An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Can the earth just open up and swallow these folks?

Saturday, December 31, 2005

On January 8 there will be yet another "Justice Sunday" and this time the wingnuts are calling their little revival "Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land." They will commisserate to see how to stop the Homosexual AgendaTM, woman who dare to think they have control of their wombs, or any organizations that promote the idea that the separation of church and state are, well, a good thing.

I know that there aren't any earthquakes in Philly, but I could hope for a selectively timed fissure in the earth's surface... (365gay):
Saying Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito would uphold "traditional marriage" religious conservatives announced a nationwide satellite broadcast to churches and homes on the eve of Alito's Senate confirmation hearings.

The program will originate at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

Scheduled speakers include U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa), Rev. Jerry Falwell and James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

Santorum who has White House aspirations in 2008 is one of the sponsors of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Falwell and Dobson are longtime opponents of LGBT civil rights.


Daddy Dobson on the sexes

Friday, December 30, 2005

I sullied my father-in-law's laptop by surfing over to Daddy Dobson's site to see this hilarious article about the differences between men and women and how it affects marital tranquility. I had to pull a couple of quotes out, but there are plenty of gems in this article.
It is important to understand some of the other ways men and women are unique if we hope to live together in harmony. Genesis tells us that the Creator made two sexes, not one, and that He designed each gender for a specific purpose. Take a good look at male and female anatomy and it becomes obvious that we were crafted to "fit" together. This is not only true in a sexual context but psychologically as well. Eve, being suited to his particular needs, was given to Adam as "help-meet." How unfortunate has been the recent effort to deny this uniqueness and homogenate the human family! It simply won't square with the facts.

...In functions, women have several very important ones totally lacking in man—menstruation, pregnancy, lactation. All of these influence behavior and feelings. The same gland behaves differently in the two sexes--thus woman's thyroid is larger and more active; it enlarges during pregnancy but also during menstruation; it makes her more prone to goiter, provides resistance to cold, and is associated with the smooth skin, relatively hairless body, and thin layer of subcutaneous fat, which are important elements in the concept of personal beauty. It also contributes to emotional instability--she laughs and cries more easily.
***

We're on the road tomorrow, so no posting for a while.


Bob Knight on Barbie and gender confusion



Penis-possessing Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute has been surfing the Barbie web site and is investigating the promotion of gender confusion -- and no doubt deviance and perversion while Mattel is at it.
The iconic Barbie Doll has become another tool for promoting gender confusion among children. On the Barbie Web site, www.Barbie.com, there is a poll that asks children their age and sex. The age choices are 4-8, but as Bob Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute, notes children are given three options for their choice of gender. Click here to listen.
While we're on the topic of CWA, Holly passed this gem on from The Revealer on the CWA's Evangelical Women of the Year...

Special honors ought to go to Leslee Unruh, president of Abstinence Clearinghouse, who managed to make the list despite an almost hallucinatory fear of condoms. There are plenty of thoughtful, articulate champions of abstinence, but Unruh -- who boasts of her White House access and her organization's Centers for Disease Control partnership -- is not one of them. When I interviewed her last year, she kept veering off message -- responsible abstinence -- to whisper and shout about the condoms that haunt her: “Condoms on bananas," she moaned, her voice raising. "Captain Condom! Condom relay races!” Even on vacation at Mt. Rushmore, she told me, she could not escape them. She claims she found a machine in the women’s room that told her “seven perfect ways” to put on a rubber.
Related:
* Abstinence guru upset that contraceptives are reducing teen pregnancies


500,000 Blenders served!



The House Blend has been brewing fresh java since July 2004, and last night our 500,000th visitor stopped by for a cup a joe!

There was a big spike in visits over the last couple of days because of the "AFA is going after NBC" post, so it went over the top sooner than I thought it would.

Thanks all for an early Happy New Year's fete for the coffeehouse!


Morons

Thursday, December 29, 2005

There are just too many morons in the U.S. Is there any hope when we have a sizable number of VOTING citizens that have not only have consumed the Kool-Aid, but they added hallucinogens to the mix? (P.R. Newswire):
More than four years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, many U.S. adults still believe some of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq, which have now been discredited, according to a new Harris Poll. For example:

-- Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein had "strong links to Al Qaeda."
-- Twenty-two percent (22%) of adults believe that Saddam Hussein "helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11."
-- Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults believe that Iraq "had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded."
-- Twenty-four percent (24%) of all adults believe that "several of the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11 were Iraqis."
This is almost f*cking hopeless. I have to agree with Jill of Brilliant at Breakfast:
Now, these numbers hovering around 25% are the solid core of Bush supporters -- the women who wish they could be his Monica Lewinsky, the Christofascists who think he's one of them, the people who, like George W. Bush, can't admit that they were wrong, and those still so fear-crazed about Scary Arab Men that they can't see they have more to fear from the dictatorial ambitions and the sheer ineptitude of the current Administration. But still -- one in four people still believing this is pretty damn scary.
Related:
* Pensito Review: Is Bush Worship a Cult? If So, Over 100 Million Americans Are Under Its Sway


Why can't these losers just leave Austin alone?

The bible-beaters cannot keep their grubby hands off of one of the few islands of tolerance in the Lone Star State. The wingers have begun a push to force the University of Texas at Austin to stop the funding of its campus LGBT center.

Laughably, one of the groups involved is the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, which is whining that the school excludes the "ex-gay movement." What balls. (365gay):

The state funded university gives the Gender and Sexuality Center $80,000 a year. The center offers counseling and other services to LGBT students. It also includes a campus's women's resource center, dealing with issues such as rape, harassment and domestic violence.

Christian political action groups that spearheaded the move to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage are pressuring the university to stop allowing student fees to go to the center.

The fees are collected by the student government which then allocates the funds. The UT Board of Regents has the power to overrule the use of the money.

The conservative groups say that students opposed to homosexuality should not be forced to fund the center.


Praying for this 'must-see' TV

Jeremy of Good As You has big news. He put out the bait to "ex-gays" by challenging a few to come forward and agree to appear on 700 Club to take a lie detector test with him.

Jeremy only has one question to ask: "Are you a homosexual?"

Cross Ministry's Tim Wilkins stepped up to the plate and responded.

Check it out.


Quiz: how well do you know your blogmistress?

This is just a little fun quiz, something to do while I'm out of town. Some are easy, some are more difficult, but all the information has been mentioned on my web site or the blog before. Knock yourselves out. I'll be lurking and checking in from time to time. :)

1. What city was your blogmistress born in? Bonus: at what hospital?

2. Name two favorite films of your blogmistress (there are several correct answers)

3. What city was your blogmistress and her wife married in?

4. What was the name of bed and breakfast they stayed at while in that city?

5. What NY high school did your blogmistress attend?

6. What well-known author was one of her English teachers?

7. What is the name of the sibling of your blogmistress?

8. Which are true?
a. Your blogmistress had an afro in the 70s
b. Your blogmistress has a motorcycle
c. The father of your blogmistress is a black Republican

9. Your blogmistress has had three Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs as pets over the years. What are their names?

10. In what state did your blogmistress encounter the F*cking Flying Roach (FFR) below?


I'll post the answers on Sunday, once we're back in town.


Bad idea



This was a bad idea, even though it made the fundies freak out. What were they thinking?
A wine called "Jesus Juice" that includes a label with the image of a Michael Jackson look-alike in a Christ-like position on a cross will not be marketed, now that the California media power couple behind the effort has decided to abandon the idea.

As WorldNetDaily previously reported, "Jesus Juice" merlot was the pet project of actress Dawn Westlake and veteran CBS Evening News producer Bruce Rheins, who covered the Michael Jackson child molestation case.
I hate to break it to them, but MJ is bad for any business.


Off to Birmingham

Wednesday, December 28, 2005



Kate and I are driving to Alabama today (we return late Saturday). I'm taking my laptop, but I don't know how much online time I'll have to post.

We're going to try to hook up for lunch with Kathy from Birmingham Blues on Friday, so that will add one more cool blogger (and Blender) that I will get a chance to meet offline. :)


The AFA is going after NBC now

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Tim and Don are on the wingnut warpath.

[Welcome Buzzflash readers...]

Damn, Don and Tim Wildmon have burrs up their pious asses. Now they have decided NBC needs thirty lashes for daring to air a series that has an openly gay male character. -- gee, where was the American Family Association during "Will and Grace" (or "Love, Sidney" for that matter)? Everyone that serves as a Nielsen household needs to tune in just to spite these haters.

The real controversy should be that the gay character is a Republican...in all seriousness, this organization is on my last nerve.
The American Family Association is urging its members to flood NBC with letters denouncing the network's new series "The Book of Daniel" which will feature primetime's only openly gay male character in a new show.

The series is planned to debut January 6 at 9:00 pm E/P time. "The Book of Daniel" stars Aidan Quinn (“An Early Frost”) as the Reverend Daniel Webster (pictured) an unconventional Episcopalian minister who not only believes in Jesus - he actually sees him and discusses life with him.

His children include Peter (Christian Campbell, “Trick”), a 23-year-old gay son, who struggles with the loss of his twin brother. To confound matters even more, Peter is a Republican.
OK, now look at some of the rest of the characters in the show; why, might you wonder is the gay character the particular focus of the AFA's ire.
Webster's daughter, Grace (Alison Pill, “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”), is 16-year-old daughter who just happens to be a drug dealer. Then there's the 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter, and Webster's wife who is "addicted to martinis". Webster's secretary is a lesbian who is sleeping with his sister-in-law. The character is only one of a handful of lesbian characters on TV this season..
The tipping point for the Wildmons seems to be that -- gasp -- the show's writer, Jack Kenny, is gay. Good god, do they have a clue how many queers work behind the scenes in Hollywood?
Network hype – and the mainstream media – call it "edgy," "challenging" and "courageous." The hour-long limited drama series will debut January 6 with back-to-back episodes and will air on Friday nights. The writer for the series is a practicing homosexual.
Here is the petition letter that the AFA is urging its followers to send to NBC Chairman Bob Wright and Robert Liodice, President of the Association of National Advertisers (the AFA is also threatening to target the show's sponsors).
Dear Chairman Wright:

I am disappointed that NBC has decided to air "The Book of Daniel." I know that AFA will keep us posted on which companies desire to underwrite this program.

We are told in Hebrews that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Obviously you don't believe that. It would be beneficial to all if NBC showed a little more respect for Christians who believe the Bible.

I ask you to inform all NBC affiliates, in writing, (according to your testimony before a Congressional hearing last year) they are not required to air this program if they choose not to.
Can someone send the Wildmons and their knuckle-draggers the f*cking remote? I am so tired of these people. DON'T WATCH IT. There are plenty of Christian and family channels on cable. Or better yet, switch the f*cker off and read a book, you know -- The Good Book you keep beating us over the head with.

If Wright or Liodice have any balls, they should publicly flip the bird to these people, like the good folks at Kraft.

You can go to the AFA petition, replace the text and send your own counter message to Wright and Liodice. Here is the NBC contact info as well.

Bob Wright, Chairman
NBC
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY  10112
Primary Phone: 212-664-4444
Fax: 212-489-7592
E-Mail: Bob Wright, NBC

Association of National Advertisers
708 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-4270
ph: 212.697.5950 - fax: 212.661.8057
Email: Robert Liodice

NOTE: They will likely put up spam filters at some point, so the most effective way to get the messages to them will be by fax.

Also on the AFA hit list:
* Mattel (American Girl Dolls)
* Ford
* Proctor & Gamble
* Kraft
* Disney
* Kodak
* Wal-mart
* Kroger
* Target
* Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot
* Rick Santorum (ha!)
* Condoms
* Israel

The American Family Association needs to be taken down.

As you'll recall, John at AmericaBlog rounded up some kick-ass information about the AFA and its news outlet AgapePress during the Ford debacle. These are tidbits, that Bob Wright and the rest of the heads of of these corporations need to see in emails and faxes to them. Is this the kind of organization they need to be bowing and scraping to?

This is an extremist organization, a fringe group of people that will accept nothing less than a rollback of the cultural clock to their fantasy of a "moral" society. It looks like a nightmare to any thinking person that looks at the filth the AFA puts its reputation behind:
Does a "Jewish upbringing" lead to a life of crime?
In the March issue of American Family Association Journal, a publication of Donald E. Wildmon's right-wing evangelical activist group, the American Family Association (AFA), author Randall Murphree suggested that a Jewish upbringing leads to hatred of Christians, and by extension, a criminal lifestyle.

Were gays the real evil behind the Holocaust?
Scott Lively, California chapter director of the AFA, is co-author of a book titled, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality and the Nazi Party, in which he claims that “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” Lively makes explicit links between his claims about the Nazi party and the modern gay equal rights movement, claiming that “From the ashes of Nazi Germany, the homo-fascist phoenix has arisen again, this time in the United States.”

Is Europe "infested" with Muslims who breed "faster than we do"?
"The problem we have with Europe is that [it] is infested with the Muslim population. The reason why is because they multiply at a much faster rate than we do," she says. "When we Christians get married, we have two, three, maybe four children -- after they're born, we start thinking about what college we're going to send them to, what education we're going to give them. The Muslims, on the other hand, are allowed to marry up to four wives at a time," she says, noting that terrorist Osama bin Laden had 27 children.

Is AIDS a "gay plague"?
Some time ago, you see, Thacker called AIDS "the gay plague," which everyone knows but no one will admit, particularly homosexuals and their friends in the Bush Administration.

Are gays responsible for the "end of times"?
The president of one pro-family group feels the battle in Massachusetts over legalizing homosexual marriage is a clear example of the struggle between good and evil as the end times approach.

Are Muslim-Americans trying to "take over our cities"?
Muslim newcomers are engaging in what area realtors call "block busting." In other words, he says, "They came in, paid outrageously high prices for some of our homes that you wouldn't give $20,000 for, paying 60 and 70 thousand, which then entrenched a number of [Muslim families] on every block." Golen believes this is part of a "concerted effort" on the part of Muslims to use their financial power take over the city, and he says, "they're doing a heck of a job because nobody's standing up to them."

Are gays "deviants"?
"...an immoral, deviant lifestyle."

Are gays a "public health" threat?
The comments of David P. Smith, M.D.: "As a family physician, I’ve seen first-hand the devastation that homosexuality brings into the lives of patients that have chosen to live this way.... To promote homosexuality and even consider the sanctioning of it through “marriage” is irresponsible and is a danger to the public health of the entire country, spiritually and physically."

Do Jews control Hollywood?
The AFA Journal has long served as a platform for anti-Semitic theories and innuendo. For instance, Wildmon warned of Jewish control over popular culture, an old anti-Semitic canard, in a January 1989 article, "What Hollywood Believes and Wants." "The television elite are highly secular," Wildmon wrote. "The majority (59 percent) in the Jewish faith." In a separate article in the same issue, titled "Anti-Semitism Called a Serious Problem," Wildmon, a longtime opponent of gay rights, pointedly remarked that "Jews favor homosexual rights more than other Americans."

Are gays diseased perverts who die early? [I added this outrageous clip.]
Wildmon pointed to health statistics which estimate that 30% of all twenty-year-old homosexual males will be HIV-positive or dead of AIDS by the time they are 30. Similarly, in a study published in Oxford University's International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that, at age 20, the life expectancy of homosexual and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.
Click here for more Pam's House Blend.


Headline of the day


Satan (aka Roy Lee Henson) looks a couple of pancakes short of a stack.

Naked 'Satan' Injures Fla. Sheriff's Deputy. At least they put Satan in quotes, lest it get the fundies riled up, I suppose.
A naked man in Lake County, Fla., claiming to be Satan was arrested after he threatened to kill a sheriff's deputy and then injured the man in a neighborhood street, according to a police report.

Officers responded to complaints of a naked man screaming in the streets Monday in the area of Wall Street and Grant Avenue in Eustis, Fla.

When deputies arrived, they found Roy Lee Henson walking with his boxer shorts around his ankles and screaming wildly, according to the report. Henson then lunged at a sheriff's deputy, the report said. Backup officers arrived and took Henson into custody as the man screamed he was Satan.

The sheriff's deputy suffered minor injuries when he was kicked during the struggle with Henson, according to the report. Henson has been booked into the Lake County Jail on $10,000 bond.


What is up with Haloscan?

[UPDATE: It was Road Runner's DNS to blame, though it took three techs to get to the bottom of it.]

It appears some of you can comment but I can't, which is odd. I cannot even resolve www.haloscan.com.


Tagged: the Seven Times Seven Meme

Coturnix of Science and Politics tagged me with the Seven Times Seven Meme. I also see that I was tagged by Guy (am I on someone's hit list?), so here it goes folks...

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
* figure out how to make the perfect pound cake (every time)
* find my true calling so that I can make the world a better place before I pass
* win/earn enough money and leisure time to do the following:
* a long, restorative trip to Hawaii (I've been twice, to Oahu and The Big Island, but the trips were too short)
* travel the U.S. cross-country by car
* travel to the great cities of the world
* see the pyramids in Egypt
* stay healthy enough to enjoy doing all of the above

Seven Things I Cannot Do
* sing (well)
* sit through funerals without falling asleep
* live where it is cold (<40 degrees) most of the year
* live where it is more humid than NC (this is all I can take)
* write as well as my brain computes
* sky dive (no way, no how)
* play competitive sports (my softball and tennis skills suck now)

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging
* I have a place to rant about the horrible man occupying the White House and the goons in power
* the fact that my rants actually found an audience that can chime in and give feedback
* it is a community of ordinary folks whose humorous, eclectic and brilliant voices from all over I would never engaged with
* I can do it in my jammies (sometimes)
* you can't see me when I'm in my jammies and striped socks, typing away
* I learn so much from other bloggers
* I have been able to make enough Benjamins to pay for the hosting :)

Seven Things I Say Most Often
* that's heinous
* Who wants a biscuit?
* You're the sweetest/No, you're the sweetest
* you've got to be f*cking kidding
* Who's monitoring the Beavis? (to Bailey)
* Hey baby
* Hello children (to the dogs)

Seven Books That I Love
Oy, this is hard, too many choices.
* Angela's Ashes
* The Celluloid Closet
* Cult Movies (1-3)
* The Warhol Diaries
* Blood Done Sign My Name
* Bush on the Couch
* Harriet the Spy (had to put on a favorite from childhood)

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
* The Sixth Sense
* Citizen Kane
* Singing in the Rain
* Glory
* The Manchurian Candidate (first one)
* The Best Years of Our Lives
* Fame

Seven People I Want To Join In Too
* Russ
* Ms. Julien
* Jill
* Blogenfreude
* Kathy
* Robust McManly Pants
* Arse Poetica


Spanish official steps down over same-sex marriage

See ya, loser. Let me take out my tiny violin for you, nah, you're not worth it... (Daily Mail):
A Spanish justice of the peace has resigned, saying he found it "morally impossible" to register gay weddings, which have been legal since July.

"I submit my resignation as I find it morally impossible for me to marry homosexual couples, and therefore I could not apply that law, Antonio Alonso, a justice of the peace in Pinto outside the capital Madrid, said. Mr Alonso said the law "was made for those who accepted gay marriages, while those who don't must resign their posts".

Mr Alonso refused in October to marry a gay couple, and appealed to Spain's constitutional court, which said earlier this month that civil registrars did not have the right to lodge a case on constitutional issues.
For my Canadian Blenders, a question for you -- have you seen much press about significant numbers of marriage commissionaires stepping down or refusing to perform same-sex weddings?

***

While we're on Spain, I thought I'd pass this nugget on. Apparently a radio station was running a smear campaign against pro-gay Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero because of his legalization of same-sex marriage. That's no surprise. The kicker is that the station is owned by the Spanish Bishops' Conference. How pious and Christian of them. Nice to know they have their priorities in order; I'm sure it was Ratzi-approved.
A radio station owned by Spain's bishops has apologized to Spain and Bolivia for alleging that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was a Communist and that he was was organizing an axis that would include Cuba and Venezuela.

An on air personality at Cope Radio, pretending to be Zapatero, called the incoming president of Bolivia, Evo Morales to try to implicate him in the bogus report. After congratulating Morales on his election victory the broadcaster said, "We are sincerely happy that you are triumphantly joining the new order that we wish to set up in Spain and Latin America, Evo."

Cope is owned by the Spanish Bishops' Conference, which has been on a campaign to discredit Zapatero following the passage of same-sex marriage legislation. Prior to passage of the bill this summer the bishops organized an anti-gay rally in downtown Madrid. More than 500 busses carried people to the demonstration from throughout the country.
The bishops also encouraged local authorities not to recognize gay marriages, which would explain Antonio Alonso's behavior in the first piece.


Tax dollars at work

GOP Investigated Pres. Clinton’s Cat But Only Plans ‘Oversight’ on Pres. Bush’s Admitted Illegal Spying. Yes. it's true. Surf over to the Pensito Review for the mind-blower.


Little Ricky has the AFA dogs nipping at his ass



Rick Santorum's curiously evolving position on "intelligent design" has caught the eye of our friends at the very busy American Family Association (Pennsylvania wingnut chapter). The Senator, who is seeking re-election, has been backpedaling away from his support of the ID ever since the Dover Area School District deep-sixed its unconstitutional intelligent design policy.

The York Daily Record noted Little Ricky's past crystal-clear endorsement of ID.
A year ago today, an editorial by Santorum praising Dover's intelligent design policy appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I commend the Dover Area School District for taking a stand and refusing to ignore the controversy," he wrote. Dover school officials were so pleased that they printed the piece in a newsletter sent out to district residents.
But as Ricky's poll numbers dropped like a stone, he seemed to have a change of heart.
... In August, after President Bush said he supported teaching intelligent design in science class, Santorum said he didn't agree. Rather, he said he supports "teaching the controversy" over evolutionary theory.

"As far as intelligent design is concerned, I really don't believe it has risen to the level of a scientific theory at this point that we would want to teach it alongside of evolution," the Pennsylvania senator said during an NPR interview in August.
Well, that didn't sit well with the AFA, which blasted Little Ricky in its press release.
Senator Rick Santorum's agreement with Judge John Jones' decision concerning the Dover Area School District's policy pertaining to Evolution and Intelligent Design is yet another example of why conservatives can no longer trust the Senator, a statewide traditional values group said today.



..."Senator Santorum has been backwatering on this issue since August when he stated he did not believe Intelligent Design should be taught in the classroom. The Senator is missing the mark - Dover was not requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design only the reading of a one-minute statement. Senator Santorum has said he believes teachers should have the freedom to mention Intelligent Design, yet Judge Jones' decision forbids this, making the Senator's agreement with the Judge even more troubling," stated Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA.
Related:
* The Moderate Voice: Sen. Rick Santorum Wins Plastic Wrap Political Transparency Of The Year Award 2005
* Get out the tiny violin for Dover, PA wingnuts
* Dover, PA, votes the IDIOTS off the School Board
* Pennsylvania wingnuttery reigns supreme

Hat tip, Santorum Exposed, via PageOneQ.


Holiday pickings

Monday, December 26, 2005

If you missed getting that last gift, consider this perfect selection to prepare your loved one for the events sure to occur in 2006, courtesy of Perrspectives.



Jon Perr says, "By the way, the current Conservative Threat Level is Orange/Elevated: Church and State to Merge."

***

And while we're on the Terror Alert motif, why not pimp Russ's fine variety of swag:



***

And there's nothing like a good New Year's limerick, courtesy of Mad Kane.

Auld Lang Impeachment -- Song Parody (Sing to Auld Lang Syne)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Bush/Cheney's wrongs won't be forgot.
Each one we'll keep in mind.
These evil men must be locked up
For all their many crimes.

They spied on U.S. citizens.
They lied us into war.
And now it's time for righteous folk
To shove them out the door.

They both abused our Bill of Rights.
Took money from the poor.
Said up was down and black was white.
They are evil to the core.

They plundered our great nation's wealth.
They've terrorized our land.
Impeach George Bush and Cheney too.
It is time to take a stand.

Even better, hear her sing it.


Stephen Harper's same-sex marriage attack has gay community on alert


Mike Tidmus

Canadian Conservative nut Stephen Harper's opening salvo in his campaign was to say that if the Conservatives returned to power it would be a priority for the government would allow a free vote in the Commons on restoring the traditional definition of marriage.

As you can imagine, this has many in the gay community angry, after a hard-fought battle to win marriage equality. (CP):
"The initial (reaction) was total paranoia in my circles," said Michael Hendricks, a Montreal gay-rights activist who married his longtime partner Rene Lebeouf in 2004. The issue dominated discussion among the couple's friends for days, until logic prevailed.

"Somebody finally had the intelligent idea to remember that Harper isn't elected yet," said Hendricks. "That seemed to secure everybody. They quieted down and the subject hasn't come up again. Just that one shot."

For Vancouver's gay community, Harper's words are very much a live issue. Jim Deva, co-owner of the controversial Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium, says Harper made the comments early in the campaign for good reason - namely to shore up support among gay marriage opponents while hoping the broader electorate simply forgets the issue by election day.

"I see it as our job, the (gay) community's job, to just keep bringing the issue forward, that this is a constitutional challenge," said Deva. "This isn't just about marriage, this is about what the Constitution means to you."

While Harper, if elected, would allow a free Commons vote on the definition of marriage, he promised not to challenge the 3,000 gay marriages already in place in Canada nor invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to overturn the law. "I assume it means he's written off the gay community," Anton Wagner, a documentary filmmaker, said while sitting in the Toronto coffee shop with Kerr.
Well, maybe up north of the border he'd lose the gay vote; here he'd still manage to get 20-25% of it, as Bush did.

Thanks to Blender Cat for the pointer.


GOP begging Trent Lott to run again


Democrat Moore may mow down Repug Pickering if Trent decides to retire.

Novakula has a column up, GOP's Control of South Is No Sure Bet, that examines the fallout if Mississippi Senator Trent Lott decides to retire -- or try for a fourth Senate bid. There is a strong possibility that the seat could be won by a Democrat if Lott retires, which has the Republicans in Mississippi in a tizzy. Novak thinks this could represent a shift in political tides in the South, but I'm not so sure.
But in Mississippi, prominent Republicans are worried sick. They believe Lott will probably retire. If so, they expect the new senator will be a Democrat, former State Attorney General Mike Moore. Republican politicians in Mississippi believe Rep. Chip Pickering, the likely Republican nominee if Lott does not run, cannot defeat Moore.
Moore was one of Big Tobacco's enemies, and was named one of Governing's 1998 Public Officials of the Year. Pickering, on the other hand, will likely have to answer questions about his donations to Tom DeLay's defense fund. He's also received funds from the Bug Man's PAC.

The RNC and the White House are scared about Pickering on the ticket. How else can you explain Kenny Boy sucking up to Trent?

Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman pleaded with Lott last week to run again. The senator was as blunt with this emissary from President Bush as he was with me. "Where is our vision and our agenda?" he asked. The malaise afflicting the Bush administration not only threatens a Senate seat in Mississippi but impacts Lott's decision whether to retire.

A Bush entreaty now to Lott is ironic. Lott was driven out of the Senate majority leader's chair after the 2002 elections when the president refused to defend him from calumnies that a harmless jocular remark on the late Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday was racist in nature. Lott's recently published memoir ("Herding Cats") reveals he was deeply hurt by Bush's non-support.

...Mississippi Republicans are so anxious about a Lott-less election next year partly because Democrat Moore is a better known, more appealing figure in the state than Republican Pickering. The state's big African-American minority continues to increase, and politically potent trial lawyers will be unrestrained on behalf of Moore. Finally, the performance by the Republican-controlled national government in coping with Katrina is no asset for Republican candidates in Mississippi.
As far as shifts in Southern political strategies and outlook go, you should read an article in The Nation from earlier this year by Facing South's Chris Kromm. The piece covers the "New Strategies for Southern Progress" conference, a gathering of Dem leaders, academics, journalists and progressives in Chapel Hill. It asks the question -- "do progressives and Democrats have a future in the South?" and discusses the debate on how to win back voters in this region.

It's questionable whether a progressive political vision can gain traction at this time, given the conversations that occurred at that conference.
The differences came into focus on day two, during a panel charting the changing attitudes of the Southern electorate. The pollsters, consultants and academics honed in on a key reason for Democratic losses in the South: the defection of the white moderate. "We've lost the white working-class male," said David "Mudcat" Saunders, the much-quoted Virginia consultant and ambassador of the "NASCAR dads" strategy.

Poll analyst Ruy Teixeira rolled out a compelling set of numbers to back up the claim: Although the ideology of the Southern electorate hasn't changed over the last decade--it's now 14 percent liberal, 41 percent moderate and 45 percent conservative, only a hair to the right of 1996--voting patterns have. Bill Clinton got 46 percent to Bob Dole's 44 percent of the Southern white moderate vote in '96; in 2004 Kerry had a 58-to-41 deficit to Bush among the same voting group. Even accounting for Clinton's Southern touch, it's clear that Democrats have lost ground.

How to win them back? Rally white working voters around economic populist themes against the "corporate elite," said Professor Susan Howell of New Orleans--although she counseled against talking about race. Bring the debate back to "jobs, jobs, jobs"--but don't talk about taxing the wealthy or get caught up in "cultural" issues, argued Pope "Mac" McCorkle, a strategist for North Carolina's recently re-elected Democratic Governor Mike Easley. Embrace those to the right--including, in Mudcat's opinion, the Sons of Confederate Veterans ("which has two black members, by the way" he added). And definitely find religion.
Uh...didn't we do that last time? And look what that got us. That strategy didn't go over well, at least with the progressives at the conference.
Many found the blueprint shortsighted, to say the least. "Jesus and NASCAR," said an organizer for a policy group in North Carolina, "that may be a strategy for electing a Democrat in the next two years, but a long-term progressive vision?" The Rev. James Evans, a white minister at Auburn First Baptist Church in Alabama, noted that "not talking about race won't make it go away. When we talk about taxes, we're talking about race. When we talk about education, we're talking about race. When we're talking about jobs, we're talking about race. We have to deal with it."
Dems have to get it together. I see a lot of squabbles ahead, and not a lot of room for compromise. The only shining light is that Bush and his wrecking crew on the Hill have managed to f*ck up so much that Dems are seen as an alternative. And that, my friends, is pitiful. Dems do need to agree to stand for something and present alternative plans long before the campaigning is going full steam. Coasting on the miserable performance of the dolts in power is not enough.

But back to the Trent dilemma and the issue of what happens in Mississippi in 2006. I couldn't wait to see what the Freepi had to offer in terms of political strategy...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Well, if only Trent Lott can win in MS, what does that tell us about name ID and visibility. It means everything then."

"It's a pretty sure bet that Lott still harbors grudges against Pres. Bush and his Senate colleagues because they didn't defend him vigorously regarding the Thurmond related comments."

"The GOP may be losing its control on the south, but there are many other factors involved.

1.) Many people moving in, many liberals among them.
2.) Many southerners are extremely dismayed by the GOP's inaction on illegal immigration, including whites, blacks, and hispanics.
3.) Our leaders have increasingly become RINO's, unwilling to stand up for core principles and beliefs."

"Prior thread about a week ago Lott was trashing Bush by name in the press for not doing enough about hurricane 'victims.' Lott must go. He is a cancer on the Senate."

"Republicans pressing Lott to run say that if he retires, he will have to live the rest of his life under the burden of giving the Democrats a Senate seat and perhaps control of the Senate out of personal pique that he no longer was majority leader. Which is probably all the reason he needs. I doubt he'll run again. "

"I thought Lott was a poor leader. His remarks on Strom Thurmond isnt what unseated him IMO. The problem was he wouldnt defend the President. He wouldnt Lead . I thought he should be replaced, Then we got Frist and all of a sudden Lott didnt look so bad. If the Republicans continue looking like a minority and not the majority they will surely lose that majority. They are letting the Democrats lead them around by the nose. If the majority leader cant control the RINO's he is useless."

"Yes, Lott was thrown off the train for all the wrong reasons. I wonder if he really expected his spineless colleagues to defend him. If so, we could question his judgment. But Novak seems to be saying that MS will elect his first Democrat senator in 24 years {Stennis reelection over Haley Barbour, 1982} unless Lott runs again. I am beginning to think that Lott will retire."

"When George W. stood aside while Trent Lott was tossed out, I wrote on Dec. 23, 2002, that the secret liberal theme behind his defenestration was that "the GOP's Southern base, the bedrock of its national election victories, is an illegitimate legacy from racist Dixiecrats." Now, three years later, that bedrock may be eroding. Wrong! The South more conservative nature is what is driving it to the GOP, with the RATS going more and more left in the extreme. "

"Yes, Lott was a poor leader, and now this Dr. Frist???? GOP officeholders just want everyone to like them, and in the end, nearly everyone becomes disenchanted with them. Jesse Helms was one of the few who could resist that GOP malady."

"Yes, the South is conservative by nature, but many of our "Republican" leaders are not."

"Novak was saying that liberal Democrats consider the "Republican South" to be an illegitimate offspring of the civil rights legacies of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. LBJ said as much as he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but it took a generation for LBJ's fear to materialize."

