored minorities. Had they engaged in lesbianism or insulted Christians or whites there would have been no problem."

"The funny thing about this is a black is offended by blackface but a black man doing hip hop talking about beating up on cops and Ho's and playing with his nuts the whole time doesnt offend them in the least. To me Blackface is a lot better than gangster rap."

"There should be a National Black Face Day. Where all appear in Blackface. It would drive em nuts!"

"No comment required. What were they mad about again?"

"And yet completely acceptable when LIBERAL Ted Danson dressed up in blackface (with minstrel costume) "

"Now in fairness, Danson's stunt was far from APPROVED. It wasn't even accepted or tolerated. Danson was absolutely villified by liberals for the stunt. It even went so far as the NYC mayor excoriating Danson for the event. Many black members even relinquished their memberships to the Friar Club as a result. So to say that it was approved or acceptable to liberals is complete and utter intellectual dishonesty."

"Yeah, imagine if there were a "Black Sistas" movie or something. We'd never hear the end of it."

"Seems things have changed at Stetson. One of my kids went there some 15 years ago and I got the impression the place was somewhat conservative."

"Whites are the only group that is allowed to be made fun of now."

"The article is so poorly written that it's hard to tell, but I think they were doing a parody of one particular player who happens to be black. I wonder where the race pimps draw the line. Suppose they left off the shoe polish, but still did the corn rows and gold teeth."

"What do you think will happen to these players?
A. They will be kicked off the team and banished from participation in any sporting activity, professional or amateur, for the rest of their lives
B. (A) but will also be kicked out of school and prosecuted civilly for Hate Speech Crimes.
C. (A) and (B) and will also have their parents' homes burned to the ground by angry white liberal mobs.
D. Other"

"She is just having her minstrel period."

"Of course it was disapproved. In the leftist pecking order, Blacks rank higher than White liberals."

"I agree..It was completely ignorant.Its 2005 and these so called educated college women should know that blackface antics are an insult and a tasteless joke.
Also see: Blackface- an excellent Wikipedia entry.

Thanks to Fritz of On the Fritz for the pointer.


Odds and ends from the mailbag

Saturday, November 26, 2005



I'm just catching up with emails and loading up pictures of my trip...but I wanted to pass along a few things in the mailbag...

* Larry sent me a link to the Celebrity Book List - The Favorite Books Of Your Favorite Celebrities. This edition covers Laura Bush, Bill Clinton and the Chimp. Check out the reading material of our dear leader.

* Gary has good news out of Washington State about one of the openly gay candidates, Fred Chang, looking like a winner for Port Orchard City Council. "As of Wednesday, with votes from 60.09% of all registered voters counted (they predicted a 60% turnout), Fred Chang leads Jay Weatherill 58.98% to 40.48%. Kitsap County offers one more update late Monday afternoon, then the numbers will be certified Tuesday." Other winners: Dave Kaplan - Des Moines City Council, Jeff Kingsbury - Olympia City Council, Ryan Mello - Tacoma Parks Commissioner, Keith McGlashan - Shoreline City Council, Jim Nobles - Seattle Monorail Authority

* MadKane has some fun up -- Yet Another Ode To Ann Coulter; An Unscrupulous Fellow Named Jack

* Blender Joel in NJ points to a heinous development in NJ; Ocean County refused to act on a request from an investigator (with 23 years in the county prosecutor's office) who is now dying of cancer, to provide domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian employees so that she can pass her pension to her partner.

* R. Neal ("the blogger formerly known as South Knox Bubba"), who is now a contributor at Facing South, had a great post up with some interesting euphamisms for Darth's national torture policy. From the "Torture glossary and translation dictionary" post:
Enhanced interrogation techniques: Torture

Dietary manipulation: Torture by starvation

Sleep adjustment: Torture by sleep deprivation

Stress position: Torture similar to the medieval "rack", improvised

Waterboarding: Torture by simulated drowning or suffocating

Mild, non-injurious physical contact: Torture by beating

Extraordinary rendition: Kidnap and torture

[...]

Fraternity pranks: Right wing pundit characterization of torture

We do not torture: What the Bush administration says when they mean they order low-ranking soldiers to torture with the assistance of civilian "contractors"

Unpatriotic: Opposition to torture on the grounds that it is immoral, illegal, not generally believed to be effective, is not what America stands for, and puts future American POWs at higher risk of being tortured.
I'll have a post up on my visit to the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas tomorrow.



Homo-bigot Willie Wilson fans, you have to see this

Regular Blenders know my thoughts about Willie Wilson, the unhinged bigot who thinks the world is being taken over by lesbians with sex toys, and lying about his son from getting a date to the prom because of those lesbians. Here's a reminder of some of the wisdom of Rev. Wilson, who serves as pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. (and was a former mayoral candidate):

"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.'"
-- Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington DC, sharing more words of wisdom about lesbians "taking over" the community.

"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, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. (and a former mayoral candidate) during a recorded sermon.



"The situation is so grave that it should be declared a national emergency."
-- Willie Wilson, on the "epidemic" of lesbianism among black girls, on the Web site of Union Temple Baptist Church
***

Guess what? Someone finally created a Flash animation paired with outrageous audio from the Wilson sermon. "Yo Butt Ain't Made For That!" is hilarious. Go to SomethingAwful.com.... You can listen to the audio, but the Flash animation adds so much to it.



Earlier posts on this font of intolerance:
* DC pastor - lesbianism is "about to take over our community"

* Homo-bigot DC pastor gets skewered by rights groups

* DC Rev 'apologizes' for outrageous sermon attacking gays

* Homo-bigot reverend flaps his lips over lesbianism - again

* Willie Wilson: homo-bigoted pastor and LIAR

* Tidmus gives Willie Wilson the Shaft

* Wilson bans Keith Boykin from the podium at the Millions More March

Thanks to Blender Anne for the pointer.

Key: black pastor


How bad is 37% approval?

Friday, November 25, 2005



USA Today puts Chimpy's current pathetic approval ratings in historical perspective, and it doesn't look good, despite the self-delusion of the apparent self-medicating leader of the free world continuing to behave as if he has a mandate.

They only demo he has to cling on is his "base" of wingnuts -- 80% of Republicans still approve of the performance of the Chimperor, while independents have peeled away, with only 28% approval and a measly 7% among [dysfunctional] Democrats.

When we visited The Sixth Floor Museum/Dealey Plaza on Wed (I'll post pics when I return to NC), one of the placards in the museum noted that Kennedy's lowest approval rating was 56%. As the article notes, this was in September 1963, two months before his assassination, and people were queasy about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, as well as civil rights issues, the Cold War, etc. Bush is beyond a lame duck.

The genius of Karl Rove is that he was able to keep sheeple poll numbers from free fall (along with back pocket help from Diebold on election day) long enough to secure this second term for his hero. Bush may be lucky that he cannot run for re-election; but congressional candidates will have to decide whether cozying up to this clown is a net negative, even in Red states.
How dangerous is 37% job approval?

• Bush need look no farther than his father, George H. W. Bush, who struggled with a sluggish economy in 1992. His job approval hit 39% in February, and in November he was voted from office.

• Carter, hurt by the Iran hostage crisis, was at 37% in September 1980. Two months later, he lost his re-election bid.

• Ford, who succeeded Nixon, grappled with a falling economy and high inflation. He spent much of 1975 with approval percentages in the 30s and lost to Carter in '76.

• Nixon saw his approval rating plummet to 31% in the summer of 1973 as the nation followed the Watergate hearings. He resigned a year later.

• Johnson, stymied by the Vietnam War, hit 36% in March 1968, the month he decided not to seek re-election.

• Truman, beset by the unpopular Korean War, was at 23% in January 1952, when he chose not to run again.

Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy were the only two presidents in the past 50 years to never fall below 40% approval. Eisenhower's low was 49% in 1960, shortly after a U.S. spy plane was shot down by the Soviets.
Can he hit Truman level lows? At this rate, anything seems possible, yet we have to live with this incompetent "dry" drunk until January 2009? How will we make it?


No April Fool: Brownie opens emergency consulting biz

"Look, Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is...So if I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses _ because that goes straight to the bottom line _ then I hope I can help the country in some way."
-- Michael "Brownie", on his shiny new emergency planning consultant biz in Colorado
I'm just speechless. This shameless, incompetent crony bastard is setting up shop to cash in. The only people more idiotic than Brownie are the clods that will open their wallets to pay for his "expertise." (Rocky Mountain News):
He learned his lessons, and now they're for sale.

Ousted FEMA director Michael Brown, who was vilified over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, plans to make a fresh start in Colorado, selling his expertise about how emergency planning can go right or so very wrong.

"You have to do it with candor. To do it otherwise gives you no credibility," Brown said Wednesday. "I think people are curious: 'My gosh, what was it like? The media just really beat you up. You made mistakes. I don't want to be in that situation. How do I avoid that?' "

...The lesson, he said, is that sometimes leaders need to "take inventory" of everything that's going on, "so that you give the absolute correct message to the media, because the media can't be trusted to, one, always get the message correct, and then when you yourself give the incorrect message, that just exacerbates the whole communications problem."

...Critics portrayed him as the ultimate political crony, since his emergency experience was brief, as a low-level government employee and city councilman, in Edmond, Okla., and he had more recently spent a decade as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, based in Colorado.


Because, like, you need to know

Thursday, November 24, 2005


(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Simpson, Lachey Officially Separate. Why ruin my T-day with this shite? :)
"After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways," they said in a joint statement released by their publicists. "This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other." [Translated: They can't stand one another.]

The couple have been dogged by rumors that their marriage was in trouble — Us Weekly reported that they split in an Oct. 17 issue — but Simpson, 25, and Lachey, 32, brushed the speculation aside and insisted they were still together. [Translated: Her father/agent/master Joe was trying to milk the last dollar out of their union.]

In the December-January issue of Teen People, which went on newsstands earlier this month, Simpson denied rumors that the marriage was kaput.

"Hopefully mine and Nick's story will continue for the rest of our lives, like what we vowed, through sickness and in health," said Simpson, who famously professed that she remained a virgin until she got married. [Translated: I need a barf bag now.]


What the flip is a 'transitory' homosexual tendency?

"I have no idea how they will apply it. It will just be a nightmare."
-- Rev. Eugene Lauer of the New York-based National Pastoral Life Center.

"Our seminaries are likely to be depopulated to a significant extent....the hunters might turn out to be the hunted."
-- Rev. Donald Cozzens, John Carroll University, who estimates 25 percent to 50 percent of priests are gay -- and notes some of them are bishops and men in the Vatican

"Witch hunts and gay bashing have no place in the church. There are many wonderful and excellent priests in the church who have a gay orientation, are chaste and celibate, and are very effective ministers of the Gospel."
--Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the U.S. Conference of Bishops


That Vatican document on gays in the priesthood was leaked, and the reaction, as you see, is coming in from angry and confused members of the clergy. How are you supposed to respond to this insanity? (N&O):
The decree, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, is set for release next week. The Italian text was leaked Tuesday, and a Vatican official confirmed its accuracy to The Associated Press.

It says men should not be admitted to seminaries or ordained as priests if they practice homosexuality, have "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" or "support so-called gay culture." Those with only "transitory" homosexual tendencies must be celibate three years before being ordained as deacons, the step before priesthood.

Some observers said it will be difficult to define what is meant by "deeply rooted" or "transitory" tendencies."
Why is the church doing little or nothing about the child molesters in its ranks? The obsession over who is gay (and how to purge them), and not who is engaging in criminal behavior, makes the church itself a criminal enterprise.

I point again to Father Mychal Judge, the hero priest who died in the ruins of the World Trade Center ministering sacraments to fallen NYFD. He was unfit to have been ordained a priest in the eyes of Benedict?



But why on earth would a gay man seek to become a priest at this time, given opinions like this:
Answering Rev. Cozzens' charge that the new document will empty already meagrely occupied seminaries, Rev. Richard John Neuhaus of First Things magazine told the New York Times that the decree will attract to seminaries those candidates who in the past were repelled by "the presence, and sometimes dominance, of a gay culture" in seminaries.

On his website, Fr. Neuhaus explained, "The new Vatican instruction is clearly aimed at countering what Archbishop Wilton Gregory, when president of the U.S. bishops conference, called the homosexualization of the priesthood that has turned many manly young men away from a priestly vocation. "
Or this...
"Any impediment that would prevent a priest from fulfilling that duty is cause for examination or disqualification...that could be one's sexuality that, one way or the other, gets in the way; it could be alcoholism; it could be that that person is incredibly selfish and not willing to give of themselves in the measure that is required of a priest."
-- Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Archdiocesees
Related:
* Alaska: dumping ground for pedophile clergy


Daddy Dobson's balls are free and easy on Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

...if you are at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NY looking for salvation from your homosexual tendencies. The latest desperate move by Focus on the Family to encourage folks to take a look at the "ex-gay" movement is to handout stress balls to young folks at the parade today.


Anyone want his balls?

Apparently an analysis of his radio show's demographics show a lack of younger listeners tuning in to get his sage advice on life and living (his current audience is 40+). What a great way to reach out to recruit! (Advocate):
Antigay Colorado group Focus on the Family said Tuesday that its members plan to distribute 5,000 "stress balls" along the parade route to promote a Web site it operates that claims that homosexuality is a disorder that can be cured through faith. Visitors to the site, TroubledWith.com, who think they might be gay or lesbian are told, "You're not simply 'wired that way.'" In another section, visitors are told that being gay or lesbian can be prevented, because "like other adult problems, homosexuality begins at home. Mom and Dad are key players." Also to blame are porn, the media, and "seduction by peers."
Read an earlier Blend post on TroubledWith here.


Arlington

Kate and I arrived yesterday after an uneventful direct flight. So far, Arlington appears to be a series of strip malls and 60s/70s ranches. We got a quick snack at some local Tex-Mex place in one of these strip malls, since we hadn't eaten anything in the AM and of course there was nothing served on the flight.

I need to take a picture of this hilarious sign in the parking lot of this strip mall before we leave. It was for a tanning salon, and it said "Go with the faux." Considering how baked a lot of folks here are, that seemed amusing.

We caught up with Tim for several hours. I finally got a copy of his first book, which he still has to sign. BTW, he's sold maybe two copies, lol, ranked at #500,746 on Amazon.

We went to Costco to get the leg of lamb, and waited for Miranda to arrive. We drove in heinous traffic back into Ft. Worth due to an 18-wheeler carrying cars hit a median and exploding. Kate and I spent the highway time counting signs of the fish on the backs of vehicles.



Weirdly, we have seen only two "W" stickers so far. One was on an SUV, clearly driven by a masochist, because it was a type I had not seen before -- "W - Still the President."

In Ft. Worth Miranda and Tim took us to a local famous burger joint called Kincaid's, which was quite tasty. Kate thinks we might have chased out a neat little W-loving Republican family sitting behind us in the place when we started talking politics and speculating, without much success, about whether there is anything positive we could think of as an "accomplishment" of this Administration.


Texas Monthly magazine chose Kincaid's hamburger as the "best burger in Texas". A national panel of food editors and food critics chose Kincaid's hamburger as the "best burger in the USA". Readers of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have chosen Kincaid's as the "best burger in Tarrant County" year after year.
We then proceeded to the amazing, but hellishishly crowded, huge Central Market to shop for the rest of the T-day goodies for cooking. Miranda is a fan of ultra-"fragrant" cheeses, so she bought some, but we insisted she ziploc that crap so it doesn't pollute the holiday food in the fridge.

We got back in pretty late and then watched some recorded eps of Comedy Central's hilarious Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert does a great send-up of the pompous ass Bill O'Lielly.

We're off to Dallas and the Sixth Floor Museum later today. [Blogenfreude has a post up on JFK and Dealey Plaza.]

* Turkey day in Texas

***


BTW, have you seen this story? Our president is completely unhinged. Blair talked Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera.
US President George W. Bush planned to bomb pan-Arab television broadcaster al-Jazeera, British newspaper the Daily Mirror said, citing a Downing Street memo marked "Top Secret".

The five-page transcript of a conversation between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveals that Blair talked Bush out of launching a military strike on the station, unnamed sources told the daily which is against the war in Iraq.

The transcript of the pair's talks during Blair's April 16, 2004 visit to Washington allegedly shows Bush wanted to attack the satellite channel's headquarters.


US to Iraq: 'We'll leave if you want us to.' Iraq to US: 'So leave already!'

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Coalition Provisional Authority leader Paul Bremer, on May 24, 2004:
(Seattle Times) WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Colin Powell emphatically said yesterday that if the incoming Iraqi interim government ordered the departure of foreign troops after June 30, they would pack up without protest, but emphasized he doubted such a request would be made.

"We're there to support the Iraqi people and protect them and the new government," Powell said at a news conference with other foreign ministers from the Group of Eight nations. "I have no doubt the new government will welcome our presence and am losing no sleep over whether they will ask us to stay."

But were the new government to say it could handle security, "then we would leave," Powell said.

His statement, which was echoed by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, and the foreign ministers of Britain, Italy and Japan, came one day after conflicting testimony by administration officials on the issue.

In Baghdad, Bremer told a delegation from Iraq's Diyala province that American forces would not stay where they were unwelcome.

"If the provisional government asks us to leave, we will leave," Bremer said, referring to an Iraqi administration due to take power June 30. "I don't think that will happen, but obviously we don't stay in countries where we're not welcome."
Iraq's sovereign government, November 22, 2005:
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.

The participants in Cairo agreed on "calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces ... control the borders and the security situation" and end terror attacks.

"Though resistance is a legitimate right for all people, terrorism does not represent resistance. Therefore, we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships," the document said.
Did you get all of that? Not only do they want us out, but they do not consider retaliation and resistance against occupying forces (us!) to be terrorism.

I'm waiting for Mean Jean Schmidt to stand up on the floor of Congress and call the Iraqi government "cowards". I'm waiting for Dick Cheney to tell the Iraqi government that their rhetoric is only enabling the terrorists. I'm waiting for the current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to live up to the promises of the US government and former Iraqi civilian authority and leave now that we've been asked.

But I'm not holding my breath. I figure "we'll leave if we're asked" is one of those promises from the same batch that included "I'll fire anyone involved with the CIA leak", "I will be a uniter, not a divider", and "I don't think the United States should be involved in nation building".


Drudge says CNN is sending subliminal messages about Darth Cheney

Monday, November 21, 2005


photo via Drudge.

I wish I had seen this one live, lololol. If only the X could cancel out the bastard.
At 11:04:45 AM ET Monday CNN was airing Vice President Dick Cheney's speech live from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington -- when a large black 'X' repeatedly flashed over the vice president's face!

The 'X' over Cheney's face appeared each time less than a second, creating an odd subliminal effect.

As this DRUDGE REPORT screen capture reveals, while one 'X' flashed over Cheney's face CNN ran a headline at the bottom of its screen: "CHENEY: I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS WRONG TO CRITICIZE."

One top White House source expressed concern about what was aired over CNN.

"Is someone in Atlanta trying to tell us something?"

A CNN spokesman did not return repeated calls late Monday night.


I laughed till I cried



We've got the curiously pale head of the black wingnut organization Project 21 ("The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives"), David Almasi, defending Michael "Phony Flying Oreo Massacre" Steele. It just doesn't get any weirder than this.
The first black man elected to a statewide public office in Maryland, Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, found himself under attack from several critics, including many black community leaders, following his announcement in late October that he plans to run for the U.S. Senate.



But David Almasi of Project 21 says the black conservative elected official knew he would be attacked and that such attacks will continue since there exists "a very repressive environment in the black community, perpetuated from the top down, that blacks can only be a Democrat or a liberal." Black conservatives are constantly subjected to this kind of politicized, intra-racial pressure, Almasi contends. "If you are considered to be anything off the reservation -- or off the plantation, so to speak -- with the black leadership," he says, "you can be opened up to any criticism of any type, including racial epithets." Reportedly, Steele has been dubbed an "Uncle Tom" by some members of the black community because of his conservative, pro-family leanings.
Does that make Almasi one of those newfangled vanilla-with-chocolate-filling Oreos?

***

Regarding Steele and any hint of where he stands on gay rights issues, it looks like he's trying to fly beneath the radar on a state marriage amendment, but it's clear that he's not willing to entertain marriage equality. (Baltimore Outloud):
In Annapolis late January Michael Steele “represented” the governor by speaking briefly at a virulently anti-gay “Defend Marriage Rally” consisting of religious conservatives who were demanding a superfluous amendment to the state’s Constitution reiterating that marriage should only be allowed between a man and a woman. He backed the traditional union but did not publicly support a constitutional amendment to prevent gays from marrying. “We are here to affirm that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” Mr. Steele said. “We need to make it clear where Maryland stands.”

[I really lost it when I read this quote from the Log Cabin rep...]

Precious little evidence is available, however, that would put Michael Steele in the gay-friendly category. “I am sure Michael Steele is not a homophobe,” Joe Zuber, the former president of the Maryland Chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans told me. “I consider [Steele] a friend and that he knows I’m an openly gay man. We’ve hugged.”
Is this the best we can do? Holy moley, begging and scraping for attention. It's just pathetic. He's just grateful Steele isn't kicking the sh*t out of him. The Equality Maryland folks make no bones about it -- Steele is a no go:
“Our community would have a lot to be concerned about if we lost Paul Sarbanes’ vacant Senate seat to Lt. Governor Michael Steele,” said Dan Furmansky, Executive Director of Equality Maryland, the state’s largest lgbt advocacy group. “Sen. Sarbanes has been a staunch supporter of lgbt rights, while our Lt. Governor has gone so far as to speak at that anti-gay rally in Annapolis organized by Del. Don Dwyer, the most extreme member of the Maryland Republican Party.”
See related:
* Who's race-baiting now - Steele's phony Oreo-pelting story
* Project 21 nutcase: blacks should thank God for slavery
* Black wingnuts at Project 21: pimping for The Man
* "Black" wingnut at Project 21 belches up more foul hot air
* Black wingnuts rally around Roberts nomination


Surgeon's Book Exposes Flesh, Helps Believers Cut Out Deep-Rooted Sin

"When you see how thoroughly physical you are and how your sinful processes originate in your body, you realize you're corrupted with sin from head to toe."
-- Dr. Clark Gerhart, M.D., author of Say Goodbye to Stubborn Sin
It's the actual headline, courtesy of wingnut propaganda webrag AgapePress. Please read this and tell me if you can find any shred of science or sanity. Do you want this man cutting you open and operating on you?
A Pennsylvania surgeon says the Apostle Paul was exactly right when he called humans' sinful nature "the flesh," because many sins actually do have physiological connections. Dr. Clark Gerhart, M.D., author of Say Goodbye to Stubborn Sin (Siloam Press, 2005), says he hopes the book will show Christians how thoroughly fleshly they are by helping them understand where their sins originate.

According to Gerhart, the human body becomes physically involved in recurring sin. "If you think about it, everything we do in life begins first with some sort of sensation," he explains. "Whether it's taste or touch or smell or sight or sound -- one of our senses is giving us information to then process and then give a response to in absolutely everything we do."
Gerhart is a laproscopic surgeon who also has an outfit called "Flesh and Spirit Ministries." Gerhart has a lot to say about flesh; we learn some of the secrets of the evil flesh in his new book. Interestingly (and no surprise) his co-author is tied to the Dobson machine; he penned a book with Daddy Dobson's boy Ryan. Based on Gerhart's writing talents, it's clear who must have done the heavy lifting in his book.
* Understand the surprising link between stubborn sin and your body’s processes
* Discover the common root of every recurring sin, and what to do about it
* Identify repeated patterns of behavior in your life as signs of fleshly control
* Grasp how even good things-like serving in church-can become fleshly addictions
* Learn the simple process that brings God’s cleansing power

No longer will you be a slave to the pressure that drives you to the old disobedience. No longer will the flesh keep you in wretched defeat. Once you are free of the sin that so easily entangles, you’ll even be equipped to minister to those around you. Finally, you can be free forever!

Dr. Clark Gerhart is a general surgeon in Pennsylvania. He teaches and speaks regularly on topics such as Christian life and doctrine, church ministry, marriage and family, and a variety of medical topics. Jefferson Scott is the author of six Christian novels and one nonfiction book, Be Intolerant, which he co-wrote with Ryan Dobson, son of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.


Turkey day in Texas



Actually, I'm cooking a leg of lamb, since turkey isn't my fave food.

Blenders, Kate and I will be leaving tomorrow AM for Chimp's home turf to spend Thanksgiving with my brother Tim and his fiancee Miranda in Arlington.

I've never been to the Lone Star State; I think on Wednesday we are going to the The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, and then it's on to the cooking.

On the cooking list so far:
Leg of lamb
Mac and cheese
Collard greens
Something with broccoli
Candied yams
Apple pie

What are people doing for the day? Hosting, visiting someone who is doing the cooking, or like me, visiting and cooking, lol? Menu items?

We're back in town on Friday afternoon.


Rep. Murtha - Doubted Bush war then, opposes Bush war now


Ooh, what fun! Shouting and yelling and namecalling and disagreement over the war in Iraq. Sure, it would've been nice to see some heated debate before we went and got 2,096 soldiers killed (a rate over 3 per day over the past fifty days), but any dialogue we can get from our Congress over this war is better than the pussyfooted ambivalence they displayed in February 2003.

Rep. Murtha, a hawkish Dem from Pennsylvania, got the ball rolling by calling for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. Another rep, a Republican woman whose name I never caught, chided Murtha and called him a coward (despite the fact he volunteered for both Korea and Vietnam, whereas her military service could be described as "Cheney-like"). Now the Republicans are playing the "But you guys voted to let George go to war! You saw all of the intelligence we did! We were wrong, but you were just as wrong! I know you are, but what am I?" blame-game.

Problem is, Murtha had his doubts about the war from the git-go. Rude Pundit digs up this USA Today article from September 24, 2002...
WASHINGTON -- In 1991, John Murtha helped lead the charge on Capitol Hill for war with Iraq. This year, the Pennsylvania congressman is among the doubters.

Today [2002], the powerful backroom dealmaker finds himself in an even more politically lonely position: questioning a war-powers resolution that even most Democratic leaders seem reluctant to oppose. "All of us want to get rid of Saddam," Murtha says. But he believes that the younger Bush "went about it the wrong way."

Bush's father "had his coalition built before he came to Congress," Murtha says. As a result, most of the first Persian Gulf War's cost was shared by U.S. allies. Those nations shouldered more than $53 billion of the $61 billion war burden, according to the White House budget office.

This time, "it will all be expended by the United States," says Murtha, the top-ranking Democrat on the House panel that funds the Pentagon. He says another war with Iraq will cost at least $50 billion. Other estimates say the price could rise as high as $200 billion. [Hmm, mighty prescient, that John Murtha...]

Murtha says a key reason for questioning a second Iraq war is strategic. He's worried that it will cost the United States not only money and lives, but also important allies. By moving without international support, Bush could alienate Arab allies, and "we could lose access to the intelligence we need to fight the war on terrorism," he says. [Make that 'double prescient']

Nothing he has seen in intelligence reports has convinced him that Bush needs to rush through a resolution, Murtha says. Even so, he has not yet decided how he will vote. [Murtha ended up voting for the war resolution]

The casualties could be much higher this time, particularly if there is "street-by-street" fighting in Baghdad, Murtha says. But he has no doubts about who will win: "We do have adequate military force to pull this off." [Make that 'triple prescient', except for not forseeing that Bush wouldn't send in that 'adequate military force']
Murtha, as a veteran, was aware of how difficult the war would be and appeared to be very reluctant to send our soldiers into harm's way on such a flimsy case. The most telling paragraph in the article to me is Murtha's backhanded condemnation of the Chickenhawks in his midst:
However, as a veteran of wars both legislative and literal, Murtha is puzzled by all the bellicose talk in Washington. Fewer than one-third of members of Congress are veterans; the percentage was more than double that when Murtha arrived on Capitol Hill 30 years ago. He thinks that makes a difference. "I have found that the guys who haven't been there are more likely to vote to go to war," he says.
Indeed they are. Especially the ones who went AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard and the ones who got five deferments from Vietnam because of "other priorities". War is a ton of fun... if you can find a way to profit from it and get other people to fight it.


McCain, that's mighty white of you



An email exchange:
Pam: WTF is wrong with McCain?!

Shakes Sis: McCain is a total asswipe. I can't believe he's endorsing this shitheel. Maybe he's just feeling competitive with Bush and is seeing if he can get even LESS than 2% of the black vote.
Shakes Sis has the latest moral bungee jump by Bush-hugging 2008 Presidential wannabe John McCain, who is endorsing and attending fundraisers in Mobile, Birmingham, and Huntsville, Alabama for Lt. Governor GOP primary candidate George Wallace, Jr today. McCain calls him a "committed conservative reformer."

I don't have to tell you that Wallace is definitely his father's son. Here's a little detail on the kind of folks he holds in high esteem. (Southern Poverty Law Center):
The younger Wallace, whose official resumé boasts of an NAACP Freedom Award, opened up the first day of the annual national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group whose Web site has referred to blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity." More than 100 delegates heard his speech, which went without any immediate coverage in the Alabama print or broadcast media.


"There is nothing hateful about those people I've seen."
-- George C. Wallace Jr., welcoming the delegates of the "uptown Klan", the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) to its convention.
...In the audience listening to Wallace were a number of leading white supremacists. They included Don Black, proprietor of Stormfront.org, the most influential hate site on the Internet, and former Alabama grand dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan; Jamie Kelso, right-hand man and Louisiana roommate of former Klan leader David Duke; Jared Taylor, editor of the neo-eugenicist American Renaissance magazine; Ed Fields, an aging white supremacist leader from Georgia; Alabama CCC leader Leonard "Flagpole" Wilson, who got his nickname shouting "Keep Bama white!" from atop a flagpole during University of Alabama race riots in 1956; and the CCC's national leader, St. Louis personal injury lawyer Gordon Lee Baum...He said he welcomed the delegates and spoke about his family and conservative values.


Proud faces of the CCC's racist Right: Don Black, David Duke and "assistant" Jamie Kelso, Jared Taylor, Gordon Lee Baum.
Well, John, I think your political team might take a look at its strategies. I know you're trying to lock up the right winger vote, but this kind of maneuver almost guarantees moderates are going to question your sanity. It's too late for the progressives. We think you need a padded cell. Have they seen the CCC "manifest"? (I'm not linking to it):
1) We believe the United States is a Christian country.

We believe that the United States of America is a Christian country, that its people are a Christian people, and that its government and public leaders at all levels must reflect Christian beliefs and values.

We therefore oppose all efforts to deny or weaken the Christian heritage of the United States, including the unconstitutional prohibitions of prayers and other religious expression in schools and other public institutions.

(2) We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people.

We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character.

We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime.

We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies.

We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.
Nice.


Foul fowl



Mike Tidmus is at it again.

Put a fork in it.


Who on earth would volunteer for that mission?


via Wayne Besen.

Make your own church sign.


Oklahomans, can you recall Coburn?


Coburn: "I wish this was in every courthouse on the lawn. We need more of this, not less."

I don't know if you all can boot the dude, but this guy is a delusional theocrat moron. You'll recall that earlier this month, Tommy Boy appeared on Meet the Press and explained to Tim Russert that he is uniquely qualified (as an MD) to tell whether somebody is lying just by observing their body language. Therefore, he can tell whether Strip Search Sammy Alito is telling a fib.

It's really no shock to learn Coburn is pulling a Roy Moore and getting behind a Ten Commandments courthouse monument fringe rally in Tulsa. I just wish that this buffoon would just return to private practice. No wait, that would mean going back to his money-making practice of sterilizing underage women without their consent. Maybe the public is safer with him in the Senate where he can make a public ass of himself. (Fox News):
TULSA, Okla. - A group of pastors fired up a crowd of more than 300 people during a rally around a monument engraved with the Ten Commandments on the Haskell County Courthouse lawn.

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn spoke Saturday at the gathering in favor of the monument, which a recent American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit says is a sign of the government favoring one religion over another. But Coburn and others who were vocal at the rally contend that the statements listed in the Ten Commandments are guidelines to a moral, law-abiding society regardless of religious beliefs.

...Jim Green, the Stigler resident who is the plaintiff in the ACLU case, was contacted by telephone and declined to comment because of the ongoing litigation. The suit is the first of its kind in Oklahoma since a July ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that Ten Commandments displays on government property are not inherently unconstitutional.

...Tim Turner, pastor of a Eufaula church, told the crowd that the problem isn't in Stigler, where there is apparently overwhelming support for the Ten Commandments at the courthouse. The problem is in Washington, D.C., where politicians and judges make separation of church and state decisions for the nation, he said.

"Today is just a little rally," Turner said. "The real battle is coming."

In an interview, Coburn said the Ten Commandments are not strictly a Christian belief system, even though they come from the Bible. He also disagreed with the idea that people who practice a different religion might be intimidated by the Ten Commandments when they enter the Haskell County Courthouse.

"We can either deny our heritage . . . or we can embrace that heritage," Coburn said. "The creators of our Constitution were men of faith."


The leader of the free world's exit strategy

Sunday, November 20, 2005



[UPDATE: Visited the defenders of this loser in Freeperville.]

Atrios has the whole sequence of pictures of this national worldwide embarrassment. Background from the WaPo:
Irked by a reporter who told him he seemed to be "off his game" at a Beijing public appearance, President George W. Bush sought to make a hasty exit from a news conference but was thwarted by locked doors.

..."Respectfully, sir -- you know we're always respectful -- in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?" [the reporter] asked.

"Have you ever heard of jet lag?" Bush responded. "Well, good. That answers your question."

The president then recited a list of things of that he viewed as positive developments from his Beijing meetings, including cooperation on North Korean nuclear disarmament and the ability to have "frank discussions" with his Chinese counterpart.

When the reporter asked for "a very quick follow-up," Bush cut him off by thanking the press corps and telling the reporter "No you may not," as he strode toward a set of double doors leading out of the room.

The only problem was that they were locked.

"I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work," Bush quipped, facing reporters again until an aide rescued him by pointing to him toward the correct door.
***

I had to see if there was any Freeper commentary on this, assuming that the dead brain cell crowd would blame the media for the Chimperor's miscue, or that he was just being a "regular guy." I wasn't disappointed -- this is the President that they worship.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"The smear continues unabated."

"That was a pretty comic moment..."

"There's only one good thing about the Post at this point, at least we know it's not Katherine Graham that is trying to "get this president"."

"Slow news day for Reuters?"

"I think the world needs a pressie blood sacrifice. Such a reporter needs to be sacrificed to remind the press it is but a voyeur and not a player."

"True, it was an attempt to minimize the stature of Bush by belittling him. There's always one more question, you have to cut it off at some point. Here the Post acts as if Bush should have stayed until every question was asked. That would take hours."

"Reuters never misses a chance to take a cheap shot at Bush."

"Yeah, we have no idea how many questions had been asked so far, about what, how they were asked, etc. These reporters could have been asking him "Mr. President, when did you stop beating your wife?" for all we know. I'd really like to see this in context."

"My question is WHY was the door locked? I consider that a security hazard."

"Manufactured news."

"Another example of the MSM trying to embarass the President. The reporter wasn't satisfied with one. He wanted to get in a second shot!"

"You don't want someone coming in from behind the President do you?"

"My youngest son has recently decided on a career in journalism. I have given him official and clear warning that if becomes a liberal weenie MSM journalist or reporter that I will kick his butt (figuratively, that is) and that he will repay me and his mother every penny spent on his education. I told him to: "WRITE the story, don't BE the story!" I do not understand for the life of me why reporters cannot be independent and fair-minded?"

"The utter hate and disrespect of the defeated liberal media toward President Bush has gone beyond any limit that we have ever imagined. It is extremely sickening. PS: From the picture that you posted above President Bush looked joyful and had a joking look on his face and I do not see at all that he is off his game."

"This is funny as heck. He might be the leader of the free world but he cannot exit a room without assitance. I love it ! We all have days like this but not all of us have a gaggle of reporters to tell it to the whole world."

"The great sense of humor shown by President Bush makes him very endearing as a "regular guy" who has succeeded."


Falwell and his legal plan to "save Christmas"



Jerry Falwell and his legal bootlicker Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel are going to be slapping some lawsuits because of you heathens, atheists and non-Christians this holiday season...

Shouldn't they spend some of the Right Wing Christian EnergyTM feeding the homeless and clothing the poor instead of this?
Evangelical Christian pastor Jerry Falwell has a message for Americans when it comes to celebrating Christmas this year: You're either with us, or you're against us.

Falwell has put the power of his 24,000-member congregation behind the "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign," an effort led by the conservative legal organization Liberty Counsel. The group promises to file suit against anyone who spreads what it sees as misinformation about how Christmas can be celebrated in schools and public spaces.

The 8,000 members of the Christian Educators Association International will be the campaign's "eyes and ears" in the nation's public schools. They'll be reporting to 750 Liberty Counsel lawyers who are ready to pounce if, for example, a teacher is muzzled from leading the third-graders in "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

...In signing on to "Friend or Foe" this month, Falwell urged the 500,000 recipients of his weekly "Falwell Confidential" e-mail to "draw a line in the sand and resist bullying tactics of the ACLU and others who intimidate school and government officials by spreading misinformation about Christmas."

..."We'll try to educate," said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel. "But if we can't, we'll litigate."


Joe Biden wets his finger and sticks it up to see which way the wind blows

"The fact that he questioned abortion and the idea of quotas is one thing. The fact that he questioned the idea of the legitimacy of the reapportionment decisions of the Warren Court is even something well beyond that."
-- Senate Judiciary Committee member and politician extraordinaire Sen. Joe Biden
I can't be the only one tired of this gasbag. Today, he decided that Strip Search Sammy Alito may now be filibuster-worthy. HIs anti-choice views are just a little distraction to him. That tells progressive all they need to know about 2008, Joe. Listen to this mealy-mouthed, sorry excuse for a Senator. No wonder he dutifully licks his masters at MBNA and the rest of the credit card companies in Delaware. He is w-e-a-k. (AP):
The views that Samuel Alito expressed on reapportionment in a 20-year-old document could jeopardize his Supreme Court nomination and provoke a filibuster, a leading Democratic senator said Sunday.

"I think he's got a lot of explaining to do, and depending on how he does, I think will determine whether or not he has a problem or not," said Sen. Joseph Biden, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which plans confirmation hearings in early January.

...Biden, D-Del., said he was most troubled by Alito's comment about reapportionment under the Supreme Court when it was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Warren Court, as it became known, ended public school segregation and established the election principle of one-man one-vote. "The part that jeopardizes it (Alito's nomination) more is his quotes in there saying that he had strong disagreement with the Warren Court particularly on reapportionment — one man, one vote," Biden told "Fox News Sunday."

In the document, Alito wrote, "In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause and reapportionment," he said.

Biden said the chances of a filibuster against Alito had increased because of Alito's assertions in the document.
This guy isn't going to go on board for a filibuster. I guess Joe wanted to give Sammy a pass on all of this information that came out right after Alito got the nod from the Chimp. From Think Progress:
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]
Was this not enough to deserve a filibuster Joe? Oh, that's right. You're like the rest of the Dem establishment-- you constantly have to put your finger up in the wind before you can actually form an opinion.


Alaska: dumping ground for pedophile clergy

There's a lengthy, disturbing piece in the L.A. Times about a Catholic missionary that allegedly terrorized two remote Alaska villages three decades ago. Nearly every Eskimo boy in the parishes where the late Joseph Lundowski served became his prey, and victims have come forward to say they suffered abuse by him for years.

Blender Paul of Paul's Rants, who pointed me to the story, alerts readers to pay attention to the usual obfuscation and contradictory statements from the church in the article, which is facing lawsuits left and right in Alaska: "Note in the story the letters in which the priests are concerned, but they can't get rid of the abuser because he was placed their by the Bishop, and then flash to today, when the church says that they were not responsible because he was a volunteer, not under their control."


Peter "Packy" Kobuk has to walk past the old Catholic church to get almost anywhere. To fill a drum of heating oil. To take his children to school. To wash his clothes at the only laundromat in this Eskimo village of 370. "I think about burning it down, but I have to block that out," says Kobuk, 46. "It all comes back to me right away each time I have to see it."

The decaying wood-frame building also haunts John Lockwood, a married father of nine. Its bell tower, which rises above the village's 90 plywood shacks and prefabricated houses, is one of the first landmarks he sees when returning home in a longboat from hunting seals in the Bering Sea.

"It brings back a lot," says Lockwood, whose weathered face reflects a life spent in the Alaska outdoors. "He did all those bad things to us little kids there, and no one did nothing to stop it."

Even after 30 years, the men can't shake their memories of the late Joseph Lundowski, a volunteer Catholic missionary who arrived in their village in 1968. The devoutly Catholic village elders welcomed Lundowski warmly, as they did all men of the cloth. But the children soon grew to fear and despise him.
Lundowski lived at a Trappist monastery in Oregon and worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska before being taken under the wing of Father George Endal, a Jesuit priest, and placed as a volunteer in several remote Eskimo villages.

Lundowski was never ordained, but in every way acted as a Catholic priest in remote villages -- ones that otherwise wouldn't have been served. The article notes that residents said that he wore vestments, held Sunday services, gave homilies, taught catechism, baptized children, officiated at weddings and performed burial services. No Catholic officials stepped in. With 41 churches and only 24 priests in the rugged Fairbanks diocese, they were dependent on "volunteers" like Lundowski.

The L.A. Times piece goes on to describe, in detail, the horrors allegedly perpetrated by Lundowski on several of the then-children of the villages:

* A young man was asked to stay after catechism class and wash dishes; Lundowkski, he said: "...sneaked up on me...He pulled my pants down and penetrated me...I never finished the dishes."

* Another boy was molested in 1971after a class -- Lundowski locked the doors, lowered the window shades, removed his dentures and performed oral sex on him in the missionary's rectory bedroom. Lundowski gave Kobuk a $20 bill and told him he was a "special kid."

* The same boy, over the next four years, was plied with altar wine by Lundowski, sodomized and forced to engage in sex acts with other boys and girls.

* Lundowski performed oral sex on a nine-year-old, and fterward gave the boy 25 cents that he shook out of an Easter Seal donation can.

* when one boy planned to tell Lundowski told him to go ahead, insisting that no one would believe a child over a man of God -- and threatened to flunk the boy out of catechism class.

* After one attack on a boy that left bruises on his arms, Lundowski told him: 'You're a little kid. People will just think you fell down.'

What a f*cking dirtbag. OK, so you might ask, what did the church do about this low-life bastard? Take a guess. Many victims told their stories but were not believed. Three boys did report Lundowski's conduct to Father Endal. He promised to take care of the matter, but the molestations continued.
Endal died in 1996 and has since been accused of molesting a minor.

...Now the men must prove their claims. As victims of clergy sexual abuse across the country have learned, reconstructing events that occurred decades ago in secret is a daunting task. For the Eskimos, the job was complicated by the church's initial insistence that there was no record that Lundowski had ever volunteered for the church.


Ken Roosa, attorney for abuse victims.

The villagers and their attorneys dug through church archives, family photo albums and old letters looking for evidence. [Ken Roosa, a former state sex crimes and federal prosecutor who filed the first abuse lawsuit] came across a grainy copy of a 1975 church newsletter that listed participants in a training program for deacons in the Diocese of Fairbanks. It included a photo of a bald man with horn-rimmed glasses. The caption read: "Joe Lundowski, 59 yrs., Stebbins."

This was proof that the church had trained Lundowski as a deacon and knew he was serving in Stebbins.

In the same file, Roosa found a 1965 letter by a senior Jesuit stating that the church "should have gotten rid of [Lundowski] a long time ago."

The letter was written three years before Lundowski arrived in St. Michael by Father Jules M. Convert, then in charge of the Jesuits in Alaska, to Father Jack Gurr, chancellor to the bishop of Fairbanks. Convert began by asking for a shipment of food for his men and more nails to complete the building of a village church, but most of the letter was devoted to his concern about Lundowski.

Convert expressed dismay that the bishop in Fairbanks, Theodore Boileau, had moved Lundowski from one village to another after receiving "complaints" about his conduct.

"I absolutely believe that church officials intentionally sent abusive priests to minor communities, transient communities, where kids may be less apt to tell and have less faith in the justice system,"
-- David Clohessy, national director of Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
This story, along with an earler AP article, suggests that the Catholic church used Alaska as its dumping ground for pedophile priests that they couldn't "control", unleashing them in places where there would be less scrutiny. Note more hand-washing by the church... (via CNN):
All together, 12 priests who served in Alaska have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. Most of the alleged abuse occurred in remote villages, and most of the alleged victims were Alaska Natives.

Patrick Wall, a former Benedictine priest and consultant for a Costa Mesa, California, law firm that has worked on more than 300 church abuse allegations nationwide, said rural Alaska was a prime place to send abusive priests. Alaska's isolation and its cultural reverence for authority figures, such as elders and priests, meant parishioners would be less likely to speak up.


...Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler disputed the notion of Alaska as a dumping ground. "My reaction when I hear that is that I feel the opposite is really true," said Kettler, who has been bishop for three years. Those who work or volunteer in the diocese "come with a commitment wanting to serve the peoples of Alaska. They were not forced to come here."

...Rev. John Whitney, a church official in Portland, Oregon, vehemently denied Alaska is a magnet or hiding spot for problem priests. "It's absolutely untrue," he said. "I have never seen any evidence of that. People were sent to Alaska who requested to go to the missions there. It was considered the hardest place to go, because of the remoteness and the conditions they had to work with at the time. They wanted to spread the gospel."
Right. That's not all that was being spread in the villages.

Women in Alaska are also coming forward with stories of abuse at the hands of pedophile clergy, so the pending Vatican "solution" to ban gays from the seminary isn't going to do squat because they are not looking at the criminals in their midst. Here's a story on another sick perv (KTUU):


Rev. James Poole and the Catholic Church of Fairbanks are facing another lawsuit... Poole is a former Alaska priest who has been accused by several women of sexually abusing them as children. According to a complaint filed in Nome Superior Court today, the woman, only identified as Jane Doe IV, claims Poole sexually abused her when she was seven years old, which was in 1968 or 1969.

The complaint alleges that Poole told Jane Doe IV that they were going to “play doctor” after catechism class. It goes on to say Poole attempted to touch her before she got scared and insisted on going into another room.