"The Senate Demorats have held up a lot of change with their filibusters. However, I am very disenchanted with Congressional Republicans in their spending spree. Tax cuts were good, but we needed spending cuts as well. It is true that the Demorats will play the "take the school lunches away from the children" card again. They will always play that card if they don't get everything that they want. "

"If Republicans would act like Republicans we'd have a comfortable majority."

"No question about it. This is a conservative nation."

"The problem is that the liberal Northerners keep moving down here."

"DEMocrats will give you :: Attack on GOD - Open Borders - Gay Marriage - High Tax Propaganda Media - No Moral Values - Courts and not the will make laws - No Prayer anywhere - No Christmas ETC Vote Republican !!"

"Novak, like most northern elites, looks south and wrinles up his nose. These elites think Southerners are all goobers."

"Surely, you do not think that Robert Novak is anti-Southern? I don't think anything could be further from the truth. He was reared in IL though."

"Lott is a pompous blow hard. He is mad about losing his house to the hurricane and not being able to afford to rebuild. What a dumb A_s. He could have purchased flood insurance but made a personal choice to take the risk living on the ocean in a hurricane zone. If this is a snap shot of his decision making abilities he needs to retire and go to work for his brother in law at Patten Boogs and fleece us out of more tobacco money."

"If you are an American Democrat and following you left leaning leaders, you are not fit to breathe American air. You are to be shunned as less than decent. You are not fit to walk the streets with your head up. The antiwar anti defense attitude is harmful to me and my family. You have become the enemy"

"Trent Lott has a lot of balls criticizing the President and the lack of a clear agenda. Let us all remember that under Lott, he instituted POWER SHARING with the Democrats, even though Republicans had an elected majority. I hate to lose a Senate seat (Novak is not always right), but I will take 6 years with a southern Dem with a chance to replace him with a conservative Rep."

"I can guarantee one thing, this FORMER Republican will not vote for Trent Lott. I probably would vote for Pickering. He seems to be a rock solid conservative."

"Oh, please! A sob story for Senator Lott... If 50% of his net worth was wiped out with Hurricane Katrina, then he had the worst homeowners insurance one can imagine. And the benefits he will enjoy as a retired multi-term US Senator would make a General Motors retiree blush with envy."

"And when did Trent Lott become middle class? "

"If Trent Lott is the best we can do in Mississippi, then the GOP has some real fundamental problems. I'll agree with the Senator that we need to re-articulate a vision but maybe he should be using any leverage and leadership he has remaining to fashion such a vision among his Senate colleagues. That's where the leadership deficit in the GOP lies, IMHO."

"It's time for the Lotts and John Warners and other "sunshine soldiers" to step-up or get out of the way. Merry Christmas!"


12 warning signs of fascism

Blender Paul pointed me to a kick-ass interactive graphic over at the Major Visibility Project - Seattle. Each picture links to text describing the "warning sign" over at the site.

Surf over and check it out.



* Also: a commentary by Jerry Maneker, The Roots of Fascism, at Speak from the Heart.


Push it real good



Kate and I just caught this Nextel commercial for the first time yesterday. The two dorks on the right are dancing to Salt 'n Pepa's hit "Push It" and it's hysterical. The clip has been on the air since last year. Props to the actors for letting it all hang out. View it here (Quicktime).


Privacy no, inflated bimbos, yes


A cheap-shot headline, but it's still a laugh-out-loud story. Anna Nicole Smith is getting some help from the Bushies in her fight to claim millions from the estate of the corpse she married, J. Howard Marshall II. I particularly like this portion of the article -- my emphasis. (CNN):
The administration's top Supreme Court lawyer filed arguments on Smith's behalf and wants to take part when the case is argued before the justices.

...Like Marshall, President Bush was a Texas oil man. Both attended Yale. Both held government positions in Washington. There are differences. Marshall had a penchant for strippers, and the court record before the justices is one of poverty, greed, sex and family rivalry.

...The issue before the high court is one only lawyers would love: when may federal courts hear claims that involve state probate proceedings. Smith lost in Texas state courts, which found that E. Pierce Marshall was the sole heir to his father's estate.


AFA: no bible-beater Christmas shopping next year



"Such an effort will remind all of us, including retailers, what Christmas is all about. I very much believe that you will see retailers get on board promoting Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. If they miss us shopping next Christmas, maybe they will respect us more.
-- Don Wildmon, American Family Association chairman, Donald Wildmon



"I certainly understand Tim Wildmon's concern to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. But I fail to see how that (not buying gifts) would bring back the essence of Christmas. And I don't think it would affect retailers. Besides, that's part of the joy of Christmas -- to give someone a gift to show your appreciation for them."
--Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel

God, this is laughable - the evangelical Christmas wars for next year are heating up, between the talking heads of the bible beaters. Don and Tim Wildmon clearly don't think their "Christ in Christmas" campaign was enough this year. Next year's plan is to make sure their Kool-Aid drinkers don't shop at ANY retailers. Of course they aren't really committed enough to the cause, since they say it's OK to buy gifts for kids. Yeah, if they really want to get back to what Christmas is all about, tear up Dick and Jane's wish list, put those kids on their nutcase knees and just read from the bible to celebrate the magic of the "reason for the season." (SFGate):
If grown-ups really want to express their appreciation for someone through a Christmas gift, Wildmon suggests that they either make something themselves or give a gift of their time. He wants folks to focus on Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ, not as the day before the after-Christmas sales begin.

"We want people to get back to what Christmas should be about," Wildmon said.

That was the stated goal of campaigns this fall aimed at keeping Christmas -- in word and symbol -- in the public square, whether by ensuring that children could sing carols in school or that retailers hung signs that said "Merry Christmas," instead of something neutered of religious references such as "Happy holidays."

Spearheaded largely by evangelical Christian legal and religious organizations, the campaign got a huge amount of media attention -- even if critics did find it hollow at the core. "As a propaganda and fund-raising campaign for the religious right, it was very successful this year," said Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "As far as pinpointing an actual problem, the problem doesn't exist. It's being used to divide Americans and create a cultural war."

The altruistic effort proposed for next year by the American Family Association is about more than good deeds: The Merry Christmas Project is an attempt to flash the economic power of Christian shoppers.


Jan LaRue, legal counsel with Concerned Women for America, another major conservative player in the Christmas campaign, said that while the idea of contributing to the needy was noble, "I don't know if it has to be linked to punishing retailers. A lot of believers, Christians and Jews, own small businesses that would be punished by the loss of income during the Christmas season."

Edward Fox, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University, said there wasn't much of a track record of Christian buying power -- the exception being the evangelical outpouring for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" that turned the film into a blockbuster last year. There are 14 to 16 million evangelical Christian adults in the United States, according to the Barna Group, a California firm that studies the Christian market. "If Christians decided to band together on this, it would be an interesting test," Fox said.

...The Christmas war fighters are united behind one idea: They're all going to do it again next year.
The end times must be near for these folks, if they are ratcheting up the holy war with this sort of stupidity. Perhaps the unstable wingers with eat each other by the end of next year.


Do you know what your phone company is doing?

Data mining your phone and internet trails without your consent - and they willingly offered it all up to this Administration. None of the names of the cooperating telecommunications companies have been revealed - big surprise. (NYT):
A former technology manager at a major telecommunications company said that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the leading companies in the industry have been storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the federal government to aid in tracking possible terrorists.

"All that data is mined with the cooperation of the government and shared with them, and since 9/11, there's been much more active involvement in that area," said the former manager, a telecommunications expert who did not want his name or that of his former company used because of concern about revealing trade secrets. Such information often proves just as valuable to the government as eavesdropping on the calls themselves, the former manager said.

...Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the N.S.A. program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined.

The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many international-to-international calls are also routed through such American switches.

One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.
The article goes on to note that this level of backdoor access represents an expansion of the N.S.A.'s powers, and skirts restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The act requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance, a hitch that comes into play because the international calls being monitored are passing through American switches.


On the take

Crap. I'm sure admitting that shilling for sleazebag Jack Abramoff's clients can't possibly look good on a resume, especially if you're a newspaper columnist. And doubly so if you were being PAID by Abramoff. Howard Kurtz in the WaPo thinks a recent admission by two columnists could represent the tip of the pay-for-play iceberg.
Copley News Service last week dropped Doug Bandow -- who also resigned as a Cato Institute scholar -- after he acknowledged taking as much as $2,000 a pop from Abramoff for up to two dozen columns favorable to the lobbyist's clients. "I am fully responsible and I won't play victim," Bandow said in a statement after Business Week broke the story. "Obviously, I regret stupidly calling to question my record of activism and writing that extends over 20 years. . . . For that I deeply apologize."

Peter Ferrara of the Institute for Policy Innovation has acknowledged taking payments years ago from a half-dozen lobbyists, including Abramoff. Two of his papers, the Washington Times and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, have now dropped him. But Ferrara is unapologetic, saying: "There is nothing unethical about taking money from someone and writing an article."

Readers might disagree on grounds that they have no way of knowing about such undisclosed payments, which seem to be an increasingly common tactic for companies trying to influence public debate through ostensibly neutral third parties.
When you have an attitude like Ferrera's it's clear that there's no sense of shame, which Glenn Reynolds (he's quoted in the article) seems to think is enough to quell the practice. The ethical bar has dropped so low in too many cases in the press that just about anything goes. They are too beholden to demanding corporate masters, feed on access to power, and are drowning in their own personal ambition (sigh, Woodward). It's no surprise that this is the end product -- readers at least deserve transparency.


Going to see 'Munich'

Sunday, December 25, 2005

[UPDATE: My thoughts on the film are below.]
[UPDATE 2: Holly passed along links to articles critical of the film in one way or another.]

No Brokeback playing around my way yet; Kate and I are heading out to see Steven Spielberg's Munich.

This film covers, semi-fictionally, what happened after the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, as the Mossad tracks down those they believe connected to the terrorist act.

I saw One Day in September, the explosive and award-winning documentary of the events leading up to during the awful climax, which strongly indicted the German government's incompetence in providing security (they had no anti-terrorist squad and the country turned down help from the Mossad after the hostage-taking began).

The big bombshell in that film was the candid interview with the last living terrorist, who was, along with others on his team that were captured, gained their freedom in a smells-to-high-heaven scenario. The Germans allowed the three surviving terrorists to be released in a deal after a subsequent "hijacking" of a plane.

***

I was nine years old and glued to the TV set during the whole hostage crisis in 1972. All I knew was that this was a scary event, and that it was happening live on TV. I hung onto every word of Jim McKay's coverage. I remember so clearly when he confirmed that all of the Israeli hostages had died (from Wikipedia):
"Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They've now said that there were 11 hostages; 2 were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, 9 were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."[1]
Of course I didn't understand the politics of the event. Why my folks let me watch something that disturbing, I don't know, but I was a newshound from the time I was little.

I used to watch Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News every weekday. While other kids said they'd want Winnie the Pooh or Captain Kangaroo over for dinner, who did I want my mom to ask over -- "Uncle Walter." Clearly, I was a disturbed child. :) And that's a true story.


***

Munich was quite a dark, un-Spielberg-like film. I was expecting that. All the while, my recurring thought as Eric Bana (as Avner, who turns in a helluva performance) and his "hit men" were assassinating men he assumes are targets related to the Black September movement is how this film will likely piss off folks on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The overarching subtext is that this is a futile battle on both sides, that endless assassinations, terrorism and counter-attacks will never get to the root of the problem. I won't give away any spoilers, but there is a sequence Spielberg sets up -- where the Israeli hit team ends up bunking with what appears to be Arab terrorists in a shabby hotel -- that affords the director the opportunity for the characters to articulate their political perspectives. They argue their frustrations of the conflict - boiling it down to the simple fact that they are battling over "homeland" in ways that are completely irreconcilable. As each generation continues to pass on the unwavering belief that the other side is completely in the wrong, assassinating key players accomplishes nothing -- there are plenty of angry people waiting in the wings to carry it on.

I think where critics of this film will get hung up is their inability to accept the "inspired by real events" disclaimer that Spielberg neatly places in the opening credits. It's called dramatic license, it's not a documentary. This same kind of dust up occurred when Oliver Stone's JFK came out. Some who detested the latter film (I recall George Will being particular outraged), were less concerned with Stone's political perspective than they were that the average Joe/Jane would accept the director's vision as fact. Munich is merely Spielberg's speculation and artistic execution of what occurred based on facts at hand; he doesn't spend a lot of time covering the death of the Olympic athletes, and where he does, it follows the factual "storyline" laid out in One Day in September.

The film is, at its heart, a political/spy thriller that kind of loses gas about 3/4 of the way through. It's impossible to tie up loose ends in this sort of film, but it feels out of sorts, and a bit ham-handed. There's an overwrought sex-scene that's intercut with the deaths of the hostages that really doesn't work. The film is about two and a half hours long, and could have used some trimming, though Spielberg set up the action sequences quite well.

Strangely, I was less emotionally affected by Munich than I was by One Day in September, because I walked out of that documentary enraged -- at Black September obviously, as well as the German government, who again, watched the slaughter of Jews. This time that goverment was both incompetent -- and deviantly colluded with terrorists to cover up how things were "resolved" on their end that allowed the terrorists safe passage. The German officials interviewed for the documentary clearly didn't think they did anything wrong.

***

Criticism of the film:

* TNR: Leon Wieseltier. Oddly, one criticism in this column amounts to complaints of "Spielberg fatigue" -- tired of being manipulated by the director's storytelling technique in yet another film. It's interesting that Munich is picked on for this particular flaw, when for instance, Saving Private Ryan was off the charts in this vein. Aside from the brilliant, gut-wrenching D-Day sequence, that film is incredibly more emotionally manipulative.

* Israeli spy veterans question plausibility of Spielberg’s ‘Munich’. Again, the JFK ("don't accept this as fact") clarification to make sure readers know this is a film based on real events.

* TNR: Twin Pique. A comparison of the facts of whether targeted assassination has succeeded in reducing terrorist attacks versus Spielberg's theme in the film that violence only begets more violence. That's a hard one to quantify; I think Spielberg is too idealistic in his worldview (but isn't that what one would expect from this director?). I agree with Nancy in the comments:
...events like Munich made an indelible impression on Jews of my generation--and have made it impossible for most of us to pretend that if only Israelis let down their arms and their guard, their neighbors would follow suit.
More broadly, this is less about Arabs and Jews, but about the dark side of human nature, particularly when it comes to politics and war -- we tend not to learn from history, seek the high road publicly, yet often take the low road privately, the end justifies the means, etc. In the end, it's about vengeange of one sort or another. Look at Dear Leader -- he invaded and has destroyed a country because he was avenging his daddy. He won't be the last leader to do this either.


Fred Phelps gets the boot from city



St. Joseph, Missouri's city council has passed an ordinance that will keep the Rotting CryptkeeperTM and his hate machine out of their town -- specifically preventing the group's protests at fallen solders' funerals. (365gay.com):
The ordinance unanimously approved by the St. Joseph City Council does not bar the group from holding similar protests against gays at schools, churches or other venues. Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church regularly demonstrates at schools what have gay-straight alliances, churches it believes to be "pro gay" and at performances of "The Laramie Project" the play about the hate-crime killing of Matthew Shepard.

The group first came to national attention when it staged a noisy homophobic rally at Shepard's funeral.

The St. Joseph ordinance is similar to a proposed state measure that would bar protests at or near a funeral from an hour before a funeral service to an hour after it ends.


Haloscan acting up

Who knows what's going on, but Haloscan is down, causing the Blend --and other sites using the commenting system -- to load slowly (as it tries to resolve to load comments, which are not available to read or post). F*ckers.


I promise not to end the year with this guy

Saturday, December 24, 2005



Hopefully we can blog about something that isn't tied to the White House "sleepover" rent boy before the year is over. This go-round, via Raw Story, there is news that the softball-question-throwing cub reporter's publisher is running for Vice Chair of the Texas GOP.


The GOP operative and conservative website owner who hired a onetime prostitute to cover the White House has decided to run for the vice chairmanship of the Republican Party of Texas, RAW STORY has learned.

Jeff Gannon, a $200-an-hour gay male escort, resigned from Eberle’s Talon News last February after pictures and stories emerged which revealed that he once toiled as a gay male prostitute. Eberle shut down the news site shortly thereafter, although his satellite Website GOPUSA.com remains active.
The Raw Story article by John Byrne is full of choice nuggets about Eberle, who seems to be trying to shore up his name recognition within the party. He's not exactly a big gun.
Despite Eberle’s alleged extensive connections, the New York Times reported that "Texas Republicans said he was not well known in the party" and the Houston Chronicle had difficulties getting "[s]everal local Republican elected officials" to return phone calls when they profiled him after the Gannon scandal. Sherry Sylvester, a spokeswoman for the Texas Republican Party at the time, told the Chronicle, "I’m not going to comment because I don’t know him, and nobody here does."

...Eberle has already launched a website touting his candidacy. Oddly enough, it was registered on Feb. 7, 2005, one day before Jeff Gannon resigned from Talon News. It’s unclear when the site went live.
Is it me, or does Bobby seem so...metrosexual in that pic? Gawd, this story just doesn't quit. I just wonder what all of this is really about.

Flashbacks:
* Condi, 'ho boots, and rent-boy Gannon: sex and power in Washington
* Make your own Jeffy Lube pro-war rally poster
* ePluribus Media: The Spectacular Rise of the Miraculous Mr. Gannon
* Gannongate - the Players
* AmericaBlog: A man called Jeff
* Crooks and Liars: Jeff Gannon retrospective in video


This and that

As we're kinda busy around here cooking and cleaning (we're peeling apples for pie now), a few tidbits that came in the email box...

* Check out Jeremy's menorah and "holiday tree" with wingnut ornaments over at Good As You.

* Man sentenced for doing sexual acts with calves. Thanks for the "season's greetings", Paul, lololol. This almost tops my Alastair Cooke bone-snatching post!

A 64-year-old Neillsville man pleaded no contest to charges of sexual gratification with an animal and disorderly conduct Thursday in Clark County court after telling police he had been having sex with calves for about two years at a Greenwood farm. Harold G. Hart was sentenced to two years' probation, an AODA assessment and psychological counseling. He is to have no contact with any members of the family whose barn he broke into, and he is to compensate them for the $60 motion sensors they used to catch him on their property.
* Our friend The Heretik has released himself from the Typepad hell, and has relocated! Catch his work at http://theheretik.us - and update your blogrolls!

* Guarding Jesus: Nativity scene defies thieves. Holly passed on an update to my earlier post about the Cheviot, OH Jesus that was snatched (Replacement Jesus found).

Civic officials placed the third Baby Jesus - a fiberglass twin of the display's 42-year-old original - in its manger Friday. Also in place were two new sheep. Thieves took a fiberglass sheep when they swiped the first Baby Jesus.

The scene's second Baby Jesus - a gift from 12-year-old Anderson Township resident Julie Hendricks - was stolen Dec. 17. Thieves left behind one leg. Police recovered the figure Dec. 19. The limb has since been reattached. The figure rests in Cheviot City Hall.

"The new fiberglass Baby Jesus will be here for Christmas," vowed Steve Neal, Cheviot's safety-service director. "The surveillance camera is in place. Police will be assigned to guard him on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day."
* Victim of homophobic bullying wins $440,000 settlement. This will definitely have an impact on school systems. A Kansas teen's family sued for years of unabated abuse from the seventh grade to his junior year in the Tonganoxie School District.

* Virginia Senator George Allen is now taking heat from gays for his reversal on the fed hate crimes law. Whie his state's governor, Mark Warner is standing up to the bigots, Allen's trying to score points with the wingers, that he feels he needs to make it to the White House.
Allen voted in 2004 in favor of adding sexual orientation to federal hate-crimes statutes. He said last week he revised his view based on a concern he has developed that federal hate-crimes laws could be used as a building block to making sexual orientation a national civil right.

...A political magazine's poll of Washington "insiders" in April gave Allen the best chance of capturing the Republican nomination for president in 2008. A new poll this month by the same magazine, National Journal, continued to put him first.
***


Right now, Kate and I have the first version of Miracle on 34th Street on, and in some ways it's kind of creepy. Just some things I noticed...

* The guy neighbor that's trying to woo Natalie Wood's mom, has the child in his apartment with him -- alone -- watching the parade. The mom's never met the guy before. Like any parent would allow this to happen now.
* Kris Kringle would have had his ass hauled off to a psycho ward.
* The neighbor guy has two twin beds in his bedroom(!), which is located right on Central Park West, so he lets Kris "bunk in" with him.
* And, the neighbor smokes in bed -- how retro is that? Why doesn't he just set the building afire?


What are folks doing for the holidays?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Kate and I will be here in Durham for Christmas, and will be driving to Birmingham next Wednesday for a few days. I may or may not be blogging while out of town, but I'll take my laptop just in case. :)

Since we'll be home over the weekend, we're staying in and cooking. Again, no turkey, since neither of us are keen on it. We braved a trip to Costco today and picked up a nice eye round roast and will have that for Christmas Eve. Maybe we'll pop in a DVD of HBO's Oz afterwards (how's that for festive entertainment - I know, we're nuts).



Our one splurge for the holiday was to have a Junior's cheesecake airmailed to us. It arrived yesterday, in perfect condition. No makes cheesecake better than our friends in Brooklyn!

With folks traveling about, I'm sure the Blend will have few customers even if we are still serving up posts, so to all of you Blenders, have good vacations and see you when you return!


New S.F. Archbishop takes on the Vatican homo purge

"Some who are seriously mistaken have named sexual orientation as the cause of the recent scandal regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests."
-- Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer, who will soon become the Archbishop of San Francisco, on the Vatican's gay witch hunt
Kate and I were talking about this at lunch; what must the Vatican think when the Archbishops start bucking Ratzi's marching orders? We've already seen priests speak out, leave the priesthood and begin to "come out" literally and figuratively, about the unfairness of this policy. What will the Prada Pope do to snap these politically wayward men in line? From bible-beating Lifesite:
Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer, soon to be installed as the new Archbishop of San Francisco, has told a local news outlet that he is opposed to the Vatican's prohibition of homosexuals in seminaries.

Niederauer referred to the "sexual orientation" of homosexual men, what the Vatican document on ordaining homosexual men called "deep seated homosexual tendencies" as merely "a structure of human personality," that does not preclude such men from being ordained.


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, says he is worried that Niederauer is "gay friendly." Speaking to MichNews.com's Matt Abbot, Euteneuer said, "If the pro-gay attitudes, policies and statements of the new Archbishop of San Francisco have been reported accurately-and we have no reason to believe they have not-then his opinions run counter to the spirit and intent of the Vatican instruction on homosexuals in the seminary."
This unhinged article goes on, suggesting there is a pro-gay underground network, moving in the shadows of Catholicism, hell-bent on pushing the Homosexual AgendaTM. After all, Niederauer actually -- gasp -- lived in a gay neighborhood at one time.
The evidence that Niederauer is a supporter of the "gay" cause in the Church and in civil society is overwhelming. Glowing recommendations from the homosexual activist movement are flooding the internet news sources.

From 1992 to 1994, Niederauer resided in West Hollywood's St. Victor's parish which is identified in the homosexual press as “sizably gay.” “Gay men never felt ill at ease dealing with him,” said Monsignor George Parnassus, a St. Victor pastor emeritus. Parnassus added, “We would be invited to their homes in West Hollywood.”

Niederauer, ordained to the priesthood in 1962, is a prominent member of what some Catholic writers have dubbed the “Camarillo Mafia,” a group of liberal and dissident prelates who graduated from and/or taught at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California, and who were ordained in Los Angeles in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.
All I see here is a whispering campaign to out the Archbishop -- which I suppose is fine, since it sounds like if it came to a head, he'd probably come out if he was gay.

I think Ratzi and Co. needs to worry about is what Niederauer's knowledge may be of who's boinking who along the Vatican food chain.

I had to see what was swirling in Freeperland. They too, are awaiting for a Benedict crackdown.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"HOW did this bloke get the job? I would have thought San Francisco would be the last place someone with his views should be put. Has anyone mentioned this to Benedict?"

"Great moral leaders those catholics."

"Please don't put all Catholics in the same category as this clown."

"I don't, but I do wonder where the outrage from the catholics is regarding this as well as the buggering. I too am ashamed of the Episcopalians."

"Ugh. I hope the Catholics have learned by watching the fiasco in ECUSA, lest they go down the same road."

"Catholic Bishops are the successors of the Apostles. Unfortunately, some of them take their inspiration from Judas Iscariot ..."

"Why does the church appoint someone to this level when they disagree with the church?"

"What we have here is.. a failure... to excommunicate."

"Can anyone take the Catholic Church seriously anymore? This is just the same message the public hears ad infinitum."

""DANGER.......DANGER.....LAVENDER MAFIA IN VICINITY......DANGER!!!!!!!""

"It's a total mystery to me. I'd be staggered if Benedict personally approved this one."

"When news of this gets to Rome, this clown is going to find out that the Church vote goes on a majority of 1, and that "1" isn't going to be too amused with this guy. Benny didn'trun the Inquisition of nothing. Buh bye!"

"Niederauer said he was troubled that the amendment banned any union beside marriage, a position in direct opposition to Catholic teaching. Maybe I'm reading Leviticus wrong?"

"The guy is already a bishop. So he's already in charge of a diocese. They've simply moved him. The Diocese of Salt Lake City in Utah is likely more conservative than SF. Most places would be. By getting this guy out of Utah and into SF maybe he'll do less damage and Utah will be better off. SF may be the ideal place for a gay friendly/homo bishop until he retires in 6 years. I know I'm reaching here, but every cloud has a silver lining."

"Benedict hired this clown. Sounds to me like Benedict either (i) doesn't have a clue about the seriousness of the homosexuality problem in the Roman clergy, or (ii) isn't the conservative everyone thinks him to be."

"The silver lining may be that this incident will give Benedict the reason he needs to step in and sort out the Church in America once and for all."

"You may have missed the recent Vatican instruction barring gays from the priesthood. It wasn't a joke. We're fighting a civil war here. Benedict XVI and those loyal to him have a serious lavender insurrection on their hands. The Church will prevail, as it always has, but it's going to be ugly for a while."

"Actually given the seniority and the "team" the state of California has produced, this isn't a surprise, since California has become a moral hellhole. The only conclusion I can say is that the Vatican is working at the "grass roots" level of the California moral problem, while hoping the weeds die off naturally, rather than immediately pulling them from the garden."

"As a Lutheran, I don't have a big dog in this fight. But it is for things like this that the LCMS is VERY concerned about signing agreements of any kinds. Granted, we have our own problems. But this smells like a test case. If SanFran can float this by the Vatican, then it will be business as usual. If BXVI comes down like the German Shepard he is, then they can scream and get more support in the liberal ranks."


Wal-mart blows

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It actually blows over and over in an endless cycle of corporate greed and ethics-free operation. The behemoth has lost yet another lawsuit, this time over denying meal breaks to employees. This is wage and hour law 101, folks. For Wal-mart, it's easier to skate the law and pay up every once in a while when someone has the cojones to take it on. For this particular violation, the retailer is also being sued in 30 other states. This ruling applies to a California case. (Reuters):
Concluding a class-action court challenge against the world's biggest retailer, the Alameda County, California jury held that Wal-Mart had broken a state law on breaks for meals.

...The four plaintiffs who launched the lawsuit in 2001 had claimed Wal-Mart had failed to pay hourly employees for missed or interrupted meal breaks. The jury ruled Wal-Mart must pay $57.2 million in compensation and $115 million in punitive damages, said Jessica Grant, another lawyer for the plaintiffs.

"What was compelling for the jury was that we put a lot of evidence before them of memos by Wal-Mart from seven years ago that concluded they had been breaking the law," said Grant. "Instead of taking steps to solve the problem, Wal-Mart concealed it."


Fox SC reporter active on Stormfront forums

As if there is any surprise that this is going on in SC -- Tami Birckner, a "news" reporter who ran a puff piece on the white supremacist web site Stormfront, actively participated on the forums there and was eager to do additional "profiles" of the sick hate group. The kicker is that her bosses were pleased with her angle and coverage -- and look at the rewards for Tami.


The South Carolina Broadcaster's Association has named Tami Birckner the 2005 SC Reporter of the Year.

Fair and balanced. Why don't they just add a burning cross to the Fox South Carolina logo? (Think Progress):
Think Progress contacted Birckner this afternoon and she confirmed that she is “FOXSC” on StormFront’s forums. Since joining in October, Birckner has posted five times, often gaining feedback (and praise) on her StormFront coverage: ...
I am the reporter who did this story. For those of you who live in the FOX Carolina viewing area, I am willing to do a follow-up story to show a better make-up of the people who are members and talk more in-depth about your beliefs. THis would probably air in February. Let me know if you are interested.
Birckner’s praise of StormFront didn’t go unnoticed by Jamie Kelso (”Charles Lindbergh”), the site’s Senior Moderator, 11/14/05:
One detail that I forgot (until just yesterday) was to unmoderate our new Stormfront Member, FOXSC, so that Fox could post more easily on Stormfront.
You can read the transcript of her air-kiss to the jackboot thugs here. A snippet of the sickness:
It’s a web site with everything from dating advice and homemaking threads, to discussion boards that focus on news that white activists want to know. Stormfront.org is a web site founded on the belief that the white race is a dying race.

One member says, “we really are just white folks that deeply care about preserving a future for our progeny.
Contact Tami at tami.birckner@foxcarolina.com. Jesus' General has already written the Fox honchos...


Laurel Hester, part 3

The Big Gay Picture's Michael Jensen has the final part of his interview with Laurel Hester up.


Laugh of the day

Catholic magazine runs ad featuring condom-wrapped Virgin Mary statue. I guess this reflects a lack of familiarity with condoms by the Jesuit editors of America magazine. Hmmmm. No surprise there (and no safer sex either).
The display ad, in America, was placed by a British artist for what he called the "Extra Virgin" statue. The ad said that the statue wears "a delicate veil of latex."

The advertisement, in its December 5 issue, drew complaints from Catholics across the country, incensed that the paper was promoting condoms and using the Virgin Mary to do it.

Readers were particularly angry that the ad appeared in a magazine printed by a priestly order in the Catholic Church. America is owned and published by the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Order. The ad somehow was missed in the magazines vetting process.

"We were embarrassed to have readers call our attention to the offensive advertisement that escaped our unknowing eyes and appeared in the December 5 issue," an apology says in issue to be distributed next week.


Ratzi off the hook in Texas sex-abuse lawsuit


By Mike Tidmus

Hiding the mass molestation of children by priests was one of the jobs of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He was slapped with a lawsuit charging him with a cover up in Texas regarding the abuse of three boys.

Back in August, Ratzi's lawyers were appealing to Dear Leader to grant the Prada Pope immunity from liability in the lawsuit, sending a diplomatic memo to the State Department. At that time, a rep from State said that the Pope is considered a head of state -- and thus has diplomatic immunity. And there, my friends, is why this evil man is off the hook after allowing the destruction of these young boys' lives. (NYT):
A U.S. judge in Texas dismissed Pope Benedict XVI from a civil lawsuit accusing him of conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by a seminarian, ruling Thursday that the pontiff has immunity as a head of state.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal cited a motion filed by the U.S. Justice Department, known as a ''Suggestion of Immunity,'' in which the government said allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be ''incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests.''

''After a suggestion of immunity is filed, it is the court's duty to surrender jurisdiction,'' Rosenthal wrote in the ruling, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Joseph Ratzinger -- Benedict's former name -- is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and some of its officials to cover up the abuse of three boys during the mid-1990s. The suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

The three boys, identified in court documents as John Does I, II and III, allege that a Colombian-born seminarian on assignment at St. Francis de Sales church in Houston, Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, molested them during counseling sessions in the church.
Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


Sadly, another nail is hit on the head

Go read Peter Daou's ace The Dynamic of a Bush Scandal: How the Spying Story Will Unfold (and Fade). He hits the nail on the head about the sad truth that if the Dems want to succeed at overthrowing the dry-drunk President and his wholly corrupt Administration, they have to change their game plan.

The White House knows how it will unfold. And it's an all-too-familiar pattern.
The cause of [the Constitution's] demise is the corrosive interplay between the Bush administration, a bevy of blind apologists, a politically apathetic public, a well-oiled rightwing message machine, lapdog reporters, and a disorganized opposition. The domestic spying case perfectly illuminates the workings of that system. And the unfolding of this story augurs poorly for those who expect it to yield different results from other administration scandals.
Peter goes on to list the ten stages of the "typical Bush scandal" -- you'll recognize them all.

Read, come back and comment -- what can be done about this?


Mattel caves on association with Girls Inc.


The AFA believes that the Girl's Inc. "I Can" band leads to dead fetuses and wanton dykery.

A short while back the bible-beaters were up in arms over American Girl dolls, and the line's affiliation with Girls Incorporated, which helps young, underprivileged young women build a sense of self-respect and self-determination. The problem is that Girls Inc. also teaches girls about their bodies, health and sexuality. The big siren went off in AmTalibanland.

The all-too-familiar bigots at the American Family Association ran a petition campaign with this message spamming out to American Girl President Ellen Brothers and Mattel Chairman Bob Eckert. (Mattel owns American Girl):
I have been made aware of your cash donation and continuing proceeds through the "I Can" bracelet to Girls Inc.

I feel American Girl and Mattel has made a tragic mistake in partnering with Girls Incorporated, a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian advocacy group.

After viewing the Girls Inc. website, I am convinced your financial support for them will cause a lot of American Girl fans and consumers to abandon their longtime loyalty and faithfulness to your company.

I implore you to reconsider your partnership with Girls Inc. and let me know of your decision. Your response to my concerns will greatly affect how I choose to do business with American Girl and Mattel in the future.
Well, which road did Mattel take -- the Kraft path ("screw you" AmTaliban"), maybe? No, like Ford, Mattel caved in to the bible beaters. (CBS):
That was until the Wiesners found out that the American Girl company donates money to an organization called Girls Incorporated, which offers support to underprivileged girls. Girls Inc. also endorses Roe v. Wade — the right to abortion and it promotes acceptance of homosexuality. It's an association that families like the Wiesners are protesting with their wallets.

"This year, we're not going to buy any of the products for Christmas," Wiesner says bluntly.

...American Girl, which just launched its first ever major ad campaign in its 20-year history, released a statement saying it is "profoundly disappointed that certain groups have chosen to misconstrue American Girl's purely altruistic efforts."

Also Mattel, the maker of the doll has decided it will not renew its partnership with Girls Inc. which runs out this year.
I can almost guarantee you that Mattel won't do a mea culpa in the end as the automaker did. Joyce M. Roché, President of Girls, Inc., responded to the controversy on its site.
Recently, our mission to help girls develop their self-esteem and self-reliance has become the target of false, inflammatory statements from people who are pursuing a narrow political agenda.

Girls Incorporated stands on its long positive history. The millions of lives we have touched speak for who we are and our values. Thanks to all of you who believe in our mission of inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Together, we will continue to work to help all girls realize their potential.
Thanks to House Blender Jennifer of Intous for the pointer.


NY transit workers may go back on the job

No time has been announced for a return yet, but if they do, it will be without a contract while the union and the MTA go back to the table.


Lesbian teen expelled for off-campus kiss

A Georgia teenager was tossed out of a private Christian school for kissing another girl at a slumber party. The charge was that she violated the school's "sexual immorality" clause.

The family is suing the school, using the argument that the clause doesn't specify what the term means, therefore the teen could not have known that she had crossed a line. (SoVo):
Jessica Bradley, 15, acknowledges in the lawsuit that a fellow female Covenant Academy student kissed her at a private sleepover party away from school property on April 22, and also that she had been in a relationship with a different girl.

But Bradley denies that her behavior violated the school’s discipline code because the rules do not specifically state same-sex kissing is grounds for expulsion, according to her attorney, Dave Clark of Lawrenceville, Ga.

"The school’s prohibition against sexual immorality is too vague to be enforced," Clark said, explaining the breach of contract complaint.

By making only general references to the Bible and scripture and what kind of behavior is expected of students, the school failed to make clear what actions it required of students to avoid expulsion, he said.

"What Jessica did is not 'expressly forbidden in scripture’ and a legal contract cannot be based upon vague 'principles of divine revelation,' as stated in the student handbook," he said.
I do think this is an interesting case, because, as Clark later states in the article, it's likely that it will force the school to articulate whether they do have an anti-gay policy. As a private school they clearly have the right to discriminate in that manner - but everyone should be able make an informed decision about whether that school is right for their child.


Body snatchers

Human beings can be so vile and deviant; I just cannot fathom the behavior or motivation (besides naked greed and mental defect) behind something like this.

I'm riding in to work, listening to NPR, and this story comes on about "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke's bones being stolen after his body was delivered to New York Mortuary Services and awaited cremation. The sick freaks carved the bones out of Cooke's body and sold them for $7,000.


From bones to dental implants.

It gets worse. The BBC broadcaster died of cancer at the age of 95 -- of lung cancer that had spread to his bones. These same diseased bones were then sold for eventual transplant procedures.

This makes you want to hurl. (NYDN):
The alleged leader of the body-snatching ring is Michael Mastromarino, whose operations are under investigation by the Brooklyn district attorney's office. Mastromarino ran Biomedical Tissue Services Ltd., a tremendously profitable tissue recovery business that sold body parts, including bone, skin and cardiac valves.

After processing, Cooke's bones could have been used for dental implants or numerous orthopedic procedures including dowels for damaged spines...The use of cancerous bone for transplant is a violation of Food and Drug Administration regulations and the use of body parts from the aged also is against transplant protocol.

But in paperwork given the two processing companies, Mastromarino allegedly changed Cooke's "cause of death" to heart attack and changed his age from 95 to 85, according to sources.
And Mastromarino has been in the news before; a NJ man sued, alleging bone used in his operation was taken from a corpse without permission from the family of the deceased -- or was tested for disease. And then this, back in November:
An 82-year-old Queens grandmother exhumed as part of the body snatchers probe was discovered carved in half, with most of her bones missing below the waist, the Daily News has learned.

Plastic plumbing pipe was found stuffed inside deteriorating clothing where Esfir Perelmuter's legs should have been when investigators opened her plain pine coffin Monday.

...That investigation, which involves hundreds of bodies illicitly harvested at funeral homes, centers on an operation managed by ex-dentist Michael Mastromarino.
This man is a sick pig; what on earth could drive someone to be this base?

This case reminds me of the unhinged funeral director in Georgia, Ray Brent Marsh of Tri-State Crematory, who buried, stacked and hid bodies all over his property rather than just cremating them back in 2002. He even sunk them in his pond, where he allowed people to fish. We're talking about hundreds of bodies. It would have been easier for the man to have cremated them than to find places to hide them.

Marsh was sentenced of twelve years in prison. He didn't explain his behavior.


More on Laurel Hester

Part two of Michael Jensen's interview is up:

It's Laurel Hester's Wonderful Life, Part Two: The Five Grinches of Ocean County

Laurel Hester is the NJ police officer with terminal cancer who is fighting the bigoted county leadership to leave her pension to her partner. Mike said in an email: "The Republican freeholders actually tell Laurel she gets to collect a lot of money, but she has to die real soon to qualify. Nice, huh?"


The county's five (conservative, "pro-family") Republican freeholders: John C. Bartlett, John P. Kelly, James F. Lacey, Gerry P. Little, and Joseph H. Vicari.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post (where the comments rage on), one of the Ocean County Freeholders actually claimed sparing the "sanctity of marriage" as a reason to deny Hester's ability to leave her pension to her partner. Then it was because the county couldn't absorb the cost of addressing same-sex partnerships on the matter. Then blame was placed on the state's pension system -- it couldn't handle the burden. Mike reports that Ocean County administrator Alan Avery later had to admit that the county never studied the issue and had no figures to back up the claim at the time.

And then there's this bullsh*t --
This dodge particularly bothers the freeholders' critics who note that each of the five men are entitled to generous pensions. And not everyone approves of how New Jersey politicians come by those pensions, including the five freeholders. The Ocean County Observer, in an editorial excoriating the freeholders' treatment of Laurel, said, "Never mind that the freeholders have demonstrated stupendous greed through their own history of feeding at the public trough, often in jobs that helped boost their own pensions."

"Tacking" and "kiting" are two terms to describe how public officials in New Jersey can boost their pensions. Tacking involves acquiring a variety of part-time, but high paying jobs that, taken together, can add up to a generous pension. Kiting refers to the fact that New Jersey pensions are based on a person's three highest years of income. It is not unknown for public officials to give each other high paying jobs for three years to create--or "kite"--the highest pension possible.



Laurel Hester never sought to enrich herself at the expense of others. She never "tacked" jobs together or attempted to "kite" herself to a better pension. Instead, she did her job for twenty-four years and all she wants is what she earned. When asked how she feels about the freeholders citing New Jersey's troubled pension system as a reason to deny her request, Laurel says, "It's outrageous. It's a well-known fact that the pension system has suffered many egregious abuses. I am not one of them. And I resent being lumped in with them."
Also, Mike notes in an earlier post that Ocean County, as a coastal community, is heavily dependent on tourism. You can pass along that you've heard about the bigoted practices of these Freeholders, and won't be making any vacation plans to the county. If nothing else, these thugs know about lining their wallets -- they understand the power of the purse and bad PR. It's important to couch your displeasure in this context because emails and calls from outside the area disagreeing with the decision on principle alone are being ignored.
So if you live in the Northeast, or might possibly be visiting New Jersey next year why not let the county you're going to choose to visit a place that doesn't discriminate.

You can do so by writing or calling:
Barbara W. Steele
Ocean County Public Affairs Department
P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
Phone: 732/506-5050

Or E-mail at bsteele@co.ocean.nj.us.
Read other previous posts on the Laurel Hester case at The Big Gay Picture.



Patriot Act extended six months

The Senate didn't really want to play chicken on this one. And the cowboy in the White House is the one that blinked. It bounces back to the House now - I'm sure they feel really lucky right about now. (AP):
The terror-fighting USA Patriot Act may have a new lease on life. The GOP-controlled Senate on Wednesday approved a six-month extension of the USA Patriot Act to keep the anti-terror law from expiring on Dec. 31. President Bush gave it his grudging blessing.

The Republican-controlled House is now expected to come back and consider the legislation keeping the 16 provisions of the law passed after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington from expiring. Republican leaders and Bush wanted to make most of the law permanent, but were stymied by a filibuster in the Senate and had to resort to a six-month extension.

"This will allow more time to finally agree on a bill that protects our rights and freedoms while preserving important tools for fighting terrorism," said Sen. Russ Feingold. D-Wis., who was the only senator to vote against the original Patriot Act in 2001.


...Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he had no choice but to accept a six-month extension in the face of a successful filibuster and the Patriot Act's Dec. 31 expiration date. "I'm not going to let the Patriot Act die," Frist said.
Frist's wearing thin on the Freepi, where he got a big ass-kicking on this. From ArmyBratProud:
Instead of forcing the floor vote and getting all Senators on record as to how they stand on protecting America, Frist caved to Dems and RINOS and went for the deal.

And now Senate RINOS won't have to show their true colors on a vote until AFTER THE PRIMARIES!!!!

Meaning RINOS will get re-elected.

Frist has now shown himself as the weakest of leaders. The Republicans have the majority, but you would not know it by watching the Senate. Frist has allowed Dems to kick folks around and be a majority by default.

On dang near every piece of big time/major legislation, Frist has caved. Hope he enjoyed the White House Christmas Party. Because that is the closest he will ever get to the White House.
And the hits keep on coming...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"There is no way, NO WAY I would vote for Frosty, or anyone else that will not have the cojones to stand up to, not only the Dims, but world leaders, international groups and foundations, etc. The President of the United States should be one tough Moth................well, you get my drift."

"There was a vote, and Frist didn't have the votes. So it was a choice of having half a loaf or no loaf."

"Except that the scumbag RINOs have already shown their true colors and any competent primary challenger will be able to successfully exploit that. Also, six months sounds like pretty good timing in that the general election campaign season will be getting into swing around the end of June."

"FRIST CAVES TO DEMS...AGAIN!"

"I don't see this as a cave, I listened to Sen. Craig today on Rush and he made some good points why we should reconsider some of the provisions of the Patriot Act. His most convincing remarks were about the fact that George W. Bush will not be our next President and do we really want somebody like Hillary (God forbid) becomes our President, with these broad powers.."

"I tend to agree with Senator Craig, we must draft legislation that limits the powers of the Government to snoop into our lives, in order to protect us from corrupt people like Hillary Clinton who could abuse these broad powers. God only knows the extent of prior abuses of power"

"I agree. Is there a better issue to be debating or are Scooter Libby headlines more desirable? The Act lives and I'd rather have that then have it die just so shortsightexd bitches can whine."

"Negative. Had Frist forced it....and reforced it...he would have cornered and they would have had to face the music for not voting. I have pals on the Hill who have e-mailed me today. They say that the Senators who were threatening not to vote in the moderat area...were catching heat from back home. The RINOS included. And now Frist caves. His only legacy."

"Amazing how Harry Reid seems to do so much more with 45 votes than Bill Frist does with 55 votes. An effective leader finds the votes by maintaining party discipline and drawing off red-state Democrats. Bill Frist has never been an effective leader, and the best thing that can happen to the Republican party is his upcoming retirement in 2006."

"Why is Frist still in the position of leader? Perhaps the Republicans could a leadership opening on Monster.com"

"What is he supposed to do when there are so many shameful Republicans in the Senate? He didn't vote those clowns into office."

"Six more months for the NY Times, the MSM, and the RINOs on the Sunday talk shows to wear down support for the Patriot Act, as they have done to considerable effect with the war in Iraq."

"FReepers are blinded by partisanship, and don't want to hear about legitimate concerns from Sen. Craig. This sure ain't the same FR that excoriated Clinton over Waco (well, except for __Jim)."

"Hey Frist...if you dont have the cojones to fight Democrats on Capitol Hill, then you obviously do not have the cojones to fight Al-Qaeda aywhere."

"While this pi$$es me off -- especially Frist being the ultimate wimp -- I think you are right we may have lost in the short term, but long term, six months is uncomfortably close to the '06 elections and if they remain obstructionists it WILL be remembered at the polls so they could (fingers crossed) lose in the long term..."

"He is a limp-wristed wimp of a "leader." How about a little arm twisting? A little backbone? I am sick of this guy AND sick of people on these threads who continually defend him!"

"I wish Tom Delay would run for senate, then take over for Frist. We need a Hammer in the senate, not a spinless weakling"


Clock runs out on California anti-gay marriage group


Wingnut media whore, Randy Thomasson, of Campaign for Children and Families, couldn't sign up enough folks for a June 2006 vote.

Maybe next time, Randy. Boo-hoo. Equality California needs to crush these roaches.
A group trying to get a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage put to voters in California has failed to collect enough names to put the issue on the June 2006 ballot and may not make it in November.

The amendment would not only prevent gay marriages but also void the state's landmark domestic partner registry and all benefits for same-sex couples.

Randy Thomasson, the president of Campaign for Children and Families said he is not giving up. "Whether it be November 2006 or sometime in 2008, it doesn't matter," he said Wednesday. In the meantime, he said, the organization will continue to fight in the courts.

Another group collecting names for a second ballot measure also says it has not collected as many signatures as it had hoped. ProtectMarriage says it is now aiming for an April 13 deadline to make on November's ballot.

Both groups say they are far behind LGBT rights group Equality California in fundraising and organization.


Robert Knight's flapping his lips about homos again

Wednesday, December 21, 2005



He talks about all things homosexual so often that it has to give the penis-possessing head of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute a hard-on. As I've said before, it seems that about once a month, Bob Knight must have a hot dream about getting boned by a guy. Then he wakes up in a cold sweat, takes a cold shower, prays, then runs to the keyboard, and writes up some unhinged quote that I end up sharing with all of you.

Here's his latest eruption on "homosexual activists."
Homosexual couples in seven states are now challenging laws that forbid same-sex marriage. Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute points out that homosexual activist organizations decided to tackle the issue at the state level two years ago. "They were losing battles in Washington so they decided to take the battles out to the states," he contends. "I think their strategy here is to harass states by challenging their marriage laws all over the place and hoping the whole country will 'cry uncle' eventually."

Now that this strategy has been launched, Knight says he expects it to backfire on the activists by creating more resistance. Several states, including Tennessee and South Dakota, will have traditional marriage protection amendments on their ballots in 2006.
Back on the Culture and Family Institute Ranch, Bob's put up another of his ludicrous screeds, Science Does Not Support the Claim That Homosexuality Is Genetic. He spends the vast majority of the article quoting bogus science and speculation, such as the crap of ex-gay therapist (and Dobson puppet) Dr. Jeffrey Satinover. Bob eats it up.
Some people may be predisposed because of genetic, prenatal hormonal influences or other physical or brain differences to have personalities that make them vulnerable to the environmental factors that can elicit homosexual desires. So is homosexuality biological? Not in the way that popular media and homosexual activists have presented it.

Extremely shy and artistic young boys, for instance, who are not affirmed in their masculinity by a caring father, might be at risk for homosexuality. It's not because of a homosexual "gene," but because of an interrupted process of achieving secure gender identity. This can make some boys who crave male affirmation an easy mark for seduction into homosexuality. A similar pattern can be seen in girls who don't fit classic gender profiles, need feminine affirmation, and are targeted by lesbians who play upon the girls' emotional needs.

Such children's vulnerability is all the more reason to protect them from early exposure to homosexual influences. The Boy Scouts of America, for instance, is right to screen out as troop leaders those men who desire other males sexually. The Scouts do so not out of bigotry, or a belief that all homosexual men molest boys. They do so out of genuine concern for the health and well-being of the boys in their charge, including those who might be sexually vulnerable.
More Bob Knight on fire:
* Starbucks promotes the homo agenda
* The ACLU's part of the homo agenda
* Homos are taking over DC's power center
* Bob Knight loses his cookies over gay adoptions
* Bob Knight wigs out over Time piece on gay teens


Bush spied on purely domestic calls


One of the defenses offered up by the Bush administration in this latest scandal (dubbed "SnoopGate", which I can't get into because Calvin Broadus has nothing to do with it) is that though the spying may have been on US citizens who were making calls while in the US, those citizens were calling foreign locations deemed to be "suspicious". I've even read the Freepers defend it with lines like "So if your name is Ahmad Mohammed and you're constantly making phone calls to a radical mosque in Syria, sure, nothing to worry about there!" The idea here is to show the president only went out of his way to break the law and ignore the Constitution for the purpose of eavesdropping only on US-foreign transmissions. He's only spying on those people, not good ol' Americans like you and me just making calls to our friends in the States.
Mr. Bush and his senior aides have emphasized since the disclosure of the program's existence last week that the president's executive order applied only to cases where one party on a call or e-mail message was outside the United States.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any "purely domestic" intercepts under the program.

"The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States," General Hayden answered. "I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States."

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications. "People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors," he said. "Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States."
Well, so much for that defense:
(NY Times) WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.

The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact "international."

Telecommunications experts say the issue points up troubling logistical questions about the program. At a time when communications networks are increasingly globalized, it is sometimes difficult even for the N.S.A. to determine whether someone is inside or outside the United States when making a cellphone call or sending an e-mail message. As a result, people that the security agency may think are outside the United States are actually on American soil.
Great point. Maybe, then, we should have a set of procedures and laws to follow in these cases, with some judicial and congressional oversight, so we won't be so quick to make these mistakes, huh?

I don't know about you, but if a stranger sees me running around inside my house naked, I don't care whether he intentionally planned to be a Peeping Tom or if he accidentally spied me in the buff because he was turning his head and got just the right angle to see through my window blinds. Intentional or accidental, domestic spying on American citizens requires a warrant.


ABC poll: 85% are sure they are going to heaven

I'm sure homos have a pre-ordered ticket on the Hell Express if you asked most of these folks.
Eighty-nine percent in this ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they'll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it's a place where people exist only spiritually.

Who gets in is another matter. Among people who believe in heaven, one in four thinks access is limited to Christians. More than a third of Protestants feel that way, and this view peaks at 55 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.

Among all adults, 79 percent are Christians, 14 percent have no religion, and the rest, 5 percent, are non-Christians. Among Christian groups, Catholics account for 21 percent of adults; evangelical Protestants, 19 percent; and non-evangelical Protestants, 13 percent.
But how about this stat? Some of these men must think that they are hanging out with the wrong crowd...
There's a difference between the sexes: Eighty percent of women think they're going to heaven, compared with 69 percent of men. That's both because men are slightly less apt to believe in heaven in the first place, and among those who do believe, slightly less apt to think they're headed there.
Naturally, those without a religion are the least likely to believe in heaven (51 yes/46 percent no).


Judge: mixing church and state - not a problem

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
-- The First Amendment
There is no statement about the separation of church and state in the Constitution, but the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted over time to mean it includes a "wall of separation."

The bible-beaters have been trying to shave away at this, eagerly advocating for the appointment of judges that would narrowly interpret the First Amendment, excluding any separation so as to promote religion - and we all know that in this case they define "religion" as their brand of Christianity. We're talking about the Ten Commandments here.


Judge Richard F. Suhrheinrich, appointed by President Bush in 1990, is one judge that sees it the wingnut way. Look at this unbelievable ruling; he's clearly got an ax to grind with the ACLU. (WorldNetDaily):
A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

...Writing for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich said the ACLU's "repeated reference 'to the separation of church and state' ... has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

Suhrheinrich wrote: "The ACLU, an organization whose mission is 'to ensure that ... the government [is kept] out of the religion business,' does not embody the reasonable person."

The court said a reasonable observer of Mercer County's display appreciates "the role religion has played in our governmental institutions, and finds it historically appropriate and traditionally acceptable for a state to include religious influences, even in the form of sacred texts, in honoring American traditions."
The attorneys that successfully argued the case were from winger American Center for Law and Justice.

How can things go so awry? For starters, it's all about whether the folks on the bench take into account the intent of the founding fathers along with the Constitution itself. TJ was pretty clear. From religioustolerance.org:
Thomas Jefferson, as president, wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut on 1802-JAN-1. It contains the first known reference to the "wall of separation". The essay states in part:
"...I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State..."
During the 1810's, President James Madison wrote an essay titled "Monopolies" which also refers to the importance of church-state separation. He stated in part:
"Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."
The US Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment as if it requires this "wall of separation" between church and state. It not only prohibits any government from adopting a particular denomination or religion as official, but requires government to avoid excessive involvement in religion.
That all goes out the window for the wingers. It's all about "strict constructionism." Intent and interpretation don't matter, it's all about the actual words and phrases in the document. Nothing more.

We're going to see more rulings of this nature from judges like Suhrheinrich, given the appointments that Dear Leader has been making at all levels of the federal judiciary.

A quiz: What Do You Know About The Separation of State and Church?

Hat tip, No More Mister Nice Blog via Blender Kathy of Birmingham Blues.


A Freeper's 'Brokeback' observation, not mine

From a thread called Movie isn't just pro-gay, but anti-marriage, we find an interesting observation from one knuckle-dragger that never entered my mind...maybe he's just got more finely tuned gaydar.
To: msnimje

Tell me this "look" wasn't planned and practiced to resemble the president...



11 posted on 12/20/2005 10:20:40 PM PST by SteveMcKing



GOP whack jobs: Blanco personally responsible for Katrina deaths

The Katrina blame game nevers stops, does it? I'm of the firm opinion that both Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were both negligent and incompetent in their handling of matters, and that FEMA was well, beyond the pale as an example of government Keystone Kops futility.

That, however, is not an excuse for the revisionist thugs in Congress to try and drop deaths directly at Blanco's door.

From my friend Chris Kromm at Facing South, who calls out the BS...
In case you missed it, one of the more astounding moments in last week's Congressional hearings about Hurricane Katrina was seeing a series of Republican lawmakers claim that Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco was personally responsible for the 1,086 known to have died in the storm.

The NOLA Times-Picayune relates this gem from last week:
Some members of the House Select Committee, which is ostensibly investigating the federal government's response to the crisis in the New Orleans area, insisted that Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco accept personal responsibility for the people who died.


U.S. Rep Jeff Miller, R-Fla., giving himself over wholly to demagoguery, told Blanco that the 1,086 Louisiana residents known to have died in the storm are about half the number of American lives lost in Iraq.

"You lost that many in one day," he said.
SHE lost that many? In the entire hearings -- a complete white-wash aside from one fiesty panel of African-American survivors -- I didn't hear one Democrat personally accuse President Bush of causing over 1,000 deaths in New Orleans.
The fact of the matter is, and Chris points this out, is that many of the residents stayed behind because they thought the levees were strong enough to sustain winds and rain produced by Katrina.

What maintenance that the government had done on those levees was substandard because the government cut corners. Chris:
In my trip to New Orleans a week ago, I saw first-hand why these "rebuilt" levees failed. Thanks to Washington budget cuts, they were done on the cheap -- not driving the piles deep enough, using wobbly "I" beams instead of walls with a broad base, etc.
So bonehead demagogues like Miller bloviate, attempting to blame anyone else for the misery except the lawmakers that continually shortchanged the levee system.


The Loyal Citizen's Contract With the American Government


I don't know how many House Blenders spend time over at The Rude Pundit's place, but for me it is a daily pilgrimage (sorta like Mecca for atheistic heathens like me). I know his vulgar, obscene, and blasphemous style isn't everyone's cup of tea, but now and then he writes a post like this one that even my filth-hatin' mom would enjoy.

The Rude One has given permission for this to be spread far and wide beyond "Left Blogsylvania", so in the interest of presenting it to the largest audience possible...
The Loyal Citizen's Contract With the American Government:
Considering the responses of Bill Kristol, the Wall Street Journal, and others to President Bush's affirmation of warrantless domestic spying by the NSA, perhaps it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff in this America. The Rude Pundit believes a new "contract" of sorts is needed between the government and the American people. Howzabout this:
I (the undersigned) believe President George W. Bush when he says that the United States of America is fighting a 'new kind of enemy' that requires 'new thinking' about how to wage war. Therefore, as a loyal citizen of President Bush’s United States, my signature below indicates my agreement to the following:

1. I believe wholeheartedly in the Patriot Act as initially passed by Congress in 2001, as well as the provisions of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. Therefore, I grant the FBI access to:

a. my library records, so it may determine if I am reading material that might designate me an enemy of the nation;

b. my financial records, including credit reports, so it may determine if I am contributing monetarily to any governmentally proscribed activities or organizations;

c. my medical records, so it may determine if my prescriptions, injuries, or other conditions are indicative of terrorist activity on my part;

d. any and all other personal records including, but not limited to, my store purchases, my school records, my web browsing history, and anything else determined as a 'tangible thing' necessary to engage in a secret investigation of me.

I agree that I do not need to be notified if my records have come under scrutiny by the FBI, and, furthermore, I agree that no warrant is needed for the FBI to engage in this examination of my personal records. Additionally, I agree that the FBI should be allowed to monitor any groups it believes may be linked to what it determines to be terrorist activity.

2. I believe that the President of the United States has the power to mitigate any and all laws passed by the Congress and that he has such power granted to him by his status as Commander-in-Chief in the Constitution as well as the 2001 Authorization of Military Force, passed by the Congress, which states that the President can use 'all necessary and appropriate force' in prosecution of the war. Therefore, I grant the United States government the following powers:

a. that the National Security Agency, under the direction of the President, may tap my phone lines and intercept my e-mail without warrant or FISA oversight;

b. that the President may hold me or other detainees without access to the legal system for a period of time determined by the President or his agents;

c. that the President may authorize physical force against me or other individual detainees in order to gain intelligence and that he may define whether such physical force may be called 'torture':

d. that the President may set aside any and all laws he sees as hindering the gathering of intelligence and prevention of terrorist acts for a period as time determined by the President, including, but not limited to, rights to political protest.

I agree that the Judicial and Legislative branch should be allowed no oversight of these activities, and that such oversight merely emboldens the terrorists. I also agree that virtually all of these activities may be conducted in complete secrecy and that revelation of these activities amount to treasonous behavior on the part of those who reveal these activities to the press and the citizenry.

3. Finally, this document is my statement that I believe the President of the United States and the entire executive branch, as well as all departments and agencies involved, as well as all of its personnel, will treat these powers I have granted them with utmost respect. I believe that these powers will not be abused, nor will any of the information I have given them permission to examine be misinterpreted. However, should such abuse or misinterpretation occur, I agree that such actions are mere errors and no one should be subject to investigation, arrest, or employment action as a result.

My consent freely given,
(Your signature)
C'mon, Michelle Malkin, Byron York, John Hinderaker, and all the rest of you good Bush lovers. Sign on up. Send it in to the White House. Let 'em know that you have nothing to hide. Or nothing you don't care about sharing.


Christmas carols, Rotting CryptkeeperTM style



Some seriously disturbed sh*t. Good As You has the new lyrics to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Joy to the World" and more, so you don't have to sully your keyboard going to the Westboro hate site.


Laurel Hester stands tall



You've might have heard about the story of Laurel Hester, the NJ police officer who has terminal cancer. She has been fighting the Ocean County Freeholders, who have decided that she cannot leave her pension to her partner. How can these men sleep at night?


John Kelly, one of the Freeholders (all compassionate, conservative Republicans, by the way), said that if Hester's request was granted it would "violate the sanctity of marriage."

Michael Jensen of The Big Gay Picture has been been blogging about this story from the beginning. He emailed me to let me know about the first of his three-part interview with Laurel Hester. His coverage won her confidence and other than a brief interview with the NY Times, she hasn't spoken to other media. What a scoop, Mike -- thanks for helping Laurel share her story.

Here is a snippet about her early experiences on the job, where being "out" was out of the question.
Her supervisor made it clear that Laurel's employment hinged on her staying closeted. "I didn't feel ashamed of being a lesbian," she says. Indeed, she had known from an early age she was gay. "It did frighten and depress me," she says. "I had no idea there was anyone else like me, but deep down I also knew there was nothing wrong with me."

Laurel also knew she would be an effective cop and could do much good. Even though a life in the closet was a sacrifice, she was willing to make that sacrifice if it allowed her to follow her calling.

Laurel was one of only two women in the Morris police department. She says the men treated her fine, but only to a point. "There was a line that couldn't be crossed and that was socializing with the guys," she says.

And no socializing meant none of the old-boys-network that helped with promotions. "But the biggest drawback," says Laurel "was that I didn't have any mentors, and that is so important to learning about being a cop. That meant I had to work even harder."
Go read the rest. The other parts of Mike's interview will be posted this week.

Also:
The Republic of T. has blogged extensively about Laurel's fight.


Tying the knot



Elton and David (and 700 other couples) legally tied the knot -- across the pond.
Sir Elton John and David Furnish's civil partnership ceremony has taken place at the Guildhall in Windsor. The singer, 58, emerged with his partner, 43, to pose for photos and wave to hundreds of well-wishers.

...The ceremony - to be followed by a party at the singer's nearby mansion - came on the first day same-sex unions become legal in England and Wales.


Massachusetts gay marriage ban amendment initiative certified

Can this be stopped? What are the chances that the votes can be obtained in two successive sessions so that it ends up on the ballot in 2008?


Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin on Tuesday sent to the legislature a proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and block the state from allowing civil unions.

It also would void more than 6,000 gay marriages already performed in the Commonwealth.

Galvin announced that he officially certified the proposal. He said that it met the requirements - 65,825 signatures, with no more than 16,456 from any one county. Local election clerks had already ascertained names on the measure were those of registered voters.

The legislature has already rejected its own proposed amendment, one that would have banned gay marriage but allowed civil unions. But this time the proposed amendment is a citizens initiative and requires a much lower threshold to gain approval, needing only the support of 50 members in each of the two sessions.

The signatures submitted to Galvin were collected by Vote On Marriage - an umbrella group made up of the Catholic Church and evangelical groups.
According to the article, recent polls show voters would reject the amendment if it made it to the ballot. Make no mistake, though -- the wingers are going to throw a lot of money behind this amendment effort.


Oh Fetus Tree, Oh Fetus Tree

Tuesday, December 20, 2005



I'm not sh*tting you. Never mind the whole "Christ in Christmas" deal; now we have to worry about the bible beaters hanging fetus ornaments in trees. This is in Kansas -- what is the matter with Kansas? (KCTV5):
A Christmas tree that a pregnancy counseling organization provided to a women's fitness center prompted three people to cancel their memberships because the tree is decorated with plastic figures meant to represent fetuses.

"This is insidious," said Kelly Jones, one of the women who quit Body Boutique last week. "This is in my gym." She said the fitness center is a place to promote physical and mental health, not to confront a polarizing issue such as abortion.

Lorinda Hartzler, co-owner of Body Boutique, said that when Birthright of Lawrence asked about providing the tree it said it had no political agenda and wanted only to assist pregnant women in their decision-making process...The tree had about a dozen blue and pink stockings, each stuffed with a plastic figure and attached card that labeled the dolls as being "between 11 and 12 weeks old."

Coupons for Birthright videos, pamphlets and children's clothes were also in the tree. Coupons included savings on a video titled "After the Choice," another video showing abortion procedures and a brochure on emergency contraception known as the "morning-after pill."
This will really enhance your workout experience, huh?


Roy Moore's wife lobs the 'Christian' bomb in fundraising email


Kayla Moore with Daddy Dobson at a Ten Commandments rally.

Kathy of Birmingham Blues posted about good old former Alabama judge (and GOP candidate for governor) Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore. Seems the gay-basher has charged his holy bedmate with doing a little fundraising. Maybe someone should ask Kayla Moore to rachet it down a tad. The message is basically "Roy will return morality to our country and put the Christ back in Christmas." Get a load of this...
In the letter, Kayla Moore suggested the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State "will stop at nothing to keep Roy Moore out of the Governor's office in Alabama!"