It is tiring and enraging to see Prada Papa Ratzi and his homo-hating hierarchy purposefully MIA on this kind of evil. Instead they choose to spend time (and parishioner's money) composing irrelevant documents that say "practicing gays with 'deeply rooted' homosexual tendencies or those who support gay culture cannot be admitted to the priesthood." Ratzi was also too busy worrying about immunity against prosecution for the coverup of the mass molestation of children in his criminal enterprise to be concerned with the destruction of those lives at the hands of men charged with serving the flock.

When will it stop? When will people finally say "enough is enough" to the men willing to sacrifice the faithful's children for "the good of the church"?


'Ex-gay' experts convene to make the case for 'curing' homos

Saturday, November 19, 2005

[UPDATE: Freeper response has bubbled up from the swamp...]

These people are dangerous. How many gays and lesbians, desperate to avoid being ostracized from their fundamentalist families, seek out bogus outfits like Exodus International and Love in Action. The organizations promote "reparative" or "reorientation" therapy prey on the poor souls that turn to them, hoping the gay can be chased away. Using a combination of prayer and ludicrous exercises, the aim is to help homos in crisis "attain the goal of reaching their heterosexual potential."

The first thing I thought of when I saw this AgapePress article on the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), conference, held in Marina del Rey, California, was that the gay bars in the area had to have been packed with attendees from the gathering.
NARTH comprises more than 1,000 therapists, sociologists, and psychoanalysts who believe homosexuality is not inborn and can be changed. However, the organization's November 11-13 gathering in Marina del Rey (Los Angeles County) attracted an angry group of protesters, many of whom argued that reparative therapy is dangerous and encourages self-hatred in homosexuals.

However, one of the conference speakers, Exodus International president Alan Chambers, disagrees. "I myself was a homosexual man 15 years ago," he says, "and for over a decade now, I have been leading a heterosexual life. And it wasn't about me hating myself; it was about me wanting something different than what I found myself struggling with."

According to Chambers, the fact that ex-homosexuals exist invalidates the notion that homosexuality is biologically determined. And at the same time, he contends, those homosexual activists and other individuals who deny that hundreds of thousands of men and women have found freedom from homosexuality are, in effect, invalidating their own messages calling for tolerance and respect.


Alan Chambers says leaving behind his life as a homosexual man was the equivalent of the Hebrews' biblical exodus from slavery in Egypt. As executive director of Exodus International, he's touts the organization's classes to help their institutionalized straight wannabes butch up by tossing a football around. For more on straight-shooting Alan, check out Wayne Besen's site, who says: "Can you believe that THIS QUEEN is the international leader of the"ex-gay" ministries???"
Among the protesters denouncing the NARTH event was homosexual L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a practicing Catholic. [Love that candid, unbiased description!] According to an ExGayWatch.com blog, Rosendahl called the group's research and methods "unproven, unsafe and abusive," and described its persistence in viewing homosexuality as a condition to be corrected as "another form of rationalization for the continued persecution and prejudice against gay people."

...Chambers believes more people than ever are finding out that homosexuality is detrimental to an individual's physical, emotional, and spiritual health. And, he asserts that, as countless people -- himself included -- have demonstrated, same-sex desires can be overcome with the help of Jesus Christ.
You can read about the Exodus founders that ran off with each other, Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, on Anything But Straight by Wayne Besen. It also features the downfall of other "ex-gay" proponents:

* In the early 1970's Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee were counselors at an "ex-gay" ministry in Anaheim, Calif. In 1976, they organized the first national conference of "ex-gay" ministries. At this conference, Exodus International was formed and it is now the world's largest "ex-gay" organization. While traveling on behalf of Exodus, the two men acknowledged that they had not changed and were in love with each other. They soon divorced their wives, moved in together and eventually held a commitment ceremony.

* In 1979, Seventh Day Adventist minister Colin Cook founded Homosexuals Anonymous (HA). Appearing twice on the Phil Donahue show, he solidified his reputation in the early 80's as the nation's premier "ex-gay" spokesperson. But Cook's efforts collapsed in 1986 after he was exposed for leading mutual masturbation sessions and giving clients nude massages. Cook moved to Colorado and made a comeback in 1992 by helping Colorado for Family Values and Focus on the Family promote their anti-gay agenda. But in 1995, Cook's efforts unraveled, once again, after several of Cook's clients accused him of phone sex, mutual masturbation and inappropriate hugs.

* In 1987, Jeremy Marks founded Courage, London's first "ex-gay" ministry. In 2001, after nearly 15 years of watching people - including himself - struggle in vain to "change", he renounced Exodus's methods by saying that they were failing in their efforts to change peoples' sexual orientation.

* In 2000, Wade Richard's appeared as a media spokesperson for a group called the Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth and gave his testimony of "change" at a major press conference sponsored by right-wing zealot Peter LaBarbera, who now works at Concerned Women for America. But a year later, Richards rebuked the "ex-gay" ministries when he came out in an interview with the Advocate magazine.

* John Paulk was the most famous "ex-gay" in history having appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, and on the cover of Newsweek. But it was his appearance in a Washington, DC gay bar in September 2000 that got him in hot water. After he was photographed, he was suspended as Chairman of Exodus and put on a temporary "hiatus" by Focus on the Family.
As you might expect, the Freepi line up behind these groups. Read on for some "science" talk from the knuckle-draggers...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Tolerance and respect in general is never what the homosexual groups wanted. The only tolerance they wanted was to their sexual acts, and the only respect they wanted was to homosexuals over heterosexuals."

"angry group of protesters, many of whom argued that reparative therapy is dangerous

Yes it is -- to their twisted, selfish agenda."

"The "born that way" provides them with two uses. First, it pushes the public to accept homosexuality as "natural". Second it sticks it to the religious who believe that homosexual acts are sinful, because "how can God condemn someone when He made them that way"? Therefore discounting Christianity entirely."

"Is it any surprise that a "catholic" would have trouble grasping reality? I was once a lesbian but am no longer. I decided I wanted to obey the Lord more than satisfy my sinful thoughts. It was really that simple. I still find women attractive, but I don't lust over them. I am happy and at peace with God over this issue."

"The catholic had a problem with understanding that one is not born gay. That's my point. No one is born gay. Period."

"Having had a lot more contact with gays than I suspect the average person here has, I've come around to the idea that homosexuality is a genetic propensity rather than an environmental one. I suspect that the "success stories" of Reparative Therapy were either not all that gay, or decided that they'd rather climb back into the closet than deal with the stress of family/social ostracism. Flame away."

"Ask your evolutionist how a "gay" gene can survive even a dozen generations. If you prefer inquire of your intelligent designer what he had in mind if he made homosexuality a built in."

"I agree, and it really doesn't have much to do with the theory of evolution. If homosexuality were actually genetic, homosexuality would have ceased to exist thousands of years ago due to the fact that the gene would have disappeared through the elimination of reproduction."

"Well, no, because in past generations there was no discrete social category for homosexuality. Everyone was expected to marry and reproduce, and most gave it a whack, although there were certainly many complaints about some of the effeminate husbands of the upper classes who sired heirs but fooled around with other men and neglected their wives. That said, I don't believe homosexuality is inborn."

"God bless you! You made the right decision for your life and your child(ren)."

"Why do you agree with the reports of one group (gays) over the reports of another group (ex-gays)? There is no objective proof one way or another, just personal bias in choosing one over another."

"This isn't a flame. Just pointing out that many therapists and counselors, over many years, have helped thousands of homosexuals leave the "gay" life. A lot more experience, time, sheer numbers and knowledge than your opinion based on anecdotal homosexuals you have personally known."

"Recent research into brain recovery from trauma like stroke points to the brain's ability to grow larger in areas that receive a lot of cognitive attention; therefore, the brain of a violinist at death will be structured differently from the brain of an administrator, etc. Much of what may appear to you to be the result of genetics may actually be the result of repeated thoughts and behaviors."

"A number of homosexuals do not discover their orientation until after they start families. ( How they do that is beyond me. The thought of having homosexual sex is so off putting, that I cannot imagine how they could have opposite sex if they are wired for same sex)"

"So, in that case, even if it is genetic, one still has to consciously decide to engage in the behavior. Which means that a person has the ability, through free will, to not behave in this way, or even to ask God to remove the desire to commit this sinful behavior. And all of this means that there is no reason for a person to remain a homosexual if they don't desire to."

"actually the science fails to back up any claim of the homosexuals. There is no homosexual gene. period. That is not bias, that is just science. They have mapped the human genome. Found the the six or so variants of the breast cancer gene, have found the location of any other number of inherited birth defects. HOWEVER this one sexual behavior has failed to appear in a gene."

"Why have the homoadvocates not explained away the prison populations with their "gay gene" mythology? The reason is that the homosexual argument of "born that way" is a political statement in order to drive a political agenda. It has never had ANYTHING to do with science. Homosexuality is just another abnormal fetish."

"That is my point, there is no objective proof for either group. Therefore deciding that one group is inborn and another is not is based on self reports by the members of the groups. The choice for believeing either group is based on personal bias. I happen to think its not nature, but nurture and my view is not objective."

"Among the protesters denouncing the NARTH event was homosexual L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a practicing Catholic.

He may be a practicing Catholic. But only because his priest and bishop are not. Our bishop here has told abortion and sodomy advocates to consider themselves excommunicated. And they got the message."

"According to an ExGayWatch.com blog, Rosendahl called the group's research and methods "unproven, unsafe and abusive," and described its persistence in viewing homosexuality as a condition to be corrected as "another form of rationalization for the continued persecution and prejudice against gay people."

"Let's see how this sounds compared to other sexual deviance: '...viewing necrophilia as "another form of rationalization for the continued persecution and prejudice against necrophiliacs."' Are we expected to take such nonsense seriously?"

"These liberals are all about choice. But not when it comes to sexuality. And yet, they hug up to bisexuals too. And each time the bisexual selects a sex partner, they 'choose' all over again whether to be hetero or homo. And that's fine with the libs and sodomites who love to celebrate such 'diversity'. But let a sodomite or a therapist offer hope for normal family life to other sodomites who want it for themselves and just watch them come out of the closets screaming at the top of their lungs over how evil it all is."

"Yes it is a behavior. To accept one is born with a propensity for same sex attraction, one would have to accept that one can be born with a propensity for attraction to animals, or for someone who is bi sexual. Any other behavior you can possibly think of would have to qualify, and it really is quite ridiculous. As much as we are told it is natural, there is no basis for that notion."

"The mind is like your hard drive. If a program is faulty and a few dll`s are corrupt, they can be repaired."

"Physically homosexuality does not make sense. Why give men genitals designed to be used on woman genitals which the walls are designed to receive and handle the male organ? Yet the walls of the rectum is easilly torn if it receives the male organ, increasing the risk of blood borne diseases and infections. Liberals believe in evolution and yet they ignore this evolutionary design of the male and female sex organs, and advocate the misuse of it and do not see it as abnormal. Maybe liberal thought process is abnormal."

"You're not alone. FR is home to others who have chosen victory in Christ over the urges of the flesh.Lust is something we all have to deal with. So, in a way your situation is special. And, also, it's not. With Christ, there is no condemnation, no special sins, only the call to new life in Him. This is something the world does not and cannot grasp. To be a new creature in Christ is a wonderful gift. Those who protested NARTH simply have no clue what NARTH is about."


Wicked witch of the Hill


Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, with a makeup job from Mike Tidmus.

The Blend's favorite P'shop wizard has a lot to say about the unhinged performance of Congresswoman Jean Schmidt on Friday slagging war veteran Congressman John Murtha. I couldn't have summed up the vapid, insulting nonsense better than Mike:
With a killer competency rating of 34%, President Artful-Dodger, Commander Codpiece himself, speaking on Veterans Day : “While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.”

Vice-President I-Had-Other-Priorities-and-Five-Deferments : “The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory or their backbone — but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.”

Besides, if there’s going to be any rewriting of history, Karl Rove will handle it. He made it all up the first time.


Hopped up on all that pointless Republican testosterone, Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, addressing the US Congress, decided to “swift boat” Democratic Congressman John Murtha, who this week called on the US to hand Iraq over to the Iraqis :

“Yesterday I stood at Arlington National Cemetery attending the funeral of a young marine in my district. He believed in what we were doing is the right thing and had the courage to lay his life on the line to do it. A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body — that we will see this through."

...Thankfully, Congressman John Murtha scored a direct hit : “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”


Hell freezes over - the left and right take on Target



Both the Left and the AmTaliban are shunning the red bullseye (for different reasons). After Target defended its lame-brained, illogical practice of allowing pharmacists to deny women emergency contraception on ethical or religious grounds, pro-choice forces called for action (my post here).

Now, the American Family Association is calling for stepping up its boycott of Target during the holiday season because it has, again, refused to have Salvation Army representation in front of its stores.
The American Family Association (AFA) wants help from the shopping public in using the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend to keep sending a message to Target Stores about the national chain's faith-and-family-unfriendly practices.



AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon says it is important that the organization's current boycott against Target, which started in October, keep hurting the company's bottom line -- that is, the amount of money made --especially during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. He is hoping a strong message from the pro-family shopping public will help convince Target to change some of its policies.

The reasons for the boycott are valid ones, Wildmon asserts, and they include Target's "refusal to let the Salvation Army put their kettles in front of the stores," and the company's policy "banning all use of 'Merry Christmas' in their internal store operations and in their advertising." He says Target wants the profits from Christian families' spending, but the retailer does not want their holiday message or the spirit of their charities -- including faith-based service organizations like the Salvation Army.
Back on the left side of the political spectrum, Joseph Hughes of Hughes for America, received a weak response from Target about its public womb control policies that's worth a read, and there's a Boycott Target blog up with the latest news. John over at AmericaBlog summed up the stupidity of the retailer's policy well.
So let's ask Target if they also support the following Target employees:
- Check out clerks who verify how fat you are before selling you that package of potato chips?
- Pharmacists who don't want to fill prescriptions for Jewish customers who killed Christ.
- Pharmacists who don't want to help customers who worship a "Satanic counterfeit" (read: "The Pope," in fundie-speak).
- Pharmacists who only dispense HIV medicine to "innocent victims" of AIDS.
- Pharmacists who want proof that women seeking emergency contraception were really raped, and that they didn't "deserve it."
- Pharmacists (or cashiers) who are Christian Scientists - can they refuse to sell any medicine, even aspirin, to anyone?
- Pharmacists who won't sell birth control pills to unmarried women, condoms to unmarried men, or any birth control at all because God doesn't want people spilling their seed.
- Can fundamentalist Christian employees refuse to interact with gay people in any way, shape or form since gays are sinners, abominations, biological errors, and very likely pedophiles?
Precisely. This decision by Target makes no sense, simply for consistency's sake. I think people should encourage the red bullseye to extend its policy to all employees and allow religious objections to guide their business plan.

Seriously, where do you shop, given the choices out there? If only Costco (a Buy Blue company) was a cross-competitor - it's a bulk goods store. Wal-Mart, a direct competitor, is already on everyone's sh*t list, Kmart is Red as well. As a consumer in the Bush economy, it really is hard to both be an activist and a family on a budget. No one really talks about that and its effect on this kind of activism. Let's take a look at the Buy Blue ratings...


Numbers for Target (L) and Kmart.



Costco and Wal-Mart.

What are good alternatives? What actions will achieve the most success at inflicting pain and bad PR on these companies?


This man experienced some reality TV that he couldn't handle

Call the waaahhhmbulance for this baby...he has no case against ABC, but I hope they air this trashy episode of Wife Swap. My question is, since most of these reality TV participants whore their way onto these programs, they shouldn't be surprised when they get tossed a curve ball.
An Oklahoma man who agreed to take part in the ABC show "Wife Swap" is suing the producers for more than $10 million after the "wife" they sent to his home was a gay man.

Jeffrey Bedford of Haileyville says in his suit that he was "misled" and "threatened" by the producers. The suit names Walt Disney - the parent company of ABC, the network, and production company RDF Media.

Bedford says he became so emotionally distraught that he suffered "physical and mental illness."

Bedford claims that when he told the producers he did not want a "gay wife" they threatened not to tell him his wife's location and would not pay for her to be sent home. The suit also claims that during the episode when Bedford conducted his regular Bible study at his home for the Haileyville Baptist Church, the gay swap participant invited a gay coalition to take part in the study.

It also contends that when he continued to protest to producers they repeatedly told him his wife was leaving him. The suit says he became so emotionally distraught he became physically and mentally ill and was forced to drop out of a college course he was taking.
His fragile ego suggests that he had no business being on a show called "Wife Swap."


Why does God hate the fundies?

Charter Oak Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Church of America in Indiana, was set afire by an act of a vengeful God, deservedly punishing them for their judgmental ways. At least that's kind of bone headed nonsense the AmTaliban spews whenever there's a tsunami or hurricane that "targets" people that they don't like, or see as the source of cultural corruption. (IndyStar):
Neighbors saw the lightning bolt hit Charter Oak church near Churubusco, 15 miles northwest of Fort Wayne Tuesday evening, said Churubusco-Smith Township Fire Chief Kris Bair. But church members say the original bell and a cross hanging on the wall below where the fire started were untouched by the heat and smoke.

...Flames then shot from the west end of the building and bell tower. Soon after, firefighters left the building, Bair said. "A few minutes after interior crews came out was when the roof came down," Bair said.

Firefighters from 10 departments in Noble, Whitley and Allen counties fought the blaze for more than three hours, Bair said. A Kendallville firefighter was treated for debris in his eye.
Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


Don't adjust your browser...

Friday, November 18, 2005

In keeping with the coffeehouse theme of this blog, I decided to fix up the digs in more earth tones. I had been contemplating a redesign for a while, and just finally decided to sit down and work on it. That's why my posting and comments have been light.

Fellow bloggrrrl Shake Sis actually launched her own redesign yesterday, which looks great, btw. She kindly contributed this new fab logo for the Blend (someone hire this gal!), and the blog layout itself is based on the Accidental Khaki Erisfree template, which I futzed around with last night and this AM.

What do you think of the renovations to the pad?

UPDATE: 12:45AM Sat: lots of time spent tweaking to get the freaking BlogAds to display properly, but it's fixed. Please continue to comment on the design and any display issues and performance (load times).

Also, for those of you that commented early on after the switchover (and posted in the Blogger interface), your comments aren't hosed. You can now see them when you hit the permalink for the post. They are located after the entry. [I had forgotten to load the Haloscan code, so for a short while your posts "disappeared."]


The Most Important Issue Facing America


What is the Most Important Issue Facing America Today? What one issue should Congress address immediately to provide the greatest benefit to the most Americans in need? Getting our troops the body and vehicle armor they need for protection from improvised explosive devices? Addressing our monumental budget and trade deficits? Providing assistance to the people devastated by Katrina and investigating real solutions to deeply-ingrained issues of poverty and race in America?

Bzzt! Wrong! The Most Important Issue Facing America Today is making damn sure Paris Hilton and the rest of the wealthiest top 1% of the country don't lose their tax breaks. John at AMERICAblog nails it:
It's really amazing. In the past week, the GOP tried to cut student loans. They tried to cut school lunches for 40,000 children. All because we just don't have any more money. And at the same time, they want to have EVEN MORE TAX CUTS. And C-Span just confirmed that the House bill will cut Student Loans, Medicaid and Food Stamps. Yep, the Republicans say they simply have to cut all the programs for middle America and for the needy because we just don't have any more money. But then they turn around and try to pass ANOTHER TAX CUT.

The far-right cabal that's taken over the Republican party is out of control.

Oh yeah, by the way, that little Iraq fiasco has cost us $300 billion, more than enough to pay for everything.
We can have the argument about the fairness of taxation, who should pay how much, what levels of taxation are progressive and fair, and how we should make changes to streamline the federal tax code... but not during wartime. No government in the history of civilization has EVER cut taxes in a time of war.

The Republicans have abdicated their mantle of fiscal responsibility a long time ago. George W. Bush presides over the largest federal bureaucracy in our history, the largest federal budget and trade deficits in our history, all courtesy of government controlled exclusively by Republicans. Under Bill Clinton, government shrank and the budget was balanced (no wonder Republicans hated him so much). Anyone who still clings to the hoary cliché of the "tax-and-spend liberal" hasn't been paying attention for the past thirteen years. (Unfortunately, "untax-and-overspend conservative" doesn't trip off the tongue as well, despite being more factually accurate.)

Another pillar of the Right's support for the GOP -- "strong on defense" -- is now also crumbling as people see the lack of planning, financial and tactical mismanagement, and continued carnage in Iraq. These are the politicians, my right-wing friends always point out, that draw overwhelming support from the military vote. As the coffins pile up and the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be decades away, it will be interesting to see how true that point remains.

The third leg in the conservative tripod is that old chestnut about being the party of "family values". Even most non-religious conservatives I grew up with think the GOP symbolizes the flag, mom, baseball, and apple pie; all that is good, virtuous, and honorable about America. These conservatives balk at some of the more strident Evangelicals in their midst, but grudgingly accept their religious agenda as being a necessary trade for a reliable voting bloc. But as the Evangelicals overreach with issues like Terri Schiavo, Intelligent Design, stem cell research, and the Ten Commandments, the "live and let live, mind your own business" conservatives feel less and less in tune with the "base". And even Evangelicals (at least the truly Christ-like ones) have a hard time reconciling "family values" with the homoerotic torture at Abu Ghraib, the desecration of religion at Gitmo, and dead bodies floating in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

The sad news is that even with the evaporation -- nay, outright reversal -- of the three mainstream memes of support for Republicans (fiscal conservative, strong on defense, family values), as evidenced by Bush's and Congress's cellar-dwelling approval ratings, the Democrats don't poll much better. As Jon Stewart noted, it's as if the Democrats are content to sit back, say and do nothing, let the Republicans implode, and then just collect the votes because now it's their turn. Why should anyone abandon the Republicans and support the Democrats if the Democrats don't take a strong, principled, opposition stand? Most people prefer the devil they know...

It is times like these when I long for a viable third party option in American politics. Rather than our partisan duopoly, where it seems one party tries to just be a less worse choice than the other, it would be nice if there were two major parties out of power, competing to be the better choice. Ah, but that would be too much like a democracy now, wouldn't it?

The time is ripe for strong, principled, progressive Democratic leaders. If the Democrats drop the ball on this one, if they continue running "Republican Lite" in 2006, they're going to lose me to the Greens. I'd rather support a principled party with no chance in hell of winning an election than a so-called progressive major party that should be able to knock Bush and his thugs out of the park like Barry Bonds in a tee-ball game.


Agreeing with Conservatives Week


God what a weird week. I've been finding myself in agreement with conservatives. Not much, and not often, but enough times in a week for it to be noteworthy.

It started with McCain's Anti-Torture amendments, then there were a couple of posts by my anti-blogger, Adam, that I agreed with. But this -- agreeing with Washington Post columnist and Fox News talking head Charles Krauthammer -- ugh, I don't know if I should celebrate or take a shower:
(Washington Post) Because every few years this country, in its infinite tolerance, insists on hearing yet another appeal of the Scopes monkey trial, I feel obliged to point out what would otherwise be superfluous: that the two greatest scientists in the history of our species were Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and they were both religious.

... Neither saw science as an enemy of religion. On the contrary. "He believed he was doing God's work," James Gleick wrote in his recent biography of Newton. Einstein saw his entire vocation -- understanding the workings of the universe -- as an attempt to understand the mind of God.

Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?

In order to justify the farce that intelligent design is science, Kansas had to corrupt the very definition of science, dropping the phrase " natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus unmistakably implying -- by fiat of definition, no less -- that the supernatural is an integral part of science. This is an insult both to religion and science.

How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education, too.


Evolution 'warning' for science textbooks in Alabama retained

"We have also seen improvements in the textbooks because of this -- slight improvements. They still have an evolutionary bias, but we're finding them not as bad as they were ten years ago when we achieved getting the first sticker in the biology books."
-- "Research Analyst" Margaret Brown of Mother Schlafly's Eagle Forum, 'Bama division
Sigh. I was hoping not to have to post about wifey's home state again today, but up popped this headline about this interesting approach taken by the flat-earth crowd at the Alabama Board of Ed.

Parents can be assured that their kids will be adequately warned that they will be exposed to evolution in the classroom. It's interesting to note in the AgapePress article that Margaret Brown is confident that the cultural/political climate in Alabama is supportive of the labeling and is unlikely to be challenged, as the practice was in Cobb County, GA (a federal court declared it unconstitutional); one was removed from books in Beebe, AR.
Science textbooks in Alabama public schools will continue to warn students that controversy surrounds the theory of evolution. The Alabama Board of Education recently agreed unanimously to retain an evolution disclaimer that has been in state biology textbooks for four years. The insert refers to evolution as a "controversial theory" on the origins of life.

Margaret Brown with the Eagle Forum of Alabama says although similar evolution disclaimers have been challenged in other states, that has not been the case in Alabama. "We have kept the battle focused on teaching science," she notes. "We just have tried to promote not excluding science," Brown further explains. "For the purpose of seeing that it would not be challenged, we've tried to keep the debate on science itself and the teaching of scientific information in science classes."

Nevertheless, supporters of the disclaimer being used in the Alabama public school biology textbooks realize the insert is likely to rankle neo-Darwinian evolutionists. A federal court declared a similar evolution disclaimer in Cobb County (Georgia) schools unconstitutional. However, Brown says such disclaimers are not as contentious in her state.

...The Eagle Forum supports an academic freedom bill in the Alabama legislature that would remove penalties from teachers who teach scientific criticisms of the theory of evolution. Brown says she would like to see Alabama teachers allowed to discuss with students the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution, as well as scientific alternatives to that theory.
Alabama's not alone, a plethora of states are doing end-runs like this, or like the fairyland of Fred Phelps, Kansas, just tossing out the science altogether (a good site to see what states are doing is the National Center for Science Education).

Anyway, I hunted around for the original insert provided by the Alabama, and here is the language from the Textbook League.
A Message from the Alabama State Board of Education

This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants, animals and humans.

No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact.

The word "evolution" may refer to many types of change. Evolution describes changes that occur within a species. (White moths, for example, may "evolve" into gray moths.) This process is microevolution, which can be observed and described as fact. Evolution may also refer to the change of one living thing to another, such as reptiles into birds. This process, called macroevolution, has never been observed and should be considered a theory. Evolution also refers to the unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced a world of living things.

There are many unanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentioned in your textbook, including:

* Why did the major groups of animals suddenly appear in the fossil record (known as the "Cambrian Explosion")?

* Why have no new major groups of living things appeared in the fossil record for a long time?

* Why do major groups of plants and animals have no transitional forms in the fossil record?

* How did you and all living things come to possess such a complete and complex set of "instructions" for building a living body?

Study hard and keep an open mind. Someday you may contribute to the theories of how living things appeared on earth.

Head over to the Textbook League, where this disclaimer is wonderfully fisked.

***

Live Science has a good four-part series to check out, SPECIAL REPORT: Evolution & Intelligent Design. I don't think anyone on the Alabama Board of Ed will be taking a peek.
PART 1
An Ambiguous Assault on Evolution
This Trojan Horse for Creationism has become very popular. But who is being duped? And what does it all mean for morality?

PART 2
'The Death of Science'
Intelligent design is presented as a legitimate scientific theory and an alternative to Darwinism, but a close look at the arguments shows they don't pass scientific muster. So why are scientists worried?<

PART 3
Belief Posing as Theory
As evolution takes a beating, scientists remind us of the difference between fact, theory and belief.

PART 4:
Anti-evolution Attacks on the Rise
Each time the effort to introduce creationism into classrooms starts up again, so does legislation aimed against evolution. Learn about the rash of recent cases, plus a look at historically pertinent court cases.



Quicksand Jeebus statue 'keeps watch' over Ohio freeway


The Jesus statue in Monroe, Ohio, is 62 feet tall and weighs eight tons.

This monstrous eyesore has been credited for reducing accidents on an Ohio highway. Does this mean the bible beaters will be erecting big fiberglass Jesuses in high traffic areas...? This story actually appeared in the NYT:
Jesus first appears in a flash, a white statue rising from the flat cornfields 40 miles north of Cincinnati. Then he is gone, hidden behind a gas station.

Drive another quarter-mile up Interstate 75, past the billboards for Bristol's Strip Club and Trader's World Flea Market, and suddenly the image appears in all its full dimensions. Jesus, depicted from the waist up, is six stories tall and seems to burst from the ground, as if he might gather a tractor-trailer in his Honda-size hands and lift it to heaven.

After dark, the figure is illuminated by spotlights from below. "It sort of looms out at you, especially at night," said Aaron Andrews, a trucker from Milwaukee.
It looks like Jeebus has already had plastic surgery --
The image's steel frame was built in nearby Lebanon, Ohio, and the body, made of Styrofoam and fiberglass, on the beach in Jacksonville, Fla. The body was then trucked north. But when workers started installing the statue on an island in a man-made reflecting pool behind the church, they found that the head and arms were too small for the chest.

The builder, James Lynch, then spent three months ripping the fiberglass apart and recasting the outstretched arms and upturned face. The completed figure weighs 16,000 pounds and, at 62 feet, stands 20 feet taller than originally planned, though its skin is so thin that it bends to the touch of a finger.


Must read: 'The War against Right-wing Theocrats finally begins for real'

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Wild wingnuttery (clockwise from top): James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Pat Buchanan, a political commentator and founder of American Cause. They've been in control of the GOP agenda for too long, and the internal holy war is starting. (Photos: AP)

Here's a great DKos diary by Glenn Greenwald that Blender Paul pointed me to. It's a piece on the long-awaited war within the Republican party against the social conservatives that have hijacked the movement with an unbridled desire to wind back the cultural clock, put a bible in every hand, a lock on a woman's womb, and gays firmly back in the closet.

Is it too late to stop these fire-breathing maniacs? A snippet:
The GOP is already hopelessly dependent upon the enthusiastic support of this strident, power-hungry minority. And these social conservatives are tired of waiting. They believe that their time for true power has arrived and they are not going to modify their demands or be satisfied with token gestures. They believe that they twice delivered the Presidency to George Bush and that the GOP needs them if the party is to stay in power. These beliefs have made them drunk with power and they are insisting upon carte blanche to control the areas of federal policy they care about. And they have been given that control by a captive Administration which has no choice.

Almost nothing happens of any domestic significance without the prior consultation and approval of the James Dobson's of the world, and entire sectors of federal law are being shaped to comport with their highly intrusive vision. There is nothing conservative about it, but by operating in the bureaucratic crevices of Washington where little attention is paid, they are slowly but inexorably re-creating almost every sector of federal law and administrative agency regulations in their own image.
But wait -- Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, threw down the gauntlet in a speech last week, taking on Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
Foxman said as these groups seek to use the government to further their missionizing goal, Democrats and Republicans alike are "pandering" to the religious conservatives.

..."What we're seeing is a pervasive, intensive assault on the traditional balance between religion and state in this country," he said. "They're trying to bring Christianity to all aspects of American life. They're not just talking just about God and religious values but about Jesus and about Christian values."

...But even more threatening, Foxman said, is how the views of many of the most strident Evangelical leaders have started to pervade American society, which he said will be revealed in a forthcoming ADL poll.
Some of the findings in that poll will send a chill down your spine:

* 70 percent of weekly churchgoers and 76 percent of self-described Evangelicals agreed that "Christianity is under attack", even though they have inordinate influence in Congress, the White House and the courts.

* 69 percent of Evangelicals and 60 percent of weekly churchgoers said there should be "organized" prayer in public schools

* 89 percent of Evangelicals agreed that religious symbols "like the Ten Commandments" should be displayed in public buildings.

And what are we going to do with these people - we're f*cked:
* only 26 percent of Evangelicals and 31 percent of weekly churchgoers agreed that "courts should protect church-state separation."

Foxman's speech scared the dickens out of the spineless Jonah Goldberg, who likes bedding down with the AmTaliban because the thought of siding with liberals is too much to bear, in fact dangerous. Glenn:
The explosiveness of this rift within the GOP is nicely illustrated by the reaction of National Review's Jonah Goldberg to the ADL's long overdue stance.  Driven by the deep personal fear which characterizes virtually everything that he thinks and writes, Goldberg yesterday attacked the ADL for this speech, because Goldberg is petrified that the ADL, by criticizing this theocratic movement, will make them angry. He beings by melodramatically lamenting that the ADL "is making a horrible, horrible mistake," and then launches this telling, name-calling criticism of the ADL's stance:


Indeed, it strikes me as a form of cowardice to turn your energies against philo-Semtic (sic) Christian conservatives at a moment when real anti-Semitism is thriving in so many other quarters. Liberalism isn't Judaism and Judaism isn't liberalism. He'd be well advised to keep that in mind, for the sake of Jews and liberals alike.
Goldberg apparently thinks that, "for the sake of Jews," the ADL should avoid criticizing "Christian conservatives" because to do so is to associate itself with liberalism, which can only endanger Jews. He argues that the theocratic longings of Christian conservatism ought to be ignored by the ADL because the group's energies are better directed towards fighting what he calls "real anti-Semitism thriving in so many other quarters."

What powerful forces exhibiting "real anti-Semitism" does Goldberg think the ADL should be condemning instead of the church-state attacks being launched by the American Religious Right? Where are these threatening circles of "real anti-Semitism" which the ADL can do anything about? Goldberg doesn't say. Is it found among impotent, powerless Ward Churchill-type academicians? Among Muslim rioters in the French slums? Among clownish neo-Nazi groups with membership lists in the hundreds?
Boy, Jonah's feeble. Maybe the tide is turning among moderates and economic conservatives, but damn, when are the rest of the elected GOP clowns going to stop taking Dobson's calls and publicly take on the AmTaliban?

Go read the rest of that Recommended Diary.


Get out the tiny violin for Dover, PA wingnuts


"There are those who resist all efforts of academic freedom when it comes to the subject of evolution," Gramley says in a press release. "It seems [evolution proponents] may be insecure in their views as they so viciously attack those who try to offer students the opportunity to explore a different viewpoint."
-- Diane Gramley, head of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Bite me. Waah, waah, little babies, crying because they were STOMPED in the election, with all the "intelligent design" knuckle-draggers on the Dover school board in Santorum's state, booted because people are sick of these flat-earth moralists.
A pro-family activist in Pennsylvania is lamenting school board election results in a city that spawned a highly publicized federal trial over the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in public schools.

Residents in Dover recently voted in eight new Democratic board members, replacing all eight current members who had voted for a science policy that was challenged in court. The Dover science required students in ninth-grade biology classes to hear a statement on intelligent design before hearing lessons on evolution. The statement encouraged students to keep an open mind to various theories about the origin of life, including intelligent design.

...Diane Gramley, who heads the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, believes that both students and taxpayers were the losers in last week's election -- and that academic freedom in Dover has taken a blow.

...[Excuses, excuses] "The teachers are very disappointed with the current school board because it's a very frugal school board [that has] not raised taxes in the entire time they've been on the board," Gramley shares. In addition, she says, an increase in teacher salaries also played a part. "They're negotiating with the teachers [who] want a big pay raise, and this board has said 'we can't afford it.' And the teachers union was very much involved with the race."

..."[Voters] bought into the lie that was being perpetuated by the other side," she says. "There was a group started called 'Dover Cares' shortly after the lawsuit was brought. I mean, that's a nice-sounding name -- Dover Cares -- and they had money from the teachers union funneled through this organization because they had a candidate or two running who were Dover Cares candidates."

She wonders if the new members of the school board will permit students to know there is a controversy over the origin of life and that not all scientists agree on the issue. "Their answer," she says, "will reveal their true intent for academic freedom in the district."
Diane, we want your children...we will make them heathens and deviants...or worse, reality-based scientists. boohoo..boohoo.


AFP brings back the Cheney photo only a mother could love



This heinous image is back again, with a new caption: US Vice President Dick Cheney, pictured October 2005. Cheney heightened the White House campaign against Democrats calling their accusations that the administration misled the country into the Iraq war 'reprehensible' and 'pernicious'.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Joe Raedle)


Another record low for the Chimp: 34%



"How would you rate the job President George W. Bush is doing as president: excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?"

That's the question Harris Interactive asked, and Bush is swirling the bowl at a record 34% approval - what a mandate!

Darth Cheney, lord of the dark side of torture, is spiraling down to numbers still too high for my taste: 30%, down from from 35% in August.



Secretary of Defense Rummy's approval ratings dropped to 34% from 40%, and how about this: Secretary of State Condi Rice's approval ratings fell to 52% from 57%.

How Condi manages those ridiculously high numbers can only be explained by half of the sheeple not knowing what the hell she does, aside from her public role co-mothering the infant-in-chief.


Alabama: still the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America?

Last year, Bob Moser wrote an article for Out Magazine that opened with the question "Is Alabama really the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America?" A snippet from my December post :
My wife Kate, a native Alabamian, escaped from the nightmare, and even she couldn't believe the depth of the hatred and homophobia exposed by this article, including the heinous statistic that 44% of gay Alabamans are physically beaten and assaulted -- by their own family members. It's truly upsetting, and depressing. You wish the queer community would just get the hell out of there, but as with all stories like this, there are those that still want to stay and fight for their rights. I would consider this an almost insurmountable mountain of intolerance that runs both deep and high -- and all the way to the state house. Judge Roy Moore, famous for wanting to keep a gigantic slab of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, is planning to run for governor. He says some frightening things about gays in this story that make you wonder what could happen if he is elected -- and he just may be.


Rense.com
As you all may know, Moore has officially announced his run for governor, though one has to hope he has no chance of winning. He has declared homosexuality "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature." he considers gay sex "an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it," an "inherent evil" that "should never be tolerated."

Moser, author of the article, currently works and lives in Montgomery-- he served as editor of the great progressive local paper here in the Triangle, The Independent Weekly, from 1995 to 2000. He is a senior writer for the Intelligence Report, an investigative magazine published by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

While the competition is stiff for what is the most gay-hostile state since that Out article, Alabama is trying to hold its own. So many gay Alabamians have to remain in closets that are tightly shut for their own safety. It's sad, yet all too predictable that an incident like this -- another 'gay panic' attack -- makes the headlines. (Montgomery Advertiser):
An autumn wreath welcoming visitors into his home hangs just above the crime scene tape barring entry into Billy Sanford’s house, where he was allegedly beaten last month because he is gay. Sanford, 52, lay in a coma at Jackson Hospital Tuesday, clinging to life as police announced that they had arrested the man accused of leaving him near death on Oct. 19.

Marcus Dewayne Kelley, 26, of Union Springs was arrested Monday night following a traffic stop in Alexander City. He is charged with attempted murder. Lt. Huey Thornton, a Montgomery Police spokesman, said the case is not being considered a hate crime. According to Alabama law, a hate crime is committed against a person because of his “race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or physical or mental disability.” Sexual orientation is not included in the statute.

Kelley, a handyman for Sanford and his roommate, told Montgomery detectives he hit Sanford in the head with a hammer because the older man wouldn’t stop making sexual advances toward him.

Sanford’s neighbors don’t buy that explanation. “I just don’t see Billy doing that,” said Jackie Richardson, who lives next door to Sanford on Palmetto Drive. “He wouldn’t have done that. There has to be more to it.” Sanford’s family feels the same way. “Billy is such a sweet spirit, a gentle, non-violent soul,” said his sister, Sherry Luna. “It’s really hard to imagine.”

Luna declined to talk about her brother’s sexuality, citing the sensitivity of the issue. “That would be a question best left to him,” she said.

It is uncertain if Sanford will ever be able to answer it, or tell people what happened to him. Doctors initially gave him little chance for survival and, even if he does wake up, severe and permanent brain damage is a possibility.

...Howard Bayless, chairman of Equality Alabama, said it is time for Alabama lawmakers to take action and include sexual orientation in the hate crime statute. He also expressed outrage at Kelley’s alleged crime.

“It is not okay to hurt us, and this kind of response is ridiculous,” Bayless said. “If it were a straight person who hit on someone of the opposite sex, he would have gotten a ‘No, thank you,’ and that would have been the end of it. “We don’t get a polite ‘No, thank you.’ We get clubbed with a hammer,” Bayless continued. “I hope the district attorney prosecutes this to the highest degree.”
The article also notes that this is the second alleged anti-gay crime in Montgomery in the last year and half, and in the last incident, "gay panic" was also the lame excuse given for a defense. In that case, Roderick George of Montgomery was shot in the head by Anthony T. Johnson, citing “inappropriate sexual advances.”

While the picture can seem bleak for gay Alabamians, there is hope and activism that can be found in pockets around the state. It's too easy to tell queer folks to just pack up and get out -- even in Montgomery. In July, the city held its first gay pride celebration in seven years, while facing bigotry and disdain from the likes of the Christian Coalition. It's a significant thing to note is that there were no protestors at this event.


Howard Bayless welcomed attendees to the Montgomery Gay and Lesbian Association's gay pride festival held at Equality Alabama's headquarters on Perry Street in Montgomery last July.

The strategy that gay folks should escape from the Red and Purple states (Red states with Blue enclaves) to safety of Blue states is an illusion. Our interests in the long run are better served if those in Purple states reclaim them by coming out, getting politically active and protecting their interests. In a deep Red state there's only so much open hostility you can take, never mind outright danger. But there are those that want to stay and fight, and they deserve our support.

It's also notable that there a legislator is now stepping forward in the state in the wake of these last gay-bashings. I can only imagine the grief he is going to get from the homo-bigots, black and white.


State Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, called the attack on Sanford "awful." "If a young man would make a remark to a young lady, you don't think we'd shoot him and kill him," Holmes said. "You can't treat people like that."

Holmes said he plans to introduce on Jan. 10, the first day of the 2006 legislative session, an amendment that would change Alabama's hate crime law to include crimes based on a person's sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian rights activists in Alabama and beyond are lauding that promise.

"It's not OK to just beat up on someone because you don't like who you think they are," said the Rev. Felicia Fontaine, a lesbian minister and head of Soulforce Alabama. "When someone assaults someone because they are gay, that's terrorism. It's about scaring other gays and lesbians." Fontaine said it was the same situation during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. "Lynchings were never about the person who was strung up," Fontaine said. "It was about scaring everyone else."
[BTW, Fontaine met with Roy Moore back in 2003, read about that exchange here.] She's right, changing the status quo, especially on civil rights issues in a state with Alabama's history is threatening, and the best way to slow change is by instilling fear. Would this step of legislative conscience occur without a growing number of openly gay voices of advocacy (and allies) there, willing to stay and fight for their rights? I think not.

Related:
* Nowhere to Run, a post by The Next Hurrah's JamesB3.
* Equality Alabama.


Triangle Bloggers Bash in Durham

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I had a great time last night at the Triangle Bloggers Bash, which was held at the kick-ass American Tobacco Historic District in downtown Durham. It was organized by the incredibly cheerful Anton Zuiker of Mr. Sugar. I say incredibly cheerful because I just learned, by surfing over to his pad, that his place had been broken into before the event! Good grief -- he certainly didn't let on.



The evening started off with a tour of the impressive new studios of WUNC (public radio station). It is located right off of the main courtyard, across from the restored Lucky Strike water tower and a graceful, flowing man-made river that runs through the complex. Take it from someone who works in a nearby renovated tobacco warehouse (Brightleaf Square), this revamping is masterfully done, inside and out. Best of all - free WiFi in the courtyard!

The studio tour was also paired with a wonderful spread of food sponsored by Lulu.com, an online book-publishing company, which allows you to self-publish in an incredible turn-around time. Anton did a book with them that was produced in two days.

It was a great turnout - I am bad with head counts, but I'd say we had maybe 40-50 bloggers (and those interested in blogs), including the WUNC staff mingling for an hour or so. The festivities moved to one of the restaurants in the ATHD complex, Tyler's Tap Room, where WRAL (our CBS affilliate) and Henry Copeland of BlogAds sponsored beverages. They have a strong online presence and interest in the blogosphere and maintain a list of local bloggers.

The highlight, of course, is meeting new people -- and those that you know only as an online presence. I chatted with ae of Arse Poetica; I hadn't seen her since our adventure with the Westboro Baptist loons at the Durham School of the Arts back in May.


AE, with Bora; Bora and you-know-who.

I finally met Bora Zivkovic of Science and Politics. Blenders know him by his commenter handle -- Coturnix. We had a great time chatting about the real and virtual worlds, and geeky stuff like what we find when we Google ourselves. Now that's a pair of dweebs.

You can see more pictures of the event here and here.

***

It must be meet-the-blogger week in these parts, because I will get the chance to meet up with Jill from Brilliant at Breakfast, on Friday, who's in town for a family visit.


Pentagon: US Used White Phosphorous in Iraq as a Weapon


On the 8th of this month I wrote They're Not WMDs When We Use Them, which detailed Italian and British media reports of the US use of white phosphorous, usually used for illuminating dark battlefields, as a burning chemical weapon against Iraqis, both civilian and hostile.

A commenter named Confederate Yankee steadfastly refused to believe it:
White phosphorous is not a chemical weapon.

White phosporous may been used in Fallujah consistent with its primary purpose, illumination of targets, but exactly zero evidence is presented for the claims that is was used widely and purposefully, as a weapon.... Do you really think Marines would have poured hundreds of rounds of such an agent into an area that they would then immediate occupy? The story shows a complete ignorance of tactics or even a shred of logic....

You have a simple choice: do you believe a story that provides no direct evidence, or do you trust your lying eyes?

... The laws of physics are just that: LAWS.

White phosphorous simply does not have the capablity to do what your "experts" say that is does.

So you can disbelieve the evil military if you like, but you can't argue with science with any sort of credibility.
Oh. So, then, what should I make of this... is the evil military lying to me?
(BBC News) US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said.

The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

Col Venable told the BBC's PM radio programme that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases.

"However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants."

And he said it had been used in Falluja, but it was a "conventional munition", not a chemical weapon.
Ah, I see. Just because it is a flammable chemical that ignites on contact with oxygen and is contained in a munition and contact with its particles causes burning of skin and flesh, and as GlobalSecurity.org notes, "Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful... These weapons are particularly nasty because white phosphorus continues to burn until it disappears... it could burn right down to the bone", that's no reason to call it a chemical weapon. And lying to a grand jury about outing a CIA agent in a time of war, why that's just a technicality. And we don't torture people, we use extreme interrogation methods. And George W. Bush is a Compassionate Christian Conservative who's left no child behind, cleaned the skies, revived the forests, and is a intelligent, wise leader with impeccable ethical credentials.... OW! My keyboard just bit me!


Papa Ratzi wears Prada...and Gucci...and sequins


When will we see him on the catwalk?

We know that the Devil wears Prada, so Satan must be sharing his tastes with the fashion trendsetter sitting in the Vatican.