"In short, they want to continue to promote homosexual marriages, maintain abortion on demand and remove Christ from Christmas," Kayla Moore wrote. "They FEAR nothing more than the emergence of a powerful national spokesperson for Christian conservatism.



"And make no mistake: If elected governor of Alabama, my husband will be that spokesman!" she wrote. "But again, he can't get there alone which is why I am hoping you and thousands of other Christian conservatives will join with my husband in his campaign for governor."
The fact is that Moore, in his race against incumbent Republican Bob Riley, faces an uphill battle in the fundraising department. The business (read: big buxxx) interests are aligned with Riley, so wacky Roy needs the money from the red-meat, bible-beating Alabamians. And this is why you have Kayla spewing this in her mailing to supporters.
"I know I am asking a lot especially right in the middle of this Christmas season when your focus is on family, friends and loved ones," the letter reads. "But, I can think of no better time than this Holy Season to begin our campaign to return morality to our country and God to our public square. We need a man like Roy Moore as governor of Alabama. With your help and God's grace we can, and will prevail!"


Hard up



Perhaps the organization's target demo is out swearing, smoking, toking and flipping through a porno rag instead of "enlisting" to ring the bell outside Wal-Mart.
The Salvation Army has had trouble recruiting in recent years. Its bell-ringers, disaster relief workers and employees at thrift shops and skid row missions are led by less than 37-hundred "officers" (the equivalent of clergy) whose ranks have declined by nearly a third in the past five years. Only 284 "cadets" are now enrolled at the Salvation Army's four U-S seminaries. But National Commander W. Todd Bassett says, "I'm a man of faith so I know we can turn it around." The Salvation Army's 113-thousand-500 U.S. "soldiers," the core group among 427-thousand members, have taken vows that include a willingness to evangelize and help the needy while abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, pornography or profanity.


GOP shill Victoria Toensing pooh-poohs need for investigation of Bush

Jon at Pensito Review has a good one up; he's righton the money about self-stroking pimpsters Victoria Toensing and her cigar-chewing husband, Joe diGenova. They were all over the airwaves during the Clinton scandal, bleating about impeachment over the blue stained dress. They were on cable chat shows over 300 times, railing the same old same old.

Now the tune has changed of course, since their man is in the hot seat. Victoria has no shame; she sees no need for an examination of Dear Leader's role in domestic surveillance.
In those days, to hear Toensing and diGenova tell it, there was no infraction on the part of the Clintons that was too small to warrant a thorough proctological examination.


So I was flabbergasted to hear Toensing this morning on C-Span’s Washington Journal laughing - literally - at the idea that a special prosecutor should be assigned to investigate whether President Bush broke the law when he ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens.
Surf over for more. Crooks & Liars has the video of this steaming pile of crap.


George W. Bush: Impervious to Irony & Hypocrisy


George W. Bush is truly an incredible specimen. Most people have built-in irony and hypocrisy sensors that prevent them from saying things so incredibly ironic and hypocritical that their heads explode from the cognitive dissonance. Bush has no such problem; he is impervious to irony and hypocrisy. Witness this sterling example, as our president defends his use of the Domestic Spying for Security Initiative™ and protests those who leaked its existence:
(NY Times) "It is a shameful act by somebody who has got secrets of the United States government and feels like they need to disclose them publicly.... We're at war, and we must protect America's secrets." [George W. Bush, 12/19/2005]
Now, compare and contrast that statement with these statements on the shameful act of publicly disclosing the United States government's secret [identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame] during a time of war (warning: severe cognitive dissonance ahead!)
(DSCC) "I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." [Bush Remarks: Chicago, Illinois, 9/30/03]
And this news item...
(CBS/AP) Columnist Bob Novak isn't revealing his source in the CIA leak affair, but he says he's confident President Bush knows who it is.

It was Novak who first published covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity, sparking a scandal that led the indictment of a top White House aide.

"I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak said Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."
And this campaign promise:
"I will swear to uphold the laws of the land. But I will also swear to uphold the honor and the integrity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God," said then-Governor George Bush [CNN, "Inside Politics," 8/11/00]
Whew! I'm still here, cranium intact. But I was raised in Idaho, 2nd-reddest of red states, so perhaps I have built up a tolerance.

[UPDATE] Another doozy, courtesy of Daily Dissent. What did the president know about the legality of domestic wiretaps, and when did he know it?
"Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." [George W. Bush, April 20, 2004]
(Sigh) If only wiretaps left semen stains...


A no-brainer



Gay.com's Villain of the Year is GWB. He'll easily hold on to that tiara in 2006 at this rate.

I'm sure you didn't have to skip a beat on who was #2.



...and the rest (w/links to Blend posts):

3. Pat Robertson
4. The Governator
5. Spokane Mayor Jim "Wild" West
6. Mitt "the sh*t" Romney
7. O'Lielly
8. Fiji -- why this tropical paradise? Here's why.
Several years ago, a gay couple was found murdered in Fiji. This spring, at the height of tourist season, an Australian tourist was jailed for gay sex in Fiji, where homosexual acts are illegal.

According to the Fiji Times, Magistrate Syed Muhktar Shah accused the couple of taking part in "shameful acts," adding that their crime was "something so disgusting that it would make any decent person vomit."


Person of the Year, to end on a positive note, was Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Spain became the third country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry on his watch. He faced some serious flack from the Catholic church, but held firm in his support.
"I will never understand those who proclaim love as the foundation of life, while denying so radically protection, understanding and affection to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues."


Headline of the day

Replacement Jesus found. What's left to say? (Cincinnati Enquirer):
The second of two stolen Baby Jesuses - taken from this West Side city's Nativity scene - was recovered Monday evening...Police knew right away it was the Nativity scene's second missing Baby Jesus. "It was missing a leg," Neal noted.

...This Baby Jesus was donated to Cheviot last week by 12-year-old Julie Hendricks of Anderson Township. She said she didn't want the display, which sits in the front yard of an Auto Zone store, to be without a Christ Child. Thieves stole the fiberglass original, along with a sheep, Dec. 8. Both figures, from the Nativity scene insured for $20,000, remain at large.
Hat tip, Holly.


Conyers submits bills to censure Bush, Cheney

Blogswarm away...Congressman John Conyers has submitted two bills that would censure dry-drunk Bush and Dark Lord Cheney and create a select committee to investigate the Administration's possible crimes and make recommendations regarding grounds for impeachment.



The good folks at AfterDowningStreet.org have created CensureBush.org, a clearinghouse for information about this effort.
H.Res.365 would create a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, and retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.



H.Res.636 and H.Res.637 would censure, respectively, Bush and Cheney for failing to respond to requests for information concerning allegations that they and others in the Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for the war, countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of persons in Iraq, and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of the Administration, for failing to adequately account for certain misstatements they made regarding the war, and – in the case of President Bush – for failing to comply with Executive Order 12958.

The House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff report (mentioned last night) titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War" is out and up at the web site.

Ask your congressmember to support the legislation.

If you post about this, plug it at Big Brass Alliance.


Pentagon labels gay kiss-in a 'credible threat'

You'll recall my post last Wednesday about NBC obtaining parts of a secret Pentagon database of organizations and individuals that have shown up at anti-war gatherings and other events they deem "suspicious." Now this unbelievable f*cking sh*t just came in my inbox from US Newswire about who else is in that database. Who knew homos and their supporters were threats to domestic security? (SLDN):
According to recent press reports, Pentagon officials have been spying on what they call "suspicious" meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. The story, first reported by Lisa Myers and NBC News last week, noted that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey. A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school's LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon. A UC-Santa Cruz "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a "credible threat" of terrorism.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) condemned the Pentagon surveillance and monitoring. "The Pentagon is supposed to defend the Constitution, not turn it upside down," said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. "Students have a first amendment right to protest and Americans have a right to expect that their government will respect our constitutional right to privacy. To suggest that a gay kiss-in is a 'credible threat' is absurd, homophobic and irrational. To suggest the Constitution does not apply to groups with views differing with Pentagon policy is chilling."
The SLDN has announced that it will submit a Freedom of Information Act request to see whether it or other LGBT organizations are being monitored by the Pentagon.

Our Dear Leader's Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM at work.

Flashback: Your tax dollars at work: Pentagon researched developing a "homo-bomb"

***

Also, Blender Holly just emailed that AmericaBlog is covering this as well.


Indianapolis passes gay rights ordinance

Gary at Advance Indiana passes on the great news...
In a historic advancement for civil rights in Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, the Indianapolis City-County Council, in front of a jam-packed, standing room only audience voted by a one vote margin tonight, 15-14, to approve Proposal 622, the Human Rights Ordinance, reversing the 11-18 defeat of the same proposal last April. Two brave Republicans, Scott Keller and Lance Langsford, joined 13 Democrat councilors in providing the needed votes to pass the landmark gay rights ordinance. Three Democrats who voted against the measure in April, Patrice Abdullah, Ron Gibson and Steve Talley, switched their positions to pave the way for the HRO’s passage. Two Democrats, Sherron Franklin and Mary Moriarty Adams, voted no as they did the last time.

The HRO, as approved, adds both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as protected classes from discrimination in employment and housing in Indianapolis.

Homo-bigot Eric Miller

This was a battle that featured the area's bible-thumping bigots on parade in protest of the ordinance, including Advance America’s Eric Miller, the American Family Association’s Micah Clark and the Indiana Family Institute’s Curt Smith.

Sadly, there were black pastors not willing to see civil equality as something gay citizens deserve, such as Pastor Terry Webster of Nu Corinthian Baptist Church and Christian Love's Melvin Jackson. From a story before the vote, "Gay rights issue splits Christians" in the IndyStar:
At Christian Love, a small black church on the Near Westside, the Rev. Melvin Jackson told about 35 parishioners at the morning praise and worship service not to buy into the misguided effort by proposal supporters to equate the struggles of gays and lesbians with the civil rights movement and discrimination against blacks.



"Their whole issue is: Let us be recognized as a class that needs to be protected because of our sexual behavior," he told worshippers gathered in the small, concrete block church at 1029 Burdsal Parkway. "I don't believe it is the business of government to say sexual behavior is protected."
Related:
* Indianapolis bigots in the pulpit are unhinged

Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


NYC transit strike is on


Transit strike notices can be seen at the Times Square subway station in New York City after the Transit Workers Union announced a strike as they failed to reach a deal with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005. More than 7 million daily riders will be forced to find new ways to get around because of the strike. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)

Not good. I feel for all of you New Yorkers out there who have to hoof it into work today. What fun.

When the last strike occurred (in the spring of 1980, starting on April Fool's Day, no less), I was living in Brooklyn at the time and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan (Stuy's site shows they have a special "strike plan" for this go-round).

Yes, the good/bad old days during the reign of Ed Koch. I really don't remember much about that transit strike, which leads me to believe that I either 1) didn't go to school (doubtful), or 2) I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge like everyone else. I do know that the schools were closed for part of the time, because it was around the Easter/Passover holiday, but the rest of the time they were open. I do remember going to and coming from school by walking the bridge a few times, but I don't know if I did it during that strike. I have much more vivid (frightening) memories of the heinous 1977 blackout.

From the Newsday, about the 1980 strike:
For the 11-day duration of the strike, the population of Manhattan increased by 500,000 people, as corporations rented hotel rooms in bulk for their employees. Even maids and porters at the Waldorf were housed overnight at the hotel. The number of bicycle commuters increased by 200,000 people...The 1980 transit shut-down cost the city's economy an estimated $1.1 billion, along with another million in lost sales tax every day.
This year's strike is expected to cost $400 million per day and the city government would lose $22 million a day in tax revenue plus another $10 mil in overtime for police. The Transport Workers Union's sticking point was over the big three - pensions, pay and benefits. The MTA ran a billion-dollar surplus this year, so it's no surprise that the union followed through with threat. The workers will face stiff fines for striking (docked two days pay for each day on strike).

Good accounts of that 1980 strike are here and here.

Anyone else have memories of that strike?


The Bill of Rights Suggestions

Monday, December 19, 2005


John Avarosis at AMERICAblog wins the "Radical" Russ Nail on the Head award for this week (and it's only Monday!) He makes an obvious play to appeal to the right-wingers to shock them into understanding just what it is Bush has done by asserting he has the right to disregard the 4th Amendment (in the Domestic Spying for Security Initiative™) just because he's commander-in-chief during a time of war, by noting that if he can just ignore Amendments I, IV, V, and VIII, he can just as easily ignore the other Amendments written on that "goddamned piece of paper", too, including the Second.
Real despots, real dictatorships, real tyrannies don't ask for permission before they take your rights away. When jack-booted thugs want to steal your most basic rights as free citizens, they come in the dark of night, you won't even know they've been there, and by the time you find out what they've done, it will be too late.

What exactly am I talking about? Read on.

Your right to bear arms is protected by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. It is one of ten amendments to the Constitution that we call the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights were adopted in 1791 to protect your basic rights and freedoms as Americans from an overzealous government. Among those rights and liberties, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to bear arms, and the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. What Bush has done to justify his recent domestic spying is to say that the Constitution in general, and the Bill of Rights in particular, are no longer either absolute or the law of the land. Instead, Bush, as commander in chief during war time, can overrule the Bill of Rights with a secret executive order whenever he wants. Not only is this absurd, but it's an incredibly dangerous precedent for our democracy and everyone living under it.

What Bush has just done is to say that the Constitution no longer dictates what he can and can't do as president. That means your rights under the Bill of Rights are no longer absolute or guaranteed, they're no longer the law of the law, they're now just simple "suggestions" without teeth, that can be brushed away by the federal government whenever it sees fit. If the Bill of Rights no longer give us absolute protection against our government, and can be overruled at a whim by that government, then the protections they afford no longer exist -- they no longer exist.
It's funny how great minds think alike. I used the same exact rhetorical trick in my (rare non-cross-posted at The Blend) post called Medical Marijuana and Gun Rights last Thursday. We cannabis consumers abandoned any hope of exercising our gun rights long ago, when Congress in the 1980s began enacting mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes. Most those minimums have enhanced penalties if the drug criminal is found in possession of a firearm, whether the firearm is legally registered or not, whether the person has the right to possess the firearm (e.g., not a felon, is a citizen, etc.), and whether or not the firearm was ever used, brandished, or even possessed by the person accused of the drug crime. (Though my wife wouldn't like it, I'd love to have a concealed carry permit for a can-shooting gun*, but not at the risk of more time in a federal pen.)

My post examines yet another nexus of prohibitionist federal policy vs. enlightened state medical marijuana law. A Beaverton man's concealed carry permit was revoked by the county sheriff. The sheriff explained that federal law prohibits gun licensing to anyone "known to be a habitual abuser of illicit drugs". That pretty much describes any one of Oregon's 12,500+ registered medical marijuana patients, so the sheriff asked for the person's medical marijuana status on the concealed carry license renewal form. Fortunately, the judge threw out the sheriff's case and reinstated the man's permit. Unfortunately, it will likely be appealed, and the Raich ruling pretty much settles that federal marijuana policy trumps state marijuana policy... even if there is no federal interest in the case.

(*Can-shooting gun? That's what my dad used to call powerful handguns. "Son, they're only good for shooting cans... Ameri-cans, Afri-cans, Puerto Ri-cans, Mexi-cans...")


Freeperland follies: 'Fry the traitors'

As you know, Dear Leader said he's not giving up his secret wiretaps, and said that the disclosure that he's violating your rights for "security" on the QT was the real problem: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in time of war," our dry drunk president said at today's press conference, as Kool-Aid was passed around the room.

There is a special pipeline system installed at the White House, one that winds its way beneath the earth's surface over to Freeperland, dumping gallons of Kool-Aid directly into the fetid waters there. The pliant knuckledraggers are bloodthirsty, eager to find out who these traitors are that have exposed their Dear Leader's secret plan to save America, the Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM. They want names.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I hope they find the SOBs and fry them."

"I'd have called them trators."

"It infuriates me to know that last night, Bush just handed his head over to the Dems on a silver platter. He has given the Dems fodder for the upcoming election by admitting wrong doing instead of showing that they DID find WMD. So I guess this Novak/Plame thing hurt worse than we imagined. It took Rove out of commission (apparently) because to out of freaking nowhere start going "We were wrong, but since we started, we gotta still be at war". Stupid Stupid Stupid IMO anyway."

"Time for a disinformation war. If the Bush administration was clever, they'd start feeding varied dummy "classified" information to certain individuals and segments of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Pentagon, Justice Dept. etc. All of the 'dummy info' will be somewhat selatious and damning of the Bush administration, and all of it will be false and harmless. When the leaks start coming out, hells should roll."

"Not a half bad idea. Such would help enable them to trace the leak and identify where it's coming from. It would also drive the Dems crazy ... which is a short trip, and is always fun to watch."

"Rush really took off after the traitors today. He said they're running around claiming they didn't know about the wire tapping, while they knew it all along. He said he wants them investigated and thrown out of Congress. Thank you, Rush."

""I'd call them trators" My beebers are stunned! Actually what scares me most is that this could enable the Islamofashists to carry out an attach right before 9/11/06. I hope that I am wrong. I am just getting a real uneasy feeling about this whole thing."

"I keep thinking, if the senators were of the same caliber as those who held that office during WWII, we'd be seeing NONE of these leaks....NONE of the two-faced, self-aggrandizing charades playing out today. The bulk of the senators today are not men at all...they're weasels."

"And all along the MSM knows that the President did not exceed his authority. The Patriot Act + the Constitution + the Congressional Resolution of Sep 18, 2001 give the president all the authority he needs to pursue anyone he thinks threatens the US. Read 'em and weep MSM...And know that I despise you, and even more for your hatred of my country and your siding with and aiding and abettin of its enemies."

"The only problem with that is that the MSM would roll with the fake stories and even a documented "sting" would be spun as the WH covering. Just look at how the whole timing issue and congrasional notification issue of this bogus "spying" story have been ignored."

"I think Bush is telling the Country that the Democrats think they can do it better, and the REpublican congressmen agree with the Democrats, so he is going to let them. Bush has no loyalty to the GOP that has abandoned him."

"Somebody needs killing over this/ Politics in which a rotten POS discloses secret information isnt politics any more Its treason."

"This is like blabbing that we broke the Enigma machina."

"First of all, I think we need to find out if these wiretaps were illegal. From all that I've read and heard, including from people whose opinion I respect on such matters, like Bob Barr, they were illegal and unconstitutional. If that's the case, then I'm more concerned about the people committing the initial illegal acts than some whistleblower who is merely exposing illegality."

"why have FISA warrants if you're not gonna use them? I read somewhere that 758 were applied for and the same # granted, so why not go through the warrant process? just wondering."

"I understand no president from any party has ever been quoted saying "I have too much power and I'd like to give some back to the people", but the arguments like 'I have nothing to hide so I don't care' and/or 'Clintoon did this ,too and more...' are getting tiresome. I'm reminded again: no matter who you vote for , the gubmint always wins. "

"We're long past the legality of the act. Attorney General Gonzales has already said Congress has given President Bush the authority for domestic surveillance after 9/11. Both Pelosi and Reid have now admitted that they were briefed on this as long as 4 years ago. In 1993, former Clinton CIA director confirmed that Clinton had been using ECHELON - a super-secret survailance program - to collect phone calls, private emails, etc, to collect economic intelligence, all this prior to the catalyst of 9/11."

"If you get your way, and there is another terror attack, as you lay there dying, look over at your wife and childrens as they slowly bleed to death and say "at least I know the government wasn't listening to the terrorists phone calls or reading their e-mails"."

"Actually, now that I think about it, you probably DON'T have a wife and kids. At least, I certainly hope you haven't reproduced."




Another closet case

Bill Frist has -- no surprise -- a zero rating from HRC and he's a co-sponsor of the Marriage "Protection" Amendment. Why would closet case consultant (and Frist political fundraiser) Linus Catignani want to be affiliated with Frist's charity, World of Hope, which raises funds for anti-gay ministries and organizations?

Mike at BlogActive will tell you why.


A report worth waiting for



Raw Story reports that a bombshell report is going to be released tomorrow that documents how we were taken to war on lies and deception.
House Judiciary Committee Democrats, spearheaded by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), are set to release possibly the sharpest congressional critique to date surrounding Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The report, titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War," is slotted to be made available to the public Tuesday. RAW STORY acquired a copy of the book’s cover and some additional information about the document today.

According to Democratic aides, the report will focus on alleged manipulation of pre-war intelligence by the White House, specifically covering such topics as the Downing Street Minutes as well as the White House position on the Geneva Conventions and international law as regards its policies toward prisoners of war. Sources say the report is slated to be published as a book.
Yes, the Downing Street Minutes are the reason the Big Brass Alliance was formed. Over 1049 blogs banded together to get the word out in blogswarms. Conyers has been, at times, the lone elected voice of sanity on this. It's good to see this mess on the record. Will the press cover it?


I didn't crop this, either...

...but I did have some PhotoShop fun with it...


I didn't crop this.


Reuters is having fun again. This picture is up on Yahoo Photos now.

Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington December 19, 2005. Bush vowed on Monday to authorize more eavesdropping on Americans suspected of ties to terrorists and said he believed a probe was underway into who committed 'the shameful act' of revealing the covert program. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

***

And how about this:
U.S. Rep. John Lewis said Monday in a radio interview that President Bush should be impeached if he broke the law in authorizing spying on Americans.

The Democratic congressman from Atlanta told WAOK-AM he would sign a bill of impeachment if one was drawn up and that the House of Representatives should consider such a move.

"It's a very serious charge, but he violated the law," said Lewis, a veteran civil rights leader. "The president should abide by the law. He deliberately, systematically violated the law. He is not king, he is president."
Shakes Sis also has word that Barbara Boxer is on the case as well.


It's official - the Blend is Best LGBT Blog



WizBang has certified the vote count -- and Diebold didn't lose them!

On Friday, when the word was unofficial, I gave thanks and shout-outs to all you Blenders out there -- here's the link...

A hat tip to Mike and Ryan for reminding me to check back about the results, and for the "dancing kudos" on their blog, Boys Are Ugly But So Cute (the link isn't work-safe, folks, lol).



For the latest on the Koufax nominations, you can go here.


Nudist village for Christians sets off fundies

"We are going after a totally different group, a group that doesn’t want a sexual atmosphere. There is absolutely no relationship between nudity and sex."
-- Bill Martin, on his Christian naturist living complex north of Tampa
What would Daddy Dobson think of this? He might need to squeeze his stress balls. A 67-year-old Quaker grandfather in Tampa is opening the first Christian nudist camp, and the fundies are coming unhinged. I love it. (Times Online, hat tip Raw Story)
Bill Martin’s ambitious plan for a 200-acre Christian- oriented Family Naturist Village has survived legal challenges, doctrinal disputes and a plague of internet prudes. Land is now being cleared for the opening next year of what may become the world’s only Christian community to feature nude volleyball.

Despite howls of complaint from fundamentalists who have likened Martin to the Antichrist — and described his nudist plans as “graphic evidence of America’s moral collapse” — Natura intends to build 50 houses around a non-denominational church where clothing for services will be optional.


Christian nudist Jonathan Palmiter enjoys a morning stroll at Natura, which opens in 2006.
Phil Wahba/CNS

...Martin’s supporters also claim that nude worship is much more in keeping with modest Christian values than are the ostentatious displays of wealth on show at the suburban “megachurches”, where women attend services in “designer clothes and $90 haircuts”, says one internet posting.

None of which has stopped Martin’s critics from battling against his project. Texe Marrs, who operates a website called Conspiracyworld.com, has pointed to Martin’s project as evidence that Satan is subverting Christianity.

Daniel Bellows, chief executive of the new development, said that he regularly receives e-mails from Christians appalled by the idea of nude worship and warning him that he faces eternal damnation.


Spying on Americans = Good; Talking about it = Bad


My wife just called me to share her joy at watching President Bush's press conference this morning. "He's just losing it," she tells me breathlessly, "reporters keep asking him about the domestic spying, the Plame leak, the torture, and for once his mantra of '9/11 changed everything' isn't holding back the criticism! It's hilarious?"

Well, it would be hilarious, if this were a fictional TV sitcom about a bumbling commander-in-chief, like Comedy Central's short-lived "That's My Bush!". The problem with that show is it was hard to satirize something that's not taken seriously in the first place. (Oh, and 9/11 happened and changed everything.) As it is, knowing that the real Bush is having a detrimental effect on every human life on the planet is too terrifying to be funny:
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday said disclosure of his domestic eavesdropping program was a "shameful act" and said he will keep using it "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens."

"As president of the United States and commander in chief I have the constitutional responsibility and the constitutional authority to protect our country," he said in an opening statement at a year-end news conference.

Asked if the Justice Department would be investigating who leaked the existence of the program, first disclosed last week by The New York Times, Bush said he presumed the process had started.

"It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy," he said at the White House event.
How DARE anyone mention that we're spying on American citizens? I mean, spying on our own citizens in violation of their constitutional civil rights, that's understandable... but talking about it?!? That could ruin everything. It's like those Abu Ghraib photographs; nobody really had a problem with us torturing... ahem, interrogating extraordinarily... until they actually knew about it.
Normally, no wiretapping is permitted in the United States without a court warrant. But Bush said he approved the action without such orders "because it enables us to move faster and quicker. We've got to be fast on our feet.

"It is legal to do so. I swore to uphold the laws. Legal authority is derived from the Constitution," Bush added.
"...which I think I read once at Andover, heh heh. I particularly like the part that says the Commander-in-Chief has absolute power to do whatever the hell he wants during wartime, that's my favorite!"


'Pants on fire' press conference


(AFP/Leslie Kossoff)

[I see Russ just posted on this as well. Guess you Blenders will have to sit through two posts, lolol.]

Liars, liars. Bush and his crew have no shame. But he has no choice -- he has to try to defend his Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM.

In what can only be described as a hastily held press conference (don't give the lazy-ass press a chance to prepare), he papered it all over with a thick coat of "9/11...terror...9/11, danger...danger...warning...warning...give me my Patriot Act and unlimited powers. Damn you for exposing my domestic surveillance program, you unpatriotic bastards." (AP):
Bush said the warrantless spying, conducted by the National Security Agency, was an essential element in the war on terror. "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is discussing the enemy," he said.

...Normally, no wiretapping is permitted in the United States without a court warrant. But Bush said he approved the action without such orders "because it enables us to move faster and quicker. We've got to be fast on our feet.
Ummm. What do you say behind this?
President Bush, brushing aside bipartisan criticism in Congress, said Monday he approved spying on suspected terrorists without court orders because it was "a necessary part of my job to protect" Americans from attack.

The president said he would continue the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens," and added it included safeguards to protect civil liberties. [And what are left, at this point?]
***


Meanwhile, Alberto "Torture" Gonzales was weaseling and dissembling on the Today show, claiming Congress granted Bush the power to take on his Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM when the Authorization for War passed on September 14, 2001. Georgia10, over in a stellar DKos diary, calls "bullsh*t" on the administration's attempt to blame Congress for this.
Having scoured the authorization (read it here) I can't find anything that would grant the President the power to skirt the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Was Gonzales referring to the fact Congress gave the President the authority to use "all necessary and appropriate force" to combat terrorism?  But the word "force" there is invoked  with respect to the use of military force.  And even if in GonzalesWorldTM "force" includes spying just like "torture" excludes almost everything short of death, Congress added the phrase "necessary and appropriate" precisely because it intended to restrict the President to the confines of the law.

So the "resolved" clause is out. What other aspect of the authorization gives the President the right to ignore the 4th Amendment and the centuries of case law supporting it? Was Gonzales referring to this?:
Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it resolved...
If he was referring to this clause, he should have his law license revoked. Because it is a basic tenet of statutory construction that "whereas" clauses have no binding legal effect.   Professor Glennon testified to the Senate that these specific "whereas" clauses have no legal effect back in 2002:nate that these specific "whereas" clauses have no legal effect back in 2002:
How much authority does this statute confer upon the President to use force in prosecuting the war against terrorism? Note at the outset that the statute contains five whereas clauses. Under traditional principles of statutory construction, these provisions have no binding legal effect. Only material that comes after the so-called "resolving clause"--"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled"--can have any operative effect. Material set out in a whereas clause is purely precatory. It may be relevant for the purpose of clarifying ambiguities in a statute's legally operative terms, but in and of itself such a provision can confer no legal right or obligation.
Let's step back into GonzalesWorldTM for a second and assume that his argument is operative; he says this clause recognized that the President has unfettered power under the Constitution to skirt the law and order warrantless spying.  But the Constitution mandates that the President preserve and defend the Constitution--which includes the Fourth Amendment and its protection against warrantless searches and seizures.

Naturally, being the stellar "inteviewer" that she is, Katie Couric failed to ask Gonzales any follow-up questions.  But at least Gonzales named a statute--as opposed to Condoleeza Rice who fumbled and squirmed when Russert asked her the same this weekend.
For additional MSM massaging of the message, the Dark Lord of Torture will appear on Nightline tonight.

Also surf over to Americablog, where John is speculating that the target of the surveillance could in fact, be journalists (though proving this one is going to be one tough nut to crack):
I don't have proof yet, but Bush spying on US journalists would explain everything UNEXPLAINED about this entire story. Bush refusing to follow the law, Bush refusing to go to court, Bush refusing to tell more members of Congress, Bush's concern that the terrorists, if they knew we were doing this, would be tipped off, and Bush's desire to keep this from the public. It all makes sense that the target of the domestic spying could be US journalists.


Tell me I'm dreaming - Empty Wig for Governor



I hope this is just a trial balloon, because someone is smoking the good stuff in the NC GOP if they think this is a good idea. (N&O):
It is the rumor that won't die. But the tale that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole might be interested in running for governor of North Carolina in 2008 continues to circulate in the conservative blogs. One blog even has former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer running for Dole's Senate seat.

Those close to Dole have repeatedly said the Republican from Salisbury plans to seek re-election to a second Senate term in 2008 and has no interest in running for governor.

But the Dole for governor rumors continue to circulate, probably reflecting some dissatisfaction over the potential GOP field for governor.
Real Values has plenty to say about our Senator (who, incidentally, has what has to be the worst constituent services imaginable).
I for one hope she DOES run for Governor in 2008. I think Attorney General Roy Cooper, State Treasurer Richard Moore, or Lt. Governor Bev Perdue

would eat Empty Wig's lunch in a run for Governor. Of course if she did run for Governor, she might actually have to move to NC, which I am sure would cramp her style.

No matter what Empty Wig does in '08 Democrats in NC should be enthusiastic about the chances to re-take this seat. Outgoing Governor Mike Easley would obviously be a hell of a candidate. Even if Easley doesnt run (he says he isnt interested) there are top flight candidates, including Congressman Bob Etheridge.


Jeb just had a brain wave

Sunday, December 18, 2005



Gov. Jeb Bush said he supports reviewing voting machines. Oh, the irony -- the light bulb is just going off? Come the f*ck on. From the Miami Herald:
Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday that the state ought to consider relooking at the way it examines electronic voting machines, following a county election chief's tests that showed insiders could hack into the computers, change votes and not leave an electronic fingerprint behind.

Bush, saying the subject is ''too important'' to ignore, echoed national computer-security and voting experts, and struck a dissimilar chord to acting Secretary of State David Mann, who expressed less urgency Thursday to retest vote machines. Mann said he was ''concerned'' only that Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho might have given an outsider access to his vote machines' computer codes Tuesday.
The Brad Blog's all over this.


Outed gay soldier leaving Army after assaults

"I can't keep living a lie. It's not safe for me here...I can't deny who I am anymore. I thought I could do it, but I can't."
-- Pvt. Kyle Lawson, asking for discharge after being harassed and attacked by fellow soldiers
Sick. A 19-year-old soldier fears for his safety -- the threat is not from an enemy, but from his fellow homophobic soldiers.
For weeks, the 19-year-old Tucson native has been sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office to protect him from further attacks because he is gay.

He's already had his nose broken — and says he also was threatened with a knife — after a friend let Lawson's secret slip at a party attended by members of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, a training unit at Fort Huachuca 75 miles southeast of Tucson.

...Critics of the Pentagon's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy say Lawson is one of hundreds of homosexuals harassed or assaulted each year, and say his story is a telling example of what's wrong with the ban on openly gay troops.
To add insult to injury (and it's no surprise), in the case of physical assaults, the Army has either not prosecuted the charges or meted out insufficient punishment.
Lawson was punched in the face by a fellow 309th soldier at the off-post party on Oct. 29, according to a police report of the incident.

The soldier told police Lawson made sexually suggestive remarks. Sierra Vista police Officer Darryl Scott, who investigated and laid a charge of felony aggravated assault, said in an interview that "there was no provocation."
The Army chose not to prosecute the charge, for reasons fort officials say they are not at liberty to explain.