Ratzi's shocking people with his lavish choices -- and shimmering custom frocks. Do Blenders think that there is a tie here to Benedict's homo-bigoted policies, or just a desire to play Vegas? Hmmmm. (Newsweek):
Pope Benedict XVI is nothing short of a religious-fashion icon, riding in the Popemobile with red Prada loafers under his cassock and Gucci shades. But his penchant for designer wear and a move to ditch the papal tailors who have dressed popes for more than 200 years are causing new wrinkles in the Vatican.

Benedict has favored his tailor from his days as cardinal, Alessandro Cattaneo, and the 20-year-old religious-fashion house of Raniero Mancinelli, which has provided the pope with dazzling new vestments (some with shimmering, sequinlike details).
I'll leave it to you all for the witty commentary. :)


Queer Tar Heel Baptists: you're screwed


I hope (the public) will take it to mean that North Carolina Baptists are voicing our biblical conviction ... (but also) that God offers love and forgiveness and healing."
-- delusionally bigoted Rev. David Horton, president of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro and the outgoing state convention president
Well, it's not like you were a welcome presence in most Baptist churches before. Any churches that were tolerant are getting officially booted now. (365gay.com):
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has taken a formal stand on gays in a vote that asked its board to define when a member church is "in friendly cooperation" with the convention.

...The motion was made by Bill Sanderson, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, who said that such a policy "must deal clearly with "homosexual behavior" and include that a church that "knowingly affirms, approves or endorses homosexual behavior" is a church not in friendly cooperation with the convention."

Churches that contribute financially to the convention are said to be "in friendly cooperation" now, said Norman Jameson, convention spokesman.

Executing the policy might not be easy, an observer of religion said. "The convention becomes essentially an investigatory agency ... on one issue," said Bill Leonard, dean of divinity at Wake Forest University. "It will be interesting to see how they police this."

Not all delegates supported the motion.

[A voice of sanity] "Could it be that homosexuality gains our attention primarily because it's not 'our' sin?" said Rob Helton, a messenger from Cherry Point Baptist Church in Havelock. "If we write a policy (on homosexuality), it seems only fair and right that we write a policy on every sin in the Bible."


Bodies left rotting in the Ninth Ward


And to think, the Administration's biggest worry was the photography of the bodies of victims. I think leaving them to rot is a slightly bigger problem, don't you think?

The continuing Shame of America. No respect for the poor and disenfranchised, even when you're dead.

On Anderson Cooper 360 last night, a report that just makes you sick. I don't know who the Bush Admin was going to get to believe that they had found all the bodies after this disaster. When they called off the search on October 3, there was such an outcry that it has continued, but folks are coming home and finding the corpses of loved ones rotting in homes. (CNN):
The official search-and-rescue effort was called off October 3, but there was such a backlash, crews resumed searching demolished neighborhoods. They have cleared areas zip code by zip code.

There was no joy for Paul Murphy (ph) in this homecoming. When he walked into his house in New Orleans' Ninth Ward last month for the first time since Katrina, it was shock and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm thinking that, OK, I was going to come and salvage a few pictures or something. And I walk in here. I found my grandma on the floor dead.

DORNIN: Since November 1, 10 bodies have been found in the ruins of the Ninth Ward. The last area, known as the Lower Ninth, will open to residents December 1. Coroner Frank Minyard worries about what people will find.

(on camera): You're fully expecting that more bodies will come in once they open the Ninth Ward?

FRANK MINYARD, ORLEANS PARISH CORONER: Yes. And I think it's -- it's going to come in for a good while. There's so much rubbish around that they might find people in the rubbish. DORNIN (voice-over): They already have. And there are still many bodies left unidentified and unclaimed.

MINYARD: We have 150 autopsies left to do, all on unidentified people. Hopefully, that -- that will help us identify that person, if we can find a pacemaker or an artificial hip or something. Then we're into DNA.

DORNIN: Susan Eaton (ph) asked if she could send a DNA sample and was told DNA samples were not being accepted. Nearly 80 days after Katrina, not one DNA test has been done.
To add another layer of disbelief, after the state called off the search, the firm doing the body count - Kenyon International - was still racking in payments up until yesterday.:
But on Sept. 12, Louisiana signed a body-recovery contract that included $25,000 for body bags. The state called off its search for victims Tuesday, but it's bound through Nov. 15 by a contract with a Texas firm that's costing it as much as $118,000 a day.
Kenyon, you may recall, had ties to Bush going back to his days as governor of Texas, and was accused of illegally discarding and desecrating corpses, yet they received the contract. More shame.

Hat tip, ScoutPrime, via AmericaBlog.

Also see: Katrina body counting duties given to firm tied to Bush family


Slave wage, er, slavery, in the Gulf


Halliburton and its subcontractor KBR hired hundreds of undocumented Latino workers to clean up, treated them like animals, and threw them out without paying them.

[Welcome folks from C&L...]

Slavery is alive and well if you're an undocumented worker on the post-Katrina clean-up effort, according to a Salon article (day pass or registration req'd).

Folks were worried about low wages, no-bid contracts and general corruption in the Gulf region, but this is the height of immorality, courtesy of Bush/CheneyCo's friends at Halliburton/KBR.
Arnulfo Martinez recalls seeing lots of hombres del ejercito standing at attention. Though he was living on the Belle Chasse Naval Base near New Orleans when President Bush spoke there on Oct. 11, he didn't understand anything the ruddy man in the rolled-up sleeves was saying to the troops.

Martinez, 16, speaks no English; his mother tongue is Zapotec. He had left the cornfields of Oaxaca, Mexico, four weeks earlier for the promise that he would make $8 an hour, plus room and board, while working for a subcontractor of KBR, a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton that was awarded a major contract by the Bush administration for disaster relief work. The job was helping to clean up a Gulf Coast naval base in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. "I was cleaning up the base, picking up branches and doing other work," Martinez said, speaking to me in broken Spanish.

Even if the Oaxacan teenager had understood Bush when he urged Americans that day to "help somebody find shelter or help somebody find food," he couldn't have known that he'd soon need similar help himself. But three weeks after arriving at the naval base from Texas, Martinez's boss, Karen Tovar, a job broker from North Carolina who hired workers for a KBR subcontractor called United Disaster Relief, booted him from the base and left him homeless, hungry and without money.
At least slaves picking cotton got a meal and a shack to live in. This is so base that it boggles the mind. As Blender and Julien's List contributor 'Bean said:
"After all, the last five years have shown American Values means the only people we put first are the ones we like - the ones in our OWN church, with our OWN speech pattern, with our OWN skin color, with our OWN orientation, right?"
But 'Bean, you forgot the most critical factor: putting your rich base first is always the overriding concern in this corrupt, guilt-free Administration.

Roberto Lovato, the writer of this Salon article, continues, for those of you that doubt it's really that bad:
Immigrants rights groups and activists like Bill Chandler, president of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, estimate that hundreds of undocumented workers are on the Gulf Coast military bases, a claim that the military and Halliburton/KBR deny -- even after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency turned up undocumented workers in a raid of the Belle Chasse facility last month. Visits to the naval bases and dozens of interviews by Salon confirm that undocumented workers are in the facilities. Still, tracing the line from unpaid undocumented workers to their multibillion-dollar employers is a daunting task. A shadowy labyrinth of contractors, subcontractors and job brokers, overseen by no single agency, have created a no man's land where nobody seems to be accountable for the hiring -- and abuse -- of these workers.
Other quotes:
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., is also against the practice, citing its "serious social ramifications." As he told Salon, it devastates "local workers who have been hit twice, because they lost their homes."

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who has been an outspoken critic of the use of undocumented workers at Belle Chasse and on other Katrina cleanup jobs, said in a recent statement, "It is a downright shame that any contractor would use this tragedy as an opportunity to line its pockets by breaking the law and hiring a low-skilled, low-wage and undocumented work force."

...Texas-based DRS Cosmotech is another subcontractor that provided cleanup crews to Halliburton/KBR in the Gulf. Roy Lee Donaldson, CEO of the company, refused to respond to accusations of non-payment and exploitation leveled at his company by several workers, including 55-year-old Felipe Reyes of Linares, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. (Donaldson hung up the phone when I identified myself as a reporter.)
There is no accountability on this. It's why outfits like Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch need to be on the case of this heinous story.

Here's a little contact info:
Cosmotech Inc./Donaldson Restoration Services
2009 Dowling Drive
Richmond, TX 77469
(CMR 01251)
281-341-6631

Cross-posted at Pandagon.

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How the world views the U.S.



It's good to get a peek at how other countries view U.S. policies and actions. A great portal, Watching America, collects news about the U.S. written outside our borders. The site is the brainchild of Robin Koerner, a British entrepreneur, and Will Kern, who is a former editor of the International Herald Tribune.

The appeal of this site is that it presents English translations of foreign-language news sources that you cannot find anwhere else. Some current headlines:

* People's Daily, China: U.S. 'Looks for Enemies,' Loses Friends in 'Its Own Backyard'
* El Universal, Venezuela: Chavez Says Bush Left Summit, 'With Tail Between His Legs'
* El Universo, Ecuador: In Spite of Bush ...A Simple Voting Error?
"There is no need to confuse the twisted politics of Bush and Cheney with the positive ideals of America.”
* Corriere Della Serra, Italy: Italians Seek Extradition of 22 CIA Agents Charged in 'Rendition'
* The Star, Jordan: Karen Hughes' Mission 'Rude,' 'Insensitive,' 'Tactless'
* Tunis Hebdo, Tunisia: Bush Hurtling Into Oblivion
* Azzaman, Iraq: Iraqis Say Life is Deteriorating; Americans Say Things Are Better

Surf over and support Watching America's work.


Why is Bill O'Reilly spying on queers at Brown?


A still frame from a video recording shot around 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning catches "O'Reilly Factor" producer Jesse Watters, above, filming for the show's Monday night segment on Sex Power God. (clip: Oliver Schulze)

Could it be...ratings? O'Reilly sends an "undercover" producer to tape "debauchery" at a queer party at Brown. Yeah, I'm sure there were no frat parties or keggers that he could have found at any other college, highlighting what goes on when straight folks party down. (Brown Daily Herald via PageOneQ):
Brown's annual Sex Power God tradition made national news Monday night when Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" aired footage of Saturday's party taped by a producer who attended the Queer Alliance event but did not identify himself at the time.

The Fox News Web site described the segment as an investigation into "the party Brown University doesn't want YOU to know about!"
To add to the bullsh*t, O'Lielly didn't have his facts right (what's new there), so he just went on the air and lied. His whole focus was to point out that Brown was paying for the event and thus endorsing it. Brown didn't pay for the party.


O'Reilly argued that it was inappropriate for Brown to use University property and the "$100 student government fee" - actually a $136 per year student activities fee - for a party in which many students got hurt. "I'm sure there are a lot of students who don't want their money to go to this," he said.

In fact, no University money went toward the event, said Undergraduate Finance Board Chair Swathi Bojedla '07. Instead, Queer Alliance paid for the event with funds it had raised, she said.


Say it ain't so, Bob



Bob Woodward is caught up in the Plame case, and knew about her ID -- in mid-June 2003 -- before Jailbird Judy. Even worse, he didn't tell his boss at the WaPo that he was deeply involved in the case until now. We're only learning about this at the present time because Woodward was slapped with a subpoena to testify after one of those "unnamed senior administration officials" squealed on him. (WaPo):
Woodward never mentioned this contact -- which was at the center of a criminal investigation and a high-stakes First Amendment legal battle between the prosecutor and two news organizations -- to his supervisors until last month. [Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard] Downie said in an interview yesterday that Woodward told him about the contact to alert him to a possible story. He declined to say whether he was upset that Woodward withheld the information from him.
It gets sleazier, because the formerly-straight-shooting Woodward has been slagging prosecutor Fitzgerald and downplaying the significance of the leak all this time as a talking head, which amounts to propaganda for the Bush Administration. Now we know why he did it - it clearly wasn't in his best interest to spin it truthfully.
Woodward, who is preparing a third book on the Bush administration, has called Fitzgerald "a junkyard-dog prosecutor" who turns over every rock looking for evidence. The night before Fitzgerald announced Libby's indictment, Woodward said he did not see evidence of criminal intent or of a major crime behind the leak.

"When the story comes out, I'm quite confident we're going to find out that it started kind of as gossip, as chatter," he told CNN's Larry King.

Woodward also said in interviews this summer and fall that the damage done by Plame's name being revealed in the media was "quite minimal."

"When I think all of the facts come out in this case, it's going to be laughable because the consequences are not that great," he told National Public Radio this summer.
Is there something in the water up there inside the Beltway that robs folks of ethical principles?


How the mighty have fallen...

* Text of his statement, via Raw Story

* Excellent DKos diary by Glenn Greenwald, The Woodward Bombshell is a Disaster for the White House


'Dean' Flickinger on Iraq


Uncle Sam needs HIM.

As we expected, we find the recruiter of fine young conservative minds, "Dean" Christopher Flickinger, is a card-carrying member of the Yellow Elephant brigade. Here's his ballsy excuse for not stepping up to serve and take an IED for his Dear Leader, from the Conservatives On Campus web site (no, I'm not linking to him - I've given him plenty of hits already), in response to some "hate mail."
I'm not in Iraq because I don't have to be in Iraq. We have brave men and women who volunteer and dedicate their lives to fighting for our country so those of us back here at home may carry on with our livelihoods in comfort and security. But, make no mistake, Americans who cherish freedom and liberty will not hesitate to defend the values they hold dear.
And he actually digs in deeper, in a column for Human Events. Read this godawful bullsh*t:
The loss of 2,000 lives is tragic. In fact, the loss of even one life is heartbreaking. But, to pick some sort of magical "death toll number" as to when America should tuck its tail between its legs and run is down right un-American! They want to know, "How many more?" The answer is: "As many as it takes." The price of 2,000 lives over a two and a half year period - for the cause of freedom - is small compared to what our forefathers paid.
There, my friends, is the Right Wing. Joseph Hughes (the former roomie of "Dean" Christopher Flickinger) is on a tear about this:
"Make no mistake," you tell us, "Americans who cherish freedom and liberty will not hesitate to defend the values they hold dear." How, exactly, are you defending the values you hold dear? Have you taken up arms in this Global War on Terror that your leader loves to wage? Have you enlisted in the armed forces, joining those "brave men and women" you mentioned? Have you fought for those same men and women once they have returned home only to see their benefits cut? Of course you haven't.

Instead, you've decided to cash your chips and sit back, relax, and let someone else's sons and daughters fight for your values, for your imperial foreign policy. You've chosen instead to enlist other like-minded twits to form the next generation of war-era cowards. You romanticize war, you fetishize it. War, to you and your ilk, is nothing more than a patriotic snuff film, a masturbatory aide. Yet despite your bluster, your bravado, you refuse to fight. Why? Because someone else will.
I decided to take a look at some of the Flicka's "Thank You" mail, and it seems to me that the "Dean" doesn't mind bullying professors on campus; he's a great candidate to suit up and use his "skillz" over in Baghdad:
"Mr. Flickinger did an amazing job confronting my professor.... It was truly amazing to see such a feared man on our campus quiver back into the corner.... When Flickinger brought this issue to national attention, there was an instant breeze of attitude change that came over Simpson's campus. For the first time students saw that they didn't have to back down to bullying professors. Students don't need this sort of added pressure and intimidation in their lives, and it is going to take people like Mr. Flickinger and Human Events Online to address these issues. Often, students think that they don't have options but to back down when facing professors who are wrong, but this is simply not the case!
-- Christopher Erickson, President, Simpson College Republicans (Iowa)
Do we want to put any money on whether Mr. Erickson is a fellow Yellow Elephant? The "Dean" is tight with Christopher, having written a knee-slapping profile in Human Events of thwarted conservative protest against Senator Tom Harkin, so that would explain the "Thank You" letter. BTW, I still don't see the ads rolling in on Flicka's site. You'd think the dork would be capitalizing on the exposure. No Freepi advertisers ready to sign on, Chris?


Impure thoughts

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The brown paper wrapper existed for a reason. Its existence acknowledged the harm that can come from an impure thought.
-- Jane Jiminez, a former elementary school teacher and "freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family."
Oh. my. god. If you are a regular Blend reader you are familiar with Jane Jiminez, the AgapePress columnist in need of, well, something. She's written about the evils of dancing (see my post, "Pelvic thrusts are the devil's work"), and birth control (Emergency contraception is the devil's work).

However, this week, Jane's obsessing about advertising and porn (and Paris Hilton). (AgapePress):
It used to arrive in a plain brown paper wrapper. Schoolboys lucky enough to find a hidden copy would sneak off to share it at school ... a perfect way to win points with their friends.

In the span of one lifetime, the plain brown paper wrapper has been recycled to make in-your-face glossy catalogues and wall-sized murals of nearly naked teens suggestively posed by Abercrombie & Fitch. MTV puts the photos to music. And video games draw you into the fun.



Fully fusing porn with American family life, last May, hometown burger king, Carl's Jr. gave Dads something to watch with their young boys. Paris Hilton, barely clad in a thong bikini, "with hoses shooting up everywhere," writhed in suds atop a Bentley ... seductively licking her lips over a hamburger.
Well, alrighty then.

Jane goes on to profile a teacher that helps scare young people with porn and chastity stories.
Dana spends five days each week in the classroom talking about sex with teens. She and the kids cover the physical, emotional and relational reasons for abstaining from sex until marriage.

On the last day of class, Dana brings up the subject of porn. "I can see it in their eyes," she says. "Half of the kids in the class look down at their desks. They're involved with porn, and they're embarrassed."

Dana has a hard job in a culture that mixes porn with simple television commercials for hamburgers. She must help students understand the damage of an impure thought. She must lead them through the natural consequences of linking a beautiful expression of intimate sexual love to the heartless eroticism of porn.
This unhinged woman has too much time on her hands, not to mention she's behind the curve. Railing on Paris Hilton for that ad at this stage is so yesterday.


Brandi came up "a bit short"


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I needed a good laugh before I left work today:
(www.BrandiSwindell.org) By now I'm sure you've heard the news that we came up a bit short Tuesday night.
A bit short? You lost 70% to 30%! Your opponent beat you by a thousand more votes than you received! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I guess I shouldn't expect an understanding of simple math from the kind of people who think evolution is a lie and Adam and Eve rode around on a dinosaur's back.

Take solace, Brandi, that the Denver Broncos, who "came up a bit short" in their 55-10 Super Bowl XXIV loss to San Francisco, eventually won a couple. Or, take heed the story of Walter Mondale coming up "a bit short" in his 525-13 Electoral College loss to Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was never seen on the political scene again.


'Bush rarely speaks to father, family is split'


Get the Drudge sirens going...

Insight Mag is reporting (via Queen Drudge - and I'm not linking to him) that the Chimp isn't getting on well with Poppy these days, and that it really is a bunker mentality at the White House. I'm just getting too much pleasure out of this, then I think -- this guy is running the country and has access to nukes, for god's sake.
President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, INSIGHT magazine claims in a new report.

The president’s reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.

“The atmosphere in the Oval Office has become unbearable,” a source said. “Even the family is split.”

INSIGHT: Sources close to the White House say that Mr. Bush has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials in the wake of plunging domestic support, the continued insurgency in Iraq and the CIA-leak investigation that has resulted in the indictment and resignation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people [all his mommy figures]: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.
Maybe Poppy's finally told the little guy that the current administration has f*cked up U.S. relations with half most of the globe and it's all due to the incompetence of the Chimperor. After all, Poppy's had to help the poor bastard out all his life, and what does he have to show for it -- a son that is a dangerous, unstable dunce -- and everyone knows it.



And perhaps the matter of the Chimperor probably hitting the booze again -- and being a head case -- isn't sitting well with the old man either.

Also see: Bush and His Women, by Shakes Sis.


Air-kiss to Darth Cheney



Cheney Heckled by Anti-War Protesters. Tee-hee.
Vice President Dick Cheney was heckled by protesters Tuesday as he spoke at the groundbreaking for a public policy center honoring former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker.

During Cheney's brief remarks, about a half-dozen people protesting the war in Iraq yelled, "War, what is it good for?" and held up a large banner saying, "Peace Now."

Cheney continued speaking and didn't acknowledge the protesters, who were escorted from the ceremony inside the University of Tennessee's basketball arena.

About 50 protesters, most of them appearing to be college age, demonstrated outside the arena. Several carried signs, including one that read "Honor Baker, Impeach Cheney."


Those pesky women bloggers

My bloggrrrl Shakes Sis and Pandagon co-blogger Amanda Marcotte are just two of the gals featured in an online article on women bloggers at SadieMAG:
"Bloggers add to the public discourse a sense of the immediacy of national politics, undermining the myth that decisions made in D.C. don't have an immediate impact on average people," says Melissa McEwan, who blogs on the site Shakespeare"s Sister (www.shakespearessister.blogspot.com). "They bring the passion and vibrancy of average people to the democratic process in a way that has not been visible for quite some time."

What does a typical day on the blogosphere reveal? On the liberal leaning Rox Populi (www.roxpopuli.com), bloggers skewer the president, opining, "The American public is awake now and many of them are no longer buying the faux Jesus juice," adding, "Ah, if only this were true." On the other end of the spectrum, AndRightlySo (www.andrightlyso.com)--whose motto "There is nothing sexier than women who are on the right" firmly states its political affiliation--slings insults at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which "has gone TOO FAR this time" in undermining parental rights. Meanwhile, Suburban Guerilla (www.susiemadrak.com) smirks, "What some journalists won't do to have a Republican in their bed?" and Feministe (www.feministe.us/blog) warns, "Watch out, Pennsylvania, God's gonna getcha."
One of the issues that comes up in the article, which you've read before here at the Blend, is the "male bloggers rarely link to female-written sites" issue. It also covers the dilemma among women bloggers about Wonkette, who is, for some reason, still the designated go-to gal blogger by the establishment.
Wonkette (www.wonkette.com) provides a titillating, raunchy collection of inside-the-Beltway gossip--not a website for those who see women as the more refined sex--making Ana Marie Cox, Wonkette's creator, the go-to gal when mainstream media wants to cite a "women blogger."

"I think she's funny," says Beyerstein, "but it's kind of frustrating for more serious female bloggers. She's not a [policy] wonk, she's an entertainer." Kathy states it more bluntly: "Any woman blogger on the web can use her sexuality to gain readers. But is that what we want?"

Yet mainstream media pundits and academics regularly invite the dirty-writing Wonkette to comment on issues of blogging or blogging ethics. She "was invited to represent not only women but the liberal blogs. That [annoyed] the hell out of everyone," Beyerstein says.

While a significant number of female bloggers exist, they often don't receive the credit given to male bloggers, explains Marcotte. "It's out-and-out sexism. That comes from my experience switching to Pandagon. For a certain percentage of the audience, there was nothing I could do to make them happy. There was nonstop sniping--obviously coming from resentment that a woman was blogging."
Anyway, it's a good read, and I'm sure you'll have your own impressions to share. At least I hope so...

Amanda has more to say about the topic here.

While I'm at it, check out Shakes Sis's post, O’Reilly is an Un-American Jackass -- I heartily agree on that.


'Cool mom' gets 30 years for sex parties


What is with the rash of women who have suddenly turned to fulfilling their sexual needs with young teenage boys? And where the hell were they when I was a young teenage boy?

It's not a new phenomenon, I'm sure. We can look back to The Graduate for confirmation of that. I even have friends whose first sexual experience was with a much older woman. One friend lost his virginity at 12 with a 24-year-old babysitter. But the attention paid to the phenomenon seems new, especially with the seemingly monthly stories of a female teacher sleeping her male teenage students.

There's certainly a double-standard when society looks at the adult-child pairing. A man seducing a Lolita is taking advantage of a young innocent girl. But a MILF seducing a teen boy gets a reaction that is part "huh?" toward the woman and "you lucky bastard!" toward the boy. Is that right or wrong? Do boys get as messed up by such a relationship as girls do?

The public's attitude must be swinging toward "yes", at least judging by this latest sentencing:
GOLDEN, Colorado (AP) -- A woman who authorities said had sex with high school boys during alcohol- and drug-fueled parties has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, officials said.

She pleaded guilty in July to two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and nine felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

She also was sentenced for additional charges of third-degree assault, violation of a restraining order and harassment for unrelated cases involving her husband and children, prosecution spokesman Carl Blesch said.

Authorities said Johnson held parties for the boys almost weekly between October 2003 and October 2004. They said Johnson provided drugs and alcohol to eight boys and had sex with five of them.
No word on whether that was all five at once. And you gotta feel for the other three boys. Imagine the teasing they'll get because they couldn't even get laid by the party mom. (Or, maybe those three just had better sense. And taste. Or they're gay... not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Thirty years? Does anyone else think this is a little excessive? Especially when you consider the average sentence served for rapists and murderers is less than half that?


'Bald Ego' Murkowski gets 'unusable' jet on Alaskans' dime



Man, you just can't make it up -- the balls on this dude (and lack of brains). Can't do without the airborne flushable crapper, eh Frank?
Critics have dubbed it "Bald Ego," "Murky's Turkey" and "Incontinental Airlines," but Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski finally has the sleek executive jet he says he and other state officials need.

The $2.6 million Westwind aircraft, equipped with a leather sofa, burgundy carpeting and a flush toilet, arrived this week in Anchorage and will replace a no-frills turboprop used by previous Alaska governors for official business.

Critics say Murkowski's jet is unusable in much of rural Alaska, where runways are too short and made of gravel or nonexistent. Murkowski press secretary Becky Hultberg defended the purchase, saying the Republican governor believes that "this is an aircraft that Alaska needs as one of the most aviation-dependent states in the nation."

Alaska, which has a $30 billion oil-wealth savings account, is in better financial shape than most U.S. states. But the jet purchase has been cited as one reason for the former banker's low approval ratings.

Polls show him to be the nation's second-most-unpopular governor, topped only by Ohio Republican Gov. Robert Taft.
Speaking of the corrupt Taft, have you seen Time Magazine's piece "The Worst Governors in America - Bob Taft"?
The only thing more stunning than the spectacle of a quivering, hangdog Ohio Governor pleading no contest in August to criminal charges is the fact that he is still in office. Bob Taft, the Republican great-grandson of a U.S. President and son of a Senator, could have received a two-year jail term for failing to report, as state law requires, 47 golf outings paid for by others, but a municipal-court judge let him walk after slapping him with a $4,000 fine. Taft has since ignored thunderous demands for his resignation, even from many onetime allies.


Baptist bucks force disbanding of gay group at Mercer University


The Mercer Triangle Symposium is an organization recognized by the Student Government Association, and though the University does not sponsor this organization, we do respect the right of students to assemble and discuss wide-ranging social and religious issues.

As president of the University, I am very much aware of the views and deeply-held feelings of all of our Baptist allies, and we have sought to balance a genuine sensitivity to the viewpoints of the many Baptists who support the University while preserving a community of respect for all students and faculty.
-- Mercer University President Kirby Godsey
The Mercer Triangle Symposium's purpose is to "discuss political, theological, social and academic issues relating to sexuality." It wasn't even sponsored by Mercer University, but the Georgia Taliban decided that the mere existence of a gay support group was too much to bear.

The MTS held its final meeting on Monday, after being disbanded due to the pressure from the Georgia Baptist Convention and a school administration scared of losing its funding from the GBC. (AJC):
A support group for gay students at the Macon campus of Mercer University disbanded Monday after the head of the Georgia Baptist Convention complained to school officials that the group's existence betrayed the university's Christian heritage.

Mercer's student Senate first recognized the group in 2002. Monday was the first day of the annual Georgia Baptist Convention in Columbus.

Last month, the GBC's executive director, J. Robert White, publicly complained about the gay group after learning about it in a campus newspaper. White said he received calls from parents around Georgia who were concerned about the education their children were receiving.

Mercer, which also has a campus in Atlanta, is a Baptist-affiliated college of 7,000 students that receives about $2.4 million a year from the Georgia Baptist Convention.
In the Christian Index, a publication touting that it's "helping Georgia Baptists share the Good News," you get a pious helping of the AmTaliban's version of Christianity. Its article is breathless on the topic because it is "raising eyebrows among Georgia Baptists who have begun questioning the integrity of the historically Baptist university." Here's GBC Executive Director J. Robert White:


"This kind of event is diametrically opposed to who we are as a Convention. This creates a conflict for Georgia Baptists who send their students to Mercer as a Georgia Baptist university believing that they will be nurtured in a Christian environment, then learn that their students are invited to attend meetings of this nature on campus.

..."The thing that concerns me most deeply is the disregard for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the students by those who promoted this event and other similar activities that apparently take place with regularity on the campus. If there was no spiritual reason whatsoever to discourage homosexuality, certainly the blight of AIDS should be adequate to surmise, 'This is not a good thing to promote at our university.'

"Add to the physical concerns, the emotional crisis this creates for our families, to say nothing of the spiritual result of choosing to live a life of unrepentant sin, and the results can be devastating."

White further stated, "If Mercer says, 'There's nothing we can do about this kind of event taking place at the university,' or 'Students must be free to express themselves without interference from the university,' we still have a serious compatibility problem." [What? Freedom of speech? It's an un-Christian concept to talk about difficult issues? Where is that in the bible?]

White concluded, "I understand that a part of the university experience, whether Baptist or otherwise, is being exposed to a broad variety of thought. [Hmmm. This is an unamusing way of showing it...]
At the same time, I believe that Georgia Baptist parents should be able to have the confidence that their young people who attend a Georgia Baptist institution will not receive errant signals but will be taught that learning to live a life that is like Christ - full of integrity, character and truth - is the supreme result of higher Christian education."
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Senate Rethugs running for cover on Iraq

Abandon ship! Cat Killer Frist and John Warner of Virginia want to get their party out of the vortex sucking down the Chimp and are moving, with a non-binding resolution, to solidify their position with the equivalent of a no-confidence vote on Bush's Iraq policy.

This move came after Dems Carl Levin, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and John Kerry took turns pummeling Bush policy on Iraq on the Senate floor yesterday.

As these GOP clowns run for cover, are the Dems going to let them take this issue away from them? Wait, don't ask...
The U.S. Senate opened debate today on measures that would put the chamber on record for the first time asking President George W. Bush to set limits for keeping American troops in Iraq.

The Bush administration "needs to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission,'' say resolutions introduced separately by both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties also would require that Iraq's rival political factions be told they must make the compromises necessary to achieve a stable government, united against the insurgency, which will allow U.S. troops to leave.

The measures will prove attractive to Republicans up for re-election next year who want "to distance themselves from the White House,'' Fisher said.


Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch site launches

Monday, November 14, 2005

I finally met the talented Chris Kromm, executive director of the Durham-based Institute for Southern Studies and the editor of Facing South tonight at the Durham premiere of Robert Greenwald's Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price at the Carolina Theatre. [It's a hard-hitting documentary, and it confirms all the evil -- and more -- behind the retailer's business practices.]

Chris let me know that ISS's Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch has launched. It is a new project designed to document and investigate the rebuilding of the Southern Gulf in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The effort by the ISS (a non-profit research and education center), and its investigative reporting magazine, Southern Exposure, involves original reporting and features, community voices and with a blog. It aims to hold folks accountable during this period of reconstruction now that the cameras are not there 24/7, and there is little oversight.

The question that is before us all now, as citizens (and taxpayers) of this country is: who's watching the Gulf? Here's how you can help this independent effort.
* Be a Gulf Watcher: Active readers like you will help be our eyes and ears for key news. Send an anonymous tip here.

* Get active: Reconstruction Watch will feature regular action steps you can take to support those working for a just and accountable rebuilding in the Gulf.


3) Support our Investigative Fund!
The ISS is looking to raise $20K to fully fund the effort, so pass along the word, contribute and keep checking out the GCRW site for updates.


Head on over to Perrspectives

Jon's cooking up some fun stuff over at his pad. Here's one of the latest...



What a bunch of ho-beasts these pious pervs are! I have to agree with Jon when he says, "No doubt Libby's "man-on-deer" and "bear-on-girl" forbidden love scenes would make Rick Santorum and friends cringe."

And he's got the scoop on The Top 10 GOP Sound Bites: Rewriting History Edition:
After the President's shameless Veterans Day speech, the smash hit "Rewriting History", performed by George Bush, RNC chairman Ken Mehlman and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, jumped to the top of the charts. Kay Bailey Hutchison's ode to Scooter Libby, "No Underlying Crime," dropped two places to #3, while Scott McClellan's ballad "Ongoing Investigation" held firm at #2. For the first time since January 2002, George Bush's hard-rocking "Axis of Evil" fell off the charts altogether.
Surf over to see what landed on the Top 10.


Up close and too personal with Flicka


In college, "The Dean" had an embroidered pillow on his bed, with a smarmy slogan like "The Best is Yet to Come" on it.

Over the weekend I posted about "Dean" Christopher Flickinger, the ego-tripping head of a ridiculous winger outfit, Network of College Conservatives.

Joseph Hughes of Hughes for America actually roomed with this dork in college, and he's posted on it --

I lived with a Republican douchebot.

Please check it out -- and protect your keyboard and monitor...don't say I didn't warn you!

You'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about this turd.


As the Dems plan to roll over and play dead...Alito and abortion



The Dems are playing nice little doggie, with Joe "Ego" Biden declaring ahead of time that there wouldn't be a filibuster. But look at this bit of news on Sammy Alito that popped up:
It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly.

I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.
This was written as silent Sammy in a 1985 memo, part of a job application sent to then-Attorney General Edwin Meese, obtained by the Washington Times.

Joe, have anything to say now?


Little Ricky: no 'intelligent design' in schools



Perhaps Santorum was paying attention to the housecleaning of the wingnut school board in the Pennsylvania city of Dover this past Tuesday. (Beaver County Times):
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Saturday that he doesn't believe that intelligent design belongs in the science classroom.

Santorum's comments to The Times are a shift from his position of several years ago, when he wrote in a Washington Times editorial that intelligent design is a "legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in the classroom."

But on Saturday, the Republican said that, "Science leads you where it leads you."
I love the last line in this excerpt. Clearly Little Ricky is scared of being too close to the Chimp, but he can't help showing his pathetic self-interest and naked ambition.
Though Santorum said he believes that intelligent design is "a legitimate issue," he doesn't believe it should be taught in the classroom, adding that he had concerns about some parts of the theory.

Earlier this summer, President Bush said he favored teaching intelligent design in the classroom.

With Santorum running for re-election next year, and with Bush and the Republican Party taking some significant hits in public confidence in recent months, Santorum insisted he is not trying to distance himself from Bush.

...Saturday, Santorum said of Bush, "I don't agree with everything he does," but said that overall, he considers Bush a good president and that he has "done a lot" for the country and for Santorum himself.
He's done a lot, alright, Mr. Man-on-Dog. You lie down with him and you come up with fleas.


Who's race-baiting now - Steele's phony Oreo-pelting story


Uh oh -- no carpet bombing of Oreos on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (here with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.). Photo: Baltimore Sun

Since 2002, the lies have become legend as Michael S. Steele and the GOP have tried to tout stories about his victimization at a political event -- that the Lt. Gov. was on the receiving end of a race-baiting rainshower of Oreo cookies, marking him as a sell-out.

Hey, that's good play if you can legitimately make your opponent's side look like a bunch of bigots, but Steele should have chosen a tale that couldn't so easily be debunked. It's blowing up in their faces now and no one -- what a surprise -- wants to comment now.


Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that he is angry at "revisionism" from political opponents who question a much-repeated story about Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele being pelted with Oreos during a 2002 campaign debate in Baltimore.

...Speaking on Stateline with the Governor on WBAL-AM yesterday, Ehrlich said he would not tolerate questions about the veracity of the incident.

...Paul Schurick, Ehrlich's communications director, said last week that he saw people passing out packages of the cookies outside Morgan State University's fine arts center before the debate and that when Steele entered the auditorium about 15 minutes before the start, people let fly with the cookies.

"It was raining Oreos," Schurick said. "They were thick in the air like locusts. I was there. It was very real. It wasn't subtle."

As for those who question the story, Ehrlich said yesterday: "They're not going to be able now to reinvent something that a lot of people saw. Just go ask people who were there."



..."It didn't happen here," said Vander Harris, operations manager of the Murphy Fine Arts Building at Morgan State. "I was in on the cleanup, and we found no cookies or anything else abnormal. There were no Oreo cookies thrown."

The incident is said to have occurred when Steele walked to his seat before the debate started, not during the event on stage when it would have been captured on video. Newspaper articles and television news reports from that night didn't mention it, and representatives of the news departments at television stations WBAL, WJZ and WMAR and Maryland Public Television said they have no video of the incident.

...Wayne Frazier, president of the Maryland-Washington Minority Contractors Association said he watched Steele walk into the auditorium that night but saw no Oreos. "I was there the whole time and did not see any of the so-called Oreo cookie incident," Frazier said.

Hmmm. Seems a mass of Oreos flying, rolling and pelting folks would have been quite a sight, wouldn't you say? Yet, where are these unhinged accounts coming from, other than from the fertile imaginations of these windbags?

* Washington Post writer George F. Will wrote in his column that "some in the audience had distributed Oreo cookies."

* That day, while campaigning at a Jewish day school in Pikesville, Ehrlich told the audience that Townsend supporters threw the cookies at Steele.

* Ehrlich said on WBAL radio that his father was hit in the head by one of the cookies. Schurick also said Ehrlich's father was hit. Schurick would not make Robert L. Ehrlich Sr. available for an interview yesterday.

* After the election, Steele told a writer for the Capital News Service that an Oreo rolled to his feet during the debate."



If you had half a brain, you GOP dunces, you would have just hired some Freepers to show up posing as lefties and pelt the Oreos for a nice photo op.

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price showing in the Triangle

There's a lot of sweating executives in the Wal-Mart boardroom because of a new documentary on the mammoth chain's foul corporate behavior.

Just a reminder for folks in my area that The Institute for Southern Studies is sponsoring theater screenings in the Triangle of Robert Greenwald's (Outfoxed) "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" with The Independent Weekly and the N.C. Justice Center.

MONDAY, NOV. 14, DURHAM -- "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" screening and discussion. 7 p.m., Carolina Theater.

TUESDAY, NOV. 15, CARY -- "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" screening and discussion. 7 p.m., Galaxy Theater.

For those of you in the DC area, there will be a premiere with the filmmaker on November 15, according to Campaign for America's Future:
Washington, DC Premiere: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Date: Tuesday, November 15th
Time: 7:30 pm screening begins; 6:30 pm sponsors' reception
Location: Regal Cinemas, Gallery Place, 701 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Invited: Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. George Miller, film director Robert Greenwald,
Campaign for America’s Future Co-Directors Roger Hickey and Robert Borosage.

More info, including the trailer for the film is here.


Latest from Bush stooge: can't rule out torture

Sunday, November 13, 2005


National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, thinking hard about what the latest U.S. policy on torture is.

Someone remind me - isn't torture against the law? Didn't the Chimp just tell us last week that Americans do not torture -- or did someone let the dunce-in-chief go off-message yet again?

A "clarification" was issued out of this confused and criminal administration today. This time, the stooge of the hour was National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, who trotted out to make sure everyone understood where the U.S. stands when it comes to putting the thumbscrews to people in the government's custody. Don't forget, we must refer to torture as "enhanced interrogation techniques." (AFP):
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture, arguing the US administration was duty-bound to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

The comment, by US national security adviser Stephen Hadley, came amid heated national debate about whether the CIA and other US intelligence agencies should be authorized to use what is being referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" to extract from terror suspects information that may help prevent future assaults.

The US Senate voted 90-9 early last month to attach an amendment authored by Republican Senator John McCain to a defense spending bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of detainees in US custody. But the White House has threatened to veto the measure and has lobbied senators to have the language removed or modified to allow an exemption for the Central Intelligence Agency.
You'll recall that soft tushy punching bag Scotty McClellan refused to answer any of the 16 questions asked of him about Cheney wanting an exemption for torture at a press briefing last week, so they are dancing on the head of a pin over there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We've also got senators differing over the efficacy of torture, er, "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Republican Senator Kit Bond, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Newsweek magazine that "enhanced interrogation techniques" had worked with at least one captured high-level Al-Qaeda operative, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to thwart an unspecified plot.

...A compromise with senators was in the works, Hadley assured, saying the White House was holding consultations with them about the McCain amendment. He offered no specifics about the administration's goals in these talks. But McCain, who appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" program, said White House negotiators led by Vice President Richard Cheney were pushing to safeguard the option of using the enhanced interrogation techniques in order to get information from detainees in extraordinary circumstances.

The senator said he disagreed with that approach because he was worried about the damage to the image of the United States. "I hold no brief for the terrorists," he said. "But it's not about them. It's about us. This battle we're in is about the things we stand for and believe in and practice. And that is an observance of human rights, no matter how terrible our adversaries may be."


Bush DOJ: Southern Illinois University's giving white guys a raw deal

Reasonable people can disagree about how to address the legacy of discrimination and racism in American society, and the definitions and effectiveness of the various forms of affirmative action policies. However, I don't think any sane person can logically argue that white men are underprivileged, underrepresented as a class, and in need of a helping hand in comparison to women and racial minority groups that are socioeconomically vulnerable.

But we are talking about sane folks, right? That might explain why we're hearing this out of Bush's Justice Department (Chicago Sun-Times):
President Bush's administration has threatened to sue Southern Illinois University, alleging its fellowship programs for minority and female students violate federal civil rights laws by discriminating against whites, men and others.

In a move Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said "just doesn't make sense," the U.S. Justice Department charged that three SIU programs that aim to increase minority enrollment in graduate school exclude whites, other minorities and males, in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

"The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males,'' says a Justice Department letter sent to the university last week and obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.
It should be noted that only 8 percent of SIU's 5,500 graduate students are black or Hispanic, so we're not talking about a bum rush of "darkies" into SIU's programs, taking away fellowships from the pale faces dominating the school's population. But Alberto's goons are ready to sue. Here are the programs in question:
FELLOWSHIP: Bridge to the Doctorate
Started: 2004
Award: $30,000 stipend, plus $10,500 for education expenses
Purpose: "For underrepresented minority students to initiate graduate study in science, technology, engineering and math.''
Budget: $985,000
Number of awards since inception: 24 (19 blacks, 5 Latino, 1 Native American)

FELLOWSHIP: Proactive Recruitment and Multicultural Professionals for Tomorrow
Started: 2000
Award: Tuition waiver and $1,200 monthly stipend
Purpose: "To increase the number of minorities receiving advanced degrees in disciplines in which they are underrepresented.''
Budget: $158,000
Awards since inception: 78 (61 blacks, 14 Latinos, 1 Asian, 2 Native Americans)

FELLOWSHIP: Graduate Dean's
Started: 2000
Award: Tuition waiver, $1,000 monthly stipend
Purpose: "For women and and traditionally underrepresented students who have overcome social, cultural or economic conditions.''
Budget: $67,000
Awards since inception: 27 (16 whites, 7 blacks, 4 Latinos)

SOURCE: Southern Illinois University
The Bushies are making this case based on the Grutter vs. Bollinger U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003, which ruled that race could be included as a factor in determining admissions (in that case, the University of Michigan), but not the only factor. Because of this, each applicant now had to be evaluated on an individual basis, making it difficult, if not impossible, to consider a factor such as race. This is yet another desperate appeal to the Chimp's "base," which is eroding faster than you can say "Turdblossom."
A spokesman for the Justice Department's civil rights division declined comment Thursday, but Illinois' junior U.S. senator ridiculed the maneuver as a "cynical" bid to distract public attention from Bush's sagging popularity.

"One of my concerns has been with all the problems the Bush administration is having, that they'll start resorting to what they consider to be wedge issues as a way of helping themselves politically," Obama said.

"If anything, the White House should be doing everything it can to encourage more engineering students and Ph.D.'s. It strikes me as a completely unnecessary and divisive move and one that I think may be pretty cynical in its motive," Obama said.

Pat McNeil, an assistant dean and administrator of the Underrepresented Fellowships Office, said she knows of no white students who have applied for the Bridge or Proactive Recruitment programs.
When it comes down to it, our President was the beneficiary of an affirmative action program that the students up for these fellowships will never get a crack at -- the Legacy Award, or "Daddy's Little Helper." The Chimp will never have to worry about needing a helping hand when he has Poppy to help him out -- Shrub has coasted all the way to the White House without any apparent talent, intelligence -- or hard work. When is the DOJ going to go after legacy admissions as discriminatory?


Tidmus on a new idea for Crazy Pat



Mike Tidmus is right -- why not just market the fortified Kool-Aid and make a quick buck (for the flock, of course). Folks have been drinking it for free.
"Forget Pat’s Shakes. Say good-bye to those Protein Pancakes, and those embarrassing death threats against elected world leaders, and those paranoid pronouncements against feminists, scientists, liberals, American voters and gay citizens."
For those of you that may not recall the shakes and the pancakes, these are actual products shilled by the good Rev. Pat. He got in a little of trouble for profiting off of those endeavors. From an earlier Blend post...

Crazy "assassinate 'em" Pat Robertson could get on the scope of the IRS because of a little problem of mixing church 'n profit, according to an evangelical church watchdog organization.

Robertson may be abusing the nonprofit status of his ministry by launching a business selling "anti-aging" milk shakes with GNC (the latter will get none of my business with this news). What kind of sleazy shill-fest is this?
Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has for years given away a recipe for his "Age Defying" diet shake. Recently, however, he partnered with General Nutrition Corporation (GNC) to market the shake. But Ole Anthony, president of the Dallas-based religious media watchdog group Trinity Foundation, says the well-known TV minister cannot legally use his nonprofit ministry to push his nutritional drink.

"This is something that's done commonly throughout ministries," Anthony says. Frequently, he explains, ministers will "write a book -- sometimes a really bad book -- but it's promoted daily over the airtime, and they make, supposedly, royalties."


The sheeple via Newsweek: Bush sucks

Saturday, November 12, 2005


(AFP/Jim Watson)

36%.

The rest of the numbers are, as Marcus Mabry says in the article, "astounding."

* 68% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country-the highest in Bush's presidency.
* 42% of all Americans now believe the Chimp is not "honest and ethical."
* Only 29% believe that Vice President Dick Cheney is honest, and, incredibly even 26 percent of Republicans believe Darth's a f*cking pathological liar.
* 52% of Americans believe Cheney "deliberately misused or manipulated pre-war intelligence about Iraq's nuclear capabilities in order to build support for war,"
-- and that goes for 22 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of independents.