A week after the first attack, Lawson said a second soldier threatened him with a knife outside a barracks as word spread about his sexual orientation. Lawson said the soldiers who accosted him received little punishment from the Army. Fort Huachuca officials say neither case was mishandled.

...Despite a Pentagon push in 2000 to prevent gay-bashing — spurred by the slaying of a gay soldier at Fort Campbell, Ky. — more than 900 homosexual troops were verbally or physically harassed last year, according to the Service Members' Legal Defense Network in Washington, D.C.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell promotes ill will by stigmatizing homosexuality, said Steve Ralls, spokesman for the group.
"When the military as an institution can discriminate against you, what message does that send to your co-workers about how they can treat you?" he asked.
As in most of these stories, reporters go to ace wingnut and opponent of gays in the military and women in combat, Retro-female Elaine Donnelly of the Michigan-based Center for Military Readiness for a choice quote.

"The military is not like any other employer, troops often live in close quarters with little privacy, creating "forced intimacy...This is not a question of bigotry, it's about "respect for personal modesty."
Related:
* Poll: Americans embarrassed by military's gay ban
* Elaine Donnelly: Canada has a pansy military

Hat tip, PageOneQ


We didn't watch Bush's speech

We spent the evening watching a marathon of viewers' choice episodes of SVU on USA (two of our favorites made it, "Loss" and "Lowdown").

We didn't feel like listening to Bush's dissembling. If you want to hear more fantasist BS about 9/11 and security and "winning" in Iraq, you can catch the transcript at Think Progress. Read and take some Tums to control the nausea.

(AP Photo/APTN)

Americans can expect some things of me as well. My most solemn responsibility is to protect our Nation, and that requires me to make some tough decisions. I see the consequences of those decisions when I meet wounded servicemen and women who cannot leave their hospital beds, but summon the strength to look me in the eye and say they would do it all over again. I see the consequences when I talk to parents who miss a child so much – but tell me he loved being a soldier … he believed in his mission … and Mr. President, finish the job.

I know that some of my decisions have led to terrible loss – and not one of those decisions has been taken lightly. I know this war is controversial – yet being your President requires doing what I believe is right and accepting the consequences. And I have never been more certain that America’s actions in Iraq are essential to the security of our citizens, and will lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.
***

Meanwhile, the Dark Lord of Torture and Illegal Surveillance did a little photo-op stop in Iraq...


(AFP/Pool/Lawrence Jackson)

Violence Surges as Cheney Visits Iraq. Love that WaPo headline. Also, Cheney suggested that the September 11 attacks on the United States could have been averted, if the government had the power to monitor electronic communications inside the country: "And in fact, it is consistent with the president's constitutional authority as commander in chief...It's consistent with the resolution that was passed by the Congress after 9/11."

***

As far as Bush's Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM goes, it is truly a time to catch our breath and contemplate how much damage this man has done to the country. We shouldn't be talking about something as incredible as an administration that blatantly places itself above the law -- as well as convincing the "paper of record" to sit on a story about the eavesdropping on Americans (for over a year).

It is frightening that the current occupant of the White House has such contempt for our Constitution -- and, in fact, our democracy, a concept he clearly doesn't have a grip on, even as he freely tosses the word around about his Iraq folly.

You wish that you could wake up and realize it's just a tin-foil hat conspiracy, but sadly it's not. It's a clear pattern of contempt, as the Pentagon, under this Administration has compiled a secret database of Americans that are under surveillance for simply attending anti-war demonstrations.

The question is, what is going on that we are not aware of.

***

For more fun, see The Dark Wraith's post (at B3 or his pad), Feds Question Student for Requesting Book of Mao Tse-Tung Quotations. The student was told by agents that the book was on a "watch list" (so those that check it out must be suspicious folks, right?) and because the student had spent "significant time" overseas, it triggered the escalated level of scrutiny. Hoo boy -- it doesn't take much to raise the paranoid hackles of this Administration.

By the way, the Freepers think that it was a good thing to do a little Homeland Security shakedown on this student (or that it didn't happen). Are you surprised?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"If a student had requested a book entitled "Why Homosexuality is Unnatural" then the professor would turn the student in to the thought police."

"This nation needs to protect itself. Since we refuse to control any form of immigration, the next thing is to monitor suspicious people inside and outside of our borders. Suspicious activity sends up a red flag, well, then you will be watched. That is the very reason we have intelligence gathering. If you don't set yourself up for it, it, (surveillance) won't be looking over your shoulder without cause."

"Any freepers that defend this action better keep their hypocrital mouths shut when Democrats abuse this power against conservatives."

"You honestly believe that the govt spared a few DHS agents to go interview a kid about checking out Mao's Red Book? They must be really busy in college towns. Plus, they must have a huge contingent in Berkeley just to do this!"

"I was told over 30 years ago. You do not use certain words on the phone. Certain words trigger recording devices. Such as assasinate, etc. I don't know how true that is, but this govt, needs ways of looking for problematic situations."

"But didn't we see this kind of thing during the Clintons stay in the White House? The only difference, the Clintons were protecting themselves. I believe someone should be informed if people want to learn how to fly but not land planes. Or whether an individual is buying components for bombs. When other's privacy depends on my freedom to live there seems to be a great concern there."

"I'm glad Homeland Security checked up on him. Contact with countries we are at war with should at least raise an eyebrow. "Student" status, thanks to illegals and terrorists abusing our education system, can no longer be used to dismiss what could be obvious flags."

"Somehow, I doubt that this ever happened. It's a leftist propaganda piece that does not have a shred of truth to it."

"I neither defend nor disagree with this action because the article does NOT give complete information. It was written solely to bash Bush and our Homeland Security."

"Wait a minute. Who says this even happened? He refuses to release his own name? How about the names of the agents he was allegedly interviewed by? I do not for one minute put it past lefties to completely fabricate a story such as this, not for ONE minute."

"When you see his contact list, I can only thank the folks at Homeland Security for letting this creep know that it's not about the library but his contacts."

"Did the student (he is so afraid) tell the professor, because the visit was about the professor? Or did he tell him something like, "we are so busted." Inquiring minds want to know. This smacks of lies by the prof. Getting his spin out first. I am as nervous as anyone about giving the gov't rights to monitor private activities without a good reason. But the good reason might be here."

"The "We're going to take things away from you for the common good" needs to be posted early and often. Talk about someone who needs to be on a watch list."
***

Operation Flabbergasted, a DKos diary by smitheneus is a launching pad to blogswarm about the illegal acts of this Administration.
Every Senator needs to know there'll be jolly hell back home if they don't demand Bush stop it now. The MSM needs to be discussing the `constitutional crisis.' There has to be a plan immediately to make this happen. I've got one.

We know that domestic spying by the NSA is Orwellian. We don't need to wait for panels of experts to declare the obvious, that Bush's policies violate the Fourth Amendment in the most fundamental way. Further, it is clear that the White House is panicking over the implications of this leak, very much as the Reagan White House panicked when the Iran Contra story broke and they thought impeachment might be looming. Bush's radio address manages to be both offensive and defensive at one and the same time (it reminds one of the cornered Richard Nixon).

We also know that significant numbers of Senators and journalists are utterly fed up with the Bush administration's record on civil liberties. Some are positively spoiling for a fight (if you don't believe me, check out the grilling Terry Moran gave Alberto Gonzales about torture on Nightline Thursday). So we also know that it's entirely possible for us, at this moment, to drive this issue home once and for all, if we can mount a worthy campaign.

The only campaign that would be worthy of this issue, in my opinion, will be one that produces the biggest fire-storm that Washington has ever seen. If we do not attempt to take back our country now, then when?

Go read the rest.



Gay New Orleans, post-Katrina

"All those preachers who blamed the gay community for Katrina -- our neighborhoods were the ones that had the rainbow over us and were blessed."
-- Larry Bagneris, executive director of the New Orleans Human Relations Commission
The flooding that destroyed much of New Orleans was folllowed by a second flood -- from the mouths of bigots in the pulpit that were focused on "God's retribution" on gay folks. There was an impact, but how do they explain why so much of the "decadent" areas were spared -- where hets and homos of all colors famously partied and (over) indulged? By their logic, God just hates poor black people -- oh, nevermind. They were on the list too. (365gay):
A few Christian political activists blamed Hurricane Katrina on gays, noting that it hit immediately prior to gay-friendly New Orleans' famed "Southern Decadence" gay festival.

But, in fact, about the only parts of the city that weren't severely damaged by the massive flooding from burst levees were the gayest areas. And the New Orleans gay scene appears to be bouncing back faster than the city in general.

"The 20 percent of the city that was spared, 80 percent of those parts of the city are gay [neighborhoods]," said Larry Bagneris, executive director of the New Orleans Human Relations Commission. "The benefits of living in that environment -- the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Bywater, Uptown -- where most gay people live, they were spared the water. We've come back not only to dry land, but to our jobs.
You'll recall some of the bile...

* The Rev. Robert Guste of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Kenner said "the city's large number of gay bars could have been a contributing factor, the "debauchery" of Mardi Gras, gambling and pornography. "Does this not invite divine judgment...God was knocking on our door and telling us to get our house ready.''

* Sen. Hank Erwin (R-Montevallo-Alabama) opined: "New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness."

* Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Jews for Morality tossed off this one: "in the aftermath of the flood that there was a significant amount of sexual crime, rape going on there. We know the Days of Decadence immorality, homosexual immorality -- they were expecting at least 125,000 people literally at the time that the flood struck. I mean, I don't think it takes a spiritual rocket scientist to make the connection."

* Repent America director Michael Marcavage lost his cookies: "Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same."

* and we cannot forget the Rotting CryptkeeperTM: New Orleans, symbol of America, seen for what it is: a putrid, toxic, stinking cesspool of fag fecal matter...It is a sin NOT to rejoice when God executes His wrath and vengeance upon America...Pray for more dead bodies floating on the fag-semen-rancid waters of New Orleans.

In all seriousness, this article is also interesting because it's one of the first I've seen that breaks down the damage by identified gay/lesbian residential neighborhoods.
"The flooding hit a lot of the community that is less visible than the bar crowd," said Randal Beach, co-chair of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans. "A lot of the people whose social activities revolve around the bar scene live in and around the French Quarter, and they were fortunately spared the flooding. But many others in the community -- particularly the women's and trans[gender] communities -- lived in areas that were badly flooded. New Orleans also has a large black community, and the overwhelming majority those people lived in neighborhoods that were severely damaged."

...Lesbians took a harder hit, Bagneris said, because "more lesbians lived in [the flooded] Mid-City and Lakeview [areas], and many have kids that have to go to school." Most schools have not reopened, which prevents people with school-aged children from coming home, even if they have a home to come home to, which most evacuees do not.

The city's lesbian population is likely to remain depleted for some time, said Belinda Hernandez, an openly gay executive producer at WDSU-TV. "A lot of the lesbian population relocated -- and we don't even know where they are," she said. "Lakeview is gone. Much of Mid-City was under water as well."
The city's Lesbian and Gay Community Center may close because of a lack of resources. NOLA's center hosts the Metropolitan Community Church; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and other community institutions, as well as a resource library.
"It's devastating," Beach said. "We have met several times trying to figure out how to keep the doors open. The base of our support has always been in the community itself, we've never had a lot of corporate support, [and] many of our heavy donors are scattered around the country. Many we haven't been able to talk to. We don't even know where they went.

"Also, it's hard to ask people for money when they don't even have a house," he said. The center has 100 to 150 core donors but has been able to contact "no more than half a dozen of them," Beach said.
Read the rest of the article; it features interviews with local bartenders, who don't have anything nice to say about FEMA.

Thanks to Blender Chandler for the pointer.



Catholic college gives thumbs-up to gay-straight club

The president of Duquesne University has given an OK to LGBT students to form a gay-straight alliance group on campus. It is being formed in response to a Web posting by a student that gays are "subhuman." Since this is a Catholic university, students have to adhere to a ton of ground rules in order to have this club -- and the possibility of a backlash from homophobic alumni still looms. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
Duquesne University said yesterday it will allow formation of a gay student organization on campus but will require that the group adhere to Catholic Church teachings and the school's religious identity.

In explaining the decision on a potentially polarizing issue, university officials said the move was not an endorsement of homosexuality but an effort to discourage discrimination based on sexual orientation. One of the group's organizers said he was pleased, even with the restrictions imposed.

...Under the ground rules, group members cannot sponsor or participate in public protests, petitions or other actions if deemed in conflict with university policy or Duquesne's Catholic identity. The group will be accountable to the Rev. Timothy Hickey, executive director of the Office of Mission and Identity, and its activities as an officially recognized group will be reviewed every two years by the president.

Although the proposal raised thorny issues -- and initially drew strong displeasure from some alumni -- Duquesne's move is not unprecedented. The school yesterday released a list of about 50 Catholic campuses with similar organizations, including high profile names like Georgetown University, Boston College, Marquette University and College of the Holy Cross.

...[Duquesne President Charles Dougherty] said he knew of no donor backlash but acknowledged that could happen. He said Duquesne wanted to reinforce that all of its students were welcome and supported, and he expected the group will promote understanding of the church's teachings as it pertains to sexuality and sexual orientation.


Here's a nice Christmas story

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Santas fight and steal in the streets. New Zealand Santas -- most would blow way over a .08 if a cop pulled over the sleigh.
A gang of drunken "Santas" caused merry hell across central Auckland yesterday, robbing stores, tagging buildings and assaulting security guards.

Three men were arrested on a variety of drunk and disorderly charges, and two security guards had to be treated for cuts after being hit with beer bottles.

The group of 40 men - mostly in their mid-20s and dressed in ill-fitting Santa costumes - began their "Santarchy" shortly after 2pm. First stop was the Victoria St motorway overbridge where they smashed beer bottles and urinated.



They moved through Victoria Park kicking over rubbish bins, throwing bottles at cars and leaping in front of vehicles. One also tagged the Victoria St NZ Post building. Then they headed to the Sky City Casino where several vandalised the giant Christmas tree in the foyer.

Some made their way to the Victoria St Star Mart where they took several items from the shelves. Then it was through Queen St, High St and down to Britomart where security guards said they were yelling, swearing and "causing mayhem".

One ripped a window wiper off a bus while others harangued security guards and waiting passengers.


Winger Bob Barr: Bush committed impeachable acts

Here again, this is absolutely a bizarre conversation where you have a member of Congress saying that it’s okay for the president of the United States to ignore U.S. law, to ignore the Constitution, simply because we are in an undeclared war.”
-- former Rep. Bob Barr, on CNN, about Bush's Constitutional "end run for democracy" -- which was being defended by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
[UPDATE: Freeper fun added below.]

Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) is no softie; he's a fire-breathing conservative. He was one of the GOP attack dogs nipping at Bill Clinton's heels during the Monica mess.

You know things are bad if Barr is on CNN raking Bush over the coals over his Domestic Spying for Security InitiativeTM -- it is a beautiful thing. His response to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who was trying mightily to defend the Dear Leader's actions. (CNN via Pensito Review):
[ROHRABACHER:] I’m very happy that we have a president that, six months after they slaughtered 3,000 of our citizens, he decided to follow up on a lead that was given to our people by breaking up an al Qaeda cell in Pakistan, and followed through on that to make sure that there wasn’t another imminent attack, and thus probably saving many thousands of American lives. We can be proud of President Bush for protecting us…

BARR: Well, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is the Constitution, and I took an oath to abide by it. My good friend, my former colleague, Dana Rohrabacher, did and the president did. And I don’t really care very much whether or not it can be justified based on some hypothetical. The fact of the matter is that, if you have any government official who deliberately orders that federal law be violated despite the best of motives, that certainly ought to be of concern to us…

BARR: Well, gee, I guess then the president should be able to ignore whatever provision in the Constitution as long as there’s something after the fact that justifies it.

[ROHRABACHER:] Bob, during wartime, you give some powers to the presidency you wouldn’t give in peace time.

BARR: Do we have a declaration of war, Dana?
Ouch. It goes on.

***

A Freeper is excited at the thought of an attempt at a Bush impeachment, and posted a vanity piece up in FR. Laugh away at his "essay" and the ensuing comments.

Freeper "Sam Katz," unedited:
"There is nothing I'd like to see more than a Democrat attempt to impeach GWB for doing his duty to proetct America. The backlash would be incredible. 58-60 Republican Senators in 2006. The true colors of the America haters and Al Quaida sympathizers would be out for all to see. Let the debate go on...

BTW, what about this descpicable headline on FOXnews.com and elsewhere, written by AP " BUSH ADMITS..... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179026,00.html"

To admit is to claim responsibilty for something you've done wrong. (from HM Web Def) 5. To recognize, often reluctantly, the reality or truth of: acknowledge, avow, concede, confess, grant, own (up). Slang fess up. Chiefly Regional allow. See affirm/deny/argue, knowledge/ignorance.

Bush is admitting nothing. He is declaring. He is acknowledging.

And while I'm at, please, Mr Bush, appoint a prosecuter to find out which member(s) of Congress, Democrat OR Republican leaked state secrets. They should be doing a "Perp Walk", rather than Scooter Libby, who's only crime was cooperating rather than stonewalling....
On to the commentary from his brethren...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Amen Brother. Thank God we have this man as President. Had Gore stolen the election in 2000, we would have had 10 more 911s and we would be sending billions to the Taliban not to hit us again. God Bless George Bush."

"Uh, Sam Katz. Doesn't impeachment initiate in the House of Representatives? How's this going to get through. "

"yes zot, I know impeachment begins in the House...I'm saying that the debate that would ensue would help elect more Reps to the Senate...."

"Impeach the Senate. That way, actual Americans can protect this country."

"We are at war with more than just the Islamic terrorists. The fifth column of communists in this country is like a pack of sharks. AOL commie news todays leads with "Berlin Wall on the border?" The Bolshevik media may get bit on this one as most people anymore don't knowing what the Berlin Wall was because the media downplayed communist atrocities all those years."

"We need to treat the Democrats and the media as we would relatives that will steal from us. Civility but that's it. Same for the Rino's. If we let McCain and company continue to lead our party we soon will see Democrats at all levels of government. People will elect bright red over pink every time."

"Well, there are some jackasses on FR who are planning to campaign for Democrats in 2006 in order to help them win the House so they can impeach President Bush. Heck, two of these same idiots have repeatably made suggestions about President Bush that are worthy of a USSC visit."

"Reprehensible, isn't it? The MSM has been pining for a "next Watergate" for 33 years now and they've finally realized that the only way they have a chance of seeing one is to manufacture it themselves. Fortunately, they have no chance in this case."

"I am currently pretty angry at President Bush for once again folding to McCain, though less angry today than yesterday because he came out with guns blazing at the New York Times and the left this morning. But any move to imoeach him by the left will be over my aging dead body."

"How do we impeach the entire Congress? There must be a way."

"I've overheard impeachment talk in our local coffee shop and I can usually shut it up by agreeing with them. I say,"Yep, lets get rid of W and get Chaney in. That will cinch his Presidency in 2008."

"I agree, let the Democrats try to impeach him, they don't have the votes to actually do so, nor do they have the balls to expose how they failed in their duty to the nation. They will drop like flies when it is exposed how little they cared to know prior to the invasion of Iraq and Bush will be vindicated and vleared of any charges the democrats will try to bring."

"With all the crap coming from the Dems, media and RINO's right now, what would make you think this would be a good time for this vanity?"

"It's far from just Communists. It's the crowd that wants to replace America First with Hate America First.

It's the college professors and professional welfare recipients who want to replace The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave with Free Handouts of everything and Welfare King Home Boys running everything.

It's lawyers, all the way from White House residents to the resident rot in every courthouse and law school that beleives that if they can get away with something, it was right in the first place.

It's the professional Race Baiting Poverty Pimps who have dome more to oppress Black Americans than a million night-riding Klansman ever could. The Klansmen stole their property and in some cases their lives, but the so-called leaders of today's Black America have stolen the hope of the past two and the next ten generations.

Who are the greatest racists? The so-called Black leaders to tell Black Americans that they are so inferior that they can't succeed in America without special help.

Finally the hate-America so-called journalists who will tell any lie, support any falsehood and change any statistic, as long at it boosts their ratings and derides Republicans.

We are all going to hell in a hand-basket... fast."

"See, that's the thing! Many do not realize that an impeachment of President Bush would put the VP into office, thus, more of the same. Surprised at how dumb some people are? Don't be, after all, there are supposedly some 11 million adults in America who can't even read!"

"I believe that Mr. Kerry ought to be suspended from the Senate"

"He should be taken out and beaten. This horse-faced traitor should get his arse kicked bigtime. I can't believe my taxes continue to pay this parasite's salary. Phoney Ph*ck in spades."

"With 60 GOP senators, we might actually have 50 who have cajones. I'm serious, just given the numbers, we have to have a 20% "padding" to offset RINO/moron/McLamiacs."


Virginia-based 'pro-family' activist is sure George Allen is down with the homos


"The homosexual activists in Washington, DC, have outed several members of George Allen's staff as being homosexuals. In fact, they call George Allen's office the gayest place on Capitol Hill. Now we didn't say that; the homosexual activists in Washington, DC, did."
-- Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network
Oh lord, this is rich. Apparently the extremist Right is regularly reading and taking its cues from BlogActive, which is kind of disturbing, huh?


This dude is completely convinced that Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia is a homo-loving Trojan horse and Glover and the Family Policy Institute are going to make sure pious followers are well-informed about the threat posed by Allen to famiy-values.

Allen is running for re-election and is well-aware of this reputation for having a gay-friendly office at this point, so he's "butching up" politically, and coming out against hate crimes legislation that he formerly supported. He's also known to have presidential ambitions, so he's working hard to swing to the Right on this issue. Glover's not buying it. (AgapePress):
A Virginia-based pro-family activist is skeptical about Senator George Allen's recent announcement that he no longer supports hate crimes legislation that includes "sexual orientation" as a protected status category.

...In 2004 Allen voted in favor of a bill that added sexual orientation to the federal Hate Crimes Act, but recently he said he is reversing his previous position and will not support the measure this time. Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, says he welcomes the senator's announcement but has doubts as to whether the Republican lawmaker is sincere in stating his new position on the inclusion of "sexual orientation" in hate crimes legislation -- a position stating opposition to what he once openly favored.

...There is no question that "George Allen is not the pro-family, not the pro-life senator people would like to make him out to be," the Family Policy Network spokesman contends. Much to the contrary, he points out that Allen's office has been characterized as being "gay friendly," according to some sources. "But the question remains," he adds, "whether or not that's a sincere change of heart -- whether it will remain or whether or not George Allen will have other ways of helping the homosexual activists in Washington."
Oooh...there's a conspiracy afoot. Where might Glover have gotten this idea? Maybe it was Allen's cordial meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans in 2000:
"Governor Allen affirmed his commitment to respect the rights and dignity of all Virginians, including gays and lesbians," said Steve Satran, president of the Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia.

...During the Monday meeting, Allen also pledged:

* to maintain and increase funding levels for research on AIDS and HIV disease. "As a common-sense Jeffersonian conservative," said Allen, "I believe that medical research on AIDS, cancer and other serious diseases deserve strong federal support."
* to hire Senate staff according to their capability and commitment to Allen's policy views, without regard to race, religion, age, physical disability, gender or sexual orientation. "What matters most to me in hiring personnel are their skills, competence and a shared philosophy of government," said Allen.
* to keep an open line of communications with Log Cabin and other gay and lesbian organizations in the state, consistent with his long-held "open door" policy for all Virginians.
Oops. I'm sure this will not rest well with Mr. Glover. Or maybe it was just something in the wind -- back in August of 2004...
MEMO TO:
John Reid, Communications Director, Office of Senator George Allen
Paul Unger, Counsel and Legislative Director, Office of Senator George Allen

With all the juggling Senator Allen must do -- on one hand having so many gay friends and on the other being so homophobic -- I hope you will encourage the Senator to explore a job with less pressure in his post-Senate career. I have a great idea: Open a gay bar!

Plenty of homophobes have owned gay bars, so don’t let that stop him…and after bashing gay people in the Senate, the least he could do is offer them a fun, safe place for his staff to have a drink, no? Often called the “gayest place on Capitol Hill,” your office would be the perfect place to recruit prospective staff for the Senator’s new venture.

...John and Paul, with all the gay men working for you in your Senate office and over at the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- remember Jay Timmons? - he was the first recipientof the Roy Cohn Award -- you should have no problem in filling the club up every night. And with the number of gay men working for homophobes on the Hill, you’re guaranteed to find a steady stream of clientele turning to alcohol to bury their shame in your boss' new bar.


Shredding sucks

Both of us are sitting in here shredding a huge pile of bills and junk mail, being good privacy mice. We have one big Fellowes shredder that can do credit cards and CDs, and one little five-sheets-at-a-time gizmo (I'm using this crappy one, Kate is at the mondo one).

This is mind-numbing. I think I'll go put on some music to shred to.

The junk mail is out of control.

UPDATE: 2:15. We finally finished.


Mega-shareholders 'helped' Ford make the right decision

Not to take anything away from the efforts of the multiple LGBT organizations (AmericaBlog) to let Ford know about the error of the automaker's ways -- cozying up with the flea-ridden dogs of the American Family Association - but it looks like another factor that pushed Ford over the edge was the influence of heavyweight institutional (and gay-friendly) shareholders. In the end, it's all about the Benjamins, isn't it, Wildmon? (365gay):
But the decision may not have been the result of pressure from gay groups, but rather from at least two large institutional shareholders who supports LGBT issues. One of them was the New York State Local Retirement System - the biggest state pension plan in the country.

Its administrator, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi confirmed Friday that he contacted Ford Chair William Clay Ford Jr. to voice his displeasure that the company had appeared to cave-in to demands from the AFA. In a letter to Ford, Hevesi said he wanted the know the reasons behind the decision.


"I am interested to know what cost/benefit analysis you performed in order to reach the conclusion that ending advertising to that particular customer base would be a positive strategic move for the company," Hevesi wrote in his letter to the chair.

Hevesi not only pointed out the importance of diversity, but the importance of being seen as unbiased. He also noted that the LGBT market is worth an estimated $610 billion annually.

Hevesi is the sole trustee of the retirement fund which controls about 9.4 million shares of Ford stock valued about $107 million.
As we've said many times before here, the Right's worst nightmare is that the cultural war has been lost, because corporate America has realized there is nothing to be gained financially by either ignoring or discriminating against gay and lesbian employees or consumers.

All that is left for the Don Wildmons, Lou Sheldons and Bob Knights of the world to do is go on unhinged rampages of demonization and fear-mongering. That may work with the sheeple (and ball-less Dems and self-loathing GOP closet cases), but in the end -- in this country -- the almighty dollar is all that matters. Bad PR runs a close second, though.


Open thread

Pass along interesting tidbits and blogwhore away.

It's freaking cold here in NC. It's 36 degrees, which tells you that the Southerner in me is typing this. I lived in NYC for a long time and got used to it, but after living back down here for many years, I just can't tolerate minor-league cold any more.

Alabamian wifey Kate and I always joke about "what if we had to move to Canada" if an FMA passed? Arrgh -- winter is freaking cold up there.

***

Just an update on the 2005 Koufax Awards. After only one day, the first comment thread is full and another is almost maxed out.

UPDATE 2: The latest link for nominations is here.

You can post nominations for your favorite Lefty blogs of 2005 here (this one is almost full as well; so I'll update the post when it changes). Earlier threads, if you want to see blogs that have been nominated by readers are here and here.

Here is the link to the original (now closed post) which has descriptions of the categories.

As I posted yesterday, the way this award system works is that folks nominate a blog by posting a comment over at Wampum, the administrator of the Koufax Awards. The way finalists are selected in the first round is by the number of nominations from folks. So, even if you see a blog nominated that you like there, post a comment as well. [For integrity's sake, don't post more than once for that blog in the same category.]

The Blend is already nominated in a few categories, Best Single Issue (this is a weird, catch-all category, isn't it?), Deserving of Wider Recognition, and even Best Blog (trust me, the Blend won't make it far in that race, with all the heavy-hitters already nominated -- but thanks for the nod!).

I posted my first pass of nominations yesterday, and still need to go back and put up some noms that I forgot about. There are so many good blogs out there!

Have fun!


Bush dead last on survey of last ten presidents


A telling juxtaposition. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

At least his spinners can say that there's room for improvement.
Only nine percent of the 662 people polled picked Bush as their favorite among the last 10 presidents. John F. Kennedy topped that part of the survey, with 26 percent, closely followed by Bill Clinton (25 percent) and Ronald Reagan (23 percent).

Bush was also viewed as the most warlike president (43 percent), the worst for the economy (42 percent) and the least effective (33 percent). But he was rated most highly in response to a question on who would do the right thing even if it were unpopular.

The survey was conducted by the Chicago-based National Qualitative Centers, a marketing research company, as part of research for a forthcoming book on popular preferences, one of its authors, Ken Berwitz, said on Friday.
I'm sure that the news Bush personally authorized secretive eavesdropping more than three dozen times since October 2001 won't help him move up the list, either. See Russ's post, If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.


Gannon on Ron Reagan, Jr.: 'twinkle toes' and 'nancy boy'

OMFG, what a laff riot! Hat tip to PageOneQ for alerting me to an unbelievable "breaking news" item from Jeff Gannon, "A Voice of the New Media."
Former White House journalist Jeff Gannon posted a blog entry on the cancellation of Ron Reagan Jr.'s television show on MSNBC. In the post, Gannon refers to the TV host and son of the nation's 40th President as "twinkle toes" and as a "nancy boy." Gannon also calls Reagan, Jr. a "disgrace" to his namesake father.
Here is the serious takes-one-to-know-one post, completely free of irony from the rentboy-cum-White House reporter:

Jeff in the good old butch Bulldog days. And today.

Nancy's nancy boy nixed
Ron Reagan, Jr., the embarassment that bears the name of one of the greatest American presidents is out of a job after his daytime talk show was mercifully cancelled last week. MSNBC put Reagan in the host's chair as the result of his election year masquerade as a "journalist" (btw, Twinkle-toes, what's YOUR journalism background?) proved to be a "stick in the eye" to those who revere his father.
PageOneQ also notes that Gannon was exposed as a plagiarist by the news site Raw Story.

I guess Jeff just wants you to understand that he's no Nancy Boy, just a butch ex-Marine for hire ("Ex-USMC Jock: Available for hourly, overnight, weekend or longer travel - OUT ONLY!"). Oh right, that ex-Marine thing was a lie too.


What are they saying?

Holy Joe Lieberman and Bush-humper John McCain.


REUTERS/Jason Reed


Bible-beaters pressure Catholic bishops to reclassify 'Brokeback' rating



When the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) rated and reviewed Brokeback Mountain, it was classified as "L" (limited adult audience - films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling). The original film review said.
"Looked at from the point of view of the need for love which everyone feels but few people can articulate, the plight of these guys is easy to understand while their way of dealing with it is likely to surprise and shock an audience."
After our friend Bob Knight, penis-possessing, homo-sex obsessed director of Concerned Women for America's (CWA's) Culture & Family Institute (CFI) got wind of this movie, he had a hissy fit, so it looked like the Catholic church was going morally soft on the homos.

"Brokeback is the 'Perfect Storm' of Hollywood's war on morality... "It combines high production values with a lowdown attack on morality. It's a mockery of the Western genre embodied by every movie cowboy from John Wayne to Gene Autry to Kevin Costner. I can't think of a more effective way to annoy and alienate most movie-going Americans than to show two cowboys lusting after each other and even smooching.
Yesterday, after several "pro-family" wingnuts strongly criticized the original review, the USCCB changed its classification yesterday to "O" (morally offensive). It didn't, however, change its positive description of the film.
"Brokeback Mountain," originally rated L (limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling) has been reclassified as an O (morally offensive). This has been done because the serious weight of the L rating -- which restricts films in that category to those who can assess from a Catholic perspective the moral issues raised by a movie -- is, unfortunately, misunderstood by many. Because, in this instance, there are some who are using the "L" rating to make it appear the Church -- or the USCCB -- position on homosexuality is ambiguous, the classification has been with revised specifically to address its moral content.
There was another rating the USCCB could have chosen in between the "L" and "O" -- A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); but with the wingers hovering over them, they weren't left with anything but the unambiguous "O" as a choice.


We don't comment on ongoing investigations... unless we do

Friday, December 16, 2005


Poor Scott McClellan. How many times does he have to tell us people? We keep asking questions about the Fitzgerald investigation into the Valerie Plame leak, and he keeps telling us that the White House and the President resolutely refuse to comment on an ongoing investigation. And if George W. Bush is anything, he's doggedly stubborn about sticking to policy.
(Washington Post) President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.

In an interview with Fox News, Bush said he hopes DeLay will be cleared of charges that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas legislature and will reclaim his powerful leadership position in Congress.

"I hope that he will, 'cause I like him, and plus, when he's over there, we get our votes through the House," Bush told Fox News's Brit Hume. DeLay was forced to step down as majority leader after he was indicted in the fundraising case, and he is seeking a quick trial in hopes of returning to power early next year.

Bush has refused to speak about the CIA leak investigation or the impending trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former vice presidential chief of staff who was indicted in the case. But the president said he believes that DeLay is not guilty -- weeks before his trial is expected to begin.
Uh... okay. So the rule is we don't comment on ongoing investigations if it makes Chimpy look bad, but we do if it might help one of Chimpy's friends. Anybody got a problem with that?
(Editor & Publisher) Q Scott, the President told Brit Hume that he thought that Tom DeLay is not guilty, even though the prosecution is obviously ongoing. What does the President feel about Scooter Libby? Does he feel that Mr. Libby --

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. First of all, the President was asked a question and he responded to that question in the interview yesterday, and made very clear what his views were. We don't typically tend to get into discussing legal matters of that nature, but in this instance, the President chose to respond to it. Our policy regarding the Fitzgerald investigation and ongoing legal proceeding is well-known and it remains unchanged. And so I'm just not going to have anything further to say. But we've had a policy in place for a long time regarding the Fitzgerald investigation.

Q Why would that not apply to the same type of prosecution involving Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just told you we had a policy in place regarding this investigation, and you've heard me say before that we're not going to talk about it further while it's ongoing.

Q Well, if it's prejudging the Fitzgerald investigation, isn't it prejudging the Texas investigation with regard to Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think I've answered your question.

... Q So the President is inconsistent?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, David, we put a policy in place regarding this investigation --

Q But it's hypocritical. You have a policy for some investigations and not others, when it's a political ally who you need to get work done?

MR. McCLELLAN: Call it presidential prerogative; he responded to that question. But the White House established a policy --

Q Doesn't it raise questions about his credibility that he's going to weigh in on some matters and not others, and we're just supposed to sit back and wait for him to decide what he wants to comment on and influence?

MR. McCLELLAN: Congressman DeLay's matter is an ongoing legal proceeding --

Q As is the Fitzgerald investigation --

MR. McCLELLAN: The Fitzgerald investigation is --

Q -- As you've told us ad nauseam from the podium.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's an ongoing investigation, as well.

Q How can you not -- how can you say there's differences between the two, and we're supposed to buy that? There's no differences. The President decided to weigh in on one, and not the other.

MR. McCLELLAN: There are differences.

Q And the public is supposed to accept the fact that he's got no comment on the conduct of senior officials of the White House, but when it's a political ally over on the Hill who's got to help him get work done, then he's happy to try to influence that legal process.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all. Not at all. You can get all dramatic about it, but you know what our policy is.
Yup, we sure do. The policy is that George W. Bush gets to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, policy/law/morality/the Constitution be damned!


Army signs on mouth-breathers, part 2

Would you want a dumbass sitting next to you in the tank? In a desperate move to meet recruiting goals, the Army's accepting folks scoring in the dumbass percentile. We're talking about really low scores -- between 16-30 out of 99. I blogged about this phenomenon back when October figures came out. It looks like they are going to have to do a little Mensa recruiting to balance out the newly signed-on mouth-breathers. (Baltimore Sun):
The Army met its recruiting goal for November by again accepting a high percentage of recruits who scored in the lowest category on the military's aptitude tests, Pentagon officials said yesterday, raising renewed concerns that the quality of the all-volunteer force will suffer.

The Army exceeded by 256 its goal of 5,600 recruits for November, while the Army Reserve brought in 1,454 recruits, exceeding its target by 112. To do so, the Army accepted a "double-digit" percentage of recruits who scored between 16 and 30 out of a possible 99 on the military's aptitude test, said officials who requested anonymity.

Last month, The Sun reported that the Army reached its recruiting goals in October by accepting 12 percent from these low scorers, known as Category IV recruits. The Army may accept no more than 4 percent annually, according to Defense Department rules. While officials last month disclosed the percentage accepted in October, they declined yesterday to reveal the November figure.
When Russ cross-posted my last piece over at Operation Yellow Elephant, one commenter, Aaron, said:
16 to 30 out of a possible 99? Pathetic.

When I was in high school I took the ASVAB and I scored a 99. Yes, a 99. And that test honestly was easy. Let me put it this way: I was a senior in high school with a 2.0 GPA and I scored a 99 on the ASVAB. The test was NOT HARD AT ALL.

To think some of these guys are scoring 16-30 is insane. These people must have brain damage. They must be literal Forrest Gump retards. No wait, scratch that. Forrest Gump probably scored a 67 on the ASVAB. Honestly he could have done it.
So, given that bit of insight, it's no surprise the Army isn't revealing November percentages, only allowing that it will all average out somehow for the year. I ask again -- where are the Young Yellow Elephant Republicans? It's time for them to suit up and serve. Shall we ring up "Dean" Flickinger of Conservatives On Campus? No, wait, he's already told us why he hasn't served.

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 more shamelessness, in a column for Human Events.


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.


VA Governor Warner adds sexual orientation to state employment protections



An ace move by Governor Mark Warner. It will raise the ire of all the fundies in this state. If you ignore cosmopolitan northern Virginia (NoVa), is a big Red state, home to Falwell and a host of wingnuttery and anti-gay legislation. (Sovo Online):
Today Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) made it illegal to discriminate against someone for being gay in state employment.

Va. Gov. Mark Warner's (D) actions have made it illegal to discriminate against state workers because of their sexual orienation.
Warner included the protections in his 2006-2008 budget, which carries the force of law, and modified Executive Order One to reflect the change.
Equality Virginia gave the governor a big thumb's up.
Equality Virginia today applauded Governor Mark R. Warner for amending the equal opportunity policy of the Commonwealth to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Governor Warner continues his commitment to run the Commonwealth as a smart, well-managed business. When Virginia's top employers, including 14 of the 19 Fortune 500 companies based here have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, it makes sense for Virginia to do the same. To compete in the marketplace for top-notch employees, you need to offer similar policies,” said Dyana Mason, Executive Director of Equality Virginia. “Sixty members of the House of Delegates and 24 Virginia Senators have already made commitments not to discriminate in their legislative hiring. It makes sense to extend this same protection to the entire Virginia state work force.”
The EV release also lists the largest private employers in the state with anti-discrimination policies.
Of the top ten largest private employers in the Commonwealth, at least eight have sexual orientation protections in their non-discrimination policies:

* Wal-Mart (#1)
* Northrop Grumman Newport News (#2)
* Food Lion (#3)
* Inova Fairfax Hospital (#5)
* Capital One Bank (#6)
* Science Applications International (SAIC) (#7)
* Booz Allen Hamilton (#8)
* 7-Eleven (#10)
This move by Warner is politically significant, in a state that has seen some of the most anti-gay legislative efforts imaginable. He's really is sticking it to the Right on this one. Consider this:

* Last year’s Assembly passed the Marriage Affirmation Act, which bans gay unions, and outlaws legal agreements between residents of the same sex that resemble marriage rights.

* Virginia's House voted 78-18 in favor of a marriage amendment, which defines marriage as the union of a man and woman and bans same-sex civil unions. The legislature must pass the amendment again next year, and then it will go before voters in November 2006.

* A bill to ban gay adoption, which would have required that the circuit court ask would-be parents if they are “known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity” or are “unmarried and cohabiting with another adult to whom he is not related by blood or marriage” was passed the House but was killed by a Senate committee.

* Wingnut Prince William County Republican Delegate Scott Ligamfelter managed to get a bill creating the option for a special license plate in Virginia with the words "traditional marriage" on it passed, but then was withdrawn only after the state ACLU threatened to file a lawsuit based on recent legal precedents, holding that state-issued personalized license plates are public forums in which all viewpoints on a subject must be allowed.

For standing up to the bigots, you can send a thank you to Governor Warner on this web form.


If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear


Pam notes below that the Senate is balking at reauthorizing the USA unPATRIOTic ACT. I wonder if some senators actually learned something from our nation's history (COINTELPRO, anyone?) and realized that government powers of domestic surveillance are always abused by those in power if we let them:
NEW YORK - A key Republican committee chairman put the Bush administration on notice Friday that his panel would hold hearings into a report that the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he would make oversight hearings by his panel next year "a very, very high priority."

"There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," said Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Well, senator Specter, don't you know that 9/11 changed everything? The terrorists hate us for our freedom, so, in order to get them to stop hating us, we're getting rid of those pesky freedoms.
The Times reported Friday that following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, President Bush authorized the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of people inside the United States.

Before the program began, the NSA typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions and obtained court orders for such investigations. Overseas, 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time.

Government officials credited the new program with uncovering several terrorist plots, including one by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting al-Qaida by planning to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, the report said.
See? Without these expanded government powers to spy on its own citizens, we could have lost the Brooklyn Bridge! Right?
But Faris' lawyer, David B. Smith, said on Friday the news puzzled him because none of the evidence against Faris appeared to have come from surveillance, other than officials eavesdropping on his cell phone calls while he was in FBI custody.
When asked about the authorization given by Bush to violate our civil liberties (again), White House spokesdroid Scott "I can't comment on an ongoing investigation" McClellan tells us:
[McClellan] continued, "Soon after 9/11 the president made a commitment to do two things: Everything lawfully within his power to protect the American people and save lives ... and (to) remain fully committed to uphold the Constitution and protect the civil liberties of the American people. He has done both."
If by "both" you mean "neither". Wow, what a great example of Bushian doublespeak! Let's see if that talking point got distributed to all the usual suspects. Kindasleezzy Lies, it's your turn:
"I'm not going to comment on intelligence matters," she said. But Rice did say that President Bush "has always said he would do everything he can to protect the American people, but within the law, and with due regard for civil liberties because he takes seriously his responsibility."

"The president acted lawfully in every step that he has taken," Rice said, "to defend the American people and to defend the people within his constitutional responsibility."
Alright, for those of you playing Bush Doublespeak Bingo at home, we're now 2 for 2. Let's go for the trifecta. AbuGhraibo Quantzalez, batter up!
Gonzales said Bush is waging an aggressive fight against terrorism, but one that is "consistent with the Constitution."

"Winning the war on terrorism requires winning the war of information We are dealing with a patient, diabolical enemy who wants to harm America," Gonzales said at a news conference at the Justice Department to announce child prostitution arrests.
You've got to admire their consistency, eh? So, how is it that three presumably intelligent individuals could declare Bush has acted perfectly within the law and the Constitution in ordering warrantless surveillance of citizens? Simple. Secretly change the rules:
The Times quoted officials familiar with the NSA operation as saying that Bush's executive order allowing warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States was based on classified legal opinions stating that the president has broad powers to order such measures, based in part on a September 2001 congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

But some NSA officials were so concerned about the legality of the program that they refused to participate, the Times said. Questions about the legality of the program led the administration to temporarily suspend it last year and impose new restrictions.
Finally, I know it's going to sound like a broken record, but let's stop to get the lie from the liar-in-chief:
Bush said in an interview that "we do not discuss ongoing intelligence operations to protect the country. And the reason why is that there's an enemy that lurks, that would like to know exactly what we're trying to do to stop them.

"I will make this point," he continued. "That whatever I do to protect the American people -- and I have an obligation to do so -- that we will uphold the law, and decisions made are made understanding we have an obligation to protect the civil liberties of the American people."
And all of this is on the heels of the news that the Pentagon has been keeping a database of surveillance on anti-war protest groups. I guess it's understandable. Spying on American citizens in your own back yard who (mostly) speak English has got to be much easier than spying on al-Qaeda in the Middle East who (mostly) speak Farsi, especially considering we fired many of the qualified Farsi translators for being gay.


Conservatives on GA campus feel intimidated

In this AgapePress brief, one of NC's own wingnuts spouts off.
A conservative columnist and university professor has revealed that the Georgia Institute of Technology is using an unconstitutional classification system to allocate its mandatory student activity fees. George Tech has a policy that allows funding for all student groups except those that are deemed "political" or "religious." However, the Pride Alliance -- a homosexual activist group that lobbies for same-sex "marriage" -- is classified as a "social" group and receives funding. As does the Arab Student Association, which is classified as a "cultural" group, even though it is allowed to protest U.S. policy towards Israel.


Townhall.com columnist Mike Adams believes Georgia Tech is violating viewpoint neutrality by denying funding to groups like the College Republicans. "The United States Supreme Court in 2000, in a case known as Southworth v. Wisconsin, determined that that was unconstitutional," says Adams. "And now that Wayne Clough, the president of the university knows about it, he's shown what he's willing to do about it -- which is absolutely nothing." Adams, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, says potential plaintiffs are hesitant to file suit against the school for fear of "serious retaliation" by Tech administrators.
Adams, incidentally, in 2004 accused then-recently-elected out lesbian NC State Senator Julia Boseman of engineering her opponent's homophobic campaigning against her by committing "one of the most disgraceful episodes of political passive aggression in North Carolina history." What an idiot.

But back to these poor conservatives. If they are so worried about retaliation, why don't they pool their pennies and fly in superhero "Dean" Flickinger of the Network of College Conservatives to back them up:

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"


The 'TypePad blows' open thread

Heaven knows all the folks that use Blogger to post (or worse have their blogs hosted there) just about lose their minds when the system goes down. And it always happens when you have a hot entry you want to get up.

Looks like my friends The Heretik, Blogenfreude over at Agitprop and others have been hosed by the TypePad platform in much the same way. They've formed TypePad Refugees in protest and frustration.

I feel for you guys; let us know what we can do while you're suffering...


Wow - Senate drop kicks Patriot Act reauthorization

The dry-drunk-in-Chief is probably heading for the bottle -- or one of his mommies (Condi, Hughes, Laura, Barbara) over this one. (CNN):
The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.

In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.


Now Bush and his buddies Frist and Hastert, who have been posturing that they won't accept a short-term extension to work out the enormous differences over roving wiretaps and secret warrants, are going to want to play a game of chicken.

Here is a list of the 16 provisions set to expire on 12/31.


Leaders of tomorrow


Knee-slapping fun for Quentin Wilson...let's see what kind of sh*ts and giggles pranks await him in lockup.

I ask you, what is going on with our fellow citizens? How is this entertainment? We need look no further than this dude for the moral decline of civil society. This man is a sociopath.
A Waffle House restaurant worker in Georgia was arrested on charges of allegedly paying a homeless man $5 to drink a poisonous cocktail of chemical cleaning solution that left him in critical condition, according to police.

Police said Quentin Wilson, 19, was taken into custody at a Stockbridge, Ga., Waffle House restaurant after 50-year-old Rex Leo became violently ill from the poisonous drink.

Leo was transported to a hospital, where he remains in critical condition Thursday. "What did this poison do to his system?" Leo's sister, Linda, said. "It was acid, it ate through his esophagus and they don't know how much more damage. It ate his gums, his tongue. He's on a ventilator right now."

...A Waffle House representative said they fired Wilson and another employee who witnessed -- but did not stop the alleged prank.


CNN puts a stake in Novakula's heart


from Russ.

CNN boots the bloodsucking, CIA agent cover-blowing bastard. (Poynter Online):
"After 25 years of serving as a CNN commentator and program host, our colleague Bob Novak's tenure on the network will come to a close (effective 12/31)."
Novak told The Hollywood Reporter that "it was a mutual agreement," and that neither the Valerie Plame case nor the incident on the set had much to do with his departure. Right.



Last week Media Matters delivered a ton of letters to CNN's office, asking them not to renew Novak's contract. Guess someone over there got the message that the Prince of Darkness wasn't worth the effort.
Media Matters for America delivered nearly 5,000 letters to CNN's Washington Bureau today urging the network not to renew its contract with syndicated columnist and CNN contributor Robert D. Novak. Novak's contract with CNN is reportedly set to expire in early 2006, but the controversial conservative pundit has not appeared on the channel since August 2005, when he was suspended after uttering an obscenity and storming off the set. In the two years since he exposed Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, as a CIA operative, Novak has made several contradictory statements regarding crucial issues in the case; the ongoing leak investigation has so far led to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.
UPDATE: It looks like the undead will have his casket rolled into the Faux News building to join the rest of the journalistic rotting bodies (TVNewser):
As soon as Bob Novak's contract with CNN runs out on Dec. 1, he will become a contributor to the Fox News Channel, the AP scoops. FNC spokesman Brian Lewis confirmed his signing with the network to David Bauder. "Novak said the switch to Fox had nothing to do with finding a more comfortable home for his views."

"I don't think that's a factor," Novak said. "In 25 years I was never censored by CNN and I said some fairly outrageous things and some very conservative things. I don't want to give the impression that they were muzzling me and I had to go to a place that wouldn't muzzle me."


'Christian' family values

A preacher fathers his own grandchildren with his daughter in Polk County, FL. What was that about the gays being deviant -- here we have a man of the cloth doing unspeakable acts -- what was that about family values? Just asking, since the bible-beaters told me I was at the top of the perv heap.
Shocking news has rocked the congregation at Real People Church of God in Waverly and the surrounding neighborhood. The founder and pastor of the church, 52-year-old Rubin Thankful Thompson Jr., has been charged with five counts of incest for allegedly fathering his own grandchildren with his daughter.

Thompson's daughter told Lake Wales police about her father fathering her two boys and two girls. "And she confided in him (police officer) and told him that she had been molested by her father since she was the age of 17," said Lake Wales Police Detective Lynette Townsel.

Townsel says the now 32-year-old victim kept it a secret for 15 years because she was fearful and ashamed, and didn't think anyone would believe her word over the word of her father.
Thanks to Blender Paul for the pointer.


The NYT beds with Bush

From The Raw Story. How can "the paper of record" engage in Bush boot-licking like THIS:
On the second page of a report which reveals the White House engaged in warantless domestic spying, the New York Times reveals that it held the story for a full year at the request of the Bush Administration.

...The Times also reveals that senior members of Congress from both parties knew about Bush's decision to spy on Americans who were making international calls or emails, without warrants.

Further, the Times notes that they have omitted information in the article they did write, agreeing with the Bush Administration that the information could be useful for terrorists.
That's fine. You don't have to publish names, dates and details -- the Times folks know this. The is a story that has to be covered, given the known abuse of privacy rights -- the Patriot Act has resulted in the Pentagon monitoring and compiling lists of peace activists and Iraq war protestors (see my earlier post on NBC's discovery of the secret database). What BS. Real journalism. What other stories are "withheld" by the Times?
...the N.S.A. eavesdropped without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time. The list changes as some names are added and others dropped, so the number monitored in this country may have reached into the thousands over the past three years, several officials said. Overseas, about 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time, according to those officials.


Weblog and Koufax Awards

It looks like the Blend is the unofficial winner in the Best LGBT Blog category of the 2005 Weblog Awards. Results are not certified until Monday by Wizbang. I'm not breaking out the champagne just yet, so the coffee is still flowing until then. :)

Jesus' General (a winner in the Best Humor/Comics Blog category) has a funny take on all of this, considering how many left-leaning blogs walked away with top honors. His comment on PHB:
It was a bad night for patriots. The French kicked our asses....

...Mélange De la Chambre De la Pam beat out some of our finest future Duke Cunninghams and Ken Mehlmans in the Best LGBT Blog (is that a kind of sandwich).
Many thanks, for all of you that showed the love, both in the comments and on your blogs. As promised, here are some links to blogger friends of the Blend. If I have forgotten anyone, shoot me an email and send me your URL and I'll add it to the list. I've been deluged with mail (all positive, thank goodness), so any oversight is simply because of administrative overload, lol.

Special shoutouts to:

, of course.

Agitprop
Birmingham Blues
Blanton's and Ashton's
BlogActive
Boys Are Ugly But So Cute
Classic Dykes Online
Daily Mendacity
The Dark Wraith Forums
Good As You
House of Pain
Intous
Julien's List
Lloydletta's Nooz and Comments
The Mad Professah Lectures
My life ...My story... My...essence
Nancy Goldstein
On the Fritz
PageOneQ
The Pensito Review
Science And Politics
Shakespeare's Sister

And, most of all -- the regular Blenders -- every one of you -- thanks for the endorsements in the comments here and at other blogs. Your efforts and presence here clearly made a difference.

***

The Koufax Awards are open for business

[UPDATE: the first comment thread is full. You can post here - New Koufax Nominations posting area]

Guess what? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2005 Koufax Awards, which honor the best blogs and bloggers of the left. There are so many good blogs nominated and interesting categories each year. [Pam's House Blend was a Koufax semi-finalist for Best New Blog and Most Deserving of Wider Recognition last year.]

The way this award system works is that folks nominate a blog by posting a comment over at Wampum, the administrator of the Koufax Awards. The way finalists are selected in the first round is by the number of nominations from folks. So, even if you see a blog nominated that you like there, post a comment as well. [For integrity's sake, don't post more than once for that blog in the same category.]

Here are the categories:

Best Blog
Best Blog -- Pro Division
Best Blog Community
Best Writing
Best Post
Best Series
Best Single Issue Blog
Best Group Blog
Most Humorous Blog
Most Humorous Post
Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
Best Expert Blog
Best New Blog
Best Coverage of State or Local Issues [new category this year]
Best Commenter

I'm happy to report that bloggrrrl Shakes Sis is already nominated in several categories, so well-deserved.

House Blender Bora (a.k.a Coturnix) of Science and Politics was REALLY prepared. He's already posted his nominations over at Wampum, so if you need something to jog your memory about some of the best blogs out there, take a look at his list.

The Blend is already nominated at least once in the Best Single Issue and Deserving of Wider Recognition categories so far. I'm not going to self promote in either category this year, since there are so many great choices. I do, however, plan to nominate two of my Blend entries in the Best Post category. I'm sure they won't make it to the finals, but they are ones that I think are worthy of consideration:

Skin and the Color of Money

Letter from Peter LaBarbera

What do you all think? Gee, the LaBarbera post could almost qualify for Most Humorous Post, but that's for the voters to decide, lololol.

I will put in a nomination in Best Series category for my series of posts on homophobic black pastors, if only to get more people on the Left to read and think about that nonsense.

So surf on over and have fun looking at all the great blogs nominated for a Koufax! I'll be tossing my picks in soon (I wasn't as prepared as Bora, lol).


Ms. Julien sums it up

On Hillary:
Folks, I would love to be proven wrong, but...

...as it now stands, Hillary could - in public - shoot a doctor who performs legal abortions, and - in public - chop off the penis of a gay man and...

SHE WOULD STILL NOT WIN A SINGLE CONSERVATIVE VOTE...

'kay?


Your GOP Congress at work: defending candy canes

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This one comes from my friend Chris Kromm at Facing South. He couldn't believe it, and neither can I. Think of all the critical issues of the day, Iraq, Gulf Coast reconstruction, the environment...and the GOP is focusing on this:
H. RES. 579 Expressing the sense of the House that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected.


She represents Virginia's first district

Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia submitted the following

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions.

Mr. ISRAEL. Madam Speaker, My difficulty with this resolution is that
it excludes some symbols and includes only certain symbols. So I would ask the gentlewoman, in the spirit of diversity, and of the many faiths that we celebrate in this body and throughout America, I would ask her not to withdraw the resolution, but allow this resolution to attract a very significant number of votes, maybe a unanimous vote, simply by adding the words "Kwanzaa,'' "Ramadan,'' and "Chanukah'' to her resolution. . . include holidays of all faiths so that this resolution can reflect the best of America, which is a place of justice for all.




Mrs. JO ANN DAVIS of Virginia. Madam Speaker, The reason for this resolution is that the attack has not been on the menorah or any of the other symbols of the other religions. But the attack has been and is being made on red and green colors, on candy canes, on Santa Claus, which are not even religious symbols. That is the point of the resolution.


Whiny baby Wildmon on Ford

“All we wanted was for Ford to refrain from choosing sides in the cultural war, and supporting groups which promote same-sex marriage is not remaining neutral.”
-- American Family Association's Don Wildmon in today's press release, trying to spin that Ford was fence-straddling


"If one looks for the company which has done the most to affirm and promote the homosexual lifestyle, he would be hard-pressed to find a company which has done more than Ford Motor Company."
-- Wildmon, back in May, when he made it clear that Ford was part of the Homosexual AgendaTM and called for the original boycott
I love coming home to news like this. The AFA has finally put out a flaccid statement in response to Ford's decision to continue advertising in gay publications and open support of LGBT causes (the letter is here). Wildmon and his crazies probably fretted over every word of this brief press release.
The American Family Association says that Ford Motor Company reneged on some agreements reached in discussions with the automobile giant, and the organization is considering its next move.

“We had an agreement with Ford, worked out in good faith. Unfortunately, some Ford Motor Company officials made the decision to violate the good faith agreement. We are now considering our response to the violation and expect to reach a decision very soon,” said Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of AFA.

AFA had called for a boycott of Ford last spring because of Ford’s support for the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage but suspended the boycott for six months at the request of a group of Ford dealers. Wildmon said AFA and Ford officials hammered out an agreement in the interim that was accepted by both parties.

...He stated that because Ford broke the agreement, the option of a boycott is now very much alive.

No additional comments regarding Ford will be made at this time.


Save the sanctity of marriage - ban Evangelical marriage!


John at AMERICAblog picks up on this interesting bit of news out of Vermont, where they've been issuing gay civil unions:
(Vermont Times-Argus) Vermont's -- and nation's -- first civil union breaking up

BRATTLEBORO — The first same-sex couple in the United States to receive many of the legal rights of marriage are in the process of dissolving their historic civil union in Vermont.

The break-up is a milestone in the movement to grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual marriage. But people should not be surprised that same-sex couples experience similar relationship problems as traditional couples, said Bari Shamus of Brattleboro, one of the founding members of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force.

"There's no proof that our relationships are any better than heterosexual relationships," Shamas said. "We all experience similar issues in relationships."

Up-to-date information on the number of civil unions that have been dissolved in Vermont was not available Wednesday. But from July 1, 2000, through the end of 2004, according to the Vermont Office of Vital Records, 7,549 couples have filed for civil unions in Vermont and there have been 78 dissolutions.
All right, students, break out the calculators. In the span of four-and-a-half years, 1.0332% of Vermont's civil unions have broken up.

Now, fifty-four months of civil union history isn't exactly the perfect set of data from which to draw conclusions about the long-term success rates of gay marriage / civil unions. But it is interesting to compare it to these numbers:
(Dallas Morning News) The Barna Research Group's national study showed that members of nondenominational churches divorce 34 percent of the time in contrast to 25 percent for the general population. Nondenominational churches would include large numbers of Bible churches and other conservative evangelicals. Baptists had the highest rate of the major denominations: 29 percent. Born-again Christians' rate was 27 percent. To make matters even more distressing for believers, atheists/agnostics had the lowest rate of divorce 21 percent.
So, folks, to what do you attribute these stunning difference in statistics? My theory is that the holy rollers are more likely to buy the car without taking a test drive, if you get my drift, and later discover that common faith isn't enough to help you put up with a spouse you're otherwise incompatible with. Another theory is that the babbling biblical literalists put too much emphasis on the spiritual nature of marriage without addressing the real life, day-to-day concerns of marriage.


Home stretch for the coffeehouse

I just wanted to say a few things about the 2005 Weblog Awards, where the Blend is nominated as Best LGBT Blog. Voting wraps at 11:59 PM tonight.

Pam's House Blend was originally just a spot for my personal ramblings when I launched it in July 2004. I don't know when I finally received my first comment, but I was posting away for what seemed like the longest time, thinking no one was reading at all -- not that it mattered. I just typed what went on in my noggin, whether it was about politics, my pets, my travels, and occasionally my grief.

Over time, many of you found the site, read what I had to say, and then came back and checked in regularly. Some of you even shared your thoughts; I really appreciate your presence here and for enthusiastically welcoming "Radical" Russ when I brought him onboard to post his kick-ass commentary on a regular basis. I enjoy your feedback and ideas -- at least those of the sane ones among you -- and hope that the Blend has provided an outlet for laughter (and occasional critical thinking, of course) about the world we live in.

I'm sure that this is how things started out for most of my fellow nominees. Despite different interests, and certainly different political perspectives, each drew an audience that found a voice they could identify with. Folks clearly enjoy stopping by to engage with the proprietor(s) of each blog.

My only regret about this awards process is that I have seen surprising negativity tossed around about this blog (or about "me" in the abstract, since they really don't know me) by some of my fellow nominees (and their supporters) in the Best LGBT Blog category. That's truly sad, particularly in this community. I've taken the time to surf and visit the other blogs nominated, and, IMHO, they are each quite deserving of consideration -- and their fan bases -- regardless of whether I agree with their worldview.

People should vote for any of the blogs because they enjoy reading the content and the perspective of the blogger(s). At least for me, it's not about "beating" anyone to score points. The "points" that really count in the end are the visitors that find this little coffeehouse a welcoming place they want to return to time and again.

I want to thank all the readers and bloggers out there that support the Blend. Whether PHB wins or not, please email mail me if you posted an endorsement on your blog so that I can thank you with a link back with a shout-out after this is all through.

Peace.


Support the work that calls out the hypocrites



Mike Rogers over at BlogActive took inventory of the hypocrites that he's outed this year -- all losers that have actively worked against the cause of gay civil rights. The links below go to his reporting.

Take a look -- and a laugh, in many cases -- at the closeted-for-professional-consumption individuals below.
United States Representatives

US Rep. Ed Schrock
(VA)
US Rep. David Dreier
(CA)
US Rep. James McCrery
(LA)
US Rep. Mark Foley
(FL)

Senior Republican Staff
Jay Timmons - National Republican Senatorial Committee
Dan Gurley, National Field Director, Republican National Committee
Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee
Jay Banning, Chief Financial Officer & Director of Administration, RNC

Senior Senate Staffers
Robert Traynham, Rick Santorum (PA)
Jonathan Tolman, James Inhofe (OK)
Kirk Fordham, Mel Martinez (FL)
Dirk Smith, Trent Lott (MS)
John Reid, George Allen (VA)
Paul Unger, George Allen (VA)
Linus Catignani, Bill Frist (TN)

Senior House Staffers
Jim Conzelman, Rep. Mike Oxley (OH)
Lee Cohen, Rep. Melissa Hart (OH)
Robert O'Conner, Rep. Peter King (NY)
Pete Meachum, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (FL)

Bush Administration Staffers
Israel Hernandez, office of Karl Rove and Assistant Secretary of Commerce
Jeff Berkowitz, Bush Liaison to Jewish Community

Local Elected Officials
Vincent Gentile, NY City Council

The rest of the gang...
Ed Koch
, former mayor of New York City
Jennifer Helms-Knox, Judge in NC campaign staffer for Jesse Helms Campaigns
Armstrong Williams,
Talk show host.
Matt Drudge
, Headline writer
Steve Kreseski
, Governor Bob Erlich of MD
Chip DiPaula
, Governor Bob Erlich of MD
Lee LaHaye, the chief financial officer of the Concerned Women for America
John Schlafly, Eagle Forum legal staff

If you agree with his work, he's running an end-of-year appeal -- show him some love.


Still cozy with Turdblossom

"We’re still as close as we’ve ever been. We’ve been through a lot. You know, when we look back at the presidency and my time in politics, no question that Karl had a lot to do with me getting here, and I value his friendship. We’re very close."
-- your fearless (or is that fearful) leader, on his current relationship with Karl Rove.
Of course you knew they would kiss and make up. You don't have to read between the lines -- Rove knows all the skeletons in President's closet -- and you know the weasel didn't have to remind the Chimp of that.

On the other hand, Rummy might want to polish up the resume, given this other quote from Bush's interview with Brit Hume on Faux News.
As for his own relationships, Bush said he has no intention of removing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from his post, and Rumsfeld could stay until the end of the president's current term.

"He’s done a heck of a job. He’s conducted two wars and at the same time has helped transform our military from a military that was constructed for, you know, the post-Cold War to one that is going to be constructed to fight terrorism," the president said during a one-on-one with Hume in the Treaty Room of the White House.


AFA's Don Wildmon: don't criticize Right or we'll pull support of Israel



Well isn't that Christian of Don Wildmon of the American Family Association. He's smarting because Anti-Defamation League President Abraham Foxman has been calling out the Religious Right for what Foxman termed the bible-beater effort to "Christianize America." Foxman was just telling it like it is in his speech, when he took on Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. This is what got Wildmon's ire up.
Foxman said... 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.
So Christo-fascist Donny got on his little radio program and unloaded his threat. (Media Matters):
Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association (AFA), used the occasion of the December 5 broadcast of AFA Report, his daily program on AFA-operated American Family Radio

(AFR), to suggest that some members of the religious right would withdraw support for Israel if a prominent activist against anti-Semitism did not cease his criticism of it.

During the broadcast, Wildmon stated that Anti-Defamation League (ADL) President Abraham H. Foxman "got himself kind of in a bind" by criticizing the religious right. "[T]he strongest supporters Israel has are members of the religious right -- the people he's fighting," Wildmon said. "[T]he more he says that 'you people are destroying this country,' you know, some people are going to begin to get fed up with this and say, 'Well, all right then. If that's the way you feel, then we just won't support Israel anymore.' "
Remember, these are the people Ford met and bedded down with. Given Ford's past history of anti-Semitism, you'd have thought they'd steer clear of the AFA and its thuggery, no matter the hubbub over the homos.