And this paragraph has to hurt -- can I twist the knife more, please?
Bush's new approval low of 36 percent in the NEWSWEEK poll equals the low point of Bill Clinton's presidency in May 1993, when the former president hit 36 percent. The 41st president, George H.W. Bush, hit his lowest ratings late in 1992 before he was defeated by Clinton. A Gallup poll in July 1992 recorded a 32 percent approval rate for the first President Bush. But other presidents have fared worse. Jimmy Carter scored 28-29 percent in June and July 1979, according to Gallup. President Richard Nixon's Gallup number dropped to 24 percent in August 1974.


"Radical" Russ quoted on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me"

Well, what a surprise! I got two e-mails from friends who heard me quoted on National Public Radio's program, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". You can listen to the streaming audio clip (with RealPlayer) by clicking here.

The quote in question comes at about the 4:12 mark of the first segment of the show. They are playing the news quiz where they quote a headline and ask a contestant to identify the news item:
CARL: "High school science finals will be so much easier now that the kids can just write down 'God did it!'"

That was a blogger named Russ Bellville, one of the many people covering the State of Kansas for their latest victory in the ongoing battle against what?
So welcome to anyone who's just found my little corner of cyberspace. Take a look at the main page and you can follow my twisted views on other news items of the day... I can even forgive them for misspelling my last name.


New laughable winger site: Network of College Conservatives

So, how can we expect Americans, who have been brainwashed for years by leftwing educators, to embrace conservative philosophies when all they've been taught are liberal ideologies?"
-- "Dean" Christopher Flickinger, of N.C.C, "Liberal Academia's Final Exam"
[UPDATE: I cross-posted this on Pandagon, and a reader there actually went to school with this numnut. I added his comments at the end.]

Despite the pictures, this is not a parody -- the Freepers are quite enthusiastic about this effort by a winger with extreme delusions of grandeur. He's on a one-man mission (funded with a currently empty store and no advertising yet - "coming soon") to, well, just read this sad stuff.
The mission of the Network of College Conservatives is to educate, inform, expose and counter the liberal bias on college campuses throughout America. The N.C.C. will offer students an advanced and manifold educational experience based on conservative thoughts, views and opinions. It will inform students of liberal and conservative activities taking place on campuses across the nation, as well as keeping conservative students aware of the liberal establishment that permeates our institutions of higher learning and its tools of indoctrination.
The Network of College Conservatives is the brainchild of Christopher Flickinger - who refers to himself as the "dean" of this conservative institute of higher education. His creation comes about after years of personal experiences, confrontations and battles with liberals in positions of power and influence. Yet, in spite of their best efforts, he remains true to his conservative beliefs and is a testament to other students who must wade through higher education's liberal indoctrination.

Flickinger graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism - or as he refers to it "a dark cesspool of liberalism in an otherwise conservative and beautiful state." Flickinger majored in broadcast journalism with specializations in political science and economics. And, despite daily verbal clashes with his leftwing instructors - some of which had his fellow students taking cover under their desks - Flickinger earned his degree in less than four years. "I was just trying to get the heck out of Dodge before somebody got hurt," says the "dean."
This dude's frustrated because he couldn't make a career for himself in broadcast journalism. After serving as an intern at Faux News, booking and producing segments for Rita Cosby, Geraldo Rivera, Carl Cameron and Brit Hume, he tried to make it as a reporter in upstate NY, but once he learned that TV news was "too fake and too left-wing for his tastes" he was outta there.


Dean's comment about the picture at left: "[It] contains three things radical liberals despise: the Holy Bible, an American proudly waving the flag and, of course, Dean Flickinger.

The "dean" determined his "God-given talents" would find a home elsewhere, and that happened to be as regular contributor to the hangout for flame-throwing lunatic conservatives, Human Events Online. You've probably seen the queeny editor, Terry Jeffrey -- the former campaign manager to Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan (which should tell you something) on talking head shows spouting the winger line.

He likes attention too: "While I will always enjoy hearing about conservative students who have found the Network of College Conservatives beneficial, I really get a kick out of reading the hate mail that's sent to me. For one, it's entertaining. And secondly, it let's me know I'm right on target!"

***

Joseph Hughes said on November 12, 2005 11:04 PM:
OK, I totally lived across the hall from this douchebag when I was a junior at Ohio University. I'm not even kidding. I was a junior and this guy was a freshman. Everyone on the floor hated him, not so much because he advertised his obvious conservatism, but moreso because he was just such a douche. He had an embroidered pillow on his bed. I'm not kidding. It had some smarmy slogan like "The Best is Yet to Come" on it. Something like that.

And let me tell you, as a graduate of the same Scripps School of Journalism "the Dean" attended, I'm ashamed to share the building with that tool. His stories on local television were BEYOND idiotic - the kind of goody-goody, Chris's People kind of bullshit about Uptown buskers and little old ladies and cute kids. Good God was he lame.

And now this.

Seriously, I saw his picture and immediately remembered and learned anew why I never liked this guy. If you want more details from what I can remember, just ask. But we for sure lived on the third floor of Boyd Hall on the West Green at Ohio University. Would have been 1999-2000. We used to play PlayStation in his room with his roommate, who also thought the Dean was a colossal moron.

...Most people in his freshman cohort that year were busy trying to get me to buy beer for them, as I had already turned 21, but this guy was busy polishing up his regional Emmy speech, it seemed like. He was always one of those asshole go-getters who would say hello to your face but be secretly plotting your overthrow behind your back. I wish I had stayed in touch with his roommate and buddies more, because they'd have the dirt on this guy. He has a very Mehlmanesque air about him, very polished and put together. But I think it was more of a facade, as he seemed rather fake to me. He's put on a lot of weight, it seems, he's gone from looking like a Ralph Reed-type of moron to more of a Reed-Joe Scarborough assface. I think he freaked out when we would sit on his bed to play College Gameday, as I think he had this also-embroidered homemade throw blanket down near the end of his bed. I mean, most of us tried to keep our rooms tidy – who am I kidding, we didn't – but this guys neatness put everyone to shame. He's all rim and no wheel, so to speak. I think that facade covered for his being a scared, rank amateur.

Did you see how few schools he's got "signed on"? Not even his damn alma mater. I stayed in town at grad school and also working a year or two after he should have left and no one really thought of him as anything more than a Bill Hemmer-esque puff piece machine. Sure, he won some awards, but in broadcasting (especially student broadcasting), it's like the difference between actually being smart and knowing how to take tests. Journalistically, this guy knew how to take tests, if you know what I mean. He knew what people thought a good local story was, the kind of ones starting with two minutes left in the show, and he shamelessly reproduced them, as I remember. But none of us thought he'd become the next Anderson Cooper or Keith Olbermann.

And Athens isn't a dark cesspool of liberalism. If that douche had gotten out more and had some fun – or surgically removed that stick from his ass – he would have had a better time. Athens, Mr. Dean, was the only county in Ohio not voting for Issue 1, the hateful anti-gay marriage amendment last November. So cross-stitch that on your embroidered pillow, you shitface.
***

Oh god -- here's a site with a list of "articles" written by this clown. Some topics:

* Terri Schiavo: "Terri Schiavo's battle for life is over, and as a result, our nation will forever be changed. "

* Groundhog Day: "Today is Groundhog Day, and for many liberal Democrats it means more than just a possible early spring or six more weeks of winter"

* Declaration of Independence: "Once upon a time there was a document called the Declaration of Independence. Some Americans have probably never heard of it. Even more have probably never read . . ."

Bonus points for this description of himself:

"Christopher Flickinger is a conservative columnist from Pittsburgh, PA (or as he likes to call it, "The People's Republic of Pittsburgh: a cesspool of unionized liberalism"). He is co-founder and President of the Center For Conservative Thought. Mr. Flickinger's columns can be found periodically at Human Events Online, The Rant, and other websites that hold lifetime memberships to the "vast right-wing conspiracy." Although his columns are usually mild-mannered and anything but blunt, this six-foot-two, two-hundred and twenty pound Goliath doesn't back down from liberal instigators, and he's just waiting for a left-winger to throw a pie in his direction."

More House Blend here.


This and that in the Blend mailbag



Things that came in from Blenders that you might want to check out...

* Glenn Greenwald has an interesting post up about the marriage amendment fight in Texas, Gay Groups Should Support a Ban on Divorce, and he tells me: "Lord knows that what we've been doing so far isn't working. I really think a fundamental change in advocacy is needed (how could it be worse?), and it maybe that this would work."

* Scott points to yet more insanity by the Family Research Council. Do these people ever quit? A snippet:
Pro-homosexual activists are fond of arguing that homosexuals are routinely the victims of employment-related "discrimination." Such claims might be supported if research could demonstrate that homosexuals (like, for example, blacks or women) have lower incomes than the average worker, but such evidence has been hard to come by. In fact, some marketing studies have suggested that homosexuals actually have higher disposable incomes than heterosexuals.
* Reader Ryan pointed me to a Liberal Avenger post on wingnut, racist, idiotic, windbag on the Right, Michelle "I have a lot of respect for Ann Coulter" Malkin. Actually it's about her ghostwriter husband Jesse, and boneheaded thoughts against safe-sex.

* Reader Jonathan found an interesting editorial maneuver on Sheryl Swoopes, the WNBA player that recently came out -- Tech students differ in reaction to Swoopes' announcement, lifestyle. He noticed something interesting about the distribution of the piece:
Later when I was looking on Nexis, I found the same article (slightly abbreviated) was sent to the U News national newswire with the headline "Students at Texas Tech support Swoopes' coming out." The content was the same, and the article clearly supports the claim that Texas Tech students supported her coming out. This certainly suggests the paper ran the same story with two headlines- one headline appealing to homophobic prejudice on campus at Texas Tech and the other appealing to more tolerant national attitudes.
* Blender Jeff B. has started up The Angry Gay -- and he has plenty to be pissed about...

* Kelly, aka Gold Star Dyke, would like folks to check out and give feedback on her effort, The Lesbian Lifestyle.

* and you all MUST check out the latest bullsh*t emitting from Bill O'Lielly, courtesy of Media Matters. I really think he's crossed over into Pat Robertson-unhinged territory.
Criticizing a ballot measure passed by 60 percent of San Francisco voters urging public high schools and colleges to prohibit on-campus military recruiting, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly declared on the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off-limits to you, except San Francisco."




What Texans are saying about the new marriage amendment

House Blender Joel, a Texas native currently in Brooklyn, had thoughts about the recent wingnuttery in his home state as it voted to enshrine discrimination into its state constitution on Tuesday. He decided to write the Ft. Worth Star Telegram.

He also passed along some of the other letters to the editor after the election, to give you a peek at the state of things in the Lone Star State. Joel: "As a native of Texas, I felt I had a duty to speak to the ‘phobes down there. My comments are the very last ones printed - ‘best for last’ kind of thing, right?"
With the vote count finished, it's time for the Star-Telegram Editorial Board to take a long step back and take a hard, critical look at itself.

With its support of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the attempt to defeat Proposition 2, it has clearly shown that it's an integral part of the radical, immoral left. Its extreme-left positions show conclusively that it lives in an echo chamber that resonates only within the gay and lesbian cheerleader group.

Any claim to being in the political "mainstream" has been removed, as the people of Texas overwhelmingly supported Prop 2 and repudiated the vitriol of the left with pure common sense. Even the lowly Ku Klux Klan, which you demeaned, showed more historical appreciation of essential societal institutions than the Editorial Board.

You should hang your collective heads in shame and clean house of those with such bankrupt, truncated views of what is beneficial to society.

Gerald C. Lutton, Hurst

***

The only heartening piece in Wednesday's Star-Telegram was the concise, fair appraisal of the passage of Proposition 2 in the editorial "What happened?"

It's clear that the Star-Telegram Editorial Board can see beyond the rhetoric of the religious right and address the real issue of institutionalizing discrimination.

It particularly hit home with me as I stood in line for well more than an hour Tuesday night at my neighborhood polling place. I was disturbed and angered by the many whispers and low conversations that I heard about how Christians needed to address the "gay issue" and that the large turnout was a sign that this was happening.

A woman near me was on her cellphone, telling a friend to be sure to come down to vote -- to visibly take a stand on family values. It reminded me of the time in my youth when the first black family attended our church and of the whisperings of righteous indignation done "in the name of God."

I'm convinced that history will correctly judge the direction of our government being taken by the fundamentalist Christian element, and perhaps that's already happening. Jimmy Carter's new book, Our Endangered Values, does a good job of analyzing the long-term harm of using religious fundamentalism as a cornerstone of policy.

I'm equally convinced that our younger generation will not accept this attempt to legitimize discrimination of any group, including gays. Let's just hope that it doesn't take as long for this to occur as it did for Rosa Parks' actions to be validated.

Daniel Heath, Trophy Club

***

The Editorial Board, which recommended voting against Prop 2, is out of touch with the newspaper's readers. Texans voted 3-to-1 for traditional, biblically-based marriage. Are the editors clueless as to why fewer people are reading their newspaper?

Tom Pryor, Pantego

***

Kudos to the Star-Telegram for its thoughtful Wednesday editorial on the gay marriage amendment. The heterosexual community needs to clean up its own back yard before legislating the rights of the gay community.

How many women and children in this state have been abandoned by their husbands and fathers to live in poverty? How many wives are beaten and abused by these so-called Christians?

Chapter 7 of Matthew is one part of the Bible that some Christians would rather forget when they're on one of their "crusades" to clean up America. When they stop acting like bigots and start acting like the person whose name they claim, maybe America will have more respect for them.

Shirley Bumbalough, Watauga

***

I'm surprised that you don't understand what Proposition 2 said and, equally important, what it did not say.

It confirms only what is already state law: "Marriage" can only be a union between one man and one women.

Your Wednesday editorial asked: "How does this amendment improve or correct a deficiency in state government when it was already against state law to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple?"

I'm confident that you know the answer, but apparently you preferred not to acknowledge that the purpose of Prop 2 is to prevent the courts from changing what Webster's defines as "the social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife." And husband is defined as a man being married to a woman and wife as a woman being married to a man.

You incorrectly stated that this amendment "deprives one group of rights that the other, dominant group is able to take for granted." All that needs to be done for those who wish to have a same-sex legal union is to do so -- but define it as something other than "marriage."

Arthur McIlwain, North Richland Hills

***

There's a little-known feature of Proposition 2, resoundingly approved by Texas voters. It is clause (b), which states: "This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage." Marriage between a man and woman is identical to marriage and is very similar to marriage.

Congratulations to all voting Texans, who have just voted to annul the marriages of every married person residing in Texas and to prevent all future marriages performed within the state. Now we're all treated alike.

Our new license plate motto can become "The Lone Singles State," "The Freedom from Marriage State" or "The National Laughingstock State."

Jim Cornehls, Arlington

***

Texans should be proud today. They've followed the Ku Klux Klan in lock step. Passage of Prop 2 has made me embarrassed to be Texan.

No, I'm not gay. I just don't believe in sticking my nose into other people's business. If the bigots of Texas want to preserve the so-called sanctity of marriage, maybe y'all should outlaw divorce.

Charles Flanders, Fort Worth

***

"We just should never have given them the right to vote. They're just getting too uppity. They just don't know their place."

My mother was funny like that. She really didn't realize she was a bigot.

My friend says: "I don't mind them, really. Can't they just keep to themselves? I just don't want to see it in my face, you know? They really are just out of place."

Well, no worries now. They have been put in their place. There will be no civil unions, no chance for gays to have equal rights with us now.

All is well with the world.

Surely we will never again have to hear that hypocritical balderdash about "hating the sin but loving the sinner." There was no love in the passage of this amendment. There's no longer any doubt about how we feel about them.

Garry Sisco, Carrollton

***

"What happened?" you asked in your Wednesday editorial. I'll tell you what happened.

Most Americans are sick and tired of the deceitful and arrogant gay agenda. The institution of marriage involves one man and one woman -- period! There will be no compromise.

Gay partners or couples currently have available all the civil rights afforded to all citizens, and that's as it should be.

The real gay agenda is deceitful and is hidden under a facade of "civil rights." The real gay agenda is to tear apart the fabric of the institution of marriage and force society to formally recognize and identify gay partners or couples as "married."

They are not married -- they are partners or couples.

I have family members who are gay, and I love them. I don't want their civil rights violated. Equal civil treatment under the law is the only obligation that society owes to gays -- period! We don't owe them the recognition of marriage.

So the next time that you (the writer of the editorial) go to the "reading room," take your Wednesday editorial with you and put it to good use.

David Neal Phillips, Weatherford

***

Congratulations, Texas Republicans. You scared the people of the great state of Texas into buying your version of the same-sex amendment.

Now that you've achieved mandating the Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Pledge and a moment of silence (prayer in disguise), you can add your mean-spirited amendment to your list. Now that you've succeeded, what will you do to divert attention from the real issue of this state -- education?

Oh, yes, I forgot. You'll now work on curbing and eventually taking away a woman's right to choose.

Thomas G. Haase, Fort Worth

***

Did I wake up Wednesday to a Texas that was meaner and more ignorant than it was when I went to sleep Tuesday, or did the voters for Proposition 2 just shine a light on what was already there -- a profound pettiness so immoral and illegal that a constitution had to be changed to make room for it?

Well, those who would deny the vote to women, imprison Japanese-Americans in internment camps and try to keep African-Americans out of public schools need to make room for a new soul mate: the typical modern Texan.

And we all might want to think about whom the religious right might put in its crosshairs next. Maybe you.

Roger M. Bunch, Fort Worth

***

I received eight phone calls on Monday from various religious and political organizations, including one from Gov. Rick Perry, urging me to help protect marriages by voting for Proposition 2.

Now that marriage is safe from destruction by civil unions and other forms of perceived evil, I'm sure that the ministers, politicians and our governor who helped this flawed amendment pass will focus their energy on real threats.

I look forward to receiving calls about their plans for dealing with poverty, the homeless, the hungry, affordable healthcare, education reform, deficit reduction, political corruption, domestic violence, child abuse, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, immigration, disaster relief and divorce rates, just to name a few.

I'm sure that my phone will be ringing at any moment.

Mark Hudson, Arlington

***

Thank God that Texans don't have to fear gays and lesbians trying to taint the sanctity of marriage. Thank God that our political representatives in Austin had the resolve to protect the morally superior from the morally destitute. Thank God that we've toppled the gay agenda, which, according to Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, is "the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today."

OK, now that I have your attention, may I point out some things that Texans really should be afraid of?

The Legislature continues to fail at passing any legislation that might directly benefit the children and adults of Texas. It inexplicably neglects to address the following:

The Texas unemployment rate is 5.7 percent.

22.9 percent of Texas children under age 18 live below the poverty level.

12.5 percent of people 65 and over in Texas live below the poverty level.

21.3 percent of Texans never completed high school.

24.6 percent, or about 5 million Texans, don't have any form of health insurance.

Yet even more frightening than these horrifying statistics is the fact that we're governed by the most racist, bigoted, narcissistic, egotistical and morally corrupt politicians this country has seen in a long time.

Giving gays and lesbians the same rights under the law (not religious law -- state law) that all heterosexual citizens have would not threaten anyone's freedom or interfere in their lives. What does threaten America is a government that spreads fear, ignorance and hatred and allows legal discrimination against its own citizens. Now that's something to be afraid of.

Melinda Tanos, Keller

***

As much as I was taught to respect other folks' opinions, Tuesday's overwhelming vote in favor of Prop 2 made for a dark and embarrassing day for the human race, especially in Texas.

Book burnings are sure to follow.

Bob Kline, Granbury

***

As a Texan living among Yankees, I had assured people here that Texas would vote right on Proposition 2 in my home state. I haven't been let down. Y'all passed it under great duress and with steely fortitude, standing tall for the majority and rejecting the minority in a resounding triumph.

Now, I know that every Texan will go forward and prove me right on what comes next. I've promised my neighbors that we will, very soon, see the divorce rate there plummet to a point of almost nonexistence. And then, along with this saving of matrimony, we'll be thrilled to see domestic abuse and child neglect become a thing of the past.

Yes, I'm so proud of Texas for showing these Yankees how to protect traditional marriage and save society. The Lone Star State's true colors are shining for the nation to see.

Joel Howard, Brooklyn, NY



There's nothing like Fall...

I only posted once yesterday, so thank goodness for "Radical" Russ, who served up engaging posts here.

Fall is the my favorite season; my slacker posting is the result of being seduced by the fall color, the crisp temperatures and the gently warm sun. It's such a relief after the Carolina hot humidity weather. We were out and about yesterday.



Today Kate and I are going to hike and picnic at West Point on the Eno, a beautiful, city park several miles north of downtown Durham, with 388 acres of woods, waters, and wildlife. The fall color should still be amazing. There is a working old mill there, where corn and wheat are ground with water power. Stone-ground meal and flour, are sold in the mill's store and they have tours year-round.


Some thoughts for Veteran's Day

Friday, November 11, 2005


First of all, let's take a moment to remember the heroes who've voluntarily (and some not-so-voluntarily) chosen to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. My grandpa fought in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, and my brother-in-law serves today in Afghanistan. Regardless of how I feel about the current war, past wars, or war in general, I cannot deny that a free country requires a ready military and volunteering to follow orders without question in defense of that country is still one of the most selfless sacrifices a citizen can make.

Now, with that in mind, here are some very thoughtful quotes from political leaders regarding the seriousness of a president committing those volunteers to war. (Hat tip to Ms. Julien's List) Try and guess which politican or pundit said the following:
1) "You can support the troops but not the president."

2) "Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."

3) "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"

4) "[The] President...is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."

5) "American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."

6) "If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."

7) "I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."

8) "I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"

9) "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

10) "I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."
Wow! Where's the mainstream media on these quotes? You'd think that Democrats and cable news talking heads uttering such quotes would be making huge headlines...

...except that all those quotes come from Republican leaders and FOX talking heads from back in the 1990s when President Clinton was committing troops to Bosnia. (1=Tom Delay, 2=Joe Scarborough, 3=Sean Hannity, 4=Rick Santorum, 5=Tom Delay, 6=Karen Hughes [on behalf of George W. Bush], 7=Trent Lott, 8=Tom Delay, 9 & 10=George W. Bush.)

[The original source for this tasty dish of Republican hypocrisy comes from Barbra Streisand's blog. Did you know Babs had a blog?]


What's Wrong With Libertarianism, Part II


My piece on What's Wrong With Libertarianism seems to have provoked a lot of discussion. I originally let the words of another website speak for me. Now I've got some time, so let me explain in my own words What's Wrong with Libertarianism.

All I ask for is for rich and poor alike to pay their fair share of taxes. In the 1940's, corporate taxation made up 35% of the federal tax revenue. Now it's about 7%. In the 1950's, CEO income was about 40x that of the average worker. Today it's about 500x.

Now, certainly, producers and risk-takers deserve compensation. Their talents and hard work prove them to be useful to society, and deserve reward. But really, is the CEO of Pepsi twenty-thousand times more useful to society than a schoolteacher, fireman, policeman, or soldier?

Back to the fairness of taxation -- do you really think corporations only benefit from 7% of the federal tax dollars spent?

Let's look at it this way: if anyone has a right to complain about the unfairness of taxation, it is not the rich corporatist, but the poor or middle-class worker. We pay far more in taxes than we ever get back in services. I actually dream of the perfect libertarian society where everything is privately owned and people must pay for their own individual uses. It would be beautiful to watch rich people and corporations actually have to pay for the government they use.

For example, lots of my tax money goes toward running the Securities and Exchange Commission. I don't own and trade stocks; what do I need that for? But the corporation's entire existence depends on the SEC. There's also a huge local, state, and federal court system. Yeah, I need that a little bit to make sure criminals get punished and I don't get beaten or robbed. But the vast majority of lawsuits and court cases involve corporate interests that mean little or nothing to me. Do I really care whether Widget Corp. wins their copyright-infringement case against Gadget Inc.?

How much money goes into national defense? Sure, I need an Army to keep marauding hordes of invading Canucks out of my back yard, eh, but that's a small percentage compared to the money spent on overseas military action. How much risk do we put on the fortunes of oil company CEOs if they don't have an Army to guard those Middle East pipelines or a Navy to protect those oil tankers?

I understand there's this entire interstate highway system that runs across the entire United States. Now, I only use a small stretch of I-84 about twice a year to visit Boise, and a stretch of I-5 to travel between Portland and Salem. But I understand the CEO of Walmart needs just about every mile of that highway system, every day to run thousands of trucks to get his products to the market.

Public education? Well, I don't have any kids, so I can't figure out why I'm paying for that. I did go to public school, but my cost for that has to have been paid up long ago by my parents' taxes, I figure. However, doesn't just about every corporation require an educated workforce in order to function? Is Phil Knight going to step up and start creating elementary, secondary, and college educational institutions that their future workers can attend for free?

FDIC? FSLIC? Yeah, right, like I have any significant money in the bank that needs insuring. But I'll bet Bill Gates does.

Space exploration? Why do I need rocket technology, re-usable shuttles, and well-trained astronauts; it's not like I've got a summer home on Titan or anything. But I'm pretty sure Rupert Murdoch needs all of that to keep his satellites in operational order.

Tax deductions for entertainment expenses? Yeah, maybe once a year I get to write off a $20 meal for work. But I'm guessing Mark Cuban gets to write off a whole lot more than that.

And in general, the more you have to lose, the more you have to pay to protect it. You pay more for car insurance when you drive a Lamborghini then when you drive a Pinto. What would I have to lose if the country were taken over in a Socialist revolution by violent disgruntled Americans sick of unemployment, poor health care, high crime, and inflation, who then nationalize healthcare, nationalize the oil industry, and mandate union membership? Nothing; in fact, it might make my life better. But the lifestyle of the CEOs of Pfizer, ChevronTexaco, and General Motors would be drastically altered. So it seems to me the taxation is the "society insurance" that provides the social services that keep the hoi polloi just barely gruntled enough put up with Donald Trump's gold plated bathroom fixtures while homeless guys sleep on the steam grate outside the Trump Tower.

See, in that perfect, science-fiction libertarian society you speak of, the rich would actually have to start paying for those government services they use. And if a big corporation, oh, let's pick on airlines and savings & loans, goes belly-up, they wouldn't be getting back any bail-outs from us. (Why should I pay that? I don't fly or use an S&L.) Furthermore, we can forget about all the subsidies, protectionary tariffs, and grants the government gives to various industries, like big corporate farms, for one example.

Of course, don't think for a second that Richie Rich will actually cough up the money for all of those things. He'll just tack that operating expense to the price of his goods and services. Welcome to the world of $10 gas, $30 steaks, $1/20 mile roadways, $5000 airline flights, and a permanent caste system.

Now, I love science fiction as much as the next guy (and believe me, I comprehend Heinlein; I'm just able to separate fiction from reality), but it is not a good basis for a religion or economic system. If we could just see one historical example of working libertarianism -- ONE! -- maybe you could prove your point.

But we do have historical examples of capitalism unfettered by regulation and taxation -- the American Gilded Age, modern Haiti, Pinochet's Chile, post-Communist Russia -- and those didn't work out so well for society in general.

Now, to your moral imperative: How can I give a woman, black, or homosexual liberty for their actions and being, but deny Richie Rich the liberty of keeping all of his money because he has to pay his fair share of taxes? (The imperative feels very different when it's framed like that, no?)

Because I don't believe Richie Rich is really much of an aggrieved party. A woman forced to bear a child against her will; a black denied opportunity or advancement; a homosexual denied civil rights; these things seem much more serious to me than a guy who made $10,000,000 forced to bear the hardship of getting by on a paltry $5,000,000 and the indignity of only getting to pass on $2,500,000 to his never-have-to-work-a-day-in-their-lives kids when he dies.

Entrepreneurship and capitalism are wonderful, and they do deserve reward. That's why successful businessmen get to live lives where they need not worry about where their next meal is coming from, how they're going to afford college for their kids, where will they get the rest of the rent money, choosing between prescriptions or new clothes, or whether their only car will break down. That's why they get to enjoy all-expenses-paid vacations in Jamaica, 20,000 square foot houses on both coasts, yachts & country clubs, trophy wives & girlfriends, caviar & lobster, and front-row seats at the Lakers' games.

Your closing line sums it all up: "I want to be a human being who associates with those who wish to associate with me." Well, you don't get that luxury -- nobody does. You're a part of a society. That society includes lots of people you don't want to associate with, but must -- the illiterate single mom, the HIV-positive junkie, the man working two McJobs to feed his family, the homeless guy you ignore on your way to the office, the pregnant teenage girl, the illegal aliens you employ to keep labor costs down -- you are not an island, Mr. Libertarian, and you need us and government far more than we need you.

You'll deny that with some line about the importance of producers and creators of wealth and how the peons should all be grateful that the altruistic capitalist did them all a favor by creating corporations to provide them jobs and goods and services. I can't argue with that -- I like computers and cars and movies and my paycheck.

But your own philosophy tells me that if one capitalist can't make the venture fly, another one will step up to take his place. Our far-from-libertarian society seems to be producing plenty of millionaires and billionaires, so what's the complaint, that they aren't millionaires and billionaires enough? And it seems to me the capitalist needs the workers -- making and buying his goods and services -- much more than the other way around. No man can become rich without leveraging the labor of others, but every man can survive through the brunt of his own labor, even if that's just subsistence survival.

Another libertarian talking point is the "initiation of force" -- that taxation is stealing from people at the barrel of a gun. Well, as shown above, the libertarian needs the government more than I do, and even the most die-hard libertarian will agree that we need some government, for police, courts, and military protection. That's over 20% of the federal budget right there, so some taxes will have to be taken, even in mythical Libertaria, which means it's okay by libertarians to point that gun and steal that money for at least basic government services. To paraphrase W.C. Fields, we've now determined what you are (in favor of initiation of force to steal citizen's money for government), now we're just haggling about the price.

The libertarian will also argue that in their science-fiction universe, anyone is free to compete and trade and leverage their skills, work, and talent to become rich. Absolutely -- anyone can, but not everyone can. Some people will be born unskilled, untalented, handicapped, or just not very bright, or will become sick, injured, discriminated against, or suffer hardships and bad luck beyond their control. No matter how hard they work, they cannot win. Not everyone can be a winner in the capitalism game. So the question is: how good should the winners have it and how badly should the losers have it? As others have explained, in such a system, eventually the winners game the system to the point where only other winners can compete and losers have no shot. Eventually the best winners collude to prevent competition among themselves. Eventually the losers owe their soul to the company store.

Progressive taxation and limited capitalistic socialism is the only workable solution for a successful and vibrant democratic economy. It's what we have had in place since the New Deal, and it took the United States from the failed, second-rate, Depression-era economy caused by laissez-faire capitalism of the robber barons to being the dominant world superpower with the greatest standard of living ever achieved in human history. Why would libertarians want to mess with success, just to implement a science-fiction philosophy that's been shown to cause greater overall human misery, all because they feel that they are not quite rich enough? How many 17-foot home theaters do they need before they figure that even a lazy, shiftless, parasite on society (otherwise known as a "human") deserves better than sleeping in the street, eating from the garbage, and suffering from easily treatable medical ailments?

OK, discuss. That's all I have to say about that. Since the Libertarian Party has no chance in hell of winning any election that will effect me directly, and since the hard right-wing of the Bushites is going down faster than Paris Hilton in a night-vision home video, I really don't worry about them very much.


Damn -- I'll just have to cook with mine

Tin foil is only good for lining pans and wrapping leftovers, according to some enterprising (and humorous) students at MIT:
Abstract
Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We theorize that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.



...We evaluated the performance of three different helmet designs, commonly referred to as the Classical, the Fez, and the Centurion. These designs are portrayed in Figure 1. The helmets were made of Reynolds aluminium foil. As per best practices, all three designs were constructed with the double layering technique described elsewhere [2].
Surf over for the hilariously apropos test methods and conclusion.

Question of the day: Who stands to lose the most (foil) because of these findings?

I have two batsh*t artists that I'll throw out there to start...


Pat Robertson and Louis Farrakhan.

Hat tip, Americablog.


Rep. Don Sherwood - the pig pays up for choking mistress


Don Sherwood's "backrub" was actually a chokehold, according to amazingly Barbie-like Cynthia Ore.

You boink, you abuse, you pay. A case study in family values.
Rep. Don Sherwood reached a settlement Tuesday with a former mistress who accused him of abuse in a $5.5 million lawsuit, according to his lawyer.

Terms of the settlement between Sherwood, R-Pa., and Cynthia Ore, with whom he acknowledged a five-year affair, will remain confidential, said Paul Clark, a spokesman for Sherwood's attorney, Bobby Burchfield.

"Attorneys for Cynthia Ore and Congressman Don Sherwood announced today that their clients have resolved their differences, and the lawsuit will be dismissed," Clark said, reading from a statement.

...Sherwood, a fourth-term congressman, is married with three daughters. He issued a statement this summer apologizing for the affair but denying he physically hurt Ore. He also said she never lived with him, which she had claimed in her lawsuit.
This violent, hypocrotical bastard has an 84% Christian Coalition rating, a 100% rating from Concerned Women for America, and considers himself a strong "defender of marriage" by voting for the Defense of Marriage Act, and a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. What a real piece of work. Here's why he had to pay up. From our Conservative Values Monitor:
Police called to his Washington apartment by Cynthia Ore, 29, to whom Sherwood was giving a back rub, when he began choking her for no apparent reason. Ore backed off the claim, but one may still wonder what a 64 year old married Congressman was doing alone in his apartment giving a back rub to his 29 year old friend. In a telephone interview, Ore said she met Sherwood at a Young Republicans meeting in 1999 and that they had a relationship that lasted over the years. "For me to start to go back to that day is very painful to deal with all the suffering I went through," Ore said. "I loved him. He always told me he loved me and I believed him."
Hat tip, BlogActive.


James Dobson's compassionate tag for the gays

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Daddy Dobson's latest family-friendly site, "Troubled With," is laughable. The site's intent is to sensitively approach the troubled youth of today, counseling them through such topics as...oh, homosexuality:


[Note the tender, homo-suggestive picture chosen for the page by the FoF staff.]

Though homosexuality continues to gain cultural acceptance, many who consider themselves gay or experience homosexual tendencies feel puzzled and even apprehensive about their sexuality - If this is normal, why am I so confused? Do I have a choice in the matter? Perhaps you've struggled with same-sex attraction, making you wonder if you're gay. Maybe you've even sought to meet your needs for companionship and acceptance through a same-gender relationship. If so, realize that you do have a choice in the matter. You're not simply "wired that way." For those with unanswered questions or a desire to change, we offer a compassionate message of transformation and truth.

Born Gay?
Debunking the claim of biological determinism.

The Sexual Developmental Stages
How males develop homosexual attractions.[Gee, what about those lesbians?]

An Ounce of Prevention
Myths about homosexuality abound. Not least is the notion that, for some people, homosexuality is inevitable.

[...]

Finding His Way Out
One man proves it is possible to escape the grip of homosexuality.

My Father's Closet
When Dad leaves Mom for another woman, the wounds are deep. But what about when he leaves for another man?

Jeremy of Good As You emailed me with a doozy from his post Focus on the Meta Tags. He did a little snooping in the source code of the TroubledWith.com site, and found out what kind of "compassionate message of transformation and truth" lies in Daddy D.'s selection of descriptive keywords for the homos in that meta tag :



I agree with Jeremy -- Daddy D.'s staff is not too bright -- they omitted the Right's current favorite perjorative term, "homosexual," and misspelled effeminate. La-dee-da.


Emboldened TX bible beaters going after divorce next



Blow-dried dandy/Texas Governor Rick Perry and his bigoted crew of AmTaliban are basking in the glow of Tuesday's vote for a state marriage amendment. Only Travis County (where traditionally liberal Austin is located) voted against it, out of the Lone Star State's 254 counties. Rick is over the moon:
After keeping curiously quiet all week, Perry spoke out Thursday on the overwhelming passage of Proposition 2. He said he and his wife, Anita, felt strongly the gay marriage ban was needed.

"We believed passionately that marriage should be between a man and a woman," he said after an appearance in Addison. "The good news is, 75 percent of the people who went to vote — plus — agreed with us."

..."I'm an opinionated person," Perry said. "I have a strong set of beliefs and values. And I'm not afraid to stand up and say, 'Here's what I believe in.' If someone wants to say 'Gosh, he just believes that for political purposes,' that's their reason, but they're wrong," Perry said.
WTF ever, Rick. It's very clear that all you married straight folks in the state better worry about Rick and his friends taking their sick obsessions into your bedrooms and relationships. The Texas Taliban now plans to go after divorce now, the natural next step to save marriage from you deviant hets. (Dallas Morning News):

Rep. Warren Chisum, who wrote the amendment, Proposition 2, endorsed by Texas voters by a ratio of more than 3-1, said Wednesday that it's too easy for spouses to split up. The state should consider repealing or modifying its no-fault divorce law, the Pampa Republican said.

"Gee whiz, our divorce rate's higher than New York," Mr. Chisum said. He proposed that between now and their next regular session in 2007, lawmakers study ways "to make marriage thrive more in our state."

...Supporters of Proposition 2 said that during debates, they regularly heard gay rights activists cite Texas' divorce rate. Texas had about 3.9 divorces for every 1,000 residents in 2002, a higher rate than New York (3.4) or Massachusetts (2.5), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Chisum said he planned to ask House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, to convene a panel to examine no-fault divorce, longer waiting periods for marriage applicants and "covenant marriage," an idea tried in three other states.

A covenant marriage provides an alternative to the traditional marriage contract for couples who oppose no-fault divorce or who want to demonstrate a stronger commitment. Couples selecting a covenant marriage must get premarital counseling and may divorce only after a separation of two years or after proving adultery or domestic abuse.


Also see: TX bible beaters hold voter drive for marriage amendment, Rick Perry re-election


By popular demand...



Russ's recent post, What's Wrong With Libertarianism, has scrolled off the front page (a casualty of frequent posting here at the Blend), and so I'm reposting the links the discussion can continue and folks that may have missed the post can hop in.

So the link's above, and here are the comments.


Dover, PA, votes the IDIOTS off the School Board


While Kansas has decided to turn to the Bible for its high school science curriculum, the good people of Dover, PA, voted out all of the Intelligent-Design-Is-Our-Type-of-Science (IDIOTS) supporters on their school board in favor of candidates who understand that science is science and religion is religion and ne'er the twain shall meet:
(Baptist Press) All eight seats on the nine-member Dover Area School Board that were up for election Nov. 8 were narrowly won by candidates affiliated with the Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies (CARES). The organization’s platform calls for removing Intelligent Design from the district’s science curriculum.

The school district is a defendant in a federal trial over its policy to inform ninth-grade science students about the existence of Intelligent Design. Testimony in the case ended in early November. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III is expected to issue a ruling by early January.

One of the winners in the board election, Bryan Rehm, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the school district. Last year he and 10 other parents, facilitated by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, sued the district. The plaintiffs alleged that exposing the students to Intelligent Design was putting religion in the classroom.
I've been following these cases in Pennsylvania and Kansas for some time now, and critics of the IDIOTS always point out that it is merely a backdoor attempt to teach Biblical Creationism in a high school science class in complete disregard for our separation of church and state. The IDIOTS always respond that their theory merely posits an Intelligent Designer without making any mention of their own Christian God, so it isn't really religion so much as an alternative explanation of existence.

Of course, that's never fooled anyone, since most of the IDIOTS are also card-carrying members of the American Taliban who never met a political issue into which they wouldn't inject the Bible. It's not as if activist Wiccans, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, or Native Americans are out there stumping for Intelligent Design, even though they too believe in religious creation myths.

So it is beautiful to me to read the latest words-of-God directly from his holy messenger on Earth, Rev. Pat Robertson:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them on Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.
Wait, Pat, I thought Intelligent Design had nothing to do specifically with the Christian God or the Biblical Creation described in Genesis?

And what's up with your vengeful Yahweh these days, anyway? According to you and your Talibanic buddies, God struck us with 9/11 because of the "pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America", he would hit Orlando with "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor" if they put up rainbow flags to honor diversity, and New Orleans and the Gulf Coast were devastated by Katrina because of our support of legalized abortion.

If this God of yours is so all-powerful and all-knowing, why can't He pinpoint His destruction a bit more accurately? Did Christian Conservative workers at Cantor-Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center really need to die in the 9/11 attacks? Did good Bible-fearing heterosexual folks need to suffer through all those Florida hurricanes? Did pro-life supporters in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have to die for God to prove His point? You'd think and omniscient, omnipotent Intelligent Designer could just throw out a few well-directed heart attacks and strokes instead of indiscriminately wiping out hundreds or thousands of His Children at a time.


The Prez and the VP





From protests outside the White House over Chalabi's visit. (REUTERS/Jim Young)


Little Ricky dodges the Chimp



Gee, why wouldn't Santorum want to rub shoulders with the ultra-popular, patriotic, values-rich President? One of those pesky "prior commitments" that always seem to come up when you're running for re-election. (PA Standard-Journal):
President Bush will appear at a Veterans Day event in Pennsylvania on Friday with the state’s moderate Republican senior senator and a Democratic congressman but without the state’s conservative junior senator, who is fighting a tough bid for re-election.

A prior commitment is keeping Sen. Rick Santorum, the Senate’s No. 3 Republican, from joining Bush, said Robert Traynham, Santorum’s press secretary.
You know, speaking of Pennsylvania, I wonder how Little Ricky feels about the wingnut Dover school board members that backed "intelligent design" who were booted out on Tuesday.


Brownie's off the payroll



Gee, maybe that giant sucking sound of FEMA removing money out of my wallet will decrease somewhat. (CNN):
Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he extended Brown's contract for an additional 30 days, until mid-November, to help the agency complete its review of the response to Katrina.

But Brown ended his contract early, said Knocke, responding to an inquiry about House Democratic demands to remove Brown from the payroll.

In a letter to President Bush on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Brown's contract was "inexplicable and a gross waste of taxpayer dollars."

"It is difficult to imagine anyone less qualified to assess FEMA's failed response to Katrina and make recommendations for improving the agency," they wrote.

Brown had said in an earlier interview about his extended work that he was "motivated to wrap it up."


Two good columns to catch


Over at PageOneQ, National Black Justice Coalition board member Jasmyne Cannick has a great piece up, Much Ado Over Outing, that covers the reaction she and Keith Boykin had over their Outing Black Pastors campaign a few weeks ago, which exposed the bigotry toward the black gay community by calling attention to high-profile pastors responsible for creating a climate of sadness and fear. [I covered this series on the Blend.]
The outline of the campaign was straightforward. Each day for one week Keith and I profiled a Black pastor highlighting his relationship with the Bush Administration, recent homophobic gay comments, and ending with the question, is this pastor gay? Starting with mega church pastors Bishop Eddie Long and T.D. Jakes, we included profiles of other prominent pastors including Los Angeles' Noel Jones and Bishop Charles Blake, D.C.'s Reverend Willie Wilson, Chicago's Reverend Gregory Daniels, New Orleans' Bishop Paul Morton, Georgia's Creflo Dollar, and ended with a joint profile of ex-gay gospel singer Donnie Mclurkin.

For the record, there is nothing wrong with asking a question. My experience has shown that the people who are the most adamant on certain issues also tend to be dealing with their own issues. People who are comfortable with who they are usually don't care as much about what other people are doing. Which lead me to an obvious question, are these pastor's gay?

...To date, I have received over 1,000 emails regarding this campaign and they still continue to come in. While a good number of the responses that I have received regarding this campaign are positive, I will say that I have received many threats against my life for "bringing harm to a man of God." And if the email wasn't a threat against my life I was blasted for speaking badly about men of God, not notifying the pastors ahead of time and put on notice that I was going to be on a direct path to hell, as opposed to a more scenic view.

Do I have remind you that anyone can claim to be a man of God? Jim Jones said he was a man of God and because of him 913 people, many of whom were Black are dead. President Bush claims he is a man of God and was called upon by God to lead this country and look at where we are today. Reverend Craig Ward of the Brookins African Methodist Episcopal Church considers himself to be a man of God, but he was still arrested in Oakland for trying to negotiate a 20-dollar oral sex act.

So you see, claiming that you are a man or woman of God does not automatically elevate you to sainthood, at least not in my book.
***


Over at Raw Story, fellow B3 contributor Nancy Goldstein reveals the effects of our criminal justice system on children of the incarcerated that are covered in journalist Nell Bernstein's book, All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated.
The oftentimes harrowing accounts of her interview subjects not only foreground the trauma children are exposed to through the current system, but offer glimpses of where it has gone wrong — and could go right. The police who came for nine-year-old Ricky’s mom were in such a hurry that they left him alone in the apartment with his infant brother. For two weeks, Ricky cooked for himself and his brother, and changed his diapers, until neighbors noticed and called Child Protective Services. Antonia was five when she saw her mother arrested on the street for prostitution — handcuffed and put into the back of a police car. At home, she and her ten-year-old brother were on their own for a week until their mother returned.

Witnessing a parent being seized and handcuffed at gunpoint and then being left alone in the house to fend for oneself — and this routinely happens to children during an arrest — isn’t just a bad situation for the child, or one that could easily be redressed by something as simple as an officer taking the child into the next room and asking the parent if there’s someone who can take care of him. It also creates early, deep mistrust towards the law and its enforcers — and, as one officer reminds Bernstein, encouraging children to see police as the enemy does not enhance public or police safety.

Through careful documentation and statistical evidence illustrated by first-hand accounts, Bernstein argues that the well-being of both prisoners and their children is better insured through drug treatment, regular family visits, and parenting classes than it is through simply locking prisoners up, forcing them to communicate with their children by phone or through glass, or farming a child out to a foster home “for their own good” — i.e., to remove them from the “criminal element” in their lives. The latter may satisfy the current American bloodlust for retribution, but the policies that Bernstein recommends produce far lower rates of recidivism among inmates and decrease the chance that their children will later wind up in trouble with the law themselves.


Here's one way to spin the vote in Maine...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

“Homosexual activists poured in resources from out of state, engaged in smear tactics and were aided by a media that routinely engaged in character assassination. The pro-family people were outspent by more than 10 to 1, saw hundreds of yard signs ripped up, and generally were under siege. But having fought the good fight and done all they could, they can hold their heads high."
-- Robert Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute (a Maine native)

You have to hand it to Concerned Women for America's penis-possessing Bob Knight. He knows how to gracefully accept defeat. After yesterday's election saw Maine's voters reject an attempt by the wingnuts to overturn the state's civil rights protections for LGBT citizens, Bob's saluting "Mainers Who Worked Hard In Attempt to Overturn Special Homosexual Rights" with his usual overheated rhetoric.
“This setback means that Mainers must gird themselves for the next assault, which will be on marriage. Homosexual activists hope to force the Pine Tree State to issue counterfeit marriage licenses like Massachusetts is already doing.”