You can listen to Wildmon rail on here.

Thanks to Blender Holly for the pointer.


'We may be forced to erase his package with digital effects'

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

ROTFLOL. First it was Disney fretting over Lindsay Lohan's dearly departed boobies arousing tweeners in Herbie: Fully Loaded (see my post Nipples are the new WMD).


No more cleavage, Miss Lohan...

Now we have movie execs getting the vapors over Brandon Routh's All-American bulge in Superman Returns. Will Superman’s schlong be safe for young, impressionable eyes, or will they go for the lucrative gay market, as the AmTaliban would squeal? Hmmm...I think we will see some digital downsizing. (Killer Movies):

Click, ahem, to "enlarge."

Producers are reportedly worried about the size of Brandon Routh's bulge which would make his profile in the superhero's skintight costume distracting, reports the Sun.

Hollywood executives have ordered the makers of Superman Returns to cover it up with digital effects.

The Sun's source said: "It's a major issue for the studio. Brandon is extremely well endowed and they don't want it up on the big screen.
What exactly is "it?" Like they are going to show him with a woody? Or will the camera longingly pan over Routh's "region" as he leaps tall buildings in a single bound? Please.


Accuracy in Media's Kincaid is batsh*t crazy

It appears that the homosexual lifestyle is as addictive as smoking.
-- Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid, reasoning that this danger warrants a "Quit Gay Sex" campaign
Media Matters points to an unhinged column by this bottom-feeder that reaches a new low.
Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid argued in a December 14 commentary posted to the right-wing media watchdog website that news organizations should engage in a "Quit Gay Sex" campaign against "the dangerous and addictive homosexual lifestyle," using as justification for his argument the November "Quit to Live" anti-smoking campaign launched by ABC News after veteran journalist Peter Jennings died of lung cancer. Kincaid argued that news organizations should take up similar campaigns against homosexuality, given that "[l]ife-threatening sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals are on the increase."
Kincaid's yet another example of a winger who thinks a lot about homos and homo-sex more often than honest-to-goodness queer folks. Sort of like, ummmm, Peter LaBarbera (gee, I still haven't received a response from Peter about my reply to his email). We're falling down on the task of forcing our Homosexual AgendaTM down America's throat, people. Sigh.
Media Matters for America has documented a series of statements about homosexuality published by Kincaid through the AIM website, including:

* "[Howard Dean's] success will depend on concealing the facts about Dean's homosexual experiment [which purportedly "implemented the homosexual agenda" in Vermont] -- and how he has used young people as sexual guinea pigs." [12/10/03]

* "The problem with the [Tucker] Carlson show [on MSNBC] is the format, which places too much emphasis on his guests, including a regular named Rachel Maddow, a radio host on Air America who is described as the first out-of-the-closet lesbian to be named a Rhodes Scholar. She is a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man." [8/1/05]

* "The Washington Post is emerging as a virtual house organ of the homosexual-rights movement." [7/20/03]
***

2005 Weblog Awards update: We're in the home stretch; Pam's House Blend has just under a 300-vote lead in the Best LGBT Blog Category. Click over and cast your vote, if you are so inclined. Polls close at 11:59 PM (US - Eastern) on December 15. You all have been peaches!


Ford saw the light?

John over at AmericaBlog has the scoop and the letter from the Ford.
Ford addressed and resolved each of our three concerns regarding the above:
1. Ford announced that it will continue to support gay organizations and gay events in the coming year and beyond.

2. Ford is going to run advertisements in the gay media NOT ONLY promoting the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, but the ads will promote ALL of Fords brands, by name, including Jaguar and Land Rover.

3. Ford states unequivocally that it will continue to tailor its ads for the specific audience it is trying to reach, and then goes one step further. Ford challenges us to keep an eye out on their upcoming ads in order to verify that they will in fact be tailored.
There is no other way to read this than that Ford did the right thing. Whether or not an agreement was reached with the American Family Association - and the AFA has a record of crowing about such "victories" when no such victory occurred (sounds a lot like our president) - Ford has rectified the real or perceived problem, and the AFA has been shown to have no clothes (other than a very rusty chastity belt).
This is a victory no matter how the AFA tries to spin this, so expect an eruption from the Freepers and the bible beating bleaters shortly.

***

UPDATE: GLAAD released the joint statement of LGBT groups, "Reaffirmation of Commitment to Our Community and American Values," in response to Ford's letter.
"We welcome today's statement from Ford Motor Company and commend their firm stance in support of inclusion. It is an unequivocal reaffirmation of Ford's historic commitment to our community and the core American values of fairness and equality. Moreover, it is conclusive proof of what Ford leaders have repeatedly assured us --that there never was any deal with anti-LGBT organizations concerning Ford's support for our community.

We are proud to be back in gear with Ford and look forward to working with them in the years ahead."

AMERICAblog.com
Commercial Closet Association
Family Pride
Freedom to Marry
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Human Rights Campaign
Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (NYC)
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC)
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Pride at Work
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Triangle Foundation
World Congress of GLBT Jews: Keshet Ga'ava


It looks like Mitt the sh*t is running for Prez



The gay-bashing governor of Massachusetts plans to announce that he will not run for another term, which is the signal that he wants to make a run for the White House. But will he be red-meat enough for the wingnuts? I haven't heard a peep about burgeoning support for Mitt Romney so far. (Boston.com):
Governor Mitt Romney will announce at 6 p.m. that he will not seek re-election to a second term, setting the stage for an expected campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, a senior aide to the governor said today.

...The aide told the Boston Globe that Romney will announce that he will fill out his term, which ends in January, 2007. The move is widely seen as another step in his plans to launch a presidential campaign. His announcement today is expected to be televised live from the State House.

...Romney had cast himself as "a red speck in a blue state" during an October speech to a Washington think-tank, one of many similar comments across the country during the past year that had been viewed as disparaging Massachusetts -- the land of the Kennedys and two failed Democratic candidates for president portrayed as out-of-touch liberals.
Mitt Romney is an ass. He famously said during a speech in front of fawning Utah Republicans back in February that gay marriage will destroy the international rep of the US.
Governor Mitt Romney drew a link between America's prestige around the world and the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.

"America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home," Romney said, calling the Supreme Judicial Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts ''a blow to the family."
I took a quick surf over to Freeperland to take the temperature there. I think Mitt's got a lot of work to do to win over that crowd...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Given the latest legislation requiring religious hospitals to make abortions available, my contributions will go elsewhere."

"He was never on my short list."

"Hes not even on my long list! (Which includes Giuliani...shows you im not a fan of mitty.)"

"Isnt he one of those dumb as a post candidates?"

"i dont think he is dumb just not as conservative as most of us like"

"He will be one of very few GOP candidates who will not get the support of his own state. I don't know of a single person, who is not a lib, who would support him for President."

"South Carolina would be his downfall, just like McCain."

"I don't know of a single person, who is not a lib, who would support him for President. Libs support him? I don't think so. I think he's trying to position himself in the mushy middle."

"Typical elitist New England mentality. I'm listening to Howie Carr (Boston), and even his callers don't think he has a prayer. "Rino from Massachusetts Elected President"...not a headline we ever have to worry about seeing. What a delusional idiot."

"Wait let me guess. There are a handful of freepers here who are going to say that his replacement must be a really liberal Republican, maybe a former head of NARAL. That's the only way to win, we will be told."

"I think he'll portray himself as socially conservative--against gay marriage, pro life, pro war on terror and fiscally responsible. I don't think he'll be in the mushy middle at all--he'll leave that for Frist."

"To nice, we need a mean SOB, who will tell the DNC/MSM to go to hell, and F off!"

"Romney's only chance of winning the GOP presidential nomination was if he got reelected in Massachusetts and explained that he is actually pro-life on abortion. By forgoing reelection, he has doomed his presidential run before it even began. I just hope Romney quits the presidential race early enough so that he can run for the Senate against Kerry in 2008."

"Would he even carry Mass. in a general election? That could be as embarassing for him as Gore losing Tenn."

"He's from Massachuttes and therefore unfit. The same population elected Kennedy and Kerry."

"He might have a better chance of running for Congress. There should be plenty of people torqued off by now in MA with Uncle Ted and John Effen Kerry."

"You underestimate Romney -- he would be a phenomenal president and would be dramatically more conservative than McCain."

"Romney? President? Did you know Mad magazine has a younger children's edition now?"

"To succeed in a liberal bastion like Massachusetts in the GOP, you have to play to the "mushy middle". Massachusetts is just the east coast version of California, they're both a lost cause in this day and age for Conservatism."

"Just what we need, another Northeast Rino Princeling. STFU Mitt. Stay in Assachussets, ya gun grabbing fascist."
Related:
* Mitt backs war, but his boys are safe at home
* Mitt Romney: voters know best on civil rights issues


Church gets medieval on a priest's ass

The Rev. Ned Reidy allows gays to take communion, has ordained women clergy and was put on trial for heresy in one-day closed hearing, conducted by three priests at the headquarters of the Diocese of San Bernardino. The man's already been excommunicated, so this is yet another attempt at a public shaming designed to bring wayward Catholics in line. This will be about as effective as the church's moronic edict that gays must be swept from the seminaries. (365gay):
He is accused of heresy defined as "the rejection of fundamental matters of Catholic faith at the highest levels," such as papal authority, according to the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesperson for the diocese.

Reidy, 69, also is charged with schism for breaking communion with the Roman Catholic church. If convicted, he could appeal to the Vatican, although Reidy said he would have no interest in doing so. The court's decision will be announced to Reidy at an unspecified future date but it does not have to be made public, Lincoln said.

Reidy called the trial "medieval" and contends that it has no authority because he stopped being a Roman Catholic in 1999.

"I just think the discourtesy level is appalling," he said in a telephone interview. "I have moved way beyond all that and the brutality of the Roman Catholic church and for me to go would give a certain legitimacy to this witch hunt."
Reidy doesn't consider himself a Roman Catholic priest any more, but under canonical law he remains a one until he is formally excommunicated and defrocked. He is pastor of the 100-member Community of the Risen Christ, a denomination that considers itself Catholic (it celebrates the sacraments), but it doesn't believe in the infallibility of the pope. The church gets extra bonus heresy points for permitting married and female clergy.

Just to put into perspective how ridiculous this is -- note the Catholic Church has decided to step into the time-traveling DeLorean to find its bearings:
The most famous heresy trial in history may have been Galileo's second trial before the Inquisition in 1633. The astronomer was found guilty of heresy for promoting the view that the earth revolves around the sun. He was ordered to recant and was sentenced to imprisonment, which turned into lifelong house arrest.

...Some Roman Catholic scholars told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that they were unaware of any other heresy trials in the United States. Such cases are rare anywhere in modern times, said Msgr. Thomas Green, a professor of canon law at The Catholic University of Washington in Washington, D.C.

"By and large, once you get past the Council of Trent and the 1600s and 1700s, you don't hear much about it," he said.


Caption this


What on earth is he thinking in this photo?

Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush is introduced to speak about the war in Iraq at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington December 14, 2005. As Iraq prepared for its election, President Bush on Wednesday vowed the United States will stay in Iraq 'until victory is achieved' and he defended his decision to go to war. Bush gave the fourth in a series of speeches that the White House has used to try to explain his administration's strategy amid a drumbeat of criticism from Democrats who say Bush does not have a plan on Iraq. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

***

Blogwhore away. It's an open thread.

***

And don't forget to cast your daily vote for the Blend through 12/15. Latest stats in the Best LGBT Blog category of the 2005 Weblog Awards has PHB still hanging on to a 300 or so vote lead, after the margin slipping to less than 150 yesterday. Thanks, everyone for taking the time to click over, and for those of you posting on your blogs to support the Blend.


Ann Coulter to appear on 'Straight Talk'


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

[UPDATE: Stephen is quoted in USA Today about the homo agenda in "Brokeback" -- see below.]

It's one of those "I'm not sh*tting you" posts so ripe for commentary from you all.

House Blender Jennifer of Intous sent in this tasty tidbit of information, hot from the couple that puts the "hetero" in heterosexual talk radio, Irene and Stephen Bennett.

They've managed to book the free-thinking Ann Coulter on the program, and this is how they are pimping her upcoming appearance.


Best selling author, commentator and Conservative fireball Ann Coulter, just named the number one Conservative woman in America is coming to Straight Talk Radio! Ann spoke Wednesday night, Dec. 7th at the University of Connecticut, to a very hostile and volatile crowd. Stephen and Irene will talk with Ann about her speech (which she wasn’t able to finish because of the hecklers) at UConn, her books, her views on several topics and knowing Ann – whatever else she wants to talk about! STR will let you know the air date.
***

Oh, by the way, Stephen and Irene have weighed in on Brokeback Mountain (even though they haven't seen it). They just want to make sure that homo-sensitive eyes are aware of the dangers of seeing gay cowboy sex.
Proulx’s short story contains graphic, vulgar and explicit pornographic language of homosexual sex between the two cowboys, which some who saw the movie, say remains faithful to the short story.

While we at STR have not seen the movie, we are very troubled to hear this movie may contain or imply this graphic homosexual sex. Whether it does or not, many who’ve seen the movie are now looking "for more" and reading Proulx’s short story, which explicitly contains ALL the pornographic and graphic homosexual sex one demands.
Stephen manages to score in the Big Leagues, getting quoted in USA Today:
Already a few wagons are circling against the movie. Straight Talk Radio, a daily national radio program hosted by a man who describes himself as a former homosexual and his wife, denounced the movie as "homosexual propaganda."


"I just spoke with a married man on the telephone who is contemplating leaving his wife and children," says host Stephen Bennett. "He says he's gay, and Brokeback Mountain has influenced his decision. We can sadly expect to see a lot more men like former governor Jim McGreevey of New Jersey not only resigning from their jobs but from their wives, children and families."
Also:
* BlogActive on Stephen Bennett: "Now, I don't know if he has sex with men any more or not...but I can tell you he sure looks at the guys. Not one male intern walked by Bennett's exhibit table [at a Concerned Women for America conference] without being checked out by Mr. Ex-Gay."


Jeebus is the reason for a Happy Meal in Raleigh



Over in the Tar Heel State's capital city, the above McDonalds sign is causing quite a stir. Jeebus is Ronald McDonald's co-pilot in this store, and a Raleigh woman has protested, calling the company's HQ.

The owner of this store, incidentally, says the sign has been good for business -- the church buses have been streaming in. (WRAL):
The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly.

"It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.

Alpert called the McDonald's corporate office in Atlanta and requested that the sign be changed to the politically correct Happy Holidays. The response was the owner has the right to do what she wants with the sign.

"I care because I'm Jewish, and the reason for the season is upsetting to me," Alpert said.
While I understand why this woman would be upset, it's the storeowner's choice to put a message out there that they feel will connect with the local community and be good for business. If it was bad for business, the sign would be down in short order. Is there a lack of sensitivity to non-Christians, atheists, etc? Yeah, but the owner probably wanted to make a "put the Christ back in Christmas" statement anyway to thumb his/her nose at the whole Christmas Controversy.

Folks are better off staying away from the artery-clogging joint anyway.

***

By the way, Kate and I saw the most ridiculous McD commercial last night. It was an excruciating 60 seconds of watching Ronald McDonald stage diving at a rock concert, dancing and cavorting with teenagers, running, playing basketball and being A-C-T-I-V-E, which heinous faux-rock music and frenetic camera work designed to inspire you to "feel the energy."

Clearly this is a move by the fast food company to counter the well-deserved reputation as a purveyor of unhealthy foods. The amusing thing about the propaganda commercial is that:
* it shows no one eating any McD food
* all the kids in the commercial are thin
* Ronald looks like he's not been eating his own cooking - he's dropped a few pounds.

The corporate fast food behemoth already has Bob Greene (Oprah's personal trainer) and health guru Dr. Dean Ornish on the payroll to dispense healthy habit tips on the company's web site, so I guess the commercial just adds to the desperate spin patrol over at HQ.


NBC obtains secret Pentagon database of Americans under surveillance

Who on earth is surprised at this, given the paranoid, delusional Bush Administration? This is an outrage.

Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit have obtained a secret 400-page Defense Department document listing peace activists and monitoring people at Iraq war protests. (Here is the PDF; there is video at MSNBC).
The Department of Defense declined repeated requests by NBC News for an interview. A spokesman said that all domestic intelligence information is “properly collected” and involves “protection of Defense Department installations, interests and personnel.” The military has always had a legitimate “force protection” mission inside the U.S. to protect its personnel and facilities from potential violence. But the Pentagon now collects domestic intelligence that goes beyond legitimate concerns about terrorism or protecting U.S. military installations, say critics.

The DOD database obtained by NBC News includes nearly four dozen anti-war meetings or protests, including some that have taken place far from any military installation, post or recruitment center. One “incident” included in the database is a large anti-war protest at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles last March that included effigies of President Bush and anti-war protest banners. Another incident mentions a planned protest against military recruiters last December in Boston and a planned protest last April at McDonald’s National Salute to America’s Heroes — a military air and sea show in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Fort Lauderdale protest was deemed not to be a credible threat and a column in the database concludes: “US group exercising constitutional rights.” Two-hundred and forty-three other incidents in the database were discounted because they had no connection to the Department of Defense — yet they all remained in the database.
And the Pentagon's doing everything the tin foil hat conspiracy folks have been ranting about for years.
Still, the DOD database includes at least 20 references to U.S. citizens or U.S. persons. Other documents obtained by NBC News show that the Defense Department is clearly increasing its domestic monitoring activities. One DOD briefing document stamped “secret” concludes: “[W]e have noted increased communication and encouragement between protest groups using the [I]nternet,” but no “significant connection” between incidents, such as “reoccurring instigators at protests” or “vehicle descriptions.”

“It means that they’re actually collecting information about who’s at those protests, the descriptions of vehicles at those protests,” says Arkin. “On the domestic level, this is unprecedented,” he says. “I think it's the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military.”
History is repeating itself. Anti-war and civil rights protestors ended up with government dossiers in the 50s and 60s, and the NBC report notes that a congressional investigation revealed that the military had conducted investigations on at least 100,000 American citizens during that time, with more than 100 military agents testifying that they had been ordered to spy on U.S. citizens.

Now it's happening again -- and do you think this Republican Congress will have any interest in addressing this violation of the American public? We won't see any hearings on this until all of those bums are tossed out. Writing your representatives and senators about this BS is at least a start.

***

2005 Weblog Awards update: The Blend is hanging on to the lead by a thread (it's down to less than 150 votes when I typed this) in the Best LGBT Blog Category. You can vote once a day per IP addy through December 15.

PageOneQ has also endorsed the Blend in the category in a banner on its site! Thanks a bunch!


White House silences gay seniors' voice at conference

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good night, the White House homophobes are terribly cruel. How can anyone defend this slight? (365gay):
Once every 10 years authorities on aging gather for the White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA). They meet, present papers and make recommendations to the President and the Congress on national aging policies for the future. The 2005 WHCoA is the fifth in the history of the United States and the first of the 21st Century.

But, this conference, under the Bush Administration, any discussion on aging in the LGBT community has been squelched. Today at a press conference elder advocates challenged the administration for refusing to include sexual orientation, gender identity and other vulnerable populations in its resolutions.

...Sexual orientation and gender identity were included in 1995 resolutions, but were ultimately eliminated. Now, 10 years later, sexual orientation and gender identity were not even included in resolutions at any juncture — nor has there been any opportunity for such inclusion — at WHCoA, which concludes on Wednesday.

...Official WHCoA delegate Terry Kaelber — the only delegate invited from an LGBT organization — slammed the WHCoA at today’s press conference at the WHCoA site in Washington, saying there has been a “concerted effort” by the administration to “limit discussion and control the outcome” at the WHCoA.

“The process has been to exclude, not include,” said Kaelber, executive director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). The New York delegation fired off a letter to the WHCoA policy committee — whose members are appointed by the president and Congress and in essence runs the show — questioning the integrity of the entire process.


Little Ricky's getting burned for loving the Chimp


How does it feel, Rick?

Santorum's polls are in the dumps, and it's because he's tied his fate to the Chimperor. Bring out the violin... (PhiilyBurbs/AP):
U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's support of President Bush hurts his chances for re-election next year, Pennsylvania voters said by a 2-1 margin in a poll released Tuesday.

More than one-third of all Republicans surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll also said Santorum's re-election prospects aren't helped by his support of the president.

The poll showed Democratic state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. leading the two-term Republican incumbent by 50 percent to 38 percent in the 2006 Senate race, compared to a 52-to-34 percent lead in Quinnipiac's October poll. Voters also said they disapprove of Bush's job performance, 59 percent to 38 percent.

"President Bush is clearly hurting Santorum in Pennsylvania, and he's still further behind than an incumbent should be entering the campaign year," said Clay Richards, assistant director of the Hamden, Conn., university's polling institute. "Santorum's best hope is for a third-party abortion-rights candidate to emerge and pull Democratic votes from Casey."

Graphic: Mike Tidmus.

Maybe Rick's better off spewing garbage as a fundy, "pro-family" writer, since mouthing off nonsense like this is really going to help him out with women -- "The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong." -- from his book, It Takes A Family.


Our own worst enemies

Sometimes you wonder how members of the gay community can get behind or work for candidates that sell us out. Here's yet another case, up in Minnesota.

Why, for instance is Rick Stafford, a gay leader in the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) -- and a state DNC member -- is supporting a candidate that voted to put unhinged State Senator Michele Bachmann's amendment to define marriage as "a union between one man and one woman" on the ballot? [Blenders may recall Bachmann, who crouched behind a bush, watching the homos at a gay rally as if she was watching some dirty peep show.]

Stafford is backing the candidacy of Rebecca Otto for Minnesota State Auditor. Otto holds the distinction of being the only House Democrat in Minnesota to lose a seat in 2004 (she served in the 6th District).

Otto's downfall was her support of the Bachmann amendment. As a Democrat, she managed to piss off her base big time, while cozying up to the hatemongers on this issue. She found out the hard way that this vote was idiotic -- gays and progressives in her district decided to toss her butt out.

Why on earth did she vote for it? Look at this lame excuse, given at a rally by OutFront Minnesota, a gay-rights organization. (from the WSJ via Lloydletta):
"My vote would not have changed yesterday's results," Ms. Otto said, her eyes darting among her guests. "I need you to understand that."

During the meeting, Ms. Otto suggested her vote didn't necessarily mean she opposed gay marriage. All she wanted was a statewide debate on the matter, she told the group. Asked after the meeting how she would vote if the issue was included on the ballot, Ms. Otto wouldn't answer. "When I am in the voting booth, I am a private citizen and my vote is between me and the founding fathers," she said.
OK. Her position is "It's a lost cause, so I'll just vote for the winning team." What kind of BS is that?

So now she's back, running for State Auditor, and Rick Stafford, the recently elected Chair of the DNC GLBT Caucus, for goodness sake, is in her corner (see Otto's endorsement page).

How can we expect to win on these issues when Dems cannot even get their act together at the local level over candidates that will not stand up to the Religious Right? It's clear some of Otto's former constituents had the guts to call her on this vote.
Do you really oppose giving equal rights to gays? Do you really believe that gay marriage will lead to a reordering of society, as your colleague Michele Bachmann believes? Surely you wouldn't vote for something this awful simply for political reasons--to gain a better edge in your re-election campaign--would you?

Your vote was a slap in the face of your core base of support in this district. By voting for this, you have opened the door even wider to the hateful religious extremists who already are trying to take over the district. You have told them: "Not to worry, I'm with you!"
Folks might want to politely ask Rick Stafford (rwstafford@uswest.net) if, as Chair of the DNC GLBT Caucus, he plans to make a habit of endorsing candidates that support anti-gay federal and state constitutional amendments.

The DNC email form is here; Rebecca Otto: Rebecca@rebeccaotto.com.

Related:
* Rebecca Otto and the Hate Amendment
* Homo-bigot Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann has a screw loose
* 'Ex-gay' Janet Boynes and Michele Bachmann

Hat tip, Eva at Lloydletta and Dump Michele Bachmann.


Wisconsin's junior-league 'Fred Phelps' loses 'free speech' lawsuit

"It isn't the message we (motorists) don't like, it's the fact that we can't get home on time. You could probably have sold Old Dutch root beer and got the same attention."
-- U.S. District Judge John Shabaz ruling that the "spectacle" created by Ralph Ovadal's anti-gay banners on an overpass created a traffic hazard
Ralph Ovadal. What a piece of work this bastard is. As pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe, Wisconsin, he feels compelled to preach the word of homophobia all over the country, a junior-league Rotting CryptkeeperTM.
(365gay.com):
A federal court has ruled that a conservative pastor's rights to free speech were not violated when police ordered him to remove homophobic banners from a highway overpass.

Pastor Ralph Ovadal filed a lawsuit against the city of Madison and the Madison Police Department following two incidents on a pedestrian bridge over a busy city thoroughfare in September and October 2003.

Hanging a large banner proclaiming "homosexuality is a sin" from the bridge, Ovadal and his followers yelled homophobic slurs.
Ovadal's view of the world is that other religions don't deserve the same rights and respect as Christianity and that the "Sodomite War Machine" is working to destroy a Christian America.

Every year, this nation tolerates and embraces new abominations. This year, the perversion being mainstreamed is "same-sex marriage." But God created and instituted marriage, not man. Sodomite couplings never have been and never will be marriage. Today, I want to share five reasons why so-called same-sex marriage stirs up the wrath of God and will bring even more judgment on our land.
-- Ralph Ovadal, pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church, in one of his many sermons
I covered this windbag before. Let's revisit some of the tripe on his web site:
For the past several decades, the homosexual movement has engaged in a massive public relations campaign aimed at demonizing anyone who dares to suggest that American citizens should have a right to discriminate--to use good judgment--when dealing with persons involved in homosexual activity. That campaign has borne bitter fruit.



Open homosexuals, bisexuals, cross-dressers, and transgenders now serve as legislators, judges, policemen, medical technicians, food service workers, teachers, and adopters of children. This is a tragic situation given the fact that the homosexual community is the source of a greatly disproportionate amount of violence, sexual assault, and disease; and it brings the judgment of God upon our land.
An example of the low-rent Westboro Baptist Church stuff:


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

And how about unhinged sh*t like this from Ovadal; he could be an up and coming Peter LaBarbera (gee, I haven't heard from him yet; I wonder why?):
The homosexual life is a violent one. Many common homosexual acts themselves do violence to the body. Beyond that, sado-masochism, the intentional infliction of pain for perverse sexual gratification, is very popular in the homosexual community. And even the homosexuals have begun to admit that there is a disproportionate amount of “domestic violence” in their communities, violence directed inward.



Unfortunately, the homosexual community also projects violence outward, as any dispassionate study of history and current events reveals. For instance, considering the small percentage of the world’s population which claims to be homosexual at any given time, the incidence of members of that community committing rape culminating in murder is shocking!


Australian police turn out to prevent rioting

SYDNEY, Australia - More than 450 police, four times the usual number, patrolled Sydney's streets on Tuesday to prevent a third night of racial violence by youth gangs who have attacked people, smashed cars and hurled rocks at police.
See, see! Of course you have to expect riots and violence. That's the logical result in a society with cradle-to-the-grave socialism. Tax something and you get less of it, subsidize it and you'll get more of it. The youth get such a gravy train stipend from the state that they have no personal investment in the society. Many of them have never worked a real job in their lives,... wait a minute... Australia? Sorry, I thought you said "France". Go on...
Racial violence erupted at Sydney's Cronulla Beach on Sunday when some 5,000 people, some yelling racist chants, attacked youths of Middle Eastern background. Police said white supremacists incited it.

Drunk mobs of youths, some wrapped in Australian flags, said they were defending their beach after lifesavers were attacked. They believe the attackers were of Lebanese background.

On Monday, gangs of youths, mainly of Middle Eastern background, attacked several people with baseball bats, vandalized cars and were involved in rock-throwing skirmishes with police for a second night, officials said.
Sudden, unexpected riotous violence can happen anywhere. It can occur because of poverty, injustice, racial and ethnic hatred, or your home town team winning the NBA Championship. But this next part is a little scarier, especially if you've seen Hotel Rwanda.
Australian media reported that mobile telephone text messages from Australians of Anglo-Saxon and Middle East backgrounds were both calling for revenge attacks to continue.

Police said a text message calling on people to start "cracking skulls" had been received on the Gold Coast tourist strip in the tropical northern state of Queensland.

"This Sunday is our turn to have a go and fight for the Gold Coast. These grease ball monkeys with their gold chains and fully sick cars need to know that we're not copping any," local media quoted the message as saying.
Replace the radio with the text message, replace the "cockroaches" with the "grease ball monkeys", and replace the machetes with baseball bats and we've got the makings of "Hotel Rwanda II: Australian Boogaloo".
The racial violence has prompted criticism of Australia's multi-cultural immigration policy, with commentators saying ethnic differences have been fostered for many years.

Many social and ethnic leaders said the violence was primarily "gang warfare" and not purely race riots and that the youths involved felt economically and socially disadvantaged.

But some politicians laid the blame squarely on racism.

"We are just getting a sample of what happened in France a few months ago," said Labor opposition politician Harry Quick.

"We have reached a pressure cooker stage here. People of ethnic minority in Australia are just taking things into their own hands."
Nope, nope. Fellas, it's obviously liberals' fault. Somehow. Probably French liberals.


Mr. Heterosexual Contest coming to a town near you



I thought Jeremy over at Good As You was kidding. Nope.
According to Family News in Focus, Tom Crouse, pastor of Massachusetts' Holland Congregational Church, is tired of homos "flooding the marketplace with products and opportunities exclusively for gays and lesbians," so he has decided to create a contest to "name the most heterosexual guy in Massachusetts." The competition, scheduled for Feb 4, will reportedly feature "such manly events as how many Oprah magazines you can tear at once and a sixty second dissertation on the uses of duct tape."
Here is what you can find over at Mr. Hetero about the contest:



Mr Heterosexual Contest 2006
A Celebration of God's Creation

A real competition that will bring fun and laughter as we celebrate
God's design.  Come be a part of the fun either as a contestant or an
audience member.

...Events

Strength - how many oprah magazines can you tear?

Talent - your choice

Intellectual - answering random questions such as your favorite
heterosexual role model

Competition - name that food
...........more events to be announced.

Entry fee for competition 20.00.

Future events Mr Hetero Albany, NY. date coming soon
Mr Hetero Louisville, KY. date coming soon


More lesbian-baiting charges against Penn State basketball coach


Is Coach Portland worried Sapphic desires might be catching?

I had a post up at my place back in October, Gay-baiting coach needs to zip it, about Penn State's basketball coach Rene Portland's problem with lesbians, both real and imagined. Portland has a history of anti-gay recruiting methods and a well-known, infamous "no lesbians" policy on her team.

She repeatedly questioned Jennifer Harris, a 6 foot guard from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about her sexual orientation, and threatened multiple times to kick her off the team if she found out Harris was a lesbian. Harris left the team, transferring to James Madison University after Portland finally told her to "find somewhere else to play."

Now, two other women have come forward to accuse Portland of this sleazy behavior -- note that Penn State added sexual orientation to the school’s non-discrimination policy in 1991, yet this behavior by the coach continued to the present day. (365gay.com):
Two more former players on Penn State's women's basketball team have come forward to accuse coach Rene Portland of making disparaging comments about lesbians.

Courtney Wicks, who played on the Lady Lions from 1996 - 1997, and Cindy Davies who played for Penn State in 1980, say that they also heard Portland make accusations about lesbians.

Davies who is a lesbian and Wicks who has a lesbian sister made the allegations on ESPN in a program looking into allegations made by former player Jennifer Harris. Harris, who is not gay, has filed suit with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission naming Portland, the university, and Athletic Director Tim Curley as defendants.

...On ESPN Wicks said that Portland's dislike of lesbians was clear. "She made it seem like if you have lesbians on your team at some point it will get into your locker room," said Wicks, who transferred from Penn State after a year and a half.

Cindy Davies, who acknowledges a lesbian affair with the team manager said she quit the team and the university after Portland confronted her with suspicions about the relationship and told her she would continue to investigat[e] if she proved the affair she would make the information public. Davies said that she became so depressed she considered committing suicide.


'Ex-gay' orgs and AFA run anti-hate crime law ads



Folks can agree to disagree on whether there should be hate crime laws, but those with legitimate concerns about equal protection under the law have to take a look at the kinds of groups that are opposing the legislation -- and their motives. For these groups, it's about ensuring gays are marginalized and have second-class citizen status. The demonization continues.

The American Family Association is just one of the groups involved (is this organization like a bad penny or what?). It is footing the bill for an ad against hate crimes legislation that has run in publications like Roll Call. [The above ad has also appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, The Indianapolis Star, and The Nevada Appeal.]