Maine voters rose up twice – in 1998 and again in 2000 – to pass a “People’s Veto” to overturn “gay rights” laws passed by the legislature and backed by the governor. “This time around, the activists threw the kitchen sink at them, and it finally worked. But Maine’s pro-family movement is as strong as ever, and they’ll continue to work for sound public policy,” Knight said.

...“Maine and the nation owe a lot to Mike Heath of the Civic League, Sandy Williams of the Coalition for Marriage, and Paul Madore of the Maine Grassroots Coalition, and all their volunteers,” Knight added. “Without their dedication, sacrifice and integrity, Maine would have knuckled under without a whimper. I think the other side knows they are not going to go away. They’re in it for the long haul.”
We might laugh, but the homo-obsessed Bob is not blowing smoke, given this news -- the Maine Taliban wants a marriage amendment. (365gay.com):
While conceding the referendum to those who sought to preserve gay rights protections in the Maine Human Rights Act, organizers of the repeal campaign said the fight is far from over.


Sandy Williams on the civil rights law he wished to overturn: "We are offended by Governor John Baldacci’s lack of interest in hearing the legitimate and principled concerns of those who do not support the gay agenda. We are offended by Governor John Baldacci’s characterization of some of Maine’s foremost religious leaders and citizens as “cuckoo clocks”.

"Though we are disappointed in the vote on Question One, we remain committed to marriage as the beautiful and loving union between a man and a woman," said the Rev. Sandy Williams of the Coalition for Marriage, who challenged Gov. John Baldacci to introduce a constitutional amendment to that effect. Williams said his group had no timetable for pressing ahead with its agenda. Baldacci is up for re-election next year.

Voters on Tuesday made Maine the last New England state to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. With returns from 88 percent of the state's 634 precincts, votes supporting the gay rights law were ahead 55 percent to 45 percent over those seeking to overturn the law that was approved by the Legislature. The count was 200,238 to 164,064.


Dark appropriate humor and good reading




Well, that provided a heckuva laugh! The Dark Wraith, a fellow Big Brass Blogger, has more serious fare over at his pad, The Dark Wraith Forums, that you should check out, including a series on the Valerie Plame scandal.


Princess Brandi Talibania goes down by 10,000 votes


The results are in for the 2005 election. On the bright side, Democrats won governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiatives were all defeated in Coll-ee-for-nee-ya, and Maine reaffirmed their gay rights laws. On the dark side, Texas passed an anti-gay marriage amendment to their Constitution.

But that's not the election I was following. I was watching the crown princess of the American Taliban, Generation Life's Brandi Swindell, in her bid to unseat long-time incumbent Boise City Council member Maryanne Jordan.

I was worried about the City Council being her springboard to more influential positions in politics, especially in Idaho, the 2nd-reddest state in the nation. She's been a force behind a fight to restore a Ten Commandments monument in a city park, and that's a very popular position in Boise and the surrounding areas. I really feared that she could be successful in her bid.

Turns out, it wasn't even close:
Boise Council - Seat 6
Precincts: 81 of 81 (100%) reporting
Winner Candidate Votes Percent
X Maryanne Jordan 22918 70%
Brandi Swindell 9758 30%
BOISE -- Incumbent Maryanne Jordan won her re-election bid against Brandi Swindell for seat number six on the Boise city council.

Maryanne Jordan has been reelected to the Boise City Council.

Jordan is the current city council president and a small business owner.

"Well I'm just so grateful and so pleased I had fantastic help and support and I think that in local elections voters understand the issues that are important to their community, and I think they came through in a big way," Jordan said.

"This has been a phenomenal experience. Obviously, we wish we had gotten a few more votes, but this has been such a positive campaign, my volunteers have been amazing," Swindell said.

Jordan retains her seat with 10,000 more votes than her opponent.
Or as I like to think of it, a better than 2-to-1 margin. I underestimated the votes Jordan would pull from Boise's North End residents, one of the few blue spots in that all red sea of Southwestern Idaho. It's good to know that for every babbling Biblical literalist supporting Swindell, there are more than two other voters with the common sense to choose education and experience over looks and religious credentials.

On the other hand, this frees her up to continue her national anti-woman, anti-sex-ed, anti-privacy, and anti-seperation-of-church-and-state advocacy activities...


'Marriage Protection Act' goes to full committee



Call Specter, 202-224-4254, and let him know you think his decision to stroke Sam Brownback's ego is wrong.

Arlen Specter lets Sh*thead Senator Sam gets his way, as the discrimination amendment makes its way to the full Judiciary Committee. Specter wants to see it come to a vote on the floor of the Senate, but says he wouldn't vote for it himself. Whatever. (365gay.com):
The sub-committee voted 5 - 4 along party lines to pass the amendment, called the "Marriage Protection Act". It defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

...The amendment is sponsored in the Senate by Sam Brownback (R-Kan). Brownback, expected to be a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, is chair of the sub-committee.

...The deciding vote Wednesday was cast by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Specter, the chair of the full Judiciary Committee, repeating remarks he made on the weekend, said that while he opposes the amendment he believes it should receive a vote on the Senate floor.

His vote to send the measure to the committee he chairs ensures it will pass the Judiciary and head to the full Senate for a vote.

Specter said that when the amendment comes to a final vote in the Senate he will oppose it.
Don't forget to surf over to The Anti-Sam Blog.


Killer 'fro: unretouched scan of Sam's Kansas State University 1977 yearbook

Sen. Sam Brownback
303 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-6521

Thanks to Gary for the pointer.


Indy protects TGs as the bible beaters burn gay flag

"The elite city of Bloomington harbors an elitist, faggot business called The Inner Chef which openly and unabashedly claim they are against God Almighty" We burned the flag, and we will do it again."
-- knuckle-dragger John Lewis, pastor of the Old Paths church
I'm sure the good pastor also got a bug up his butt after learning that Indianapolis add transgender to the language of its non-discrimination policy. Hoosiers are going to get tired of sh*t like this after a while. Thumbs up to Bart Peterson.
Mayor Bart Peterson expanded the city hiring policy to include protection for transgender employees, reissuing an earlier executive order last Friday.

Including the phrase "gender identity" in the policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation corrected an oversight from the original executive order issued in 2004, he said. The change brings the city's policy in line with the state policy adopted by Gov. Joe Kernan and kept in place by Gov. Mitch Daniels.
But as you saw in the pull quote, a Fred Phelps wannabe, John Lewis, of the Old Paths Baptist Church, is running around with nothing better to do than sic his flock on the homos. (365gay.com):
Members of an Indiana church opposed to homosexuality demonstrated on the campus of Indiana University then marched to a Bloomington gay-owned store where they burned the Rainbow flag.

Carrying signs that said "Fags Die, God Laughs" the group of about 25 denounced the university for its LGBT diversity program. The group has held a number of anti-gay protests at UI over the past few years but, the campus newspaper, The Indiana Daily Student, said this was the largest.

Some of the protestors brought children singing hymns. From the university campus the group marched to The Inner Chef a gay-owned kitchen supply store in Bloomington where they set a gay flag called New Glory on fire. New Glory combines the Rainbow flag with the stars of Old Glory in a gay version of the US flag.


Black homo-bigot tossed out in Ohio


Out gay Mark Tumeo unseats the unfortunate homophobe Jimmie Hicks, Jr. in Cleveland Heights.

I'm sure we'll be reading about Dem electoral uprisings of this sort from all over the country today, but here's a tasty one out of Cleveland Heights, OH.

Blogger David Caldwell says homo-bigot City Councilperson Jimmie Hicks, Jr. who consistently fought a domestic partner benefits ordinance with a very public campaign against gays is probably wondering what hit him last night.


Hicks should have seen the handwriting on the wall in 2003, when the ordinance passed. Yesterday, he was not only tossed out of office, but he was replaced by an openly gay challenger. Sweet revenge at the ballot box:
May your political career rest in peace, Jimmie. I'll never forget lecturing you about adoption at City Council. And I know that the work I poured so much of my passion into ultimately proved to be your undoing. It's like winning all over again.

...Hicks will probably blame it on his party switch, or mysterious outside pro-gay forces. We did an anti-Hicks mailer to the 5,000 supportive households we identified (painstakingly, door-to-door) in the 2003 campaign, and maybe that made a tiny difference.

But mostly, Jimmie just chose the wrong side in the fight about the gays. He never thought he might lose, and kept digging a deeper and deeper hole as he kept losing. Maybe a tiny wake-up call for others -- maybe it's not safe to pick on the gays anymore, not everywhere. Someday nowhere.
I'm sure it will be no shock to you that Hicks is also a minister -- yet another one to go on the list of so many black pastors in favor of discrimination. From a hysterical piece on a domestic partner registry that Hicks opposed -- and ended up costing the city quite a tab. From the Cleveland Scene (in 2004):
Closet Homo of the Year
When Cleveland Heights decided to create a domestic-partner registry, it was a largely symbolic gesture. The registry offered none of the marital benefits typically granted to breeders. In fact, no one seems to really know what it did, beyond sending homos the basic message, "Hey, you guys are all right by us."

But Minister/Councilman Jimmie Hicks Jr. knew better. Allowing homos even a facsimile of marriage would bring darkness to the fashionable suburb. They would settle down, buy homes, and paint them in far more arresting colors than breeders ever could. Soon, there would be an outbreak of advanced gardening. Someone might even erect a tasteful gazebo.

Hicks vigilantly campaigned against the measure. If the city granted official sanction, he argued, everyone would turn homo. The temptation would be too great -- even for Jimmie Hicks. And since he harbored a modest ability to accessorize, he would likely have to purchase a mail-order boyfriend from Croatia, which could run upwards of 800 bucks.

Still, Hicks was an elected official; he would trust his faith in a public vote, he vowed. Regretfully, the people of Cleveland Heights didn't trust Jimmie Hicks. They approved the measure by a comfortable 10 percent margin.

Being a man of God, Hicks promptly reneged on his word and sued. The litigation is expected to cost the city $100,000, yet it's a small price to pay. Hicks was merely exercising his constitutional right to force everyone to agree with Jimmie Hicks. After all, if people don't stand up for their rights, it's only a matter of time before everyone can arrange an elegant fruit-and-vegetable platter.


Read more fresh Blend.


Big win in Maine

After Texas, this win for gay rights in Maine is a pick-me-up. (Maine Today):
Maine voters decided Tuesday to keep the state´s gay rights law on the books, making Maine the last New England state to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

With tallies from 82 percent of the state´s precincts, votes supporting the gay rights law were ahead 55 percent to 45 percent over those seeking to overturn the law that was approved by the Legislature earlier this year.


The vote "reaffirms the basic values that are intrinsic in Maine," said Gov. John Baldacci, who signed the law earlier this year before it was put on hold by the pending referendum. "Mainers don´t like discrimination ... if it happens to one person it happens to all of us."

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, calls the outcome "a much-needed victory in our national movement" after a string of losses in other states on gay marriage issues. "We needed to show we can win."

Paul Madore of the Maine Grassroots Coalition, which wanted to repeal the law, did not immediately return a phone message.


Kansas votes to redefine science

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The United States is rapidly losing our edge as a technological superpower. Emerging tech powerhouses like China and India are slurping up our high-tech jobs through outsourcing and telecommunications, thanks to aggressive investment in math and science education. According to the IndusSciTech.net:
Last year India produced 350,000 engineers, US 70,000 and China 600,000. The numbers from India and US are roughly in proportion to their population whereas China seems to be in an aggressive mode.
So, what do you do in Bush's America when you can't measure up to high standards? Change the standards.
(AP) TOPEKA, Kan. - Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
So, according to Kansas standards, astrology, tarot, demonic possession, seánces, spirit channelling, and ghosts are now scientific explanations for phenomena. I wonder if the babbling Biblical literalists thought of that.

You know, while they are at it, they should just redefine the value of π equal to three. And what other good science can we glean from the Bible?
Plants can be created before the sun exists to drive their photosynthesis. (Genesis 1:11)

The earth can be consumed suddenly by enough water to cover the highest mountaintops with fifteen cubits to spare (Genesis 7:20), and then that water just disappears later.

Hares and coneys "chew the cud" (Leviticus 11:5-6), bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13, 19), and a warning about insects reminds us to avoid "other flying creeping things which have four feet." (Leviticus 11:23)

A ten-day journey from Egypt to Canaan takes forty years. (Numbers 14:33)

Dragons (Deuteronomy 32:33) and unicorns (Deuteronomy 33:17) and cockatrice (Isaiah 11:8) once roamed the earth.

The earth's rotation can be stopped with no ill effects to the planet, its rotation, or its orbit. (Joshua 10:12-13)

Astrology is true. "The stars in their courses fought against Sisera." (Judges 5:20)

π IS equal to three! (1 Kings 7:23) (2 Chronicles 4:2)

Diseases are sent by God to punish sin. (Psalms 38:3)

Natural disasters (earthquakes, storms, fires, tsunamis) are caused by, and are a sign of, God's wrath. (Isaiah 29:7)

The world is flat and has four corners. (Ezekiel 7:2)
...and there's so much more! So hurrah, Kansas, from freeing science from the shackles of logic, facts, observation, testing, experimentation, hypothesis, theory, and proof. High school science finals will be so much easier now that the kids can just write down "God did it!"


Texas Voters Approve Ban on Gay Marriage

Not even close. The earlier head fake by the Texas Taliban worried about low turnout and all the gay folks streaming to the polls turned out to be true. Rick Perry's happy tonight - all you Lone Star homos are now officially (and permanently) second-class citizens. (KGBT4):
A state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage championed by Republican Governor Rick Perry and social conservatives won overwhelming voter approval today as Texans decided nine proposed amendments. With more than 472-thousand votes counted, 74 percent favored the ban while 26 percent were against it.

Same-sex marriage already is prohibited under Texas law. Those who supported Proposition 2 said a constitutional ban was needed to ensure a judge doesn't decide to allow gays to marry.
***

In more optimistic Dem news, Jon Corzine wins in NJ, and Tim Kaine wins in VA. (AP):
Democrats swept both governors' races Tuesday, with Sen. Jon Corzine easily winning New Jersey and Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine taking Virginia despite a last-minute campaign push for his opponent from President Bush.

Kaine had 860,719 votes, or 51 percent, to Kilgore's 789,273 votes, or 46.8 percent, with 88 percent of precincts reporting.

In New Jersey, Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine trounced Doug Forrester, pulling in 54 percent of the vote to the Republican's 42.8 percent, with 55 percent of precincts counted. Corzine had 605,915 votes, and Forrester had 480,477.
Since the Chimp team was looking at this election as a referendum on the GOP and this President (see the cocky WaPo excerpt below), they better start spinning - big time, especially after this puffery...
In jumping into the Virginia governor's race just 10 hours before polling booths open, President Bush put his credibility on the line last night and ensured that the results will be interpreted as a referendum on his troubled presidency. But the White House is gambling that after weeks of political tribulations, Bush has little more to lose.

Bush's election-eve foray to Richmond to rally behind Republican Jerry W. Kilgore inserted him into the hottest election of the off-year cycle and will test his ability to energize his party's base voters, according to strategists from both parties. Even in a traditionally Republican-leaning state such as Virginia, polls register disenchantment with Bush's leadership, and Kilgore has had trouble running against national headwinds.

Yet White House strategists evidently calculated that a Kilgore defeat would be seen as a defeat for Bush even if the president did not set foot on the southern side of the Potomac.


The BradBlog on election shenanigans



Brad's on top of the voting irregularities again this year, and like clockwork, they are popping up all over. In fact, the Governator was told that he already voted, when he showed up at the polls today in Sacramento.

Other fun reported by Brad --
* In Roanoke County, VA Governor's Race:
Democratic Votes Being Recorded for Republican Candidate on Touch-Screens

* In Montogomery County, OH:
Wrong Ballots on Machines, Technical Failures -- all the early votes are canceled.

* In Lucas County OH:
Voting Machines and Voting Cards Missing


Results in Durham

Bill Bell cruised to an easy victory, re-elected to a third term as mayor of Durham.

Durham Mayor
Jonathan Alston 2,960 14%
William Bell 17,925 86%
Precincts Reporting - 56 out of 57 - 98%

Durham City Council Ward 1
Cora Cole-McFadden 14,801 77%
Victoria Peterson 4,531 23%
Precincts Reporting - 56 out of 57 - 98%

This was the other race I was watching, to see how many turned out to support homo-bigot Victoria Peterson, who I knew would lose, but I wanted to see a nice trouncing. She's one of our local AmTaliban. From an earlier post:
In 2003, she testified before the County Commissioners to urge them not to extend partnership benefits because: "Many of them are infected with diseases, and their lifestyles are very, very dangerous," Peterson told the board. "Many don't live to be senior citizens. Who's going to pay this expense if they get sick in their gay lifestyle?" And here's another gem of her reasoning: "The gay community makes plenty of money. Just because of how you have sex, does not mean anyone is entitled to special rights."

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

When a bill to add sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination was defeated in 2003, she said: "They could come to work dressed one day looking like a female and two weeks later looking like a male. We do not recognize people who actively engage in a gay lifestyle."
The scary thing is she made it out of the primaries this year, something she didn't manage to do the last time around. The precinct-by-precinct vote is here, so you can see where those Peterson votes came from.

Other races:

Durham City Council Ward 2
Howard Clement 11,888 60%
Regina Stanley-King 7,789 40%
Precincts Reporting - 56 out of 57 - 98%

Durham City Council Ward 3
John Best 5,589 27%
Mike Woodard 14,799 73%
Precincts Reporting - 56 out of 57 - 98%

The $110 million, eight-bond referendum skated through.


The Rotting CryptkeeperTM loves those twisters

Brent Steele, or rather "lawless, God-hating Demagogue Indiana necromancer State Sen. Brent Steele," as Fred calls him, must be getting a lot of mileage out of this additional free publicity, after Sunday's picketing. The cretins at the Westboro Baptist Church manage to tie him into the recent tornadoes.



Steele earned the honor of a protest by proposing legislation in response to WBC's protest at a funeral for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Doyle, an Indianapolis native that was killed in Iraq. The bill would make disorderly conduct a felony offense if it occurs at a military funeral.

***

In related news about ignorance, the Kansas school board votes to teach "intelligent design" in its schools. Now all Kansans can get the same quality education that the Topeka-based Phelps clan does.
Revisiting a topic that exposed Kansas to nationwide ridicule six years ago, the state Board of Education approved science standards for public schools Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for intelligent design advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.

"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Democrat.



Fox slapped with bias suit

UPDATE (5PM): as noted in the comments, Raw Story obtained a copy of the suit -- and it's graphic and disgusting.

UPDATE 2: I added Freeper comments at the end. These are sick sexist f*ckers.

Again, is there a surprise about this kind of bullsh*t -- the EEOC managed to find problems at the high and mighty bastion of unfair and unbalanced reporting?

My follow-up question is whether there was a falafel or loofah involved in the "hostile work environment" created by the sexist cretin at the Faux News Channel? (NYT):
The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, is based on an investigation by the commission, with headquarters in Washington, of a claim brought by a former Fox employee, Kim Weiler.

...The commission claims that a Fox vice president, Joe Chillemi, "routinely used gross obscenities and vulgarities when describing women or their body parts," language that it says Mr. Chillemi "did not use with male employees." The suit contends that Mr. Chillemi "routinely cursed at and otherwise denigrated women employees," telling them to "be a man."

The suit charges that Mr. Chillemi, in a discussion about a television segment focusing on sexism in the workplace, said, "Of course I'd pick the man" if he had to choose between a woman and a man for the same position, because he was concerned that a woman could become pregnant and leave her job. Mr. Chillemi is described in the suit as the supervisor of the Fox Advertising and Promotions Department.

...The suit charges that Fox routinely relegated female employees to freelance work and less secure jobs. It says that Ms. Weiler was "constructively discharged" as a result of the network's practices. It was not clear whether Ms. Weiler was fired.
***



And Media Matters has the goods on our friend O'Reilly. He's been uttering equally heinous things lately, having learned nothing from the harassment suit slapped on him by a former staffer.
On the November 3 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly called for "a full-body search" on his co-host, Lis Wiehl. During a conversation about a recent New York Sun editorial (subscription required) on a lawsuit over New York City's policy of subway bag checks, O'Reilly said: "Would you please -- would you please bring in some security to do a full-body search on ... Lis Wiehl." When Wiehl repeated, "I said my bags, not my body," O'Reilly responded, "Full-body search on Lis Wiehl right this minute. She asked for it." Wiehl is also an author, Harvard-trained law professor, and legal analyst for Fox News.


Poor Lis Wiehl. This was not the first time the slimeball has gone after her. The pig did it last month as well:
On the October 26 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, O'Reilly, "outraged" at a recent CBS News poll on border control, asked female co-host, Lis Wiehl, to protest CBS clad in a bikini.
And now, what the slimy beasts in Freeperland are saying, feminists that they are...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Ok, and this is strange because why? What else do you think men talk about."

"The reflections off the anchor girls' exaggerated lip gloss and wide angle shots of short skirts and crossed legs gives intellectual balance to the news."

"Lack of job security is part of the business. They can fire you because they don't like the color of your eyes. No explaination needed."

"The VULTURES are out for Fox. When you are Number 1 , the Feminist and the New York Slimes want your blood !!"

"The reflections off the anchor girls' exaggerated lip gloss. . ."

"You meant to say 'exaggerated lips. . .and lip gloss'. . .right? It is almost funny; but really I don't care what visuals Fox uses to gain audience appeal. Better info there for sure; compared to the rest of the net/cable. . .I want as many people tuning in as they can reach. As for the claim. . The suit also contends that the executive "routinely cursed at and otherwise denigrated women employees," telling them to "be a man," I guess we will hear from them or the lawyers will. . .(?)"

"Nonsense! If they have a good pair of legs in a short skirt there is no limit to how far they can go at Fox. They are the industry leader in knee-level cameras, glass tables (not ceilings), and anchor eye candy."

"Except that women are a protected group under title 9. Only "whitey" can be fired for no reason...as long as he is under the age of 40."

"Pretty news babes are a TV tradition on networks and local stations. Our local stations burn through them so fast I rarely recall their names after they are gone. Only the ones who make the main desk with their name as one of the news team headliners have any staying power. That's the game and a player shouldn't complain when it happens to that player."

"It's a federal law suit. Why would the Bush Administration go after Fox?"

"I'm wondering if they have created a parody on purpose. "FOX and FRIENDS" which I can no longer stand to watch fills the screen with feminine eye candy, but chooses gals who are articulate and often thoughtfully smart while their male counter parts are stunningly ditzy at a level only found in groups of teenage girls at the mall."

""constructively discharged" WTF? Does that mean she quit? Or that she stopped showing up for work? Or, more likely, that she did such a crappy job FOX stopped assigning work to her?"

"Of course, it could be worse. . .but could be she was just called a 'boob' or 'butt head'. . .or dumb-a-- . Something ANYone could experience if there are 'problems'."

"So, now telling someone to "be a man" is a denigration or slur?............"

"Are they sure it wasn't really Bill O'Reilly? Sounds like his MO."

"The federal government is a huge entity made up of many agencies that are still headed by partisans. One thing to remember about CLinton is that he committed one of the largest partisan purges in US history...which included the so-called DA Massacre that replaced all the US Attorneys. Unless Bush replaced these people, (which I don't recall him doing) these federal prosecutors, combined with Clinton-appointed federal judges, means Republicans aren't even safe from partisans in the DOJ."

"O'Reilly yelling "IT WASN'T ME" was heard as far away as nearby New Jersey and Delaware."


Another painful Scott McClellan ass-whooping



I'm reading the latest White House press briefing, and whipping boy Scott McClellan makes a poor attempt at weaseling out of several subjects. I don't want to waste space posting the lengthy, tortuous exchanges, but I think it's clear that he's close to a psychotic break. (Video is at C&L).

* No less than 16 times was the word "exemption" brought up in various questions in an attempt to get Scotty to answer whether the President's "we do not torture" policy jibes with Darth Cheney's contrary assertion that torture is good -- and that there should be an exemption in certain cases, like a little detainee thumb-screws intelligence gathering.

* We find out that Scott can't confirm whether the Chimp 1) has full confidence in Turdblossom, 2) thinks Rove lived up to the highest ethical standards, or 3) he should retain his security clearance, because there's an ongoing investigation.

* We learned more about the ethics classes being run out of Harriet's office. There will be eight hour-long sesions for all White House staff with a security clearance at any level. They began today, and are organized alphabetically by subject (?!). An intrepid reporter actually asked who would attend these whizbang classes, and guess what? There's no straight answer, except one can infer that torturemeister Dick Cheney doesn't have to sit in.
Q Scott, is anyone in the White House exempt from participating in these and --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, it's a mandatory session.

Q Would the Vice President have to attend?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's mandatory for all White House staff. That's who it's for.

Q And he's considered staff?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's considered the Vice President. (Laughter.)

Q So he does not have to attend?
MR. McCLELLAN: All White House staff is required to participate in these sessions.
* Last, but not least, we gather that a pardon is not off the table for liar Scooter Libby, based on Scott's evasions. If Scooter knows he won't be pardoned, he's more likely to squeal, so the press corps is warning that Scotty's tushy is going to be ripped raw until they get an answer on the record.
Q Will the President pledge not to pardon Lewis Libby?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to discuss an ongoing legal proceeding, and I'm not going to --

Q Can you just --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to speculate about any matters relating to it. This is something that is just beginning. There will be a hearing process that is going on right now, and we need to let that legal proceeding continue. I was asked this question last week, and that's -- I'm just not going to speculate about things at this point.

Q So if he's interested in seeing the legal process continue, that means he will not pardon him, is that correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: There is a legal proceeding --

Q That would interrupt the legal proceeding.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- that is going on relating to that individual. Under our system, there is a presumption of innocence. And we're not going to comment on it while it is continuing. And I'm not going to -- certainly not going to speculate about it, as well.

Q Should we take that to mean it remains a possibility?
MR. McCLELLAN: It should mean exactly what I said.


They're not WMDs when we use them


When I go off on my anti-Bush tirades, I am often accused of hating America. A part of the "blame America first" crowd, so to speak. Well, truth is that I was born here and I love America. I love her so much that when atrocities are committed in America's name, I am deeply shamed. I love her so much that when our leaders support inhumane policies of torture and war crimes, I am embarrassed to call myself American. I love her so much that I grew up believing that America was the greatest force of good in the world, and that we held ourselves to a higher standard than the tyrants and thugs who don't care for their own people and care even less about others.

I never thought America could be involved in despicably heinous acts like these:
(Christian Science Monitor) RAI, the all news state-run satellite channel in Italy, aired a documentary Tuesday that accused the United States of using chemical weapons against the civilian population during a November 2004 bombardment of Fallujah. AKI, the Italian news agency, reports that the documentary, entitled "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" and aired on the first aniversary of the assault on insurgents in Fallujah, includes interviews with former US soldiers and with residents of Fallujah who say that during the assault on the city the US military used the chemical white phosphorus.
"I heard the order being issued to be careful because white phosphorus was being used on Fallujah. In military slang this is known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, melting the flesh right down to the bone," says one former US solider, interviewed by the documentary's director, Sigfrido Ranucci.

"I saw the burned bodies of women and children. The phosophorous explodes and forms a plume. Who ever is within a 150 metre radius has no hope," the former soldier adds.
RAI says the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons, although the BBC notes that such bombs are considered incendiary devices. The US military admits to using the weapon to illuminate battlefields in Iraq, and says it did so in Fallujah, but insists it did not use it in civilian areas. Washington is not a signatory of an international treaty restricting white phosphorus devices.
Pay no attention to those pictures (like the one above and other) of Iraqi civilians chemically burned to death by white phosphorous. America does not use white phosphorous as a weapon, even though we won't join the rest of the world in banning the use of white phosphorus as a weapon. We didn't need to sign that treaty because, after all, we don't use white phosphorus as a weapon.
The Independent reports, however, that the documentary offers video and photographs it alleges proves that the white phosphorus was used "indiscriminately" on both insurgents and the civilian population.
Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster's 24-hours news channel, show exactly what the former [US] soldier means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah, dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved .... or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.
But maybe we were using white phosphorus to light up the battlefield and we didn't intend its use as a weapon. Maybe some of those burned Iraqis were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. War is hell, and there will be civilian casualties, but it is not like America would go out of its way to use a known incendiary substance against the native population and then cover it up. ("Hello, Russ? Vietnam flashback is holding on white courtesy phone...")
La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper which recently broke the story on the Italian government's involvement with the forged Niger-Iraq uranium documents, reports the documentary also broadcast what it claimed is proof of the use in Iraq of a new napalm formula called MK77. The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty that the US signed in 1997.
Yeah, and the use of torture as an interrogation tool is banned by the Geneva Conventions. We signed those, too. ("Hello, Russ? Chief Sitting Bull is holding on the red courtesy phone. He wants to tell you he's shocked that the US is ignoring a treaty...")

The US, through the State Department, has categorically denied the accusations of using chemical weapons in Iraq. While they were at it, they denied anyone in the White House had anything to do with outing a CIA operative, they denied that anyone higher than an enlisted grunt had anything to do with those awful photos at Abu Ghraib, and they denied Sean Connery was the best James Bond.

Denial ain't a river in Eqypt... it's the official policy of the Bush Crime Family.


Going down...down...down


Pew released its latest poll and only 36% believe the Chimperor has lived up to his campaign pledge to restore integrity to the White House. Bahahahahahahaha -- then you wonder about that 36%, but I will allow the Freep factor at least 20%. But it gets worse:

In contrast, fully 79% of Americans say the recent indictment of I. Lewis Libby, formerly a top aide to Vice President Cheney, on perjury and other charges is a matter of at least some importance to the nation; that is greater than the percentage who said that in 1998 about charges that former President Clinton lied under oath about a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky (65%).
I find this box amusing: one word reactions to Libby's indictment:


Texas Taliban hysterical over amendment vote

"If you're a U.S. senator and you want to hide on that issue, you can't do that right now because all the states are coming out in favor of marriage being a man and a woman. But if Texas were to vote it down, all of a sudden you would have a lot of cover, as a senator, to say 'Look, Texas didn't even support this.'"
-- Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Legal Institute
Those homosexuals are turning out to vote, according to the wingnuts at AgapePress, in a breathless story panicking that the amendment could go down in flames. I would love to see this happen, but I'm not optimistic.

My guess is the tactic of playing the underdog all day long will make their PR cackling all the sweeter if it passes, in order to humiliate the gays and lesbians in the Lone Star State, and drum up support for the amendments in other states that have votes coming up next year: Alabama (slam dunk), South Carolina (slam dunk), South Dakota, and Tennessee. I'm assuming the latter two state will them pass as well.
Although Texas is viewed as a conservative stronghold, Christian activists say the vote could be close. Kelly Shackelford, president of the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute (LLI), says a low turnout in early voting is not a good sign.

"The highest turnout in the counties so far is in the strongest county that is for homosexual marriage, and that's Travis County," the attorney says. Travis County includes Austin, the state capital, which has a large and active homosexual community. "Certainly the side that is against this [proposition] and in favor of homosexual marriage is very energized," he continues. "They have a lot of money that's come in from out-of-state."

Shackelford says the entire nation will watch the Texas vote closely -- and not just because it is the only state with the issue on the ballot this year. "If the Texas marriage amendment were to fail, I think most people believe that this would be a complete end to the whole Federal Marriage Amendment effort," he says, then explains his rationale.
I mean really, the wingnuts in Texas are completely unhinged at this point, especially after the Save Texas Marriage folks put out this oddball document.

The saddest and sickest quotes on this come from bigoted black pastors backing this enshrinement of discrimination. (CBN):
"We have to come to these things and raise a loud voice of concern and urgency,” said Pastor Ron O'Guinn, “that this is the new American genocide."


O'Guinn saw many black men lured away into homosexuality when he was a minister in West Hollywood. "Our young men are at risk already with gangs, with violence, with imprisonment, with drugs,” O'Guinn explained. "Can we really afford to have homosexuality compete for the masculinity of the black community? And the answer, of course, is 'no.'
But wait, there's more. And this sounds like another Willie Wilson Fairie Tale, with a pastor gay-bashing with a Personal Story of PerversionTM...

Other black pastors get upset over homosexuals framing their fight for gay marriage as a civil rights issue. Pastor Dwight McKissic stated, "I'm insulted and offended by a comparison between gay rights and civil rights. They're confusing my skin with their sin."

McKissic leads a coalition of Christians in the Dallas area pushing for Prop. 2. He got involved when a man in his congregation came to him with a shocking story.

"He said 'Pastor, my son came home from school today in the fifth grade and asked me, "Dad, when I get old, who do I marry: a man or a woman?" And when he asked me that, something birthed in my spirit and [I] said, we have to do something," remarked McKissic.


Army: just give us mouth-breathers for Iraq

According to the Baltimore Sun, twelve percent of recruits in October had lowest acceptable scores possible on the Army's aptitude test. The recruiting situation is so desperate that the next thing we'll hear is that Real Dolls will be suiting up and shipping over to Iraq. (via Newsday):
Former Army Secretary Thomas E. White said the service was making a mistake by lowering its standards. "I think it's disastrous. You are throwing the towel in on recruiting quality," said White, a retired general whom Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fired in 2003 over other policy differences.

"We have clear experience from the 1970s with recruiting a sizable number of people from the lowest mental categories," said White. After the Vietnam War, the Army accepted a higher proportion of low-scoring recruits, leading to training and discipline problems, he added.

To achieve last month's recruiting targets, 12 percent of those accepted by the Army had the lowest acceptable results. They scored between 16 and 30 points out of a possible 99 on an aptitude test that quizzes potential soldiers on general science, mathematics and word knowledge.
And when you've tapped out the non-synapse-firing crowd, bend over backwards to welcome aspiring Americans into our fold, with the opportunity to prove their affinity for our great nation by offering to be blown away by an IED.
...Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University, said he was concerned that the reduction in the quality standards for military recruiting signaled a return by the Army to the troubled personnel era of the 1970s. He said the military must come up with new ways to attract better recruits.

...Moskos, an Army veteran, said the recruiting problems could prompt the military to turn increasingly to recent immigrants in filling its ranks. Another option: tapping the pool of recent college graduates by offering an enlistment of 15 months, instead of the current three years, an idea Moskos said has been gaining attention among Army generals.
Where are the bright, patriotic Young Yellow Elephant Republicans? They aren't at the Army recruiting stations, that's for sure. I doubt you'll see Freepers on line there either. Those fire-breathing young conservatives are too busy planning career moves and armchair activism than military service, like this young fellow...
By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."
-- from Max Blumenthal's piece, "Generation Chickenhawk," in The Nation, interviewing Young College Republicans about why they aren't enlisting.


Sleazebag in WA city council race tries gay-baiting



Rethug Jay Weatherill, the former mayor of Port Orchard, Washington, is now running for a city council seat against Fred Chang, the first double-minority (Asian and gay) to enter local politics there. Weatherhill is trying to weasel out from responsibility for a sleazy mailing (above, click for PDF) that went out to voters.

It's a real conservative class act, intimating that Chang is gay (he's out anyway) without specifically saying so in order to rile up the wingnuts. Weatherhill gets bonus points for insinuating a personal interest in tarot cards is a disqualifying quality in a city council candidate.

How many other races around the country are being conducted like this? Don't ask. From the Kitsap Sun:
A Port Orchard City Council race took a strange turn this week with the mailing of a brochure that promotes the election of Leslie "Jay" Weatherill and slams opponent Fred Chang.

The brochure is a mix of direct accusation, mysterious innuendo and non sequiturs that both Weatherill and Chang describe as poorly done. It’s also designed to look like an official product of the county elections staff, prompting a citizen’s inquiry to that office asking if its unidentified creators broke any rules. The brochure indicates it was "Paid for by Citizens to Elect Jay Weatherill" to the council’s Position 6.

It begins with a comparison of the candidates’ interests, identifying Weatherill’s as "Hunting, Fishing, Fire Department volunteer, education of our children."

Chang’s, it says, are "Tarot cards ... ‘I don’t know why I was told they were evil.’ Astrology and Mythology."

...Weatherill is described as a lifetime resident while Chang "moved to the area in 1995 with a friend." That’s accurate -- Chang is gay, but he doesn’t live with anyone now and said he doesn’t consider himself to have been "outed."

"My frame of reference is my neighborhood," he said. "After 10 years of knowing me and seeing me walk my dogs, I think they all know."

...The brochure’s authors are anonymous, but South Kitsap developer Dick Brown said he helped research it. He said after learning that Chang favored a restrictive version of a critical areas ordinance for the city, he hired a college student to find information about Chang.
Here's a real Voter's Guide for this race.

Hat tip to Blender Gary.


Minnesota gay Catholics to mark church offerings

Monday, November 07, 2005

Here's a passive way to a strong statement about who's paying the church's way. But at this point, the question is why are gay Catholics tossing money in there at all? (KSTP):
Minnesota churches will soon see a sign of protest in collection plates.

Gay Catholics and their supporters plan to mark their donations to send a message to let the church know who exactly is giving them their money. Cash donations will be marked with a pink triangle around the pyramid on the back, while checks will have a notation in the memo field.

“If you want our money, then support us,” says parishioner Tom Degree. “They need to know how much they are receiving from GLBT congregants.” Degree and others are concerned about several positions the Catholic church has taken recently, such as banning gay priests.

“I think that’s a bright idea,” says Rachel Dykosky. “I think they should let them know where the money is coming from. The church needs to know who is supporting them.”
This got the knuckle-dragging, bigoted Freepers riled up with ugly sh*t...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I wonder if the church would actually consider not taking the money? Or better yet earmark that money specifically to a counseling service geared toward turning gays back to heteros. Ha ha."

"Just put the bill in the bill counter and let'r rip. I wouldn't notice the "protest". And if I saw it, I'd ignore it. I've written "bush 1" on some dollar bills when I go into liberal onclaves. No big deal."

"How 'bout the poofters give up their attachment to the sin of sodomy, rather than making stupid little protest gestures?"

"Is this like a substitute for confession? What should I put on my check if I spend too much time on the computer and sneak chocolate late at night?"

"I guess the queers think Benedict XVI is for sale."

"Fine with me. But they shouldn't be heard to complain if the church actually keeps track of the marked money from gays and compares it to the overall receipts."

"I think its a weak attempt to trip up a church into participating in sin. The (twisted) logic being something like. "when you see our triangle bills, you'll know that somewhere in your church are gay parishers, unrepentant and with no intention of leaving. By collecting, pooling and spending the money, the you will be benefitting (and by extention, sanctioning) our behaviour. Its like when the govt tries to force Catholic schools to adopt non-discrimination policies as a backdoor to forcing gay rights into the curriculum"

"Apparently homosexuals believe that morality is for sale."

"It's worse than a 'substitute for confession' ... these people want the grotesque, perverted evil of sodomy to be called 'good'. They're doing the work of the "father of lies"."

"Should anyone in Minnesota wish to counter protest, I suggest highlighting in gold, the words "In God We Trust" found on the back of all denominations of US currency."

"Another way for homosexuals to blow some bucks."


HANDLE WITH CARE. AIDS.

"The more reputable studies put the gay population at no more than 2% of the general population. If the culturally Catholic proportion of gays is the same as in the general population (about 25%), then we're down to 0.5% of the overall population. But many Catholic homosexuals have already repudiated their membership in the Church, so the number is even smaller than that, perhaps only half. Further, among those who haven't repudiated their membership, a sizeable number probably don't attend Mass on anything like a regular basis, either (let's assume half, again, which is actually better than the overall population, so I'm being generous), making the potential base for this "protest" very small indeed. "Therefore," half of half of 0.5% of the 293,000,000 people in this country is...366,250 people. Nationwide. At most. I don't think the Church will miss their money all that much! ;-)"

"these people want the grotesque, perverted evil of sodomy to be called 'good'. They're doing the work of the "father of lies"."

"I agree that the father of lies is at their side when they protest. It is a tired shame. But, we should also realize that we also do the work of the father of lies when we use contraception (grotesque, perverted evil of "nuetered sex")."

"There's a pattern here. It seems to me that, since the seminary investigations began, and the Vatican statement on homosexuality is known to be ready for publication, the gay lobby in the Church is working overtime in a desperate effort to "shame" the Church into acquiescence. All sorts of "Catholic" colleges and "theologians" are weighing-in with their sophistries on this subject, and much of this finds its way onto the FR discussion boards as evidence. This pathetic effort is part and parcel of the larger campaign. The Church should just ignore it. Just to make sure, I think Between the Lines' idea of highlighting in gold "In God We Trust" is an excellent thing to publicize as a counter-protest. Plus, it can be done on higher denominations than just "Ones"! Two can play this game!"

"Reminds me of the Gospel passage where Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and says "See all this? (the surrounding cities and towns) You can have it all if you just bow down and worship me!" Seems the homosexuals think the same way. " See all this money? It's all yours if you just support us." Er.....no!!!!!"

"Excellent point. I've often mentioned that we wouldn't be having the problem with homosexual aggressiveness (so to speak) that we have today, if heterosexuals hadn't given themselves a moral pass for sins against chastity for the last two or three generations. It's easy to condemn the sin that doesn't tempt you, but much more difficult to repent of, and stop practicing, the one you think is necessary to your life. Did I mention drinking in the afternoon, and an excess of colorful language?"


A flurry of gay news

Just catching up today on news...

* Roberts First LGBT Case 'Defacto Victory' At Supreme Court. Good news here, as the Roberts court refused to hear a case allowing discrimination against transgendered police officer. (365gay.com):
A federal appeals court upheld a jury's finding that Barnes was a victim of discrimination, under a federal civil rights law. The city had been ordered to pay the officer $320,000, and pay another $550,000 in attorney fees. In 1999, Barnes, a 24-year veteran of the Cincinnati police force, dressed as a man at work but a woman during off-hours as she transitioned. At times, Barnes wore makeup to work and had manicured nails. The police department demoted her and Barnes went to court.

The case would have been a follow-up to a 1989 Supreme Court decision which made it more difficult for employers to win lawsuits accusing them of sexual stereotyping and other bias. That case involved a woman who argued she was denied promotion because her supervisors thought she did not act feminine enough.
* Civil unions rejected in NH (Boston.com): Gay rights activists took another hit Monday from a state commission studying same-sex unions, when the panel rejected a proposal that New Hampshire adopt Vermont-style civil unions.

The 8-3 vote against civil unions -- during the panel's final meeting -- was the latest in a series of setbacks dealt to proponents of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. During previous meetings, the panel recommended amending the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The panel also has supported measures urging state lawmakers not to allow gays to marry, not to recognize out-of-state same sex unions and not to set up a domestic partner registry for couples who cannot marry legally.



Rep. Tony Soltani, R-Epsom, commission chairman, predicted disaster if New Hampshire adopted civil unions. "Society has to be prepared to agree to accept something before we shove it down their throat," said Soltani, who last year voted for a gay marriage ban in the Legislature. "If we adopt this it'll be no more than an experiment that we inflict on our children ... I'm not prepared to use the children of this state as guinea pigs."

* 'Ex-gay' can't stay away from his boyz. (Wayne Besen). Hysterical. Wayne catches up with the famously 'ex-gay' Chad Thompson of InQueery, which "presents extensively researched, unbiased information on the nature of homosexuality, ex-gay issues, and the potential that all people have to change from homosexual to heterosexual." He notes that there are no girls in sight. It's all about male bonding over their heterosexuality...

I'm jealous of "ex-gay" leader Chad Thompson. He seems to be getting more action than I am. Or, at least, he finds a way to hang out with cute boys and pose with them for pictures. Maybe if I became an "ex-gay" I could hang out with Chadwick's crowd of sexually frustrated studs. His ministry increasingly looks like a Bel Ami video, except with clothes.

As the Good Book says, love thy neighbor, especially if he is a twink.
* NC Baptists want to boot gay-affirming churches. (NBC17):
"We are holding on to gospel of the Lord and to the teachings of the word of God," said Bill Sanderson, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church, in Wendell, and leader of a conservative faction within the Baptist Convention. "We must set a boundary on issues that say, 'We go this far and no further.'" Sanderson's amendment, which will be voted on when the convention meets next week in Winston-Salem, would tighten the requirements for church membership to the state convention by banning churches that endorse homosexual behavior, ordain openly gay clergy, perform gay marriages or accept openly gay members.
To add to the wingnut factor, Sanderson is also responsible for this unhinged quote about Desperate Housewives, which he sees as a sign that a time of reckoning is upon us:
"If God punished Sodom and Gomorrah as he did in the Scriptures, what's he going to say to America?" he asked. "How's he going to punish one and not the other?"

Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, Renee Thomas, left, and Angela Keathley in their mugshots.

* As Blender Impeach Bush said when she emailed this item, "Just wondering how many of the NC homophobes are going to have a problem with these cheerleaders doing the nasty with each other in a bathroom stall, on top of the lying & violence? Probably won't be an issue...as long as it was all caught on tape!" (AP):
Witnesses said the women were having sex in a stall with each other, angering patrons waiting in line to get into the restroom at the club in the Channelside district. Thomas was charged with battery Sunday after allegedly striking a bar patron when she was leaving the restroom, then landed in even more trouble after police said she gave officers a driver's license belonging to another Panthers cheerleader who was not in Tampa.


Love them Activist Judges!


Remember the whole Terri Schiavo fiasco? Or the spate of gay marriage certificates being issued in New Paltz NY, San Francisco CA, and Portland OR? One thing you couldn't hear enough from the Religious Reich is how it was the nefarious "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench" and "subvert the will of the people" that were to blame. Laws, they reminded us, are to be made by the people through their representatives in the legislature, not determined by interference from a judge.

So it was delicious to see ultra-right-wing gasbag Tom "I Can Tell You're Lying" Coburn (Wingnut-OK) on Meet The Press warn us about that activist judge Scalito that Bush has nominated to the Supreme Court:
RUSSERT: Do you believe Congress has the right to restrict the sale and transfer of machine guns or do you think that Judge Alito is correct that Congress should not be interfering in that?

SEN. TOM COBURN (R-OK): No, I think we probably have the right to do it. But I don't think a judge has the right. That brings us back to the whole point. Those aren’t decisions judges should be making. Those are decisions legislatures should be making. That's how we've gotten off on this track that we allowed judges to start deciding the law, new law, rather than interpret the law that the Congress -- what should have napped this case is this is an area that's up for debate and needs to go back to Congress. And if Congress decides that, then it should be there.

RUSSERT: So Judge Alito was wrong?

COBURN: Sure.

RUSSERT: And he was legislating?

COBURN: Sure.

MR. RUSSERT: So conservative jurists or strict constructionists can also legislate.

SEN. COBURN: Well, I'm not sure that's what he is yet. You've assumed that.
That's not the only juicy bit of wisdom from Tom "There's rampant lesbianism in the schools!" Coburn. Apparently gay people are just a symptom -- not the cause of -- the undermining of the American family unit, except that the gay people are a threat to undermine the family.
MR. RUSSERT: But voicing his opinion, as he did there on gay rights, you recall in the campaign back in Rogers County, when you made comments like this, telling a group of local Republicans that-- "[Coburn] told a meeting of local Republicans that 'the gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power. They are the greatest threat, that agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom we face today.'"

SEN. COBURN: It's a threat to undermine the family. It does undermine the family. And if you look at the structural problems with our country today, what is happening to us at every level as a nation and in our culture? Our families are falling apart. If you look at how we spend money in the federal government, the increasing amounts that we're spending are to attack--attack--the very problems where the family is falling apart.

MR. RUSSERT: Is that because of gays?

SEN. COBURN: No. It's a symptom of it. There's--it's--there's not a cause and effect. But if we look at any problem that we're facing today in our nation, anything that detracts or undermines this very basic unit of culture is going to undermine our entire country.
Hey, all you gays, stop undermining our entire country with your agenda of securing government recognition of your monogamous relationships, just so you can have the same legal rights that protect the children of straight kids.


"We will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." - George W. Bush

President Bush is still in Latin America learning just how popular he is in this hemisphere (hint: more popular than in the other hemisphere, which is like saying Vanilli was the talented one.) At an appearance with the Panamanian president, Bush fielded questions from reporters. I particularly liked this one:
Q: Back in October of 2000, Mr. President --

PRESIDENT BUSH: October of 2000?

Q: Yes, sir. Back in October of 2000, this is what you said --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay. Whew.

Q: "We will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." In the CIA leak case, has your administration lived up to this campaign promise?

PRESIDENT BUSH: In the -- pardon my -- I didn't hear you.

Q: In the CIA leak case, has your administration lived up to this campaign promise?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, Deb, look, I said the other day to the press corps that was assembled in Argentina that there's still an ongoing investigation. We take this investigation very seriously, and we'll continue to cooperate during the investigation.
Well, of course he can't answer the question honestly, because then he'd have to explain why he hasn't fired anyone "involved" with the leak case and how he changed his standard to "anyone convicted of a crime" to save Turd Blossom's butt.

But then, the reporter knew that even before asking the question. She should not have added "In the CIA leak case" to her question, because Rove's already programmed the "we won't talk about an ongoing investigation" response deeply into anyone in the administration who hears the word "leak", to the point that Bush can't tell Rove he's leaving the room to go urinate without reiterating that he's not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. It would have been interesting to hear his response to just "Has your administration lived up to the campaign promise to provide the American people 'not only what is legal, but what is right; not what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves'?"


Perhaps McCain is actually a Real DollTM

Go to Shakes Sis to find out why. A snippet:
I don’t think McCain is the only Real Doll floating around the Beltway. He’s certainly not the only GOP hack willing to get repeatedly fucked while never saying a word.


Brandi Swindell for Boise City Council


Brandi Swindell stands among the symbolic crosses in a faux cemetery in Boise symbolizing abortions in America.
Even though I've moved away, I still like to keep tabs on what's happening in my hometown of Boise, Idaho. Turns out that while I've been away, my favorite rising star of the American Taliban has settled on beginning a political career.

Brandi Swindell is running for City Council in Boise, Idaho. (Hat-tip to my anti-blogger, Adam's Web).

Who's Brandi Swindell? Well, the name caught my eye because it's the same surname as one of my high school friends (they're cousins, it turns out). Brandi has made a name for herself as the new face of young, pro-life, conservative womanhood, appearing in the "New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Brandi has also appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC Network newscasts and the 700 Club.", according to her website, www.BrandiSwindell.org. (Not to be confused with www.BrandiSwindell.com, a parody site created by House Blender Wayne.) What motivates Brandi's politics (emphasis mine)?
Why is Brandi Running?

If Brandi has the honor of serving the citizens of Boise she will work diligently toward:
  • Promoting economic growth without sacrificing quality of life.
  • Ensuring the voice of the people is heard on the City Council especially with issues such as annexation and voting on the public display of the Ten Commandments.
  • A strong commitment toward protecting the natural and scenic beauty of Boise.
  • Limited government and taxation.
  • Networking with Boise's faith communities to build strong, healthy, safe and caring neighborhoods.
  • Working to protect our shared community values with efforts that would include no taxpayer funds for organizations that promote and provide abortions.
There is more than enough ammunition against Brandi in her politics for anyone who wants to assail her candidacy. She was one of the many babbling Biblical literalists who showed up in Florida this last March to protest the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube:
"A woman is being starved to death, and I have to do something," said Brandi Swindell, 28, from Boise, Idaho. "There are just certain things that you have to do, that you have to try."

And as she protested at Michael Schiavo's house: "I really feel that Michael Schiavo is turning his back on his wife," said protestor Brandi Swindell. "Men, and specifically husbands, are called to be providers and protectors of the women that are important in their life, and especially their wives. And so we [view] this as the ultimate form of domestic abuse."
Brandi landed in Florida because she is the co-founder of Generation Life, a pro-life movement dedicated to inculcating the youngsters in anti-abortion and abstinence-only education.
Generation Life is a dynamic movement of young people who are building a culture of life by spreading the intertwined pro-life and chastity messages to their peers.

This movement consists of virgins and renewed virgins who are challenging and empowering other middle school students, high school students, college students, and young adults to be effective defenders of the sanctity of human sexuality and human life.

This movement is for youth, for life, for leaders... this movement is for you!
Brandi made headlines in 2002 when she labored to force the Red Cross to stop distributing condoms to the world's athletes at the Olympic village in Salt Lake City.
"I thought it was absolutely appalling that the Salt Lake Organizing committee, in the name of public safety, would push condoms on the athletes," said 25-year-old Brandi Swindell, leader of Generation Life, a Boise, Idaho-based pro-life group.

"We all know that condoms are not safe. We have had the safe sex campaign for the past 25 years and what is the result?" she asked. "This is very, very serious; the International Olympic Committee is playing Russian roulette with people's lives," Swindell noted.

"Recreational sex is not an Olympic sport," Swindell said emphatically. "We just think these athletes have a once in a lifetime chance to showcase their talents. There is no reason that the IOC needs to go out and get condoms for them. The Olympics are not some type of frat party with condoms being passed around."

Regarding the 12,000 condoms donated by Cardinal Health, committee spokeswoman Vania Grandi said the condoms will be available for free inside clinics at the 10 competition sites and the athletes' village, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We're not distributing them,'' she said. "They're available like aspirin, Tylenol and bandages. It's good public health policy."
And as a member of the Keep The Commandments Coalition, Brandi has been very visible in a Boise case where a longstanding Ten Commandments monument was removed by the City Council from a public park.
Brandi Swindell, director of the Keep the Commandments Coalition of Idaho, said Boise should immediately restore the monument to the city's Julia Davis Park because, in her view, it is now clearly constitutional.

But Mayor David Bieter said in a telephone interview that it would be safer to leave the monument on private property, in front of the Episcopal church where it has rested for the past year.

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

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

Bieter said the City Council decided to move the monument so that it could reject Phelps's application without risking a costly lawsuit. Eliot Mincberg, chief counsel for People for the American Way, which opposed the Ten Commandments displays in Texas and Kentucky, said he did not believe that the Supreme Court's decisions would support Phelps's argument.

Brandi Swindell, co-chair of Boise's Keep the Commandments Coalition, said the proximity of other monuments in Julia Davis Park -- the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Idaho Black History Museum -- would make a Ten Commandments monument there protected.
Of course, it all depends on what the definition of "proximity" is, considering that the locations she's speaking of are at least 1000' apart from each other. (See for yourself)

In addition to her sterling American Taliban credentials, Brandi brings her 28 years of existence and a fine public education as a Meridian (Idaho) High School graduate to the table, which makes her more than qualified to decide complex issues of municipal governance for a city of over 200,000, the largest city and capital of Idaho. But it seems that her opponent, Maryanne Jordan, has a problem with Brandi's candidacy.
(The Idaho Statesman) Brandi Swindell, the up-and-coming leader on the national pro-life scene who gained prominence in Boise for her recent battles over the city's Ten Commandments monument, filed Thursday to run for Boise City Council.

Swindell, 28, will run against Council President Maryanne Jordan, she said, because Jordan voted to remove the monument from Julia Davis Park. But Swindell also said she is interested in a variety of city issues beyond the Ten Commandments.

"This is not a referendum about the Ten Commandments," said Swindell, who was one of 13 protesters arrested when the monument was removed and placed at a church in downtown Boise.

"It's interesting that a person who doesn't have time to do community service would have the time to run or serve on the City Council," Jordan said after hearing of Swindell's announcement.

Swindell, convicted of obstructing and delaying a police officer during the March 2004 monument-removal protest, recently asked a judge to change her sentence from 25 hours of community service to a $100 fine "due to the extraordinary hardship that community service would place on (Swindell's) ability to actively pursue her life's work," according to her lawyer. The judge has not decided whether to amend her sentence, she said.
So what does that mean, Brandi's time performing service to her community as ordered by a judge in a court of law is only worth $4 an hour? I wonder if she'd ever take a job that pays $4 an hour? Or does that mean that only heathens not called to do the Lord's work are the only ones who should have to serve their sentences for breaking the law?

But Brandi, she's a fine girl, what a good GOP candidate she will be:
(The Idaho Statesman) Parting with a long tradition, the Idaho Republican Party is formally involved in a nonpartisan election, backing 28-year-old religious activist Brandi Swindell over Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan.

The state GOP is supplying meeting space and soliciting volunteers for Swindell, a foe of abortion and the relocation of the Ten Commandments monument from Julia Davis Park to St. Michael's Cathedral.

The GOP foray into non-partisan politics could make the telegenic Swindell — who's been arrested five times for civil disobedience — into a star with prospects for higher office.

City elections are nonpartisan for a reason: land use, planning, parks and public safety call for common-sense problem solving, not ideology. That's why thoughtful Republicans are uncomfortable with the GOP role in Swindell's race.

Councilman Vern Bisterfeldt, a life-long Republican, declined comment on the state party's tactics but said he's supporting Jordan.

Councilman Jerome Mapp and his challenger, Jim Tibbs, both independents, said they would reject partisan aid because injecting party politics into city business would compromise their job performance.
There is so much to oppose about Brandi -- her infusion of her personal religion into politics, her stance against women's right to choose, her ridiculous notion of protecting youth from sexual risk with "just say no" platitudes, her position against embryonic stem cell research, her lack of experience, her lack of college education, her support of meddling with private family matters in the Schiavo case -- that there was no need for Statesman colunist Dan Popkey to inject Brandi's model-hot looks into the discussion.
Swindell graduated from Meridian High School but has no college degree. Image is everything. Good looks got her TV time on O'Reilly; she made headlines protesting condom handouts at the Salt Lake Olympics; her rap sheet includes protests over abortion, the Ten Commandments and stem-cell research.

For all the help she's getting, Swindell is highlighting her shortcoming, inexperience. Take a look at her glamour shots on her Web site. Or read her blog on her "AMAZING!!" discussions on how to "fix the roads" — a job, I suspect, she doesn't know belongs to the highway district not the city. Swindell looks like she's auditioning for "America's Next Hot Model," not a seat on a council that stays up past midnight deciding dicey land-use disputes.

Swindell (real first name Melissa) isn't grown up enough for this job. If voters want to revive RiverFest and make Brandi Permanent Princess, she's your gal. If they want a seasoned hand for the gruelling job of running a city, Jordan's the pick.
There was some grumbling in Boise about the sexism in Popkey's article. One reader said "As a woman, I agree with every word Dan Popkey wrote about Brandi Swindell. If she chooses to get into the political fray, she will have to get tougher. A secure, mature woman would not be whining about comments regarding her looks." Another reader agreed, writing, "I suggest if Swindell wants to be taken seriously as a public servant, she ditch the heavy makeup, fake tan and tight jeans." Another said, "Obviously she is trading on the fact that she is cute, because she has no other qualifications."

Yet some disagreed, including one person writing, "His article conveyed the prejudiced message that if a woman is attractive she must be stupid and incompetent." Still, even though he attacked her looks, the case he made was that she was inexperienced and unqualified AND trading on her looks, as expressed by a reader who wrote, "It is unfair to judge Brandi Swindell based on her looks. However, it is fair to be disqualified on the mere fact she has no experience or any apparent urge in to serve the whole city of Boise -- including, for example, those who don't go to her church, those who have partners of the same gender, and those (deep breath) who have had abortions -- and don't feel bad about it."

Brandi's campaign demanded an apology and Popkey was forced to issue that apology later for his sexist remarks.
My apologies to Brandi Swindell and readers who perceived my Oct. 16 column as sexist. I overdid it. Unlike Swindell, I'm not new at this; I should have known better. I also regret that for some readers my making fun of Swindell's inexperience obscured the larger question: Why was the Idaho Republican Party taking the unprecedented step of letting her run a non-partisan campaign for City Council out of the state party office? Republican Chairman Kirk Sullivan got my point. Last week, he severed the ties between the state party and the Swindell campaign. That was the principal issue, not Swindell's image.
Jordan questions the out-of-state nature of Swindell's fundraising, noting that for a supposedly non-partisan race for a position that would focus narrowly on the problems of one mid-sized city in Idaho, she is sure getting a lot of money from national pro-life groups.
(The Idaho Statesman) Swindell said that was expected because of her role as national director for the pro-life group Generation Life and her state lobbying efforts. She got $4,500 of her total $12,555 from out of state and an additional $3,496 from Idaho groups and individuals outside Boise. She also said future fund-raising reports would show a greater percentage of Boise donations.

"That's not shocking," she said. "I'm a national leader. I'm grateful for the support."

But her opponent, incumbent Councilwoman Maryanne Jordan, had a different take.

"It is an insult to this community that out-of-state special-interest groups are using our City Council race to advance their own agendas," said Jordan, who has received $500 from outside Idaho and $700 from outside Boise. Jordan has raised a total of $14,100.

Swindell received $1,000 from the Pro-Life PAC for Southeastern Pennsylvania.

PAC Director Mike McMonagle said that his group knows Swindell from her Generation Life work and that it wants to support her because she is an up-and-comer in the national pro-life movement.

"To put it in baseball terms, it's like developing a farm system," said McMonagle.

"It's a stepping stone for bigger things."
I'm sure the people of Boise will be happy to know that their city council is considered just part of a pro-life farm system that is a stepping stone to bigger things than managing the problems of the state's capital city.

The election is tomorrow. I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

Previous entries on Brandi Swindell:
Congress Announces Deal in Schiavo Case
SCOTUS Ten Commandments decision brings Boise into the spotlight
www.BrandiSwindell.com


Lunch fun: 'Who Said That!?'

Hop over to PageOneQ for some lunch break fun -- "Who Said That!?", a game where you try to match the quote with the famous person who said it. Here's a look at one question...


Little Ricky's shares family values with Daddy Dobson


Graphic: Mike Tidmus.

Wanted to give you all a heads up if you want to catch Pennsylvania's expert on family matters on Daddy Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program today...
Story time with your children is not only fun, but can provide an opportunity to shape their moral imagination. Karen Santorum, along with her husband Senator Rick Santorum, talks with Dr. James Dobson about building moral character in kids.
Hat tip, Jennifer of Intous.

***

Speaking of Daddy Dobson, a wingnut chain mail is floating about, and Blender Paula wanted to spread the unhinged word. I'm not posting the whole missive here, which includes hundreds of petition signers, almost all Red-staters (here's the whole thing). It's sad. I don't know what the flip these people are talking about. Someone clue me in.
Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 11:04 AM
Subject: Christian Rights
Subject: Dr James Dobson
Importance: High

Please, if you don't wish to participate, please return this to the person who sent it to you so they can at least keep this going or forward it to some one you think will wish to participate. Dr. Dobson is going on CNBC to urge every Christian to get involved.

I hope you will think about signing this and forwarding to all your family and friends. Dr. James Dobson, with Focus on the Family, pleads for our action. An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, DC. Their petition, Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America. They got 287,000 signatures to back their stand!

If this attempt is successful, all Sunday worship services being broadcast on the radio or by television will be stopped. This group is also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs and Christmas carols from public schools! You as a Christian can help!

We are praying for at least 1 million signatures. This would defeat their effort and show that there are many Christians alive, well and concerned about our country. As Christians, we must unite on this.

Please don't take this lightly. We ignored one lady once and lost prayer in our schools and in offices across the nation. Please stand up for your religious freedom and let your voice be heard.

Together we can make a difference in our country while creating an opportunity for the lost to know the Lord.


Chimperor: 'We Do Not Torture'



That's news to me. (AP):
President Bush vigorously defended U.S. interrogation practices in the war on terror Monday and lobbied against a congressional drive to outlaw torture.



"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again," Bush said. "So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law."



He declared, "We do not torture."



Over White House opposition, the Senate has passed legislation banning torture. With Vice President Dick Cheney as the point man, the administration is seeking an exemption for the CIA. It was recently disclosed that the spy agency maintains a network of prisons in eastern Europe and Asia, where it holds terrorist suspects.
Meanwhile, of course John McCain is straddling the fence, simultaneously bedding down with Rev. Tinkywinky to appease the AmTaliban, and making the White House angry with a proposal to add a torture ban to all major Senate legislation. (LAT via AZCentral):
Girding for a potential fight with the Bush administration, supporters of a ban on torturing prisoners of war by U.S. interrogators threatened Friday to include the prohibition in nearly every bill the Senate considers until it becomes law.

The no-torture wording, which proponents say is supported by majorities in both houses of Congress, was included last month in the Senate's version of a defense spending bill. The measure's final form is being negotiated with the House, and the White House is pushing for either a rewording or deletion of the torture ban.



...Speaking from the Senate floor, McCain said, "If necessary - and I sincerely hope it is not - I and the co-sponsors of this amendment will seek to add it to every piece of important legislation voted on in the Senate until the will of a substantial bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress prevails. Let no one doubt our determination."


Ready for the Connie and Maury show?



Bringing a Couple's Dinner-Table Repartee to MSNBC. Bleh. I hate to disappoint the decision-makers up there, but this is not going to bring MSNBC out of the ratings toilet.
Connie Chung, not seen regularly on television since CNN canceled her prime-time program in early 2003, will return to cable news in January as the host of a weekly show on MSNBC that the network president hopes will allow her to play Katharine Hepburn to her co-host's Spencer Tracy. [Gagging must be suppressed...]

Her on-screen sparring partner is the man who already has the job off camera: her husband of 20 years, the talk show host Maury Povich.


The 'Brownie' of Iraq military procurement

"Before, I sold water, flowers, shoes, cars — but not weapons. We didn't know anything about weapons."
-- Ziad Cattan, former used-car dealer, handpicked by our government to buy military equipment for iraqi soldiers, and who -- big surprise -- is unqualified and corrupt.
Before Rearming Iraq, He Sold Shoes and Flowers. Is there no end to this? We've got another "Brownie' over in Iraq, wholly unqualified for the job -- and who was given $1.3 billion to burn, courtesy of BushCo. And, as we are all used to by now, no oversight.
Ziad Cattan was a Polish Iraqi used-car dealer with no weapons-dealing experience until U.S. authorities turned him into one of the most powerful men in Iraq last year — the chief of procurement for the Defense Ministry, responsible for equipping the fledgling Iraqi army.

As U.S. advisors looked on, Cattan embarked on a massive spending spree, paying hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds for secret, no-bid contracts, according to interviews with more than a dozen senior American, coalition and Iraqi officials, and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The money flowed, often in bricks of cash, through the hands of middlemen who were friends of Cattan and took a percentage of the proceeds.

Although much of the material purchased has proved useful, U.S. advisors said, the contracts also paid for equipment that was shoddy, overpriced or never delivered. The questionable purchases — including aging Russian helicopters and underpowered Polish transport vehicles — have slowed the development of the Iraqi army and hindered its ability to replace American troops, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

Cattan, now facing corruption charges leveled by the Iraqi Justice Ministry, insists that he is innocent of any wrongdoing and the victim of a smear campaign. In interviews in Poland, where he now lives, Cattan said he had worked under pressure from U.S. and Iraqi officials to arm the Iraqi forces as quickly as possible.
The L.A Times piece by Solomon Moore and T. Christian Miller is an incredible read, barring the nausea it induces from hearing about more about this commode of corruption.

Hat tip, Raw Story.


Leaked - Harriet's memo on ethics classes



Oh this is too funny. Madeleine Kane of MadKane has connections...
A top secret White House source leaked this Harriet Miers memo to me:
From Harriet_Miers@Whitehouse.gov
To: All EOP Staffers
Subject: Ethics classes
Date: November 3, 2005

Dear Staffers To the Smartest Man in the Whole World:

As you've probably heard, we've had a teensy glitch in the classified document leaks department: A certain fellow, who shall remain nameless, has been naughty lately, and the press is all over us.

Now we'd usually just ignore this sort of thing, but our cool Prez's poll numbers are in the pits. So we clearly have to send out a "we care about ethics" message, to get the {scatological expletive deleted} media off our Great Leader's back.



Here's what we're gonna do. I'll be holding ethics classes during the next two weeks, and you all have to come. Boooooooring!!! -- yes, I know. But I promise my class'll be really, really short. And needless to say, there won't be a test. Of course there will a gazillion page questionnaire.

Just kidding! HAHAHA!

As an extra inducement, I'll devote 95% of each session to a talk I like to call "Get The Government To Pay You Tons Of Money For Real Estate With Almost No Money Down." Which is a whole lot more interesting than ethics ... or constitutional law ... if ya know what I mean.

After all, a little birdie tells me many of you will be hiring criminal lawyers real soon ... and those guys are PRICEY!!! So the time to sock some cash away is NOW -- Big Time!

Please check the attached schedule to see which slot you've got, and be there or be square!

PS Here's a sneak preview of next week's briefing: Do not leak this memo!
You can find more MadKane Harriet humor here.


Tom Coburn is an ass, perhaps an insane one

Sunday, November 06, 2005



Senator Tom Coburn believes that he has acquired powers of deduction and perception beyond the general public because of his medical training. How else can you explain this unhinged exchange on Meet the Press (courtesy of Crooks and Liars), about his unique ability and qualifications to tell whether somebody is lying just by observing their body language.
SEN. COBURN on Roberts: I've tried to use my medical skills of observation of body language to ascertain your uncomfortableness and ill at ease with questions and responses. I will tell you that I am very pleased both in my observational capabilities as a physician to know that your answers have been honest and forthright as I watch the rest of your body respond to the stress that you're under.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe as a physician you can tell whether a candidate for the Supreme Court is telling the truth?

SEN. COBURN: Mm-hm, I certainly have.

MR. RUSSERT: Has any--have you ever detected someone lying?

SEN. COBURN: Uh-huh, lots of times.
OMFG. I am really starting to think we need to have psyche workups on some of these freaks on the Hill. It's bad enough that he believes that he has these powers, but he's so deranged that he doesn't mind bleating it on national TV. You folks out there in Oklahoma really picked a winner -- after all, Tom has not only called for outlawing abortion but for the death penalty for doctors who break such a law.

For bonus points on his medical training, the good Senator readily admits having sterilized women without their consent and to doing the same to "lots of" underaged women. Nice.


Male 'Thunder from Down Under' gives North Dakota Taliban the vapors


"With all due respect to the (Jamestown) Ministerial Association, no one is being forced to buy a ticket or see the show. But now people are being forced to not see the show. We're not a bunch of heathens roaming through."
-- Penny Levin, a spokeswoman for the the male exotic dance troupe
The thought of the Australian male dance revue Thunder from Down Under performing at the Jamestown Civic Center was too much for North Dakota's bible-beating Jamestown Ministerial Association to bear. (AP):
An official with Australia's "Thunder from Down Under" male revue called cancellation of a scheduled North Dakota performance following protests from religious leaders a shocking form of censorship.

...The mayor and two city council members voted late Thursday to terminate the contract, after the Ministerial Association presented a petition protesting what pastors called a strip show.

Earlier, a Jamestown Civic Center sponsor sent an e-mail to the city administrator questioning having its logo associated with "pornography."



Rev. Randy Jaspers, of Temple Baptist Church, called the show "the absolute wrong thing for Jamestown to bring in." Lori Anderson, Civic Center manager, acknowledged dancers were "going to shed some clothes." But she said she was surprised by the reaction.
A council member noted that the Ministerial Association moralizers didn't have a problem with an Ultimate Fighting show with "guys trying to beat each other's brains out."

Thanks to Blender David, who passed this one along, and wryly noted: "Personally, I think being banned in Jamestown, ND is a blessing for Thunder Down Under. They should consider seeking an agent who can get them better gigs."


Why aren't bible-beating Texans voting to ban divorce or re-marriage?

House Blender Curtis pointed me to a great essay by Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory on a logical argument regarding the pious folks in Texas that plan to vote to protect marriage from gays and lesbians next week, but haven't taken up any measures to ban (or make difficult) divorce or re-marriage.

These Good ChristiansTM are trying to save the family and promote values, right? The marriage preservationists are a bunch of hypocrites. Who knew?
This Tuesday, Texas will be the latest state to hold (and almost certainly approve) a referendum to incorporate into its State Constitution a ban on same-sex marriages. When Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the bill to create the referendum, he did so at a Christian evangelical school alongside what he called his pro-family "Christian friends." When asked last week why he supports the ban, he replied, simply enough: "I am a Christian and this is about values."

But if Christian values, along with a desire to promote a pro-family agenda, are the motivations behind the gay marriage ban, one would expect that these same advocates would be advocating a ban on divorce and re-marriage as well, institutions at least as un-Christian as same-sex marriages. And yet, while 15 states have now approved referendums enacting gay marriage bans into their state constitutions, none of them has voted to ban divorce and re-marriages, or even to make them more restrictive.

Texas has one of the most permissive divorce laws in the nation. "Second and third marriages" -- concepts as foreign to Christianity as are same-sex marriages -- are not just common, but also accepted, both socially and under the law.

How can Christians possibly allow – and, worse, enthusiastically participate in – the continuation of permissive divorce laws which plainly violate Christian beliefs?
Greenwald notes that you can throw this back in the faces of the bible-beaters of the Red States, many of which have no-fault divorce on the books.
Texas law allows "No Fault Divorces" -- about the most un-Christian law possible. Under that law, to obtain a divorce, one need merely be able to demonstrate one of two very permissive grounds:
No-Fault Divorce Grounds: (1) the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation; or this no-fault ground (2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for 3 years.
That’s all there is to it. If you are a Texas citizen who wants to violate the marital vows you made before God by tearing apart your marital union -- a union which, according to Christian doctrine, God has mandated be permanent and indissoluble -- all you have to do is claim that you have irreconcilable differences with your spouse, or live apart for three years, and the divorce is yours.
Well, it looks like the folks in the pews are having a hard time keeping that sacred bond intact. With about 100,000 divorces in the Lone Star State every year, (71 percent higher than Massachusetts), there's not a lot of ChristianTM marital commitment there. And how does the divorce rate compare with the rest of the country? (Boston Globe):
George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.

The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people."

The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Nuff said.


McCain slips between the sheets with Falwell



Boy, that didn't take long. Since the Bush waterboy launched his Straight Talk America site to gear up for 2008, it was only a matter of time before he started bed hopping with the AmTaliban to lock up that vote. Rev. Tinkywinky's at the head of the line.

The religious extremists in his party questioned his credentials the last time around, and sat back smirking while the Chimp campaign destroyed him (and his family) in SC. He isn't about to make that mistake again. What a shameless tool. (USNews.com):
Sen. John McCain is taking action to make it hard for conservatives to write him off in the 2008 presidential race. His office confirms that the maverick moderate recently met with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a conservative icon who is influential with voters on the right. Also, as McCain prepares a campaign-style trip to South Carolina, critical in the 2008 GOP primaries, a key ally is putting himself in the good graces of conservatives. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is winning kudos from conservatives for backing Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, raising his stature in the state and maybe even making his 2008 endorsement the key to victory. And should McCain win the state that derailed his 2000 bid, Graham would vault to the top of the veep list, say insiders.
Actually, McCain starting shifting over to the dark side of his party a while ago, shilling for a marriage amendment in Arizona...


McCain and Protect Marriage Arizona chair Lynn Stanley smile with glee in support of the petitions in support of the gay-bashing amendment.
To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage. -- language of AZ's amendment

"I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for the union of one man and one woman, said Sen. McCain. The Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state. I wholeheartedly support the Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment and I hope that the voters in Arizona choose to support it as well."
-- John McCain
Lynn Stanley of Protect Marriage Arizona just about had an orgasm over his support.
I met with Sen. John McCain at his Phoenix office today along with several members of the Protect Marriage Arizona coalition to receive his endorsement of the amendment. At the meeting Sen. McCain presented a petition to PMA chair Lynn Stanley with his signature and the signatures of others. Sen. McCain then signed the back of the petition as a petition circulator. He also issued a strong statement of support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman and urged Arizonans to support PMA in a press release issued this afternoon by PMA. While we and other conservatives have had some public differences with Sen. McCain in recent years, we are thrilled to have his endorsement for the state marriage amendment.
Between this nonsense and his endorsement of intelligent design, he's well on his way toward satisfying his new masters.

***



I particularly love the bit about Lindsey Graham in that piece. What a pairing he would make with McCain. I can't wait to repeatedly bring items like this up about the Senator from South Carolina -- from a Blend post in March...
The senator from SC is still sore over Lincoln freeing the slaves. (Raw Story):
“We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina,” Senator Graham told a Lincoln Day gathering in Tennessee Saturday. “It’s nothing personal, but it takes awhile to get over things.”


Biden: Alito Filibuster Seems Unlikely



Sounds like the Dems will fold again. Either Alito was smooth as silk in those face-to-face meetings, allaying fears that he's a wild-eyed rightwinger (despite a scary paper trail), or we're seeing balls-free default Dem mode, afraid to use the fiilibuster and thus triggering the nuclear option.
A Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday he believes Samuel Alito will get an up-or-down vote on his Supreme Court bid. "We should commit," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., minimizing prospects of a Senate filibuster that would prevent final action on President Bush's choice to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "I think the probability is that will happen," Biden said on ABC's "This Week."

...Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., another Judiciary Committee member, said he was not hearing his Democratic colleagues discussing the filibuster option. Kennedy said he had an open mind about Alito's nomination, although he was concerned about the judge's rulings on privacy rights and rights of the disabled.
People, the AmTaliban and fringe Right love Alito; they've been salivating for this kind of nomination for years. To have influential Dems take the wind out of the sails of the idea of a filibuster is strategically and outrageously stupid.


Get out the tiny violin for Rove



This lead graph in Time's article, "A White House Without Rove?", really makes you want to shed a tear...NOT.
He's weary. his wife and only child, who is approaching college, miss him. He has monstrous legal bills. His unique bond with the President is under stress. His most important work is done.
Yeah, his work is done, alright. He's helped his [insert substance here]-addled President do more damage to this country's standing in the world community and create economic chaos domestically than any political svengali in memory. He's one of a kind, and the faster he's out of the White House, the better-- though seeing him in a perp walk and mug shot will be more satisfying (along with a spilling of the beans in a trial). I don't know if we'll see either.

With Turdblossom distracted lately, we're seeing a preview of how the White House will function without Karl's golden touch, and it ain't pretty. But it looks like the trial balloon is floating out there about Karl's departure, because they know the questions about him will never end

Everyone knows he's the brain behind all of this (along with Cheney), and it's clear now that Rove may not get get a chance to bone up for all those ethics refresher classes Harriet Miers will be serving up for the Bushies...
Karl Rove's colleagues don't know exactly when it will happen, but they are already laying out the reasons they will give for the departure of the man President George W. Bush dubbed the architect. A Roveless Bush seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. But that has changed as the President's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff remains embroiled in the CIA leak scandal.

Despite Rove's flashes of ebullience in recent days and the insistence of friends that he is out of legal jeopardy, several of the most important lawyers who deal with special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said they saw more clues last week that Fitzgerald is continuing to look into the possibility of charging Rove with lying to investigators or the grand jury or both. If that happens, Rove almost certainly would resign immediately, as did I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, when Libby was indicted two weeks ago.


Dimmed lights on Broadway for 'Bushita'



It's actually a really dim bulb on the Great White Way, and it's the Chimperor aping Evita, courtesy of Mike Tidmus:
More trouble for the international touring company of the hit musical, Bushita, as throngs of angry Argentine theatre goers pelted the cast with rotten tomatoes, petrol bombs and colorful language during the musical’s South American debut in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The award-winning musical comedy, a collaboration of US State Department lyricist, Condi Rice, and noted Port Arthur, Texas composer Floyd ‘The Barber’ Webber, spins the dazzling tale of the rise to absolute power of North American military dictator Augusto José Ramón Walker Bush (affectionately known as Bushita) as viewed through the frequently-glazed eyes of his adoring wife Lara.

While the roles of Augusto and Lara were to have been played by Robbie Williams and Britney Spears, due to prior contractual obligations, funny man G. ‘Dubbie’ Bush and his real-life wife Laura (previously reviewed here) were flown in from beautiful Branson, Missouri at the last minute, adding to the annoyance of Argentine audiences.
Head over to Mike's pad to see how the plot unfolds.


The Governator blocks Beatty from campaign rally


Actors Warren Beatty, right, and Annette Bening, center, lead a get-out-the vote effort in San Diego, Saturday, as they begin a bus tour that will follow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign bus to protest his reform propositions that will go to the polls on November 8, 2005. Reuters photo by Mike Blake.

Boy, this got ugly. What egos...oh, wait, they're actors. (SFGate):
The state's special election verged on a celebrity showdown Saturday when Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening attempted to crash a campaign appearance by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Hollywood couple strode side by side to the entrance of a cavernous airport hangar where the governor was about to address several hundred supporters. But they were blocked by a Schwarzenegger campaign aide, Darrel Ng, who told the "Bulworth" star he was not on the guest list and didn't have the appropriate wristband to get inside.

"You have to have a wristband to listen to the governor?" Bening asked. "He represents all of us, right?"

Beatty's appearance caused momentary confusion at the rally. Just before the governor took the stage, the hangar door was closed — literally in the face of Beatty and Bening. It was later reopened as Schwarzenegger began to speak.


A pathetic dozen Klan members show at Texas marriage amendment rally

Saturday, November 05, 2005


A protester holds up a placard during a rally on the steps of City Hall in Austin, Texas November 5, 2005. The rally was held to oppose 12 Ku Klux Klan members who were urging people to vote for a ban in gay marriages in the November 8 election. REUTERS/Peter A Silva

Most of the stories I've posted here about upcoming hate rallies end up with stories afterward saying only a handful of bed linen-wearing losers show. All bluster, no follow through. Today in Austin, more of the same. (Austin American Statesman):
A showdown over a proposed state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage pitted a small Ku Klux Klan group Saturday against a massive rally by opponents.

Only about a dozen members of the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan appeared at Austin City Hall for the group's "pro-family values" rally. None wore the traditional hoods or robes of the white supremacist group. Some displayed Confederate flag symbols...At issue was Proposition 2, a proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday's election ballot stating that marriage in Texas is only between a man and a woman.

"We're asking Texans to support Proposition 2 because God supports it, not because the KKK supports it," said Steven Edwards, the grand dragon of the Klan group.

...An estimated 3,000 protesters showed up during the Klan event, said Austin Police Department spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz. Two people were arrested. One was carrying a club and causing a disturbance, and another was arrested on outstanding warrants, Chovanetz said.

Some social conservatives who are actively supporting Proposition 2 made it clear they weren't associated with the Klan event. [Were there some that didn't mind? That says a lot.]

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying it "hopes all Texans will understand the significance of an organization with a history of hatred and bigotry supporting a discriminatory amendment."
It's too bad -- this amendment is probably going to pass with ease anyway, enshrining discrimination into yet another state constitution, despite hard work and a lot of extremely vocal opposition.

Turnout is expected to be low - in 2003, only 12.5% of registered voters cast a ballot on a state amendment. It's sick that this small sliver of the population of the Lone Star State is going to decide the fate of civil marriage equality for Texas gays and lesbians.


Entertainment from The Rotting CryptkeeperTM

Fred Phelps is still mad at the soldiers in Iraq...and fags.





Bonus event for all you Hoosiers (Shakes Sis, any comment?) - Fred's hate machine's coming to picket a state senator tomorrow:
WBC to picket the Indiana necromancer (worships the dead) - State Sen. Brent Steele - at his favorite sodomite whorehouse masquerading as Dive Christian Church* - 10 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, 892 Peerless Rd., Bedford, Indiana - in religious protest & warning: "God is not mocked!" God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Steele, Dive, Indiana, America and the Military.


The Homometer



Worthy adversary North Dallas Thirty has some ideas on how to market such a device...
Its high sensitivity to homosexual fumes and radiation help keep my family safe from random or long-term exposure. It's so easy to use -- just turn it on and read the Homeland Security GLBT Threat Warning color code on the right. In just seconds you'll know whether you're living in Zion....or in Sodom and Gomorrah. And now, it even comes in a monogrammed version, with everyone's favorite verses from Leviticus engraved on its durable Lucite case, made with only the finest blessed virgin plastic.
Surf over for his idea for a commercial.

Also check out The Brad Blog for links to the original Daily Show video.


Domestic terrorist/former Klansman going to the big house for 14



These bigot bottom-feeders need to get a f*cking life. I'm sure that he will make plenty of friends on the inside... (The Chattanoogan):
A member of the North Georgia White Knights has been sentenced to 170 months for constructing pipe bombs and selling them to an undercover agent, intending that the bombs were to be used to destroy buses carrying migrant workers.

Daniel James Schertz, 27, was sentenced by Judge Curtis Collier.

Schertz had previously pleaded guilty to six felony counts including building and possessing destructive devices, transferring those destructive devices, teaching another person how to build destructive devices, possession of a firearm while subject to domestic violence restraining order and transferring explosive materials intending that they would be used to commit a crime of violence.

At the time of his guilty plea, Schertz admitted that he encountered an undercover informant while working security for the North Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at a Klan rally in Dunlap. Authorities said he instructed the informant along with undercover agents on how to build pipe bombs and how to place them on vehicles in such a way as to cause the most destruction. Schertz further admitted that he believed and intended that the pipe bombs he constructed were to be detonated on a bus carrying Mexican workers traveling to work in Florida.


A very special book for daughters

I thought you might want to take a gander at one of the latest offerings through WingNutDaily's web store. I did a double-take because I wasn't sure if it was a new book, or something reprinted from an earlier time -- much earlier...



Information on this timely tome:
More than a fill-in-the-blank Bible study, "Raising Maidens of Virtue: A Study of Feminine Loveliness for Mothers and Daughters" is an engaging tool for mothers to use in training daughters who are approaching womanhood to think biblically.

Through stories, allegories, illustrations, and memory-making projects, "Raising Maidens of Virtue" covers topics such as guarding the tongue, idleness, sibling relationships, honoring parents, contentment, modesty, purity, cleanliness, and feminine biblical beauty.

Godly women are not born, but raised. Stacy McDonald has in this work equipped parents to be about the business of raising up rubies, or rather, that which is more precious still, our daughters.

She is a faithful guide, for she is a godly example.
~ Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr., Pastor, Director of the Highlands Study Center, and most importantly, homeschooling father of six

In the face of our culture’s shameless enticement of young women to view their identity and worth only in terms of their sexuality, Stacy McDonald passionately challenges mothers and daughters together to return to a pure and gracious femininity for the God who made us uniquely for His glory.
~Tracy Klicka, wife of Sr. Counsel for HSLDA, Chris Klicka

We need young women who cherish their purity and desire to honor their parents through chaste behavior, speech, and dress. We need girls of character who cultivate their minds and emotions to reflect God’s design with joy, intelligence, and delight.
~ From the Foreword by Jennie Chancey
I'm sorry, but I didn't notice whether you receive a free chastity belt or abstinence Jeebus ring with your shipment.


A Jesus ring to help you say "I don't," before you say "I do". From Hall Jewelers.


Bush to send staff to remedial ethics classes?!

Is this f*cking serious? I want to know if Turdblossom is attending, or dark lord Cheney.

The flailing out of this White House, so desperate for some positive PR, has resulted in the dunce pulling an unimaginable (and unimaginative) move like this out of his ass. By the way, the classes will be conducted out of Harriet Miers's office. You can't make this sh*t up.

I guess with polls showing 60% or more disapproval, this is what they call a plan of action to turn those numbers around. OK, you can stop laughing now. (WaPo):

REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Bush has ordered White House staff to attend mandatory briefings beginning next week on ethical behavior and the handling of classified material after the indictment last week of a senior administration official in the CIA leak probe.

According to a memo sent to aides yesterday, Bush expects all White House staff to adhere to the "spirit as well as the letter" of all ethics laws and rules. As a result, "the White House counsel's office will conduct a series of presentations next week that will provide refresher lectures on general ethics rules, including the rules of governing the protection of classified information," according to the memo, a copy of which was provided to The Washington Post by a senior White House aide.

...The meetings come as Bush faces increasing pressure from Democrats to revoke a security clearance for Rove as punishment for Rove's role in unmasking to reporters a CIA operative whose husband was critical of the White House's prewar assessment of Iraq's weapons capabilities.
The first order of business in Harriet's class should be about lying and obfuscation.

Question of the day:
What suggestions do you have for Bush ethics class topics?


More anti-Sam


Brownback has stated that he will not hire openly gay people for his staff. He's thinking about a presidential run in 2008.

Eva at Lloydletta tipped me off to another anti-Sam Brownback web site, Anybody but Brownback. You'll recall that the homo-bigot Senator from Kansas is pushing the latest iteration of the Federal Marriage Amendment, now known as the Marriage Protection Amendment.

Additional fun fact: Brownback has sponsored, on the Senate side, the Houses of Worship Freedom of Speech Restoration Act, introduced in the House by Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina.



That legislation would allow preachers to make political endorsements without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Don't forget to surf over to the other Brownback truth telling site, The Anti-Sam Blog.


Killer 'fro: unretouched scan of Sam's Kansas State University 1977 yearbook

Sen. Sam Brownback
303 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-6521





50 Cent doesn't like the homos; bigoted reggae artists to play RI

Big surprise there, but can you believe this ignorant 2-cent sh*t, packed into such a short statement? (via PageOneQ):
The rap superstar has nothing against gay men, but he can't foresee a time when a homosexual hip-hop star will make it big.

He says, "Being gay isn't cool - it's not what the music is based on. There's always been conflict at the centre of hip-hop, because it's all about which guy has the competitive edge, and you can't be that aggressive if you're gay. "If being straight isn't your preference, well, that's up to you. But there's no successful men in hip-hop.

"I mean, some rappers are fruity, but they don't say they're gay out in the open."
I wonder how he and Kanye West get along, since the latter has come out against hip-hop homophobia.

***

Over to homophobia-laced reggae "artists." Two that have advocated for the killing of gays and lesbians are slated to play Rhode Island. (365gay.com):
Two Jamaican dancehall performers who advocate killing gays are scheduled to perform at a Providence nightclub this month.

Beenie Man will perform at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel on Monday and Buju Banton will appear at the club on Nov. 21. Civil rights group Voices Against Hate has issued a call for a boycott of the venue after its owners refused to cancel the concerts.

"[They] really ought to think about what they're trying to achieve. I think it's sincere, but I don't think that it's right," club owner Rich Lupo told the Providence Journal.

...A performance by Beenie Man at a second club, the Ocean Mist, in Matunuck, was cancelled after its owner was made aware of the singer's lyrics

.Beenie Man, whose real name is Anthony Davis, is on a tour of US cities. His hit tune, Bad Man Chi Chi Man (Bad Man, Queer Man), instructs listeners to kill gays: "If yuh nuh chi chi (queer) man wave yuh right hand and (NO!!!)/If yuh nuh lesbian wave yuh right hand and (NO!!!)Some bwoy will go a jail fi kill man tun bad man chi chi man!!!./Tell mi, sumfest it should a be a showdown/Yuh seem to run off a stage like a clown (Kill Dem DJ!!!)".

Buju Banton's number one hit ‘Boom Bye Bye’ urges listeners to shoot gay men in the head, pour acid over them and burn them alive.


Florida principal yanks student op-ed because it's about homosexuality

Friday, November 04, 2005

"Homosexuals do not choose to be the way they are. It is a biological stimulation of the brain. ... Some individuals think that they, with their extreme religious beliefs, can turn homosexuals to a heterosexual status. Those people, along with other homophobes in our country, set up counseling groups for homosexuals to try to change them."
-- from an opinion piece by Ridgeview High School senior Katie Thompson, which scared the bejesus out of the principal.
There is something seriously wrong in Clay County, Florida. In September a sixth-grade teacher, Larry Eger had to leave Pen Elementary School for gay-baiting two boys as discipline, bringing them to the front of the classroom and trying to make them hold hands, sit knee-to-knee and called them gay.

Now we have a homophobic principal that lost her cookies over a student article on being gay. (365gay.com):
Katie Thompson, a 17-year-old senior, wrote the column "Homosexuality is not a Choice," for the Oct. 10 edition of the student newspaper at Ridgeview High School. Ridgeview is located in Clay County, about 12 miles south of Jacksonville.

Thompson, who is bisexual, said her teacher approved the 300-word essay, but Principal Toni McCabe objected and claimed the subject was "too mature for a high school audience."


Principal Toni McCabe needs to get out a little.

Telephone calls Friday to McCabe, Clay County School Superintendent David Owens, school spokeswoman Darlene Mahla, all five School Board members and Thompson's home were not immediately returned. According to an e-mail sent by Mahla to School Board members, the school principal was able to intercept the newspaper, Panther Prints, before it went to students.

..."I didn't understand why - there's no reason to pull this. It wasn't overtly sexual or obscene or racist," she told The Florida Times-Union. The student made copies of the article and began distributing it over lunch. She was again called back to McCabe's office and threatened with suspension
Good for her. Why are these adults acting more like children?


And we can't forget this Clay County brain fart. Lesbian student Kelli Davis only wanted to appear in a tux in her Fleming Island HS yearbook. It was rejected and only after threatening a lawsuit which resulted in a settlement, with the school board agreeing to change its senior portrait policy and add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.


What's Wrong With Libertarianism


If you've followed my posts and the comments in this blog, you may know that I've got a very short temper when it comes to Libertarians. It's the same sort of frustration one experiences when dealing with a spoiled child throwing a tantrum ("Wah! It's MY money! Mine! Mine! I worked hard; I deserve it ALL!"), and it grows worse when the economically-successful ones blame poverty on moral failure and lament the discrimination and hardship they experience as a member of the top 1%.

So I was going to sit here and write an essay on exactly what is wrong with Libertarianism, when lo and behold, I found someone else beat me to it, and did a better job than I could have. It's worth reading the whole piece, but I've also posted a few salient snippets over at Radical Writ.

Finally, I must publicly apologize to the Blend for getting so carried away on this one particular subject within the comments. I realize that my essay-length outbursts may have driven some people away from the forum. It shouldn't be that way, and I promise to behave better in the future. I've just installed new software in my frontal lobe that now allows me to completely ignore libertarians; it's available as freeware and I suggest that everyone else download it, too, from www.ignorethetroll.com.


Damn - pastor sells his church, pockets the dough


KCRA-TV.

Russ, the CVM is just going to explode with pious pastors! Here's another one, this time a greedy bastard in Ripon, CA, selling his church for $525K, buying his girlfriend a BMW and pocketing the rest. Praise Jeebus! (CBS 13)
A for sale sign never went up in front of the First Congregational Church in Ripon. Local police say the pastor peddled it on the sly and was spending the proceeds on big ticket items. It's no doubt an understatement to say church members are shocked.

"It came out of nowhere, we didn't have a clue", says Church Leader David Prater..."We were devastated, we didn't know how to explain it to anyone. People were hurt. People were crying", says Prater.

...Sergeant Ed Ormonde said pastor Randy Radic put the money in a special account and started spending.

"There was approximately $460,000 that was deposited in the account. Then over a period of about two weeks almost half of the money was deposited into other accounts or withdrawn in cash.", says Ormonde.

$102,000 dollars went for a 2006 BMW, which police have seized, along with about $350,000 in cash. Ormonde says the bank account and transactions made bankers suspicious and they contacted church leaders. The 52-year-old Radic faces felony counts of embezzlement and forgery. And the church's small congregation still can't believe it.
I love this line from Radic's bio: "He is a well-prepared pastor who has the rare ability to produce scholarly lessons that are readily understandable by most Christians."

Randy's also an accomplished author, writing "The False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast," and he writes under the pen name "Maximus Confessor." You should check out his spiffy web site.
When doctors give up hope, do you bargain with God for a miracle? Are you afraid to pray too much in case God hears but doesn't answer? Mystic Rhythms by Maximus Confessor proves spiritual healing and prayer can work for you. A powerful and profound new book designed to revolutionize and improve your prayerlife. Order your copy today. $11.95 plus shipping.

Maximus Confessor wants to hear from you. After entering this website, have your prayers become more powerful? Is your prayer life richer and more meaningful? Your donations and prayers are essential to this important ministry.


I. Need. A. Barf. Bag.



Via AmericaBlog, a profile of James Dobson that boggles the mind. I'm almost expecting him to say "I was born a poor black child..."
He was born in Louisiana in 1936, and remembers his hometown as an idyllic slice of heartland America. “There were no drugs in my racially mixed, public high school,” he wrote. “There were no punkers, no skinheads, no neo-Nazis, no freaks, no witches, and no gay or lesbian activists.” The only child of a minister in the Church of the Nazarene, which emphasizes study of the Scripture and opposes alcohol, tobacco, and premarital intercourse, Dobson committed himself to God when he was 3. He was attending Sunday services, and his father invited those who felt like doing so to gather at the front of the church. Dobson toddled down the aisle. “I recall crying and asking Jesus to forgive my sins.”



What are Dobson’s political beliefs?
They’re solidly on the right, sometimes stridently so. He says that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, has unleashed the “biggest holocaust in world history.” He also warns that gay marriage is sending the U.S. “hurtling toward Gomorrah.” Dobson has compared embryonic stem-cell research to Nazi medical experiments, and he complained that the rather fey cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants was indoctrinating kids with the “homosexual agenda.” (Dobson later explained, “All I said was he was part of a video produced by a group with strong linkages to the homosexual community.”)
John's rightfully asking a question about these "idyllic circumstances" Dobson talks about in the Deep South of the 1930s and 40s.

People were still swinging from trees and getting burned out by the Klan, so you really have to wonder if he's got a selective memory.

Also see: Dobson - gay marriage will lead to getting hitched to a donkey


Oregon marriage amendment ruled legal

Breaking: a setback in Oregon. (365gay.com)
An Oregon judge Friday upheld the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Marion County Judge Joseph Guimond ruled that the ballot question put to voters last November did not contain separate issues. Oregon's constitution requires that questions put to voters must not have multiple issues.

In arguments before the court in September (story) Basic Rights Oregon lawyer Mark Johnson told Guimond that the measure makes at least two and maybe four separate amendments to the state constitution that should have been voted on separately.

The Defense of Marriage Coalition, which led the effort to pass the amendment, called the lawsuit "frivolous". It said that if the amendment is overturned it will appeal.

It is expected the case will work its way to the Oregon Supreme Court.


'You are my base'

Colleague jedmunds at Pandagon, and a couple of readers are buzzing about this one (via the most excellent Jame Hamsher at firedoglake).

Michael Scanlon, former aide to Tom DeLay's best buddy Jack Abramoff, doesn't seem to like the folks that butter his and the Chimp's bread. Look at this bit of cheeky wisdom about the fundy "base:"
"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them." The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious "wackos" could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.

...Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.
As the DKos diary on this notes, this is the GOP playbook. As we all knew, the fundies are played for chumps, riling them up about abortion and homos, and using their effective response to direct mail and inflammatory ads to generate an army of wild-eyed get-out-the-vote troops.

You AmTaliban true believers herd nicely -- perfect GOP sheeple. A big air kiss to ya, Dobson, Falwell, Bauer and the rest...


The homo purge from seminaries will be announced today



Vatican document on homos in seminaries comes out today. Papa Ratzi plans to give them the boot.
The Document counts on the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, and reaffirms the Catholic position that homosexuals can not be accepted into seminaries.

In the past months, the Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Archbishop Michael Miller, has been visiting the 220 seminaries in the United States, to verify if the preparation of seminarians is conform to a life of celibacy. The archbishop will publish a document related to theses visits.
As I've said before, What sort of laughable continuum of sexual behavior that is deemed OK versus disqualifying? Can you have homosexual fantasies? Is that OK? How many, how often? Or will we get to the point that men entering the seminary will need to undergo some sort of sexual response testing -- attach electrodes to their genitals, show them pornographic images of men having sexual encounters and boot out any that become aroused?

We learned a little bit more about this last month, in Corriere della Sera, a major Italian newspaper with close ties to the Vatican, which said 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.
Three years? Is this some arbitrary number from the God hotline to Papa Ratzi's ear? Unfortunately, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, who organized an audit of seminaries here to determine the state of homo infiltration, heard something different from above -- he said even homosexuals who have been celibate for 10 or more years should not be admitted to seminaries.

All I can say is that this puts the Keystone Kops in the Catholic Church on the final spiral down to irrelevancy. What a PR nightmare.

Also see: Is the Catholic church ready to purge the homos?


The Chimperor hits 60% disapproval


Reuters.

Bush is the captain of the Titanic and it's going down fast. Geez, if I were Karl Rove or Scott McClellan, whose heads are being shopped around as bait, I'd be ratting out and jumping off, swimming to a lifeboat -- no need to hang out and go down with this clown. (MyDD):
Yet another barrier broken. Three new approval polls for Bush today, and two of them show him at 60% disapproval or higher. AP-Ipsos pegs Bush at 37-59, ABC-WaPo pegs him at 39-60, and Zogby find him at 39-61.


Maybe he can get away from the bad news by going to the Summit of the Americas. Oops.



The Acting White Myth, again

"Black students that are doing well in the classroom or hang out with white friends or have good grammar, talk properly or don't use slang, they get accused of being white a lot."
-- NC college freshman Erin Burns
Triangle educators debate racial issues at conference. A good article about a local effort that opened the discussion about peer pressure in elements of the black community regarding the negative pressure on kids that academically excel.
Smart black students being accused of "acting too white" is an issue Triangle educators are debating at a youth and race conference this week.

Students say the stigma is keeping some of their peers from doing well in school. Tenth grader Anais Guzman is on the honor roll. She says some of her peers see the achievement as acting too "white". "They can get high grades but they don't want to because they'll be considered as acting white, so they put white people down," Guzman said.

That's the argument some educators say is fueling the achievement gap in North Carolina schools. Smart black students being accused of "acting too white" is one issue they discussed.

"It's a serious issue in North Carolina," said William Darity with the African-American Research Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill. He says while the "acting white" stigma does play a part, student performance has more to do with school structure and curriculum for minorities. "We argue it's due to the school context and because of a pattern of exclusion of vast numbers of black kids from the most challenging curriculum," Darity continued.

But students say the "acting white" theory is a reality. "Some people might say some people are acting white, or acting black or different things like that so I see it often," said tenth garder Vance Cherebin.
And, as I wrote in my first post on this subject, I think one has to look at how many of these kids come from homes where there isn't an emphasis on fostering a love for reading and academics -- and the importance of it for one to succeed in society. That's what my mom did:
By the time I went to kindergarten I was already reading, and my mother always taught us that academics were a priority. I grew up in Durham, NC and I attended Catholic school for K-6 . I had a culture shock when I attended public school for 7th grade (this was in 1975).

I got slammed by the kids for "talking white" and "acting white" because I was doing well in school -- they said so. It was made worse by the fact that I didn't have a southern accent.

The sad truth is, in a school that was at least 75% black, I was pulled over by one of the elderly black teachers one day and she told me that she was so proud of me -- I was the first black student to make the honor roll in that school.

If that isn't a sad reflection of the state of things in the 70s, I cannot imagine what it is like now growing up, with the saturation of anti-intellectualism and materialism foisted upon and soaked up as "culture" by some in the black community.
However, one cannot discount the legacy of racism at the core for this pathology developing in the community. Black kids in middle class homes fall prey to this pressure at school, and there are plenty of kids in crap public schools (and from broken homes) that still manage to achieve. There is no one cause, no one answer.

What truly tires me is that "mainstream intelligencia" and social scientists like Darity think the Acting White phenomenon is no different than the peer pressure to dumb down that occurs in white suburbia. No matter what research and data they pull to bolster the claims that minimizes the Acting White Myth, the anecdotal stories keep emerging about it. Clearly there is something pathological going on in schools, and the high-achieving students are feeling the pressure and perceive it as anti-intellectualism fostered as cool culture, tying a racial identity to it. This is crazy. It's real to them.

Paul Tough, in a NYT article, also wrote that this a myth, citing Darity's research:
The only problem with this theory, according to a research paper released in October, is that for the most part, it isn't true. Karolyn Tyson, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and William Darity Jr., an economist at Duke and U.N.C., coordinated an 18-month ethnographic study at 11 schools in North Carolina. What they found was that black students basically have the same attitudes about achievement as their white counterparts do: they want to succeed, understand that doing well in school has important consequences in later life and feel better about themselves the better they do.

So where does the idea of the burden of ''acting white'' come from? One explanation the authors offer will make sense to anyone who has ever seen a John Hughes movie: there's an ''oppositional peer culture'' in every high school -- the stoners and the jocks making fun of the nerds and the student-government types. When white burnouts give wedgies to white A students, the authors argue, it is seen as inevitable, but when the same dynamic is observed among black students, it is pathologized as a racial neurosis.
You'll note that Darity's position today, in that first story, at least acknowledges that the acting white phenomenon exists, but plays it down.

This isn't a liberal or conservative issue in many respects; it's another one of those topics that neither side knows how to fix, and talking head ends up arguing on the fringes of the problem, pointing fingers about what's to blame instead of acknowledging it's too complex an issue for "black/white" thinking. Instead of minimizing the theory, talk to the students, ask the right questions. Let there be a discussion and an outlet to talk about it, no matter the cause -- the black students that achieve in spite of the odds and pressure need the validation. What they feel is real.

Another perspective, via The Moderate Voice (hat tip Holly): Race, Education, and Society

Thanks to Blender Steve T. at Whole Wheat Blogger for the pointer.


Fox News pays $14K for DeLay appearance

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This price tag did not include lodging or any other expenses. Just travel. Gee, couldn't the fair and balanced news organization just pay to have the indicted bastard on the program via satellite? From PoliticalMoneyLine, via Raw Story:


Rep. Tom DeLay filed a report with the Clerk of the House of Representatives indicating he received free travel valued at $13,998.55 from Fox News Sunday for "officially connected travel" on October 1-2, 2005, from Sugarland, TX to Washington, D.C. and back to Sugarland, TX. Rep. DeLay appeared on Fox News Sunday on October 2, 2005, the weekend after his indictment on September 28, 2005.


Pastor bagged for soliciting teen on the Internet



[UPDATE: Crap, I found another church perv. I added it at the end.]

Another pious perv addition to the Conservative Values Monitor, Russ. (Ohio News Network):
Authorities in Fairborn said they have arrested a pastor from northern Ohio and charged him on two counts.

Police said, over a five-day period, Roy B. Burton [of Victory Baptist Church, in Marysville] engaged in chats with who he thought was a 15-year-old girl over the Internet. They said the teen was an undercover Fairborn detective. Detectives said that, during the chats, Burton solicited sex from the teen and made arrangements to meet for sex.

Authorities said on Nov. 1, he traveled to Fairborn and was arrested without incident. Investigators said Burton was charged with one count of importuning and one count of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
According to the Dayton Daily News, Burton was also planning on taking nude photos of the juvenile, and discussed it during his chat sessions. BTW, this sick sad sack's church has only 10 members.

Hat tip, Holly.

***



In West Bend, Milwaukee, we have another one - a youth ministries worker charged with soliciting sex on the Internet from someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy but was instead chatting with an undercover police officer in New Hampshire. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel);
Russell F. Roelke, 45, also posted $50,000 bond on Monday and was released from the Washington County Jail, nearly a month after he was charged with using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement, exposing a child to harmful material and possession of child pornography, all of which are felonies.

If convicted on all counts, Roelke could be imprisoned up to 57 years. Until his arrest, Roelke was employed as director of youth and children's ministries by Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church in West Bend for 2 1/2 years, the church's pastor, the Rev. Jon Claude Bartlett, said. According to a criminal complaint, Roelke logged onto a Yahoo.com chat room and struck up a two-month relationship in June with an undercover police officer in Keene, N.H., who was pretending to be a 14-year-old boy.

Roelke engaged in sexually provocative conversations with the undercover officer in the chat room and proposed that the two meet each other in a New Hampshire hotel, the complaint says. He also suggested the two exchange photographs and videos of each other and shared links to Web sites with the officer that feature child pornography, the complaint says.
Sick - this guy is married with a step-child, for goodness sake. According to a Washington County ADA, Roelke had been involved in lots of community activities that gave him access to his prey, including service as a Boy Scout leader, a Big Brother and a teaching assistant in the Brown Deer School District.


I'll pick up my chicken wing at the back door, Massa George

[Welcome folks from C&L; you can read more fun at the Blend here once you've picked up your chicken wing.]

It's hard to believe that Bush (with the help of Ken Mehlman) can do any f*cking worse at attempting to court the black vote. The Katrina debacle saw his 11% approval in the community drop down to an incredible 2%.

Where do you think his numbers are now, after this ham-handed photo op, which turned into his worst colored-folks-reliving-a-Jim-Crow nightmare. (WaPo):
It was Soul Food Thursday at Howard University last week, and many students were looking forward to their favorite meal: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. At lunchtime, however, students discovered that much of the campus had been locked down and that the school's cafeteria was off limits.



Apparently, many of them did not know that President Bush and first lady Laura Bush had arrived for a "youth summit" at the Blackburn Center, where the dining hall is located. Stomachs began to growl, tempers flared, and, eventually, a student protest ensued.


REUTERS/Larry Downing

...What might have been a public relations coup for Bush -- a visit to a historically black college to show concern for at-risk youths -- ended up as another Katrina-like moment, with the president appearing spaced-out, waving and smiling for television cameras while students were trying to break through campus security to get to the cordoned-off cafeteria.
Can it get worse? Oh yes, my friends, it can. For Ken Mehlman, hearing about this must have caused an out-of-body experience.
On a day when the U.S. Senate passed a resolution paying tribute to civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week, campus security guards were telling students that if they wanted to eat they'd have to come back when the president and first lady were gone, then go to a service door at the rear of the dining hall and ask for a chicken plate to go.
I have to agree with WaPo columnist Courtland Milloy. All the Chimp had to do was drop in, share a wing and some collard greens with the Howard students -- and he'd score one for the GOP without breaking a sweat. He and his bonehead "outreach crew" couldn't even manage that without creating a PR disaster.

Worst. President. Ever.

You know what? I can think of some Self-Loathing NegroesTM that wouldn't mind standing in line at the back door of the dining hall waiting for some to-go leftovers from The Man --


Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, running for the Senate


Armstrong Williams, well-paid, ho-beast shill for the Administration


Keith Butler, homo-bigot running for the Senate in Michigan.


Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, running for governor
(added at Blender Holly's request)


Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of winger org Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, famously saying after Katrina: "If black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror."


Alan Keyes, member of good standing in the AmTaliban, who kicked his "selfish hedonist" lesbian daughter out of the house


Our faux token on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas.


Our shuffling and jiving man from Plantation, er, Project 21, Mychal Massie, seen here with Little Ricky Santorum. Massie, on a radio show, opined that blacks should thank God for slavery.

Feel free to add your nominees for the back-door chicken line in the comments and I'll add them to the post.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Tyra Banks goes undercover as 350-lb woman


Hey, did you know that people are mean to obese women? Supermodel Tyra Banks, in another stunt for her talk show (she has previously had her breasts mammogrammed on her show to prove they're real), turns investigative reporter to uncover the truth!
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 2) - Tyra Banks has gone undercover as a 350-pound woman. Banks wore the fat suit to experience what it's like to be obese.

"It seemed like the last form of open discrimination that's OK, and I decided to put on a 350-pound suit myself and live that life for a day and see what happens," the 31-year-old former supermodel told AP Radio in a recent interview. "And it was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life."

Banks said she was shocked at the reaction.

"I started walking down the street and within 10 seconds, a trio of people looked at me, snickered, looked me right in my eye and started pointing and laughing in my face," the talk-show host said. "And I had no idea it was that blatant."


Denver Legalizes Marijuana!

Well, kind of.
(USA Today) DENVER — Voters here approved making Denver the first major city to legalize small amounts of marijuana... The measure, which passed Tuesday with 54% of the vote, says adults 21 and older may possess up to an ounce of marijuana without penalty in the city.
It's largely a symbolic victory, because Colorado state law still punishes possession of less than an ounce a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, and cities cannot make laws less restrictive than the state law. Also, such possession is still illegally federally.
Don't expect clouds of marijuana smoke to fill Denver's thin air. Mayor John Hickenlooper said police will continue to arrest and charge people for marijuana because state law still makes possession illegal.
But it still a huge victory because it shows that when put to a vote, the majority of a major American city can see how marijuana prohibition is a ridiculous and cruel policy.
Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., said Denver's vote will spur initiatives in other cities to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol or tobacco.

"It's certainly likely to energize people. This is the wind in the sails of reform," Mirken said Wednesday. "Rethinking marijuana prohibition is mainstream. This is the heart of America saying, 'Hold on, maybe our current marijuana laws don't make a lot of sense.' And the fact is, they're right."
Part of what helped the marijuana campaign is the recent high-profile deaths by alcohol poisoning of binge-drinking Colorado college students.
(Boulder Dirt) CU freshman Lynn Gordon "Gordie" Bailey Jr. died of alcohol poisoning last year after drinking whiskey and wine in a Chi Psi tradition.

Last week, Phi Kappa Tau's national leaders shut down their Boulder house for a series of violations. Several CU students were hospitalized for alcohol-related problems early Sept. 24 after attending University Hill parties, including those at Phi Kappa Tau or Sigma Pi.

Alcohol-related deaths in 1985 and 1994 prompted lawsuits against CU, a sorority and a fraternity. In the past 15 years, at least nine Boulder fraternity chapters have been shuttered by their national chapters, including four since last fall.
The outrage over the drinking deaths was seized upon by the proponents of the Denver marijuana proposition.
(Newsday) "We educated voters about the facts that marijuana is less harmful to the user and society than alcohol," said Mason Tvert, campaign organizer for SAFER, or Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation. "To prohibit adults from making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana is bad public policy."

Tvert argued that legalizing marijuana would reduce consumption of alcohol, which he said leads to higher rates of car accidents, domestic and street violence and crime.

The group criticized Mayor John Hickenlooper for opposing the proposal, noting his ownership of a popular brewpub. It also said recent violent crimes -- including the shootings of four people last weekend -- as a reason to legalize marijuana to steer people away from alcohol use.
This is such a brilliant strategy. Everyone has had an experience with an obnoxious or even violent drunk. Most people who drink have had experience with hangovers or even getting violently ill from alcohol. Meanwhile, even if some people have negative stereotypes of the "Cheech & Chong"-type munchie-scarfing pothead slacker, no one associates marijuana use alone with anti-social behavior by its users. In fact, one of the stereotypes we face is that of the "peace & love" hippie-dippie pacifist. The voters of Denver recognized that a Cheeto-stained tie-dyed Deadhead planted on his couch watching SpongeBob SquarePants while smoking a joint is nothing the city should worry about when there are college kids drinking themselves to death and violent drunks assaulting people and driving recklessly.
(USA Today) The mayor said he opposed the measure because he considers marijuana a "gateway" drug that can lead to harder substances and "much more self-destructive behaviors." Hickenlooper acknowledged, however, that Denver's vote "does reflect a genuine shift in people's attitudes."
Ooh, the gateway drug canard! C'mon, Mr. Mayor, you've got to do better than that. There are 14.5 million Americans who, according to the government's own 2004 statistics, have smoked marijuana in the past month. In comparison, 467,000 used crack and 166,000 used heroin.

Plus, correlation does not prove causality. The only thing marijuana and hard drugs have in common is that they are both illegal. If we're saying that one mild mood-altering substance can be a gateway toward destructive mind-altering substances, then we'd better start worrying about alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and a whole host of pharmaceutical products. Nearly 100% of crank, coke, and smack users list caffeine as the first drug they ever ingested!

The only possible gateway marijuana has to hard drugs IS its illegality. The only place you can get pot is from the criminal underground, who also supply crank, coke, and smack. As a business, drug dealers want to maximize profits. Pot is a bulky, smelly drug with no physical addictiveness and lower profit potential than crank, coke, and smack -- drugs that are much easier to conceal and store, and whose addictiveness guarantees a return customer. Marijuana regulated similar to alcohol would dry up demand for the drug dealer's "loss leader" product and severely hurt their business by eliminating 14.5 million potential monthly customers.


Brownie's emails show what a turd he is



...But you knew that already. This is incredible. I wonder how interviews for his next job will go once prospective employers get a load of this modesty and judgment. (CNN):
Rep. Charlie Melancon, whose district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his Web site on Wednesday.

...The e-mails Melancon posted, a sampling of more than 1,000 provided to the House committee now assessing responses to Katrina by all levels of government, also show Brown making flippant remarks about his responsibilities.

"Can I quit now? Can I come home?" Brown wrote to Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs, the morning of the hurricane. A few days later, Brown wrote to an acquaintance, "I'm trapped now, please rescue me."

"In the midst of the overwhelming damage caused by the hurricane and enormous problems faced by FEMA, Mr. Brown found time to exchange e-mails about superfluous topics," including "problems finding a dog-sitter," Melancon said.

Melancon said that on August 26, just days before Katrina made landfall, Brown e-mailed his press secretary, Sharon Worthy, about his attire, asking: "Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?"

A few days later, Worthy advised Brown: "Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow. In this [crisis] and on TV you just need to look more hard-working."

On August 29, the day of the storm, Brown exchanged e-mails about his attire with Taylor, Melancon said. She told him, "You look fabulous," and Brown replied, "I got it at Nordstroms. ... Are you proud of me?"

An hour later, Brown added: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god," according to the congressman.
You can read a good hunk of the emails here.


The Empty Wig has dirty campaign ca$h


Before/after: Surgically preserved Elizabeth Dole (a.k.a. "Empty Wig", "Sugar Lips" or "The Joker").

The Dole North Carolina Victory Committee has a few problems that Tom DeLay would be familiar with. An audit that found Sugar Lips's campaign failed to disclose the occupation or employer's name of 29 percent of its individual contributions during the second half of 2002.

However the bigger problem is $81K of tainted cash that filled the Empty Wig's campaign coffers. (News and Observer):
Federal auditors said a campaign committee for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., should return $81,320 in unlawful corporate contributions from her 2002 campaign, but the committee insists a convicted felon who cooked the books should be held responsible.

Earl Allen Haywood pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud after prosecutors said he stole more than $174,000 from two Dole campaign committee accounts. Haywood's plea deal requires him to make restitution.

A federal audit of the Dole North Carolina Victory Committee, a joint fund-raising effort between Dole and the North Carolina Republican Party that Haywood helped manage, determined that it had deposited 31 checks received from the general funds of corporations. Such donations are unlawful.

The review by Federal Election Commission auditors released Tuesday said the Victory Committee "bears the responsibility for the return of the prohibited contributions." The committee also could bear the consequences of violating the law.
As you can see, Dole's shills are trying to pin the blame on a crooked campaign flunkie, but the FEC doesn't play games. From its report:
Regardless of Mr. Haywood’s reputation, in the opinion of the Audit Staff, the lack of basic internal controls (e.g. separation of duties) and oversight by DNCVC created an environment that contributed to the misappropriation of funds and the misreporting to the Commission.
Now I know why Elizabeth Dole provides such sh*tty constituent services. Her office/campaign is so disorganized -- and apparently corrupt -- that they can only deal with one issue at a time, in this case, self-preservation.

Hat tip to Think Progress and to Jennifer of Intous for the pointer.


Shut up, close your eyes and knock boots

Apparently that's what a whole lot of folks are doing, according to a MSNBC.com/Zogby International poll of 56,000 adult men and women. They are throwing caution to the wind, and it's no wonder the rates of STDs are skyrocketing. And it can't all be blamed on randy young people, since the participants were age 18-70.
The survey, which was released Monday, found that while a majority of the survey participants consider themselves knowledgeable about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, many are in denial when it comes to sex with someone new.



...Charles Ebel, vice president of health program resources at the American Social Health Association, says the stigma surrounding sexual infections results in many people being too afraid to be straightforward about their sexual history.

"Being able to talk about it is a huge problem," he says. "At the heart of it is the fear of rejection; it’s the fear of being labeled undesirable."

...Julius Schachter, editor of the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases and a professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says people often don't believe their partners are at risk, particularly if a person isn't gay or using intravenous drugs.

"They say, 'I'm sleeping with a guy from the office or someone I met at a bar and he's cute,' " Schachter says.

Men tend to think they would never catch something from a woman, he says. Overall, adds Schachter, "it's a failure to come to grips."
Other interesting tidbits...

* 48 percent of women claim to always check STD status, compared with just 33 percent of men.
* African-Americans (44 percent) are more likely to have the conversation than whites or Hispanics (38 percent and 40 percent, respectively).
* 50 percent of the participants are concerned about contracting herpes from oral sex.
* But 42 percent don't know or aren't even sure of their current partner's HIV status.



* Nearly 25 percent of men and and 13 percent of women reported having more than 25 partners in their lifetimes.
* Women were slightly more likely than men to have between six and 10 partners.
* 34 percent of men and 38 percent of women say they've had one to five partners.

And, not surprisingly (but sadly), age, education and income reflect different choices in the group studied.
While almost half of those with less than a high school degree never discuss STDs with a new partner, this group also was nine times more likely than college graduates to have paid someone for sex.

"The older you are and the more money you make, the less likely you are to engage in risky sexual behavior," says Fritz Wentzel, a spokesperson for Zogby.
I'm wondering about the region of the country some of these people are from, particularly where there is abstinence-only education and a certain level of bible-beating that discourages open discussion about sex generally, and safer sexual practices specifically.

Thanks to Holly for the pointer.


Bush Approval Ratings Down to 35%

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Oh, geez, Turd Blossom, whadda we do now? Uh, "Bird Flu!" "Hey, lookee here, a new Supreme Court nominee!" Damn, it's not working! "Attention! Fags want to get married, seduce your kids, and teach them to burn flags!" Crap! "9/11!" "Jesus!" "Terror!"

Oh, well. It's not like I have to run for re-election or anything...

(CBS News) Most Americans believe someone in the Bush Administration did leak Valerie Plame's name to reporters – even though Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald indicted no one for doing that. Half of the public describes the matter as something of great importance to the country, and this poll finds low assessments of both the President and the Vice President – with the President's overall approval rating dropping again to its lowest point ever.
Here are the juicy tidbits:

DID SOMEONE IN THE BUSH ADMIN. LEAK [Valerie Plame's] NAME?
YES: Now 62%, July 52%

DOES SCOOTER LIBBY'S ACTIONS DESERVE PROSECUTION?
YES: 61%

HOW IMPORTANT TO THE NATION IS THE CIA LEAK MATTER?
Great Importance: 51% [Compared to Clinton/Lewinsky 41%, Whitewater 20%, Iran/Contra 48%, and Watergate 53%, at the height of those scandals.]

BEFORE THE WAR, WHEN TALKING ABOUT WEAPONS IN IRAQ, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS...
Telling all/most of what they knew: Now 32%, Jan. 37%, Feb '04 40%
Hiding important elements: Now 38%, Jan. 36%, Feb '04 39%
Mostly lying about weapons: Now 26%, Jan. 23%, Feb. '04 16%

COMPARED TO MOST PEOPLE IN PUBLIC LIFE, BUSH'S HONESTY & INTEGRITY IS...
More: Now 39%, Feb. '04 50%
Same: Now 27%, Feb. '04 25%
Less: Now 29%, Feb. '04 14%

VIEWS OF GEORGE W. BUSH AND DICK CHENEY
George W. Bush
Favorable: Now 33%, Jan. 44%
Unfavorable: Now 51%, Jan. 40%

Dick Cheney
Favorable: Now 19%, Jan. 28%
Unfavorable: Now 44%, Jan. 33%

PRESIDENT BUSH'S JOB APPROVAL
Approve 35%, Disapprove 57%

Among Democrats: 11%
Among Liberals: 14%
Among Moderates: 30%
Among Independents: 31%
Among Conservatives: 54%
Among White Evangelicals: 61%
Among Republicans: 77%

COMPARING LOWEST APPROVAL RATINGS DURING THEIR RESPECTIVE PRESIDENTIAL SCANDALS
Bush: 35%
Clinton: 58%
Reagan: 46%
Nixon: 24% (as he was resigning!)

BUSH'S APPROVAL RATINGS ON
Terrorism: 47%
Iraq: 32%
Economy: 34%

DID U.S. DO THE RIGHT THING GOING TO WAR WITH IRAQ?
Yes: 42%

IS RESULT OF WAR IN IRAQ WORTH ITS COSTS?
No: 64%

WILL IRAQ BECOME STABLE DEMOCRACY?
Yes, in next year or two: 3%
Yes, will take longer: 46%
No, never: 48%

VIEWS OF THE ECONOMY
Bad: 51%

ECONOMY IS GETTING:
Better: 16%
Worse: 40%
Same: 44%

DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY
Right direction: 27%
Wrong track: 68%

CONGRESS JOB APPROVAL
Approve: 34%
Disapprove: 53%


Little Scottie McClellan's time may be up



Really, how much longer can his shredded credibility hold? He goes out there and just tells beastly lies, feebly attempting to shovel ten pounds of Administration sh*t in a five pound bag.

These days, Scottie's plump little tushy is raw from the kicking received by the hungry, emboldened press corps. He's often left looking like he's about to cry, or perhaps curl into a fetal position.

According to The Raw Story, a NYT column tomorrow questions the ability of Scottie to be effective and whether he's facing a final ass-kicking...out the door.
...an article written by Richard W. Stevenson for the White House Memo column will discuss White House press secretary Scott McClellan's predicament, RAW STORY has learned.

The nature of McClellan's job requires him to "face his inquisitors in the press corps every day." Questions are fired him at nearly every press conference about his assurances to reporters two years ago that Libby and Rove didn't play a role in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

"Can McClellan survive the wound to his credibility -- and how did he get in this bind in the first place?"


Also see:
* Scottie's plump tushy is raw
* Scott McClellan on Propagannon
* Can of whoop-*ss...opened...again
* Freepers turn on Scotty McClellan


No shame - McCain launches proto-'08 site

Via Shakes Sis, news of a little preview of Campaign 2008 from Mr. POW-Straight Talk himself:



It's primed and ready to seduce centrists across the country. As Sis noted, there's one picture suspiciously missing from the web site, one that tells you all you need to know:


This should run on every blog the moment McCain announces.

Remember, the guy McCain is practically humping in that photo really put the screws to him back in the SC primary in 2000. (Salon):
After Bush lost the Feb. 1 New Hampshire primary to McCain, he and his team made the tactical decision to get ugly in South Carolina. In the weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary on Feb. 19, McCain suffered one of the dirtiest personal smear campaigns in modern American political history.

"We play it different down here," one of Bush's top South Carolina advisors told Time magazine in February. "We're not dainty, if you get my drift. We're used to playin' rough."

Indeed. Push polls attacked McCain's personal life and exaggerated his role in the Keating savings and loan scandal. Leaflets slammed his wife, Cindy, for her past addiction to painkillers. An e-mail from a Bob Jones University professor accused McCain of fathering children out of wedlock. A mysterious public action committee in favor of the Confederate flag -- called "Keep it Flying" -- sprang up overnight and slammed McCain in 250,000 leaflets.

Bush engaged in his own delightful activities, appearing at Bob Jones and telling a Christian radio station, "An openly known homosexual is somebody who probably wouldn't share my philosophy."
Flash forward to August, 2004, the GOP convention. Perhaps the good Senator has a midterm memory loss regarding that little time period in SC, or perhaps blocked it out entirely. Oh, forget being charitable - the bastard became Bush's water boy. Try not to f*cking choke as you read this. (CNN):
And while this war has many components, we can't make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct. This is not just an expression of strength. It is a measure of our wisdom.

That's why I commend to my country the re-election of President Bush, and the... and the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our vice president, Dick Cheney. Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America's distinction as the world's only superpower.

I promised he would not let America "retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy," that he would "confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened." I knew -- I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center with his arm around a hero of September 11 and in our moment of mourning and anger, strengthen our unity and our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.

He promised our enemies would soon hear from us. And so they did. So they did.

I believe as strongly today as ever, the mission was necessary, achievable and noble.

For his determination to undertake it and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration. As the president rightly reminds us, we are safer now than we were on September 11, but we're not yet safe. We are still closer to the beginning than the end of this fight.

We need a leader with the experience to make the tough decisions and the resolve to stick with them, a leader who will keep us moving forward even if it is easier to rest. And this president will not rest until America is stronger and safer still and this hateful iniquity is vanquished. He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him.


Speaking of pendulous false breasts...


Sorry for the intrusion of titillating silliness on this otherwise serious blog. But I just can't resist a story like this...
(Ananova) Designer creates wall of breasts

A Dutch designer has created a wall of fake breasts to help male shoppers buy bras that fit their wives or girlfriends.

Wendy Rameckers works at the Piet Zwart Institute for Retail and Design in Rotterdam, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

"Most men have a selective memory," she explained. "They know all about their car, but never seem to know their wife's bra size.

"When trying to buy a sexy bra for their wife or girlfriend, usually they point to other women in the shop or, when asked about size, they say a 'handful'."

The wall consists of rows of silicon breasts in all sizes. By look and touch, male shoppers can work out the right size, she says.
"Ms. Rameckers, don't you find it strange that Mr. Belville forgets his wife's bra size every time he comes in here, even though he's shown up daily for the past six months?"

"Yes, but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as when he runs alongside the breast wall with his hand like a kid with a stick running alongside a picket fence."


We now return you to your regularly scheduled Bush-bashing, intolerance-exposing, bigot-fighting progressive blog already in progress.


New uses for super glue


Gail gave Ken a night to remember. The video is here.

Might these folks be Bush sheeple? You decide -- they are from Santorum country - Westmoreland County, PA.
Gail O'Toole was convicted of simple assault and sentenced to six months probation for acts she committed against her ex-lover. On Wednesday, the civil suit went to court, where O'Toole's ex-boyfriend claimed her "outrageous" and "inhumane" acts are worth thousands in damages.

Ken Slaby said he was in love with O'Toole five years ago. But according to Slaby, the night took a turn when O'Toole got angry about Slaby's new love.



Slaby said O'Toole waited until he fell asleep and glued his penis to his stomach, glued his testicle to his leg and glued the cheeks of his buttocks together. Then came the nail polish. Slaby claimed O'Toole dumped it all over his head. When he woke up, Slaby said O'Toole threw him out. He didn't have a car, so he was forced to walk one mile down Route 22 to call 911 and Murrysville police, Slaby said.

...At the hospital, oils did little to remove the glue. Nurses actually had to peel it off.

O'Toole's attorney said this was part of routine sexual activity between the couple -- acts that he agreed to -- incidents that should have stayed in the bedroom.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like anything remotely routine.


Do wingnuts in Texas have anything better to do than this?

Texas Southern Baptists Resolve to Investigate Homosexual Activism in Schools. Yes, that's the actual headline. As people are now early voting on a state marriage amendment (see below), we've got the bible-beaters voting to to sniff out members of the gay cabal that they believe are recruiting children in the public schools and teaching them - OMG - tolerance.
The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention has unanimously passed a resolution encouraging Christian parents to look into whether their local public schools are involved in homosexual activism and, where this is the case, to pursue alternative choices for their children's education.

The measure submitted to the convention by messenger Mark Cole urges Texas Southern Baptists to investigate whether the public schools in their area are promoting homosexuality and, if so, to seek more suitable options for their kids -- options such as private Christian schools or home education. Dr. Gary Ledbetter, a spokesman for the Texas Convention, says the public school resolution is similar to one passed last summer at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

..."There are other agendas, particularly the homosexual agenda, that have been very aggressive in promoting tolerance of what we consider to be destructive and unbiblical lifestyles -- and building that tolerance into our children," Ledbetter contends. "And they're finding a listening ear. Whether it's on the Supreme Court, or whether it's the textbook manufacturers, the National Education Association -- we find ourselves up against some pretty big boys."
***

Things are getting really hot as those opposed to the Texas marriage amendment are using quotes from prominent state conservatives in phone ads, enraging the wingers. (365gay.com):
Supporters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Texas went into a rage Wednesday after a group opposing the measure launched a new series of telephone ads using the words of two well known conservative Republicans.

Save Texas Marriage is targeting a million homes in Texas with the message that the amendment is so badly worded it would outlaw common-law marriages among opposite-sex couples and nullify wills and other agreements between unmarried couples.


Hecht (l) and Abbott are having conniptions over the use of their quotes.

The ads use quotes from Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and Attorney General Greg Abbott to back up the group's claims. The quote by Justice Hecht comes from what he told the Austin American-Statesman last month about how Harriet Miers, a personal friend and at the time a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, might rule on abortion. "When you're construing the Constitution or statute, you're stuck with what's there," Justice Hecht said then.

The quote by Abbott was taken from a written statement he made in 1997 in a ruling that denied Log Cabin Republicans a booth at the Republican Party of Texas convention. Abbot said that "literal text" is important but also said judges "may consider such things as" historical context and framers' intent.

Both Abbot and Hecht denounced the ads on Wednesday. Hecht called them a "wave of fraudulent calls" and said as a judge he has no public position on the amendment.


Aaron Brown gets the boot; Coop to take his slot

Looks like outed homeboy Anderson Cooper's stock is rising. He had been sharing the 10PM Newsnight broadcast with Brown for the last month during Katrina coverage, and CNN noticed a ratings spike, so they rewarded him with Brown's slot. Read the statement by CNN's prez Klein -- OUCH. (NYT):
CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, today in favor of Anderson Cooper, who has received extensive media attention in the wake of his widely publicized coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., said today that he and Mr. Brown had mutually agreed that Mr. Brown would leave the cable news network because the new CNN lineup left "no options" for a program that would include Mr. Brown. "It is, unfortunately, a zero-sum game," Mr. Klein said.

The realigned CNN lineup will place Mr. Cooper's program "360," which had previously run at 7 p.m. Eastern time weeknights, in the 10 p.m. time period that had been occupied for the last four years by Mr. Brown's program, "Newsnight." Mr. Cooper's program will also expand to two hours, from 10 until midnight. CNN has experimented with that two-hour format over the past month, with Mr. Cooper joining Mr. Brown to serve as co-anchor of the program.



The audience levels for that program have increased markedly in the last month, a development that CNN attributed to Mr. Cooper's presence. In the 7 p.m. hour, where Mr. Cooper had previously worked, CNN will insert the final hour of its three-hour-long "Situation Room" program with Wolf Blitzer. That program has been running from 3 to 6 p.m. Eastern time each weekday. Now it will run from 4 to 6 p.m., leading into an hourlong newscast anchored by Lou Dobbs, with Mr. Blitzer coming back at 7 p.m. for one more hour.

...Mr. Klein said the moves were made chiefly to elevate the profiles of the two news figures that he said have been growing in popularity at CNN, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Blitzer. "We want to expose Anderson and Wolf to more people," Mr. Klein said.

He said that Mr. Cooper, who is 38, had so stood out for his "passion and enthusiasm" - especially during the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast - that "his name has been on the tip of everyone's tongue."


FMA moves forward as 'Marriage Protection Amendment'

'Marriage is not safe from activist courts until a U.S. Constitutional Amendment is ratified.'
-- Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
The Federal Marriage Amendment is back and the Right wants it on the fast track.

They've aptly renamed it The Marriage Protection Amendment, and it would define marriage nationwide as the union of one man and one woman, and would prevent courts from redefining marriage or conveying any legal benefits granted by marriage.

The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights, is slated to act today on (Senate Joint Resolution 1), with action by the full Judiciary Committee to follow on Thursday, November 3. Listen to Tony Perkins foam at the mouth:
"We are pleased to see the Senate take action on the amendment and hope the House follows their example," said FRC President Tony Perkins. "This is a crucial issue that deserves a full public debate.

"While most of the country is focused on Supreme Court nominations and the War on Terror, the assault on marriage grows.
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is the the sub committee chair, and the markup of the Marriage Protection Amendment is a high prioritym so that the measure on to the full committee. He wants the amendment to come to a vote in both the Senate and House before the 2006 mid term elections.

To take out your wrath on butthead Brownback, visit KansasNate's The Anti-Sam Brownback Blog. The Heretik is doing a round-up of links on this, and Gary at American Regression has action items.


Drug prices increasing ahead of other inflation


Credit: Jeff Stahler, Cincinnati Post

WASHINGTON - Price increases for popular brand-name prescription drugs rose at twice the general rate of inflation for the year ending June 30, though the gap narrowed a bit, the AARP said Tuesday.

The lobbying group said the average price increase for 193 brand name drugs amounted to 6.1 percent. Meanwhile, the overall inflation rate amounted to 3 percent for the year.

"It's moving in the right direction. I will say that," said John Rother, AARP's director of policy and strategy. "But this is the sixth year in a row of price increases that are at least twice the rate of inflation, so it has a cumulative effect that I think is pretty serious."
No kidding! My father requires $800 worth of prescription medications per month to live. Fortunately, some of that is covered by insurance, but it still leaves him with a $350 bill per month on his fixed Social Security disability income. So he still drags his painful dead feet (neuropathy is just one of his problems) in to work, five days a week selling cars, and mom still works a full-time job on her feet all day, too. Any dream they ever had of retiring died with my dad's massive medical bills from nearly dying five years ago.

I suppose they should have worked harder, planned better, and become multimillionaires if they wanted to be able to afford healthcare, huh?
Pharmaceutical companies take issue with the AARP's comparison of drug prices to overall inflation. They say the more appropriate comparison is to medical inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The CPI indicates that medical inflation increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent between July 2004 through June 2005, while drug prices, including generics, went up about 3.4 percent, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical industry said.

"Experts tell us that AARP's numbers simply do not reflect the true amounts paid by seniors for their medicines," said Ken Johnson, senior vice president of The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. "Unfortunately, AARP seems more interested in getting headlines than in helping America's seniors."
See, dad? You really have no reason to complain. Sure, $800 a month is a lot of money, but if drug prices were as bad as medical inflation, it might be as much as $1,000! Besides, you've got President Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, which forbids Medicare from bulk negotiating lower prices, and the administration's refusal to allow cheaper prescription drug imports from Canada, so what's the problem?
[In 2002] the 10 biggest drug companies maintained nearly the same level of total profits they had in 2001, according to Fortune magazine's annual analysis of America's 500 largest companies. As a group, the drug companies had $35.9 billion in profits in 2002, compared with $37.2 billion in 2001, a drop of 3.5 percent. By comparison, all companies in the Fortune 500 suffered a combined loss of 66.3 percent in profits from 2001 to 2002. Stunningly, profits registered by the 10 drug companies were equal to more than half of the $69.6 billion in profits netted by the entire list of Fortune 500 companies – when all losses are subtracted from all gains.

Just as they did in 2000 and 2001, the 10 drug companies in the Fortune 500 topped two key measures of profitability in 2002. Collectively, the pharmaceutical companies in the Fortune 500 reported:
  • A profit of 17 cents for every dollar of revenue, compared with a Fortune 500 median of 3.1 cents per dollar of revenue.
  • A return on assets of 14.1 percent, compared with a Fortune 500 median of 2.3 percent.
  • Along with earning the highest rankings in these two categories, the drug industry ranked second among all business sectors in return on shareholder equity, with a rate more than two-and-a-half times the Fortune 500 median (27.6 percent compared with 10.2 percent).
Well, at least the CEOs of the drug companies can afford their own prescriptions. Thank goodness for that.


Alito backed privacy, gay rights at Princeton

[UPDATE: Moved this back up. You can read the report yourself here (PDF).]

Will this make the wingers sh*t bricks or yawn? This is writing from 1971, but if Alito is strong on privacy issues, it doesn't bode well for a reversal of Lawrence v. Texas at the very least. We all know that's going to make the freaks on the Right that are ready to roll out sodomy laws again very queasy. Any amount of squirming that can be induced is fine by me. (Boston Globe):
As a senior at Princeton University, Samuel A. Alito Jr. chaired an undergraduate task force that recommended the decriminalization of sodomy, accused the CIA and the FBI of invading the privacy of citizens, and said discrimination against gays in hiring ''should be forbidden."

The report, issued in 1971 by Alito and 16 other Princeton students, stemmed from a class assignment to study the ''boundaries of privacy in American society" and to recommend ways to protect individual rights.

The far-ranging report, which satisfied a requirement for public policy students and which was stored in the university's Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, provided a glimpse of a more liberal Alito than the jurist is now perceived.

''We sense a great threat to privacy in modern America," Alito wrote in a foreword to the report, in 1971. ''We all believe that privacy is too often sacrificed to other values; we all believe that the threat to privacy is steadily and rapidly mounting; we all believe that action must be taken on many fronts now to preserve privacy."

A classmate, Jeffrey G. Weil, said yesterday that Alito, one of the top seniors in his class, had been selected to advise juniors writing the report, coaching them through the research and then writing an introduction explaining their recommendations.
The Freepi are doing some hand-wringing...

Actual Freeper Quotesâ?¢

"There's no evidence Alito agreed with its recommendations. But the picture is one of a fair-minded young man and it will be hard for the Left to paint him as a privacy-busting and gay-hating zealot. A lot of us where like this in our youth. More to the point, its the Left that's gotten more extreme with time while Alito has been consistent since across the board."

"Before anyone gets crazy . . .in 1971 - the FBI / CIA and MI were all rountinely "invading privacy" - these invasions were part of the rational behind the prohibitions on investigations of "US Persons" (later Gorelick's Wall, etc...) Expressing a desire for more protections against such invasions in no way contradicts with conservative values!!!" [Wha!? Does anyone here remember The Patriot Act?!]

"How is it we can read this report by Alito but Hillary's graduate thesis is still locked a way in a court ordered vault?"

"I don't have a problem with constitutional privacy, the 4th amendment suggests it. Privacy, however, does not imply a right to commit homicide. Only the idiots who decided Row could draw a link between privacy and homicide."

"When I was much younger, I thought pro-life protestors were a bunch of kooks. But now I know the truth because I've actually had many years to think about the issue and learn."

"This 1971 report of a young Alito doesn't compare to the neoMarxist paper that a younger hitlery klintoon wrote during her college days."

"Oh no! Am I going to be held accountable for some over the top remarks I may have made or written when I was a FRESHMAN in College and 17 years old. I certainly hope not. Please get off Alito's case. Leave the trashing to the Dims; it so much demeans you."

"This is an effort by the Media (and Dems) to get Alito in trouble with the same people who were nervous about Roberts and rejected Miers. Look at these points; there's not much there, there. It expresses a concern of that timeframe...the invasion of privacy by very powerful and secretive government agencies. This privacy had nothing to do with abortion rights but was USED AS A RATIONALE for the unquestioned right of a woman to abort at any time for any reason."

"It says to decriminalize sodomy. That shows that in many places it was a crime. To say it is wrong or socially undesirable (homosexual sodomy) is one thing. For it to be a crime is arguable. This comes down on the noncrime side. Not exactly a blockbuster."

"Finally, it says don't discriminate against homosexuals in hiring. That sounds good and very few college students would see any pitfalls there, though there certainly are some. The "gay agenda" is a bit different, though."

"This does not really address the modern-day, gay agenda. But the headline is meant to imply that it does."

"Speaking of Alito in general, and Roberts as well for that matter...some have suggested that neither man would, under almost any conceived circumstances, vote to overturn Roe. They say you can tell that by their very restrained, very precedent- respectful, very careful jurisprudence, and by their own demeanors and personalities. These prognosticators come from both sides of the political spectrum. I would like to know what others think of this analysis of the two men."

"If you are 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you are 40 and not a conservative, you have no brain."

"In you were young in the mid-20th century, these words made sense. Now, in the 21st century, no matter how young or old you are, with everything we now know, you have to be a mental defective to be a liberal."

"You do realize that Harriet would have been eviscerated by many of the people defending Alito had she been the author of that piece when she was in college. :-) I support Alito's nomination, BTW."

"Ronald Reagan harbored the same thoughts in 1980 as he did in 1945."

"True, but the distinction is that in 1945 Reagan was an adult - even 'old', as he was 34 (born 1911). That's why when he joined the Army (achieved Captain IIRC) he was assigned to Hollywood to make training films and such, he was too old for combat."

"This sentence directly contradicts the title, which leads me to believe that the BG is trying to split the conservatives."


The activism of Rosa Parks and Bernice King



Rest in peace, Rosa. Thousands attended the funeral of Rosa Parks today, and Coretta Scott King, another pillar of the civil rights movement, was unable to attend, as she is still recovering from a stroke. In her place, her daughter Bernice, a preacher, speaker and author herself, delivered a wonderful speech in honor of Parks. Their tribute appeared in USA Today.
A seamstress by trade, Parks was a daily bus rider. But she was also the secretary and youth adviser of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. That organization had protested the inhumane treatment of blacks so often that Parks was well-known to bus drivers, who would sometimes pass her by rather than allow her to board the bus.

But not on Dec. 1, 1955, when the centuries-long yearning of a people for human dignity found its eloquent expression in the words of a woman who had enough: "No, I will not stand up." And when the driver told her, "I'm going to have you arrested," she replied, "You may do that." I have always felt that Parks was sent to us by God because she was exceptionally well-prepared for the role of sparking our movement. Parks possessed remarkable character and an unclouded sense of justice. As one of our supporters chanted when Parks appeared in court to address the charge against her: "They messed with the wrong one now."


Coretta Scott King and Bernice King

As my husband, Martin Luther King Jr., wrote, Parks' refusal to cooperate with racism that day was based on "her personal sense of dignity and self-respect ... by the accumulated indignities of days gone by and the boundless aspirations of generations yet unborn."

Parks provided our movement with a matchless example of the spirit of non-violence. By the sheer force of her will, she set in motion a revolution that continues to reverberate in nation after nation and remains an inspiration to liberation movements everywhere.

...In the firmament of great American women, no star illuminates the path to human liberation more brightly than hers. Let us honor Rosa Parks, not only with words of tribute but also with renewed dedication to end racism, sexism and all forms of bigotry, and by following her still-radiant lodestar to guide us through the freedom struggles of the future.
Does Bernice really believe the words she reads? Her statements in the past have made it clear that what she said today about liberation and ending bigotry definitely does not apply to gay people. Quote from Bernice on her father:

"I know deep down in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions."

Based on what? She was a child when Martin Luther King was shot -- her mother knew and understood the man's views, yet Bernice still cannot reconcile the possibility that her father could embrace the concept of civil equality for gays. Her father had, at his side in the movement, an openly gay man, Bayard Rustin, assisting him in the early days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that Rosa Parks inspired.



It's clear that an open and honest discussion about what it is like to be both black and gay needs to occur, because it continues to be an alien concept in too much of the black community.

Coretta Scott King is a strong supporter of gay rights, and denounced a constitutional ban on marriage. "Gay and lesbian people have families and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union," she said in her March 23, 2005 address New Jersey's Richard Stockton College. "A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."

Her son, Martin Luther King III, supported gay rights efforts. As an organizer of the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, King made sure gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups were invited to participate.

Bernice, and a cousin, Alveda, stand alone in their belief that gays and lesbians should have second-class status in our society, and marched last year in support of "a constitutional amendment to fully protect marriage between one man and one woman."

I have no idea how Rosa Parks felt about the issue, but it was hard to watch Bernice King up there speaking those words of strength, knowing that they only conditionally apply in her mind. I wonder how many sitting out there, thinking about the courage and activism of Rosa Parks and her role in the civil rights movement, suffer from the same blindness.

Even John Conyers, who I am listening to speaking at the funeral at this moment, mentioned the cause of civil rights now as the struggle for human rights, which can be heard as code for gay rights (which he does support), mentioning the rights of "women and people around the world." It's notable that even Conyers is not able to say it aloud. He can mention the politics of the injustice race and class as exposed during Katrina, but to even utter gay rights at this event is perceived to be stepping on a third rail. This is sad.


Bernice at the ironic podium: inclusivity at its apex.

Will the Bernice Kings of the world ever come around to embrace the idea that equality includes fighting for the rights of her lesbian and gay friends, neighbors and loved ones? And more importantly, will their allies in the civil rights struggle willing to talk about this schism?

It certainly requires less bravery to speak out than the risk Rosa Parks took when she got on that bus.


Holding Wal-Mart's feet to the fire

Chris over at Facing South points out that Wal-Mart is really feeling the heat over all the bad PR it's received lately. The corporate behemoth has formed a PR war room with ex-Bush and Clinton staffers to combat years of criticism over its business practices that is now affecting the bottom line.

You'll recall last week I posted that the retailer announced a deceptive "low-cost" (high deductible) health insurance plan for employees that ended up backfiring on them -- a internal memo that was leaked showed the company's intention to hire more part-time workers and discourage the hiring of unhealthy workers.

I think there are a lot of sweating executives in the boardroom because of a new documentary coming out along with a week of activism focused on the mammoth chain's foul corporate behavior.
The key backdrop here is the massive national campaign launched by labor and 400 progressive allies, Wal-Mart Watch, which is building towards a national week of action November 13-19 called "Higher Expectations Week." A key focus of the week will be screenings of Robert Greenwald's (of "Outfoxed" fame) documentary, "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," which premiered yesterday to Wal-Mart's chagrin.
The Institute for Southern Studies is helping to coordinate a week of action in the area, sponsoring three theater screenings of "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" with The Independent Weekly and the N.C. Justice Center. Here is more information:
SUNDAY, NOV. 13, RALEIGH -- Press Conference and Screening of "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." Press conference starts at 1:30 p.m., screening at 2 p.m., Colony Theater.

MONDAY, NOV. 14, DURHAM -- "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" screening and discussion. 7 p.m., Carolina Theater.

TUESDAY, NOV. 15, CARY -- "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" screening and discussion. 7 p.m., Galaxy Theater.
For those of you in the DC area, there will be a premiere with the filmmaker on November 15, according to Campaign for America's Future:
Washington, DC Premiere: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
Date: Tuesday, November 15th
Time: 7:30 pm screening begins; 6:30 pm sponsors' reception
Location: Regal Cinemas, Gallery Place, 701 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Invited: Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. George Miller, film director Robert Greenwald,
Campaign for America’s Future Co-Directors Roger Hickey and Robert Borosage.

More info, including the trailer for the film is here.


Headline of the day: Democratic maneuver sends Frist, GOP into apoplexy

That's how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's editor titled Dana Milbank's WaPo column.
In the genteel club that is the United States Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had a screaming temper tantrum yesterday.



Minutes after his Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid (Nev.), used a surprise parliamentary maneuver to throw the Senate into a rare closed session, Frist burst from the chamber and approached the cameras in the hallway.

Without counting to 10, as anger-management experts recommend when you are very, very mad, Frist exploded.



"About 10 minutes ago or so, the United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership!" he announced. Never, he said, have "I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution." Epithets flew from his mouth: "They have no conviction. They have no principles. They have no ideas. This is a pure stunt."

Frist was now sputtering. "This is an affront to me personally. It's an affront to our leadership. It's an affront to the United States of America!" Turning sorrowful, he vowed that "for the next year and a half, I can't trust Senator Reid."



"Mr. Leader," one stunned journalist observed, "I don't remember you being so exercised over something before."

"You've never seen me in heart surgery," the senator, a transplant specialist, replied. Dr. Frist's patients -- not to mention the Tennessee medical licensing board -- may be surprised to learn that he had operating-room rage.
Perhaps people should breathe a sigh of relief that the man's not in the operating room anymore.


Personal pain over lesbian minister's defrocking


Elizabeth Stroud, a Methodist minister, was defrocked by the United Methodist Church's top court for having an open lesbian relationship. (Tim Shaffer/Reuters)

Kathy over at Birmingham Blues has a personal perspective on the recent decision by the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church to defrock Rev. Beth Stroud because she is in a committed relationship with another woman. The United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian ministers -- as long as they remain celibate. Kathy's heart aches:
And now I find myself in a dilemma. The church has made me angry before. The church has disappointed me. The church has failed me and others. But I always thought there was the possibility of change, of progress, of transformation. My congregation has loved me and infuriated me and taken care of me and my family. My children have run the halls of our church since they were babies, and they think of it as a second home. I don’t want to leave it, but I don’t see an alternative.

I can’t be part of a denomination that would deny my own brother membership because he doesn’t believe his sexual orientation is sinful. I can’t be part of a denomination with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for clergy. And I certainly can’t be part of a denomination that has so perverted the ideals of its founder that the quadrilateral authority of scripture, reason, tradition, and experience has been usurped by a Judicial Council that won’t allow us to think for ourselves.

So I must make a painful decision. Do I leave and let my family stay where they are known and loved, or do I insist that we all find a church that truly does have the open hearts, open minds, and open doors that the United Methodist Church claims? Or do I decide to try one more time, two more times, a thousand more times to work for change from within?
I highly recommend that you surf over to her post, God Must Be Weeping.

Also, see Ms. Julien's post on the decision, where she asks the pertinent question, "I wonder if any of the members of the Judicial Council were wearing mixed fabric when they gave her the boot for violating Leviticus?"


I'd like to see what's in his head



Bush Shows Reporter What's in His Pockets. A fluff AP story is actually quite revealing, and in the end, indicative of how the Chimp views the world.
It turns out the leader of the free world doesn't have to worry about carrying all the essentials of the common man.

Bush revealed the contents of his pockets Tuesday to an Argentine newspaper reporter who was interviewing him in advance of a presidential trip to Latin America later this week. When the reporter from La Nacion asked Bush to show him what he carries, the president stood up, fished in his pockets, then dramatically pulled his hands out holding nothing but a white handkerchief that he waved playfully in the air.

"Es todo," Bush told the Spanish-speaking reporter, meaning the handkerchief was all. "No dinero, no mas. No wallet."

He doesn't need any cash, since his staff takes care of buying anything he might need. He carries no cell phone, either, since he is surrounded by aides who take care of dialing his calls. And why would he need keys since every door is held open for him and his car comes with a driver trained by the Secret Service?
Question of the day: Any suggestions about what, besides cobwebs, the Chimperor has in his noggin?


Traditional Values Coalition's latest crap linking gays and pedophilia



Oh lord, it's homo-infatuated AmTaliban Lou Sheldon and his crew going apesh*t again. Sheldon is one of the go-to people that the White House and other GOP luminaries check in with to make sure that the AmTaliban (and their voting sheeple) will rally behind them. Here's Lou on the Alito nomination:
“President Bush is to be applauded for his choice of Judge Samuel Alito to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Court. The President has kept his commitment to appoint an individual who will faithfully interpret the Constitution. Judge Alito is an experienced judge with an extensive record of decisions in his 29 years of public service including 15 years as a judge. He has the well-reasoned judicial philosophy that is needed at this moment in history on the Court. I intend to work full-time for as long as it takes to get Judge Alito confirmed by the Senate.”
And I'm sure he'll be working with his GOP friends 24/7 to install his man on the bench. Sheldon is a complete nutcase. He's an advocate of "ex-gay" therapy, spouts junk discredited science, and it's no surprise that he ties gays to pedophilia whenever possible. This latest effort is no exception.


Homosexual activists deny that they target children for seduction into the homosexual lifestyle, but the evidence is overwhelming that this is a lie.

There is an ever-increasing effort among homosexual organizations to target public school children, to abolish age of consent laws, and to publish “studies” that purportedly show that adult/child sex is not harmful.


This is Lou's depiction of your average homo behavior.

The following reports provide clear and convincing proof that homosexual pedophiles (called pederasts) want children. Homosexuals should not be given special federal protections under “hate crime” laws; they should not be free to promote homosexuality in public schools; nor should they be allowed to marry or adopt children. Many homosexuals are sexual predators who prey on children.

* Exposed: Homosexual Child Molesters
* Exposed: Homosexual Urban Legend: NAMBLA And Homosexual Activism
* Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse
* Child Molestation And The Homosexual Movement
* Homosexuals Recruit Public School Children
* Pedophiles/Sex Torturers Seek Normalization
* Exposed: The Next Phase Of The Homosexual Movement...
It goes on, each article worse than the one before it. You have to be worried about this father of four children and the grandfather of nine, and for those that support him.

When you read the bigoted, non-reality-based thinking like that you have to wonder -- this what the mainstream of the Republican party wants to be associated with? These are the people on Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman's speed dial? I welcome the ability to tie them to people like Sheldon 24/7, if that's their desire.

Promo material for Lou's book: THE AGENDA describes how homosexual activists plan on recruiting your children into the lifestyle; how they’re undermining traditional marriage; and how they will eventually criminalize any public criticism of homosexual conduct. (It’s already happening in Canada where the gay agenda is well advanced.)
Our revenge, courtesy of Mike Tidmus:



Also see:
* Wingnut Lou Sheldon unhinged by 'Stealth Homosexual Hate Crimes Bill'
* Lou Sheldon and Tim Wildmon get their grooves on
* VA Victoria's Secret display freaks the AmTaliban

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Oops: Kentucky legislative aide hits 'Reply' instead of 'Forward'


Rep. Osborne has not responded to constituent Amanda McWane about his position on gay civil rights legislation.

Can we say d-u-n-c-e? (Advocate):
A Crestwood, Ky. accountant who asked her state representative to support gay and lesbian civil-rights legislation next year received a reply not from the lawmaker but from an aide, who mistakenly sent comments meant for the legislator to the constituent.

"This is one of those issues where it's safe to say 'Thanks for writing, I will consider your views' and not go too far about your personal beliefs," wrote Cheryl Long of the Legislative Research Commission and an aide to Rep. David Osborne, R-Prospect. "Seriously, these people really can get out of hand! ...This particular group is much worse than pro-lifers!"

"If you reply to Ms. Amanda, make sure you delete my e-mail!" Long said of answering the e-mail from Amanda McWane.

Then Long mistakenly hit "reply" instead of "forward," sending her comments to McWane and not to Osborne as Long intended.

McWane, 29, said Monday she had never tried to contact a politician until last week, when the Kentucky Fairness Alliance sent e-mails suggesting that supporters write lawmakers about civil rights protection for sexual orientation. "At that point, I didn't even know who my representative was," said McWane, who sent her e-mail to Osborne on Wednesday. "But it's a pretty important issue to me."

Long did not return calls seeking comment. LRC director Robert Sherman said the aide apologized to McWane upon realizing her mistake. She won't be punished. "She pushed the wrong button," Sherman said. "E-mail is a modern marvel, but if you're not careful, it can get you in a bit of a pickle."
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Freepers on Harry Reid, Gang of 14

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A little late getting this up, but not forgotten. The Freepi were squealing like little piggies, but full of bluster that the Dems were ineffective. It sounds more like they are trying to convince each other that all is still under control, as they pass the flask of Kool-Aid around.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has demonstrated contempt for even the semblance of civility by moving for a closed session of the Senate, without conferring with the GOP leadership. Such tactics are evidence of just how frustrated Democrats have become."

"Let em pull this stunt every day. They're playing along to the kooks who are now their party's base. If Reid wants to rewrite history, let him."

"I predict The Mother Of All Backfires."

"I'd pick this time to bring a bill to the floor on immigration. Right now.... And vote on it."

"What utter A-holes! The Democratic Party is collapsing."

"The Republicans should merely do a point of order, vote, and get this stunt over with. Of course --- the RINOs will want to "hear them out" and "discuss" --- which plays right into the Dim hands. The only reason they want a secret meeting is so they can claim "lies" and then when confronted say "it's secret." Total B.S."

"Frist said it well. Described them and their gutter tacticts to the T."

"Lets see if the Pres steps up and calls a press conference tonight...Important to send a message that this will not be tolerated..."

"GWB has escaped their traps and they can't stand it."

"They hope to stall the Senate until Sandra O'Connor falls off her chair at the SCOTUS."

"Frr once Id like the President capitalize on and call them out on these stunts. Its like we are the no-backbone party."

"Xackly! Frist will play it their way."

"Gosh, if they want to about the lead-up to the Iraq war, they're a little too late! We're already there! Rats iz soooo stoopit."

"The GOP should turn the investigation into that of the role of the CIA in running an operation against the administration in a time of war."

"If nothing else, Frist will do it because he wants to be of TV. What a loser."

"No worry. A "leak" will give the details of the session to the MSM."

"You said it! We have traitors in Congress and the gutless Rhinos that will not do anything. I agree: The President should go on the air and call it as it is: Treason - at time of War!"

"Un-freaking-believable... They should go to Roswell, and sit in the desert and have a slumber party and do each other's hair."

"You are right on it. Rush is correct. They want to impeach Bush. O'Reilly last week mentioned Rush and thought it ridiculous. He'll be proved wrong."

"Filthy traitors. They value their party over the counrty."

"Implement the nuclear option now and get it over with. Fight dirty time"

"Man, what a bunch of irrellevant folks... How did we as a nation get to a point where people I wouldn't trust to walk my dog are are Senators?"

"Yup. This is a step toward screaming for impeachment. And if they do that, expect the RINOs on the "Gang of 14" to vote in it's favor."

"What a bunch of temper tantrum throwing little girls these whiney Dimocrap loserist DimoGenerates are. Yes, Martha... They *are* that big a bunch of traitorous cowardly wussy liars, that would sink that low."

"GRANDSTANDING 101. The closed session is only so the demcRATS can get even more TV time than normal. They will drone on about things brought up in the closed to the press session that would have been of zero interest had the session been "open". They are freaking since no one is paying hommage to their drivel and it unnerves them. Then again when a Senator like Barbara Boxer opens her mouth, nothing more than sheer stupidity is on parade. That can't help there TV image. Please we want to hear from Boxer, again and again and again."
A little bonus for you, since the Dems showed some balls today, there is a bit of wariness about what will happen with the Alito nomination, given the Gang of 14 plan to meet to discuss strategy. The "Gang” is composed of 14 members of the Senate; John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike DeWine (R-OH), John Warner (R-VA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Ken Salazar (D-CO). They want to avoid the filibuster.

Why? Let it happen. What is the point of having a filibuster if you aren't going to use it? The Freepers want it shut down.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"If McCain pulls a power play here, I and a lot of other people are going to PO'd to the max."

"Perhaps the "Gang of 14" members can swap recipes while they caucus?"

"I can't believe Lindsey Graham would participate in this."

"Then you don't know much about John Edwards' and John McCain's little buddy."

"Yeah, something happened to the senator after he left the House and entered the Senate. Perhaps his shoes are too tight?"


"Lindsey Graham is one strange person."

"Graham's always been like that. He got a lot of conservative adulation for being an impeachment manager, but he's always been .... McCainish, we'll say."

"Perhaps the Republican participants can hand over their resumes. If they screw this up, they should get a nice opportunity to use them."

"I am very weary over 14 Senators meeting to decide the fate of a nominee. That is the job for the Judiciary Committee and then the FULL senate. There is no way that this little cabal should have this kind of clout. Maybe the democrats like operating this way, but these so called Republicans should be stripped and whipped on the floor of the Senate (figuratively speaking that is)."

"I'm tired of the Gang of 14. They are nothing but fence-riders. Next election will clear some of them out."

"This is the part of the 14 I don't get. If a judge was previously approved, how could he be considered extreme now? If he is extreme now, why wasn't he extreme for the lower courts? Why are they allowing extremist of any kind on the lower courts?"

"This "gang of 14" crap needs to be brought to an abrubt halt. The Rino's on that "gang" need to stripped of every committee seat they have and informed they can sit on Republican committee seats when they are sure they want to be Republicans."

"You are so right. I'd like to know the difference between a judge legislating from the bench and allowing 14 misrepresentatives to hijack the entire senate."

"McCain cannot vote to sustain a fillibuster on Alito, and then run for president in 2008. He would be finished instantly."

"I say blow it.. FIRE IN THE HOLE..."

"Just a thought.....McCain will use the "gang of 14" as his trump card to the '08 nomination. By having the "gang" prevent a filibuster, and obtaining an up or down vote for Alito, McCain will endear himself to the hearts of conservatives."

"perhaps. but also consider that McCain is out of favor with the conservative base, he could use this Alito thing to pivot on if he leads to stop the fillibuster. I guarantee that you will see alot of people here on FR with "new found respect" for McCain if he votes to break the fillibuster, and brings a couple of other Rs in the gang with him. its a way to make lemonade out of lemons for him."

"Actually I don't have a big problem with the gang of 14 as of yet. I guess I not too thrilled of the use of a filibuster for any old reason by either side. If they hold together on this then Alito gets confirmed. PEriod. It seemed to perform its function during the Roberts nomination."

"If Frist has the stones, he needs to go to each "gang" member and let them know that whatever committee they are on is gone from this moment forward. They will be put on the lowest committee possible until they realize that they are Republicans and not feudal lords. They should also find out that any and all pork projects for their people will be cut for "deficit reduction" until further notice. It's time to play hardball. It's time for Frist to drop a mini nuke and maybe that will let the democrats know that he is willing and able to drop the mother nuke."

"Unlikely, for two reasons. FIrst, Frist doesn't have the stones. Second, the seven (R) members of the Gang makes up one-eighth of all (R) senators - too many for him to pull a power play of that sort."

"This gang of 14 is nothing than a group of nuts that are trying to take over the nomination process. McNut is the traitor to the Republican Party and is a liberal CRAT. We should start the process of tossing him out of the party and exposing him so he will lose the next election."

"I'll say it again. 14 is a cover-up, Gang of 7 is the reality. These 7 are a 'gang', they have rebelled against their party and have an independent, mischievous agenda leading to build their own power. These 7 are negotiating with Democratic bank-rollers, through the senate Democrats, with these 7 being helpless surrogates. Acting president McCain and Lindsey, IMO have bit off more than they can chew. Lindsey can recover, but McCain is toast."

"If Frist has the stones, he needs to go to each "gang" member and let them know that whatever committee they are on is gone from this moment forward. They will be put on the lowest committee possible until they realize that they are Republicans and not feudal lords. They should also find out that any and all pork projects for their people will be cut for "deficit reduction" until further notice."


Bush bullsh*t cronyism: Rummy cashes in on bird flu vaccine


The Chimperor pontificates on how he will spend more tax dollars on no-bid contracts in an effort to head off a possible pandemic of deadly influenza. (AFP/Luke Frazza)

Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien discusses the latest circle jerk of cronyism coming out of this ethically bankrupt White House.

You know that little press conference the Chimp held today, outlining his "national strategy" to reduce the chance of a widespread outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu? It was supposed to be a distraction from that little Libby matter, but Bush's show was itself overshadowed by the Dems closed-door Senate power play.

Since you might have missed our dear leader's newsflash plan to combat the bird flu, let's take a look at the major points, which will cost the taxpayers $7.1 billion. (AP):
1. $1.2 billion to stockpile enough vaccine against the current H5N1 flu strain to protect 20 million Americans, the estimated number of health workers and other first-responders involved in a pandemic.

2. $1 billion for the drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, which can treat and, in some cases, prevent flu infection. Enough to treat 44 million people and prevent infection in 6 million others is headed for the federal stockpile. States were told to buy 31 million treatment courses, but Bush is funding only a quarter of the states' anticipated bill.

3. $2.8 billion to speed production of pandemic vaccines — including better-matched strains — by learning to manufacture them in easier-to-handle cell cultures, instead of today's slow method that relies on millions of chicken eggs.

4. $251 million for international preparations, including improving early-warning systems to spot human infections with novel flu strains.

5. $100 million for state preparations, including determining how to deliver stockpiled medicines directly to patients.

6. $56 million to test poultry and wild birds for H5N1 or other novel flu strains entering the U.S. bird population.

7. A call for Congress to provide liability protection for makers of a pandemic vaccine, which unlike shots against the regular winter flu would be experimental, largely untested.
Let's take a look at who stands to benefit from #2. Guess who has a stake in Tamiflu - Donald Rumsfeld.


Rumsfeld said he has recused himself from decisions involving avian flu prevention or treatment because he has stock in the company that developed the anti-viral medicine Tamiflu. (AFP/Getty Images/Win McNamee)

The blowhard defense secretary served as chairman for Gilead Research (which owns the rights to Tamiflu) from 1997 until 2001 when he joined the Bush admin. He still holds a stake in the company valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld (CNN/Money).

Since Tamiflu has been in the news as one of the few possible medications to address the possible pandemic, its stock has shot from $35 to $47 a share, enriching Rummy's already well-lined pockets by a cool million. Tamiflu is manufactured and marketed by Roche, and Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales of the med.

Have you heard anything about this little bit of business? I doubt that it was announced in the big Bush rollout today, and I know I haven't seen anything significant in the MSM about this latest Bush Crony Enrichment PlanTM. Did Rummy think of unloading these holdings to avoid the appearance of cronyism? Yeah, he thought about it...
As the flu issue heated up early this year, according to the Pentagon official, Rumsfeld considered unloading his entire Gilead stake and sought the advice of the Department of Justice, the SEC and the federal Office of Government Ethics.

Those agencies didn't offer an opinion so Rumsfeld consulted a private securities lawyer, who advised him that it was safer to hold on to the stock and be quite public about his recusal rather than sell and run the risk of being accused of trading on insider information, something Rumsfeld doesn't believe he possesses. So he's keeping his shares for the time being.
And he's keeping the cash too. Perhaps he can toss some of those profits into the kitty to fund more doses of vaccine for the poor.

Also see:
* No Child Left Behind: the Bush family cashes in too


Business group seeks to terminate employment of Oregon medical marijuana patients... just for being medical marijuana patients


Associated Oregon Industries (AOI) is a pro-business organization made up of Oregon companies and national companies with Oregon offices. Their mission is to lobby the Oregon legislature on issues that impact businesses. While we at Oregon NORML are supportive of Oregon's business community, we cannot ignore AOI's position regarding medical marijuana patients inthe workplace.

Simply put, AOI is fighting to grant Oregon employers the privilege of firing medical marijuana patients... solely for using their medicine!

This isn't about allowing medical marijuana patients to fire up their medical delivery device at the workplace. This issue stems from a court case, Washburn v. Columbia Forest Products, which is soon to be heard by the Oregon Supreme Court. Washburn, a registered medical marijuana patient since 1999, was fired from his job after testing positive for THC metabolites in his urine during a urine test.

As anyone familiar with marijuana policy can tell you, the active medicinal ingredient in cannabis is delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). Urine tests do not test for the presence of THC, but rather the metabolites a person's system produces in reaction to THC. These metabolites can remain present in a person's system for 3 to 30 days, well after any psychoactive or motor impairment -- and the actual THC -- has long since left the person's system.

Therefore, a patient who uses medical marijuana at night to calm the spasms of multiple sclerosis (like talk show host Montel Williams) so he can sleep peacefully could awaken the next day, fresh and sober, go into work, fail a urine test, and be fired that day. Or a cancer patient who uses medical marijuana once per week to deal with the nausea from her weekly chemotherapy sessions could fail the urine test next week and be out on the streets looking for work. Even a patient who uses medical marijuana only once a month for occasional pain faces the prospect of losing his job, just for using his legally prescribed pain medicine. Very few of Oregon's 11,000+ medical marijuana patients could ever pass an employer's urine test.

Can you imagine any pro-business organization fighting for an employer privilege to fire employees who test positive for any other legal medication in their urine? Why is AOI not demanding the privilege of employers to fire people who use OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, or Darvocet outside the workplace and on their own time?

AOI contends that the Washburn case has the potential of allowing medical marijuana patients to use their medicine immediately before work, and that employees will be facing "dangerous conditions" from working alongside cannabis-impaired patients. Such drug war hysteria has long since been debunked. Cannabis users, medical or not, have never been shown to have significantly higher incidents of accident, absenteeism, inefficiency, behavioral, or other problems in the workplace.

Of course, an impaired medical marijuana patient in the workplace is not what concerns AOI and their supporters; it's the functional, productive, gainfully-employed medical marijuana patient they fear. Businesses have invested a great deal of time and money in workplace drug testing regimens. Many businesses get deductions on their insurance premiums for enacting workplace drug testing programs. Also, drug testing programs allow businesses to legally discriminate against hiring a certain "type" of person (0ne who chooses cannabis over, say, a six-pack of beer after work) and to maintain an atmosphere of intrusion and control over the private lives of those they do hire.

How is a business going to justify a program to test an employee's urine for marijuana when all the employees work alongside a medical marijuana patient who is a productive, safe, efficient model employee? How will a company use the scare tactics of the marijuana user creating "dangerous conditions" in the workplace when the company's medical marijuana patient proves so obviously that scenario to be a lie? They can't -- and AOI knows it -- so they are willing to sacrifice the jobs of medical marijuana patients so the drug testing house of cards doesn't come tumbling down.

AOI has been fighting against medical marijuana for a long time now. In the last legislative session, they lobbied aggressively for bills that would grant employers the privilege of firing medical marijuana patients. Their allies in the Oregon Legislature added amendments to the recently-passed Senate Bill 1085 to give employers that very privilege -- amendments that were narrowly defeated by Oregon NORML and other medical marijuana-supporting organizations and our allies in the Senate.


Bob Knight loses his cookies over gay adoptions



Like clockwork, we can expect at least one homo-obsessive quote from Bob Knight each week. Here's his latest, courtesy of AgapePress.
A pro-family activist says people should be alarmed over the fact that Catholic Charities of Massachusetts is allowing homosexuals to adopt children. Catholic Charities has placed 13 children with homosexual couples over the past few years. Church leaders say they are just following state law.

But Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute disagrees with the action. "They have no business deliberately placing children in homosexual households just to please the state," he says. There are some Catholic Church leaders who support and praise the action. Knight wonders how the agency can place children in "motherless or fatherless households by design in which a sin is the central organizing principle of the household?" He says the church has to be held accountable for the adoptions. Many church members want their leaders to fight the law.
And what, exactly, does Bob want to do to punish the church for its sins?


Trent Lott wonders whether Karl should be booted



Ha ha ha ha ha. Damage control, what damage control? This is a GOP meltdown.

Lott is the first Republican to publicly question the wisdom of Karl Rove staying on. Others should be talking about it, given Time's Matt Cooper has now confirmed (and will testify) that Rove was his source that revealed the identity of Valerie Plame.

Lott let it fly with Chris Matthews on Hardball (via Raw Story).
MATTHEWS: Do you think it's a little unseemly to have svengali on the payroll? Do you think he should go?

LOTT: Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I said, you know, is he in the right position? I mean, a lot of the political advisors, in fact, most presidents in recent years have a political advisor in the White House. The question is, should they be, you know, making policy decisions. That's the question you've got to evaluate.


Losers, crybabies whine as Senate re-opens


Little Ricky, Cat Killer Frist and hang 'em high Lott whine because Harry shut them down. (AP)

(AP):
The Senate is now back in public session after more than two hours behind closed doors. The unusual private session was prompted by Democrats unhappy that Republicans haven't investigated intelligence used by the administration that led to the war in Iraq. Immediately after returning to public session, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts says Republicans have "agreed to do what we agreed to do."

Democrats charged they'd been asking for that investigation for a year, to no avail. That prompted their leader, Harry Reid, to force the Senate into an unusual closed session. He says Republicans "have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration."
Love this puking from WingnutDaily:
Speaking to reporters in the hall outside the Senate chamber, Majority Leader Bill Frist shot back, charging the Senate "has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership."

"They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas," he said. Frist said the Democratic Party leadership did not warn him in advance of the move, which Republicans called a "political stunt."

"It means from now on, for the next year and half, I can't trust Senator Reid," the Tennessee lawmaker said.
As if we could trust these clowns with picking up our garbage!?



Homo-hater Alaska Gov calls for amendment to block gay benefits


Murkowski and Dyson have a problem.

What sick bastards. The state already bars same-sex marriage, yet the mean SOB seeks to add another amendment to ban benefits for the same-sex partners of public employees. (Juneau Empire and AP):
Gov. Frank Murkowski and a Republican state senator are vowing to fight Friday's Alaska Supreme Court ruling by changing the state constitution.

Juneau resident Lin Davis, also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the response to the ruling is a step back in the struggle to give homosexual partners the same rights as married couples. "I think it really puts a mirror up to (Murkowski)," Davis said.

Alaska became the 12th state on Friday to offer same-sex benefits to partners of state employees when the court unanimously ruled that denying benefits violated the Alaska Constitution's equal protection clause.

Sen. Fred Dyson of Eagle River and the Department of Law already are drafting an amendment borrowing language from Ohio's constitution. It says: "No provision of this constitution shall be interpreted or applied so to require the state or its political subdivisions to extend or assign the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities or effects of marriage to any other union, partnership or legal status."

If the amendment passes through the Legislature next session, then the public would be asked to approve the change next year.
Thanks to Blender Michelle for the pointer.


Breaking: Dems trigger closed Senate session

A rarely-used rule to go into closed session has been invoked by Harry Reid, tossing out cameras and all non-essential staff from the Senate. Put on CNN if you can (article here). As Raw Story reports, specifically, the senator sought to discuss a Senate Select Committee on Inteligence report on the failure of Iraqi WMD intelligence.

Senator Harry Reid called it to force discussion on Libby, and how we got into the war in Iraq. Frist is outraged and called it a "slap in the face." All 100 Senators are called to the Senate floor, and they cannot use any electronic communications or cell phones.

This is a revolt, a showing of spine like we've not seen before, along with the brass balls that we thought were auctioned off.

Via Americablog, more on history of secret sessions:
Since 1929, the Senate has held 53 secret sessions, generally for reasons of national security.

* For example, in 1997 the Senate held a secret session to consider the Chemical Weapons Convention (treaty).
* In 1992, the Senate met in secret session to consider “most favored nation” trade status for China.
* In 1988, a session was held to consider the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and in 1983 a session was held on Nicaragua.
* In 1942, a secret session was held on navy plans to build battleships and aircraft carriers, and in 1943 a secret session was held on reports from the war fronts.

Six of the most recent secret sessions, however, were held during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
Harry Reid kicks ass.

You can read the speech here.


The Dark Wraith speaks...on the filibuster

Surf over to Big Brass Blog to read The Dark Wraith's post on "The Filibuster, the Quorum, and the Nuclear Exchange."

It's a nice breakdown of the mechanics we will see in the Alito fight. DW's commentary:
If the nomination of Samuel Alito comes to the full Senate, and if it looks like the Republican leadership has the votes to confirm him, the Democrats should filibuster. If the Republicans pull out their "nuclear option" and end the right of filibuster on Executive Branch nominations to the judiciary, then the Democrats should all walk out, save for one Senator who demands that a quorum be proved instead of being merely assumed by the Majority Leadership. Any Democrat who doesn't honor the denial of quorum walk-out gets kicked out of the Party and forced either to go Independent or to join the Republicans. It doesn't matter how powerful that Democrat is; as soon as he's no longer a Democrat, hang around his neck the label "Republican," and make everyone in America know that this is just another one of the fiscally reckless, ethically bankrupt members of the GOP who couldn't keep a federal budget balanced, who couldn't keep terrorists from knocking down our buildings, and who couldn't resist lying through their teeth to the American people so they could start a useless, savage, endless war for the benefit of pumping federal money by the hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of their corporate cronies.

In other words, let the loss for the Democrats of this Supreme Court nomination fight be the training ground where they not only learn how to fight like they want the country back, but where they also learn how to kill their own weaklings to get it back.


Libby: a sick f*ck just like the rest of the conservative 'moralists'

I love Shakes Sis. She writes so succintly and bluntly. Today she posts on indicted Cheney bootlicker Scooter Libby's 1996 novel, The Apprentice, which, not surprisingly, embodies the sick, vile things that go on in the conservative mind.

Here's a snippet from "What the hell is wrong with conservatives?", with an incredible paragraph from Scooter's novel:
At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.
What kind of mind comes up with this shit, dreams up scenarios where children are raped by animals to train them in prostitution? Oh, right. A conservative one. One that has toiled under a lifetime of repression, and spent its time dreaming up legislation designed to control the sexual freedom of women and gays. It isn’t enough that men like Scooter Libby must repress their own sexualities; they have to oppress anyone who doesn’t succumb to exhortations to do the same.

They like to say that the sexual liberation of women and gays has some alleged detrimental affect on society, but I don’t see it. What I do see is a collection of perverts whose own sickness pours out of them given the slightest opportunity, and whose fervent belief yet that they are the moral ones encourages them to create a whole other generation of screwed-up people, as they legislate the promotion of abstinence, repression, in sex ed classes.
Also see:
* Condi, 'ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington
* our friends that made it into The Conservative Values Monitor


Other AmTaliban on the White House Alito Batphone

The NYT confirms more of the wingnuts that were consulted in advance of the Alito announcement (remember, the Senate was left out of the loop). Among the usual suspects ("close conservative allies"), signing off on the pick:


* Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention


* Paul Weyrich, Free Congress Foundation


* Jerry Falwell
Dobson isn't mentioned in this article, but you know he was working this nomination from the start. Yesterday, I posted about fringe group Concerned Women for America getting the call to provide a thumbs up for the Administration. Homo-obsessed, penis-possessing CWA leader Bob Knight was most certainly happy to be in on things. Tony Perkins and his outfit are getting hard-ons thinking about the political battle ahead. I'm sure he was on the Batphone as well.
The Family Research Council, a Christian conservative group, said it would begin running television advertisements with a religious theme in the states of potentially pivotal senators. Tony Perkins, president of the organization, said he also planned a special broadcast to churches and Christian radio and television networks as well.


"The air went out of everything a month ago," Mr. Perkins said, because of conservative doubts about Ms. Miers. "Now everything is getting inflated again."

Social conservatives have been campaigning for decades to turn around Supreme Court decisions about abortion rights, prayer in the schools, obscenity and, most recently, gay rights, Mr. Perkins said, so the chance to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the swing vote on the court, with a proven conservative has been "decades in the making." He added, "We are ready to rumble."


Wingers in Texas getting nasty as amendment vote nears

Cherry Blossom Girl over at Live Journal posted this.
Found in my father's car: he told me someone went up to his car while he was getting out of his driveway and threw this in the window. (Click to enlarge).

This crap is being passed out because of the marriage amendment battle going on in Texas. It's on the ballot next week (11/8), and it would block gay and lesbian couples from marrying and prevent civil unions. The Right is desperate, and so now you see bullsh*t tactics like the above.

And in the news today, a young man was beaten in Brownsville, TX, simply because he has gay friends.

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
* Now here is a brave straight ally in Texas
* Texas gays denounce marriage amendment with ad

Thanks to Blender Val for the pointer.


Scalia's mini-me

Love it. From the Blend's favorite P'shop wizard Mike Tidmus:





More fun in the Blend mailbag

I'm not feeling well today, so posting will be light. I did, however, want to pass on some mail that you should enjoy.

Feel free to blogwhore and go off-topic.

First, from a "fan" that read about my post on a book about Sundown Towns, which are municipalities that purposely ran blacks that had the misfortune to want to live in them out of town with physical intimidation, arson, restrictive ordinances and violence. [By the way, Highland Park, Texas -- home to both Chimpy and Darth -- did not have a home-owning black family until 2003.]
Subject: website
From: uclavol1



I stumbled on your site looking for an all white town in hopes there was some left. So many of us are so tired of you people complaining about everything under the sun. You and your race are the reason we don't want to be around you. We seek segragation. You actually think that this country would be anything without the whites? Our brains, leadership, and foresight is what continues to make this country and every other country work. There are some countries that your people are in charge of, all in Africa. Look at the shape they are in. That says it all.

Be grateful you can be in the U.S., and have the idiotic lifestyle you have. Thank goodness your way of thinking is among a small minority.
I didn't even respond to that numnut.

And here's a bigot offended by our wedding. Apparently they don't like homo race-mixing (it's not like we're actually procreating, which is the usual "logic" behind this nonsense):
From: Windrider45
Subject: Visited Your Site



I just visited your website and noticed a "wedding picture" of you and your "wife". After initially being pleased that there was another intelligent African-American voice being aired in cyber-space, this pleasure quickly turned to irritation and honest disgust upon seeing whom you decided to marry.

People like you I just do not understand. So proud in ones heritage but marries outside the race. Priceless.
Next up is a letter from a Mormon that was upset with my post, Head of Mormon church: "Gays have a problem" because it described the fact that the church unfortunately played a role in practice of "reparative aversion therapy" to rid gay Mormons of their homosexual orientation.

The LDS is not directly affiliated with organizations like Evergreen that performed the "therapy", but it did refer unhappy gays to "services" designed to "help" them so that they would straighten up -- and not have to face rejection by the family and the church. [An MTV documentary featured the story of Jayce, who wanted so badly to "de-gay" himself that he submitted himself to electrical shock treatments administered to his genitals.] The church has made public statements distancing itself from these kinds of places recently, but it's impossible to corroborate whether the practice continues.
Subject: In response
From: "Stacey"

I have just read your take on my beloved prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley and his teachings on homosexuality.

I have an uncle who is gay, and have met a few friends in my life who are gay. As mormons we believe they are fantastic people who have used their god-given agency in this life to choose as they will. We believe it to be a wrong choice, but only God will have the ability to punish. Our church simply tries to help people make correct choices before they stand before God's judgement seat - which we all will have to do someday. I think almost every religion believes in that, so why is this so shocking to everyone?

I have never heard of the shock therapy written of on your site and yet I have lived in Utah my entire life. My husband is also a part-time student at BYU. I believe you have gotten your information from a very unreliable source.

I have also heard people think mormons have horns like goats and that we practice polygamy. Both are also false.
I have only one other thing to say and that is that I am saddened that you will never know the love our prophet has for the world. When terrible floods and earthquakes and all sorts of natural disasters are happening around the world, it is wonderful to be a part of such a marvelous religion. We have programs helping so many needy parts of the world. All we teach is love and all we get from people like you is an incredibly uneducated response. I dare you to read the Book of Mormon. Pray to God asking if its true. You will never have the same opinion of us again. That is a promise.
BTW, I never said anything about Mormons and goat-like horns.