Here are some of the "values-based" organizations signing on to the ad:
Citizens for Community Values
American Family Association
Focus on the Family Action
Coalition of African American Pastors
Exodus International
Liberty Council American Values
CatholicVote.org
Vision America
AdvanceUSA
National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families
Faith2Action
The Inspiration Television Networks Coalitions for America
Tradition, Family and Property
National Association of Marriage Enhancement
Point of View
Biblical Heritage Institute
Let Freedom Ring American Family Association of Pennsylvania
American Family Association of Indiana
American Family Association of Michigan
Indiana Family Institute
Florida Family Action
Paid for by American Family Association

You can view the full ad and its text here.

Featured in the above ad is Randy Thomas, a promoter of the work of "ex-gay" ministry Exodus International. He has been lobbying on the Hill working against the hate crimes bill.
My last two trips to DC were lobbying on Capital Hill, meeting with conservative groups and moderate groups about this type of legislation. I will continue to lend my voice and talents, as a minister of the Gospel first and of sexual redemption in that context. I will do so to talk about the issues of true instances of homophobia and also make sure religious liberties are preserved.
Wayne Besen is hopping mad about this development and Thomas's role in it.
Maybe Thomas is upset because he doesn't have a sexual orientation. Since the Exodus International leader became an "ex-gay," he has never had sex with a woman and presumably not a man.

What I find particularly disturbing is the heavy "ex-gay" involvement in federal politics. When these guys are on television they say they are about "helping" gay people and have no political agenda. Yet, they keep ending up in the middle of Inside-the-Beltway political battles. I've said this time and again - "ex-gay" leaders are consistently some of the biggest pathological liars I've ever seen. Randy Thomas is among the most congenital of them all. Has he ever told the truth?
I agree with Wayne on this point -- the open politicking of the fringe-nut/"ex-gay" crowd at this level is amazing. It shows a level of engagement (and financial backing) that can be intimidating - witness Ford and its bootlicking of the AFA. I think we'll see plenty more of this crap on all sorts of gay rights issues from these groups.

BTW, the automaker met yesterday with gay leaders, and a public response to the two-hour meeting is scheduled for today. We'll see if they have any cojones. Kraft told the AFA and their ilk to shove it when threatened with a boycott. Let's see if Bill Ford finds any balls.


Does Usher quiz his entourage to root out the homos?

Poor Usher. The R*B crooner (and box office bombster) must think gayness is catching. How else can you explain this level of homophobia? Does he have bodyguards monitoring his orgies to make sure there is no errant male ass-grabbing of his hard body?
In the latest issue of Complex magazine the singer was asked if there were ever any homosexual activity at his famous orgy parties and the superstar responded, "There was women on women but never man on man. Shit, nowhere near that! No one I ever roll with or ever would have roll with would get down like that."


This body is for the ladies only.

So this must mean that none of Usher's hairstylists, wardrobe stylists, trainers, producers, executives, friends, family members or anyone else (that comes within 10 feet of him for that matter) are gay.
Yes, I'd like to know if the man has some sort of arousal test for his male hangers-on and staffers.

Hat tip, BlogActive.

***

2005 Weblog Awards update: The Blend is still hanging on to the lead in the Best LGBT Blog Category -- currently by about 280 votes. You can vote once a day per IP addy through December 15.

Many thanks to all of you out there for the votes, emails and posts of support. :)

***

Another update...House Blender Jennifer of Intous emailed me a post from one of the finalists in the Weblog Awards, who is saying the Blend shouldn't win because I have some sort of "lesbian advantage", hee hee (that's a first)...She writes:
Boi From Troy has put the gauntlet down - doesn't think a "girl" should win Best Gay Blog. I will admit that Rally Behind the Fag is somewhat funny.....but I prefer Build Up the Dyke, myself.
They really do take this award stuff seriously - note, I haven't slagged anyone else's blog. People should simply vote for the blog they like; PHB was leading before any endorsements. But this is what we're up against, lololol. Peace, fellas. :)
Surprisingly, even though Pam’s House Blend is in the lead, and we cannot let a Girl win best Gay Blog, can we?!? Especially since she’s got an inherent advantage being the ONLY Lesbian blog among the 15 finalists…and that is the only reason some blogs are asking you to vote for her (how sexist!)

Nonetheless, BratBoy School is within spitting distance and can overtake her 300 vote lead if we all rally behind the fag!
One should note that the award is for Best LGBT Blog, not "Best Gay Male Blog."


This makes me feel much more confident about his leadership


"But I'm very aware of what's in the news. I'm aware because I see clips. I see summaries," he said, adding that staffers also brief him on "what's brewing today."
Yes, he's comfortable with his level of knowledge about the outside world. That says a lot, doesn't it -- we're just "misunderestimating" him. You can now sleep well at night, knowing that Bush is well aware of all that is important to this great nation. (Reuters):
U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday that he does not live "in a bubble" and that he is well aware of what is going on outside the White House, rejecting critics' claims that he is out of touch with public opinion.

"I don't feel in a bubble," Bush said in an interview on "NBC Nightly News."

Bush said he gets "really good advice" from "very capable people" and that people from all walks of life provide information to him and his advisers.

"I feel very comfortable that I'm very aware of what's going on," Bush said.

..."Every morning I look at the newspaper," Bush told NBC. "I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper. But, I definitely know what's in the news."
I'm sure he checks out the sports section. Remember, Clinton had the opposite problem - aides thought he was too into the details, read voraciously and argued all side of an argument. We all know that's not going on in this White House; I don't even think folks on the other side would dispute the fact that this President isn't even a Cliff Notes kind of guy.

Shakes Sis has a great post on this, which was generated from Newsweek's latest cover story on the Chimp, "Bush in the Bubble." The idea that the President is out of it has been chatter on blogs and in the shadows of comments from "anonymous White House sources" for months and months, but now that he's a lame duck, it's out in the open.
Unstable:
His close friends agree that Bush likes comfort and serenity; he does not like dissonance. He has long been mothered by strong women, including his mother and wife. A foreign diplomat who declined to be identified was startled when Secretary of State Rice warned him not to lay bad news on the president. "Don't upset him," she said.
Additional evidence of his infamous incuriosity, manipulativeness, self-isolation, and the remainder of the lexicon of unflattering traits associated with Bush is on full display as well. This guy is totally out to lunch.
Thanks to Sean for the pointer.


Concerned Women for America cannot find the remote control

All that smut on cable, heavens to Betsy! The good women (oops, and men -- Robert Knight) at CWA are pissed at the cable companies because the moralists seemingly have lost the power to use the remote control or use parental settings. (AgapePress):
Concerned Women for America is wondering if families really want television cable companies to determine what constitutes "family-friendly" fare if groupings of such programming come to pass. A spokesperson for CWA says putting control of family-friendly "tiers" available to cable subscribers in the hands of cable companies is a "sell-out."


Lanier Swann says companies that broadcast "some of the most graphically immortal material in television history" cannot be trusted to create family-friendly grouping of programs. Swann says parents should be the ones who decide what is appropriate for their children to watch on TV. "Cable choice is a far better option for empowering parents to keep filth away from our children and restore rightful authority to all consumers," Swann adds. "We cannot let cable companies decide what constitutes a 'family-friendly' program."


U.S. drug agents raid medical marijuana sites

Monday, December 12, 2005

After the Raich v. Gonzalez Supreme Court decision last June, which decided that federal marijuana prohibition still trumps state medical marijuana laws, the feds said:
Federal law-enforcement officials sought to dispel the idea that drug agents would be unleashed on marijuana-using patients in California and other states.

"The vast majority of our cases are against those involved in trafficking, and major cultivation and distribution," Karen P. Tandy, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Monday. "I don't see any significant changes in DEA enforcement strategies after today's decision. We don't target sick and dying people."
Today, in San Diego, California:
SAN DIEGO -- Federal drug agents fanned out across San Diego on Monday, clamping down on medical marijuana dispensaries that had been doling out marijuana to sick and dying patients.

At least two teams of agents removed pot and equipment from about a half-dozen businesses, which are permitted by state and local law but illegal under federal drug laws.

The move came as San Diego County supervisors have refused to abide by state medical-marijuana laws by issuing ID cards to qualified patients. It also means thousands of patients across the county now have nowhere to go to buy marijuana, which they say alleviates a variety of acute symptoms stemming from chronic health conditions.
Elected officials not abiding by state medical marijuana law? Wasn't that the end of civilization when it was Mayor Gavin Newsome marrying gay people against state marriage law? Hmm, San Diego county, I wonder what sort of political leanings we'd find there? Ah, I see, five boardmembers, five Republicans. Why do Republicans hate democracy and the rule of law so much?


Adam explains it all for you


You may remember a post of mine a while back on Christian Persecution Complex, featuring a look at my anti-blogger, Adam Graham. Well, he's given it quite the lengthy response, in eight parts, no less. If you're interested, the saga begins here. If you're just interested in seeing how he replied to Holly, OddJob, and us Blenders in general, check the final piece, entitled "The Blogging Epic, Part Eight: The Cantina Patrons" (because, as he puts it, "Russ complimented the piece and posted over at the House Blend, which you can visit at your own peril. Its kind of like 'The Cantina' from Star Wars. Its a rough joint that I rarely venture over to.") So, do I get to be Han Solo? And who's Greedo? I've got an itchy trigger finger...


Ford's now between a rock and a hard place

It sounds like it was a fruitful, honest two-hour meeting with gay leaders today. Ford plans to announce its decision in the next day or so on whether it will remain bed buddies with the American Family Association, or it will listen to common sense? We'll see. I'm sure the wild-eyed Wildmon followers are ringing Ford execs off the hook and re-dangling the boycott in their faces. (AP):
Gay and lesbian organizations asked Ford Motor Co. on Monday to reinstate advertising for its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications and to distance itself from an anti-gay group which had boycotted the automaker's vehicles.

Ford officials met with leaders of the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and other organizations in Washington, D.C., after the automaker said last week its luxury brands would no longer advertise in gay publications.

The move came nearly a week after the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association canceled its boycott of Ford vehicles, which started in May amid criticism that the nation's No. 2 automaker was too gay-friendly.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Ford was asked to "make a very strong statement" disassociating itself from the AFA while reinstating the Jaguar and Land Rover advertising in the gay press.
Get this part of the article. It sounds like something out of the 50s and 60s, when TV stations were worried about variety shows that had black performers interacting with white performers and the networks were concerned about "Southern sensibilities."
Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford said in a statement, "we value all people — regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences."

Ford told gay rights leaders that it had not made any deal with the AFA to end the automaker's advertising of Jaguar and Land Rover in gay media, the groups said.

"They said they felt a need to respond to their Southern dealers and their Southern dealers were very concerned about a boycott," Solmonese said.


Live lingerie-clad models in store window give Maine bible-beaters the vapors


WMTW Image (L)

So sad. These bleating wingers have nothing better to do -- who is forcing them to look at the display?
A grassroots pro-family organization in Maine has added opposition to a live lingerie display to its list of cultural protests. A downtown lingerie store called "Spellbound" in the state's capital is what has draw the fire of decency advocates.

National media attention was drawn to the live male and female underwear models in the downtown store's window, drawing both praise and outrage from store owners as well as the ire of many concerned citizens. The Christian Civic League of Maine calls it a national disgrace -- but it is not illegal under any local ordinances or state laws thus far.


CCL executive director Michael Heath says the August City Council is not interested in pursuing available options of regulation under the law. "And the most appalling aspect of this is that the town council refuses to explore the legal options under the law related to obscenity, which clearly exist," he remarks.

According to Heath, the city council has received legal advice not to pursue regulation of such public displays. But he contends towns have the right to define community standards and to address the issue of obscenity. Yet state officials there in August -- "leaders who have the power to do something about it," says Heath -- are refusing to do anything.
Gov. John Baldacci's spokesperson said that it's a local issue and the governor is not going to bother weighing in on the innocent "marketing plan."

***

In any case, Michael Heath has been quite busy. Before working on a way to remove the smutty bra and panty show from Spellbound's window, he has, unsurprisingly worked hard to punish the homos. He demanded that Gov. John Baldacci pull his gay-rights bill from the Maine Legislature, and for anti-discrimination measures be put to a public vote -- since the last two bills were defeated at the polls, that would suit him just fine. (Courier Publications):
...Heath said, "We reject their assertion that this has anything to do with discrimination. Maine people don't actively persecute or discriminate against people who live differently than they do. Maine people rightfully do object to homosexuality. That's not discrimination. That's just common sense. If people are discreet about their homosexuality, Maine people have always been tolerant."
It didn't work out for Heath. Human rights protections for Maine's LGBT community from discrimination in housing, employment and credit go into effect on December 28. The repeal effort failed 223,274 to 181,926. So much for the power of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

[Correction: Stephanie in Victoria pointed out that Maine's gay rights bill already passed and a referendum last month failed to rescind it. It was certified last week. The date on the article was actually the site date; I updated the last section of the post.]


Freepers on possible McCain-Giuliani clash in '08



Here's a little amusement for the afternoon. McCain's team sounds like they are already running scared and pissing on themselves -- as if Rudy would be the Bush-humping Senator from Arizona's worst nightmare? Please. All they need to do is run these photos of Rudy and it will send the Peter LaBarberas of the world over the top:


The holy rollers will lose their minds over the images on the right.

From red-blooded NewsMax:
Sen. John McCain is preparing for a 2008 showdown with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who so far who leads him in the presidential race according to most polls.

While the two men remain personally friendly, sharing dinner recently at a Manhattan bistro, Newsday reports that McCain's team is monitoring Giuliani's every move - including keeping track of how much face time the former mayor gets on TV.

Meanwhile, McCain insiders aren't shy about trashing the former mayor's presidential prospects. "In my humble opinion, Rudy wouldn't get out of the gate," longtime McCain strategist John Dennehy tells the paper. Dennehy helped engineer the Arizona senator's 2000 primary win in New Hampshire.

...They're also on the alert for any indication that the former mayor is beginning his own campaign, with McCain aides routinely checking their contacts around the country for signs of Giuliani activity.

Meanwhile, even as "America's Mayor" routinely outpolls McCain nationally, Newsday says his organization remains so small it "could fit comfortably into a minivan."
So, what do the knuckledraggers have to say, as they drool over their crusty keyboards?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"They are both too liberal for me, but I would rather have Giuliani than that dam McPain."

"I am hoping McCAin does not run but I have this GUT FEELING he will. He's practically drooling and foaming in the mouth over the thought!"

"Yes, he wants it. He keeps pushing on with the torture bill, though, when it will hurt his chances in the primary." [Pro-torture fun - why do the Freepers hate America?]

"McPain what part of to old do you not get."

"Once again......the MSM trying to annoint a "mod" Republican."

"He would fill his cabinet with the gang of 14."

"I heard Hannity interview Rudy once, and Rudy would not outlaw partial-birth abortion. His nominees to the Supreme Court would not be pro-life conservatives."

"If worse came to worse... I'd take Giuliani over McCain. Helluva choice to haf'ta make."

"I say that as this article is pure horse-sh*t. Neither of these Bozo's have a chance at the nomination, and especially winning a general election - one, because McCain is certifiably NUTS and secondly, Rudy is a NE Liberal Democrat who calls himself a Republican. (my apologies to Bozo)"

"I think NewsMax and the rest of the media are just going by poll numbers right now. They just did a poll in the state of Georgia and Giuliani won hands down as the number one choice for president. When the poll numbers change the media will HAVE TO CHANGE WITH IT!"



"Were Condi explicitly pro Life rather than moderately straddling that fence, there would be little doubt as to her being best qualified. She is a genius. Her PhD obtained at a young age, a talented pianist, university president. Smartest woman in America? Not Hillary. It's Condi. [My question: then what the hell happened? The "genius" has been replaced by a Bush pod person.] I just don't know if the GOP can get past her lack of strong Pro Life credentials. OTOH, if the GOP can't with her, why would it with McCain or Guilliani?"

"Oh great! A made for TV media event about as meaningful as Celebrity Poker. It looks like the next election will let me keep my spare time to myself and my money in my pocket."

"Neither of these losers gets my vote. If this is the choice I choose to stay home."

"You know it would be nice if there were a high profile conservative or two in the pipeline, rather than these two. I also find it interesting that you could argue that McCain, at least on life and things like gay marriage, is probably to the right of Giuliani. Yet, I would wager that even among conservatives who are strong on those issues, Giuliani polls higher than McCain. For me, McCain's participation in "campaign finance reform" makes him a non-starter. But there is something just sickening about the guy. I don't like that Giuliani is a liberal and sort of a crypto-statist. But, he doesn't have the same skin-crawling demeanor as McCain."

"We need a super cop and Rudy fills that spot.I feel W will take care of the court.McCain is for McCain.Rudy will put the country first."

"I will not vote for McCain under any circumstance. He is a backstabbing, self promoting egotist. He is tempermenally unsuited to be president, too old and can not be trusted. Lately, the only reason to vote Republican is national security...Mr. anti-torture McCain would not keep this country safe. [More pro-torture fun - why do the Freepers hate America?] Therefore, I will vote third party in the unlikely event McCain is nominated. It shows how deluded McCain is that he would even consider running again."

"Both men are liberal RINO's and I want neither on a Republican ticket ."

"To keep hillary out of office, i would vote for either rudy, john, condi. I dont see any other republicans popular enough to take on hillary. If republicans want to keep control of the white house in '08, your gonna have to vote for whoever wins the primary."

"I agree. While Guilani is certainly no more conservative than McCain, he has supported the current administration at all important times. Treachery should bear a high price."

"Few people could convince me to sit home on election day. McCain comes close. I do not want him on the ticket."

"In fact, the Republican Party as a whole has become RINO. Dem Lite."

"In 2008, the base will be especially important because there will be a serious primary race on the Democrats side, so few of them will be tempted to cross over and muddy the waters. Pro-Choicer Giuliani is not capable of exciting the base because of his domestic liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, who're we kidding?) McCain comes across to the base as a cranky self-centered show-boater who can't play Team Ball. While some of his views are Republican conservative, he operates like a Democrat Senator, and it is not fragrant to the base. A lot of peole might be comfortable with Giulian at DoD or SecState or even as Veep, but top of the ticket is not in the cards for Rudy."

"So...that said....who's it going to be for the GOP in 2008?"

"My choices based on 1-10 grading:"

"Buchanan 9

Tancredo 8 [OMFG -- this moron?]
Giuliani 6
McCain 4
Rice .5"

"This is one of those stories that refuses to die. Rudy who? and mcpain (media Az) might square off somewhere in some forum, but not in Republican primaries. Maybe Rudy who? can join the Media Party if mcpain lets him. Maybe that's where they could "square off". Rudy who? is a suppoter of gay "marrige" and Partial Birth Abortion. He can't win a Republican primary. mcpain just won't accept that he is hated in the GOP. He couldn't draw flys in one of our primaries. This is a stupid story."

"I hope they clash for the Democrat nomination. Both of these guys will not win the Republican primary. If for some reason, McCain were to win the Republican nomination it will be another Bob Dole performance. I can see the media now ready to dump out McCain's medical records 2 weeks before the election making the American electorate seem like he will be dying any day. Hopefully we will see a "white knight" come along to rescue this party from the RINOS. McCain and Guiliani are not good for this nation."

"Buchanan? Are you kidding. He will not win. Didn't he run before and receive like hardly any votes. Can't see this one. Hillary would win for sure."


Catholic lay group protests the gay witch hunt

"The integrity of Catholics who are homosexuals is being questioned while the bishops have yet to question themselves."
-- Dorothy Kennedy, chair of the Boston area Voice of the Faithful council
Voice of the Faithful is a lay group of Catholics that has pressed for reform in the church when the pedophile priest scandal broke. Members held demonstrations across the country yesterday to protest the ongoing inaction by the church and Prada Papa Ratzi, and the scapegoating of law-abiding, committed gay priests.
In a statement to the media the group said, "We repeat and reaffirm our support for priests of integrity – without regard to their sexuality. We urge all Catholics to dismiss sexuality litmus tests for service in our Church. And we strongly encourage prompt and adequate funding for the overdue Causes and Context Study – our Church cannot heal without it."

"We are told in Acts of the Apostles that the early Christian community was recognized when observers would say of them, ‘See how they love one another,'" said Ray Joyce, Executive Director of VOTF. "What better time to live that message?"

The group, which has branches around the world, held demonstrations Sunday at cathedrals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Fall River, Massachusetts.
You'll recall the Vatican's ludicrous recent document restricting gays from entering the priesthood (or teaching in seminaries) based on a three-year "no gay sex" -- or even homo-positive thoughts -- rule.

Papa Ratzi by Mike Tidmus.

"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."
Also:
* Vatican goes after ordained gay priests in letter

* MA: Gay affirming priest replaced by Vatican stooge

* Alaska: dumping ground for pedophile clergy


Novakula declares Katherine Harris toast



The Prince of Darkness says Katherine Harris may pull out of the Senate race in Florida. The GOP has been working mightily find a warm body that has better odds of winning.
Republican insiders believe Rep. Katherine Harris, with her fund-raising in the dumps and her staff constantly in flux, may drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Florida against first-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Harris became a national personality as Florida secretary of state, supporting George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential recount. With her campaign repeatedly turning over its senior staffers, Harris may not even raise $500,000 this quarter. A recent poll shows her trailing Nelson by 16 percentage points, leading some Republican members of Congress and state legislators in Florida to worry about their own re-election in 2006.

A footnote: Some GOP fund-raisers believe Rep. Mark Foley may jump into the Senate race to replace Harris. Foley has $2.35 million cash on hand, compared with Harris' $470,000. Nelson had $6.5 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30.
Mark Foley, you say? You mean the anti-gay G-A-Y Mark Foley?


from BlogActive

More on the Foley outing here and here.


Family gatherings at the Wallace house must be interesting

"What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?"
-- Mike Wallace, on what he would ask our dear leader (Bush has declined to be interviewed by Wallace)
Chris Wallace publicly slagged his dad Mike over the latter's above comments about the incompetent-in-chief. Talk about a Faux News shill; what a class act, saying your old man's too senile to comment on the obvious. (Newsmax):
"Fox News Sunday" anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday. "He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."


Do you think Chris feels like he's still in daddy's shadow?

Wallace Jr. quickly dispelled any notion that he was joking. When Carr suggested that his comments were likely to be covered by NewsMax, he responded: "You know what? Fine. Go ahead. Call them. That's fine. I'll stand by that."

... Returning to the topic of his father's competence, Wallace Jr. explained: "He's checked out. I don't understand it," beyond the fact that Wallace Sr. has "problems with the war." "I don't know why he said what he said," he added.
Maybe he said it because what Mike is saying is true, you dolt.

The always brilliant Glenn Greenwald takes the "daddy competition" theory up a notch over at his pad, and the fantasy of the meritocracy. Take a look.
Chris Wallace may feel a particular emotional closeness with George Bush because both of them stood for a long time, and really continue to stand, in the suffocating shadows of their fathers, as both Chris and George W.'s lives and careers followed behind their fathers' accomplishments.

Generally speaking, there is a highly disturbing, counter-productive and quite un-meritocractic trend in America towards returning to some sort of monarchic value system where political power and positions of prominence are passed along through quasi-aristocratic family inheritance. Over and over, we see political figures on both sides of the ideological spectrum, as well as non-political elites, who have risen to prominence by virtue of being the child or spouse of some well-known and prominent person. I think this process ends up rewarding stunted and weak personalities who never experience the quite indispensable adulthood ritual of forging one's own path separate and apart from one's own father.


***

2005 Weblog Awards update: the Blend is still leading (by 285 or so votes) in the category of Best LGBT Blog. You can vote once a day per IP addy through December 15. Thanks, everyone, for the support (and the repeat votes)!

Also, a shout-out to Ryan and Mike, who have also posted on their blog for readers to vote for the Blend. You are peaches! :)

***

BTW, still no word from Peter LaBarbera of the anti-gay (and gay sex obsessed) Illinois Family Institute, who received a little reply from me here regarding his fascinating email last week. You can see the comments from the original post here.


Brokeback Mountain arouses the Right

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Why read traditional reviews of the new "cowboys in love" movie when you can get the scoop on the deviance from the wingers. A sampling...

Former homosexual and wife say beware of 'Brokeback Mountain'. That's the actual headline, from our friend Stephen Bennett's press release to the Christian Communication Network. You may recall my earlier post on the 'ex-gay' radio host.


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

The first thought I had when I saw that headline about "Brokeback" was that maybe Stephen should beware that he might get a woody from watching Heath and Jake.
"This movie sends a very dangerous message to America's youth - and especially married couples with a struggling spouse. I just spoke with a married man on the telephone who is contemplating leaving his wife and children. He's says he's gay - and Brokeback Mountain has influenced his decision. I spent a lot of time with this man telling him it's not what they're making it out to be. I know - I was there for 11 years." Stephen continued, "Believe me, we can sadly expect to see a lot more men like former Governor Jim McGreevy of New Jersey not only resigning from their jobs, but from their wives, children and families."

...First, I give it a 'thumbs down' for its message. Second, I give it an Oscar for the number one homosexual propaganda movie of the year."

Stephen concluded, "In the end, don't be fooled. This movie is not a 'love story' at all. Ask the real wives, children and families whose lives have been destroyed, as they have 'lived' Brokeback Mountain. Personally, I would have made the movie from the wives' and children's perspective and appropriately called it Heartbreak Hotel."
Yes, "straight" men are just going to come out of the movie and just want to hump the next guy they see, and then leave their wives to discover man-love. Hmmm...what do you think is running through Stephen's mind, Blenders?

***

Reviewers Call 'Brokeback Mountain' Twisted:
Focus on the Family Action Analyst Caleb H. Price said Hollywood is doing all it can to get people interested in a film that they know most moviegoers will not want to see. Set in Wyoming in the 1960s, the R-rated love affair between two cowboys culminates in explicit gay sexuality.


...Dr. Ted Baehr of MovieGuide said the film has generated a tremendous amount of public awareness, including positive reviews from ABC and other mainstream media outlets — which have, in turn, invited him to comment on the movie.

His assessment? "If you're not looking at this through the eyes of someone caught up in the 'love affair' between these two men," Baehr said, "then the movie appears to be twisted, laughable, frustrating and boring Neo-Marxist homosexual propaganda."

...Price said the movie will probably have trouble drawing an audience — because it has what he called a high "ick" factor. That includes, Baehr explained, a "San Quentin-type rape scene" of sex between the two cowboys.

"If they're not vomiting their way out of the theater when they see that scene, they are certainly going to be uncomfortable, and even in the uncomfortable aspects, they are going to be bored silly," he said.
I haven't seen the movie yet, but for crying out loud, these ninnies are wound too tight -- I have to see it just to see what Ted considers vomit-inducing. I'm sure they'd stomach a movie where lots of sh*t blows up, guns are blazing and swarthy people get mowed down without a problem.

Hat tip, Good As You.


Sign of the hypocrite inflames the Right

The hysterical symbol below was featured on the official web site of Washington State Democrats, which also had it for sale as a bumper sticker. It's no longer there. This emblem got the balls of the wingnuts in a sling, and a blog decided to rail on it, so it was removed (but you can see it here).



The hypocrite fish was sold along with ribbons with slogans such as "Support Diversity" and "Support the Environment."

Do you need any more proof that if you’re religious (especially Christian) you’ve got an actively hostile foe in the Democrat Party? Seems pretty cut and dried to me... What other message could they be trying to send?
Come on. And they say the Left has no humor? This symbol is directed at the numerous alleged "Christians" that have hijacked this country with the intention of imposing their moralist agenda on the public while they privately engage in many of the "perversions" they condemn everyone else for. The Conservative Values Monitor is overflowing in the Rank Hypocrites category, for goodness sake.

While the hypocrite fish is kind of amusing, I prefer my "fish n chips" graphic over in my sidebar. it links to evolvefish.com, where they sell plenty of the kind of merchandise that offends the wingers. I don't get a cut from these folks or anything, I just happened upon it and thought some of their stuff was pretty funny. Here are a few of my favorites...





This straight person - and MOST straight people - like gay people just fine.

The Blend sure seems to be garnering a lot of attention lately. There's the nice attention from most of our House Blenders, and from the voters out there championing Pam's House Blend as the Best LGBT Blog of 2005. It's fun telling my mother that I'm a contributing writer to one of the most popular gay/lesbian issues blogs on the internet. She could only say, "why?" I wasn't sure if that meant "why do you, a married straight man, choose to write for a gay blog?", or if she meant "why does a gay blog choose to have a married straight man writing for them?"

I think the "why" is part of what makes the Blend such a special place. Gay rights are human rights, and you need not be gay to fight for those rights, no more than 19th century abolitionists had to be black. That's also why you'll see so much discussion of racial and gender issues as well. Certainly these are Pam's personal issues, but these are issues that affect us all, even if we're all not black lesbians, even if some of us are as statistically stereotypically average middle-class married white males.

That leads me to the other type of attention we garner, the opposition side, whether it is dressed up in the buttoned-down pseudosociological "studies" of Peter LaBarbera: Queer Private Dick, or let loose as the disheveled ravings of delusional homophobes like a certain recent commenter. In their Bizzarro world, homosexuals are a miniscule minority group nearly universally reviled by society (and choose to be that way), and yet they have this incredible power and influence in the corridors of power and are close to imposing some "Homosexual Agenda™" upon an unwilling populace. They are such disgusting, vile, unnatural, repulsive, abhorrent abominations that non-stop attention must be paid to their every revolting, decadent, sinful intimate act.

These trolls pop in from time to time to deliver some sort of appearance-based or sexually-degrading epithet or two, then chide the blog for being an insulated mutual admiration society that ignores the overwheling worldwide disapproval of homosexuality.

That's why I think it is interesting to have me here as Pam's demographic opposite. This isn't just some queer sewing circle where homosexuals gather to pat themselves on the back. Besides my voice there are all the wonderful House Blenders comprised of a myriad of demographics. I wouldn't even be surprised if a majority of readers of this blog are straight. How do the homophobes explain all of us straight people who love and respect our gay friends, family, and neighbors? Probably by calling us "fag lovers" under their breath, not so far removed from their ideological predecessors' taunts of "nigger lovers" half a century ago.

The Bizzarro world of the virulent homophobe is projection, of course. Nothing could be a better example of intellectual isolationism than to believe that all or even most of the people of the world think homosexuality to be as disgusting as they think. Most people just don't care (you can always bet on apathy). I don't care who or how my neighbors screw, nor do most people, and that becomes more true as you poll younger people. But don't take my word for it, Mr. LaBarbera...
(LA Times) That gays are more widely accepted in American society is readily apparent in everything from television sitcoms to corporate anti-discrimination policies to recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., has compiled 30 years’ worth of major public opinion poll results on Americans’ attitudes toward homosexuals. While the surveys consistently show that about two-thirds of Americans oppose gay marriage, an issue that has now reached the California Supreme Court, they also demonstrate remarkable shifts on numerous other fronts. For example:

* Public acceptance of gays in the military grew from 51% in a 1977 Gallup Poll to 80% in 2003.

* Approval of gays as elementary school teachers grew from 27% in 1977 to 61% over the same period.

* A 1999 Gallup survey showed that 59% would vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who was homosexual, up from 26% in 1978.
Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future...
(ReligiousTolerance.org) "Do you feel that homosexuality should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle or not?" (1982: 34%; 2003: 54%)

"Do you think homosexual relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal?" (1977: 43%; 2003: 60%)

"As you may know, there has been considerable discussion in the news regarding the rights of homosexual men and women. In general, do you think homosexuals should or should not have equal rights in terms of job opportunities?" (1977: 56%; 2003: 88%)
I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way..."
Zogby International and Hamilton College in New York conducted a nation-wide Hamilton College Gay Issues Poll. It involved a random sampling of 1,000 "class of 2001" high school seniors. Margin of error is 3%. Results were released in 2001-AUG-27.

The data indicate that the students are far more accepting of homosexuality than their parents. The poll results include:
  • 92% say that homosexuals should be able to serve in the military.
  • 40% would have gays and lesbians serving openly.
  • 52% are in favor of the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
  • 88% supported anti hate-crime legislation to protect gays and lesbians.
  • 88% said that the phrase, "That's so gay" is used to describe something that is not liked.
  • Allowing same-sex marriage is favored by:
  • 86% of those students who believe that homosexuality is determined at birth,
  • 61% of those who believe that homosexuality is caused by upbringing, and
  • 58% of those who believe that homosexuality is a chosen behavior.
  • 86% say that lesbians should be "accepted by society."
  • 85% say that gay men should be "accepted by society."
  • 85% believe that gays and lesbians should be accepted by society.
  • 84% of students, who would expect their parents to be accepting of a gay friend, were in favor of same-sex marriage.
  • 80% of Roman Catholics support same-sex marriage; this is strongly opposed by their church.
  • 80% of Jews support same-sex marriage.
  • 79% support anti-discrimination laws to protect gays from job discrimination
  • 78% of students who has a close gay friend, 59% of those who know a gay person, and 55% of those who don't know a gay person favor same-sex marriage.
  • 78% disagree with the statement "Lesbians are disgusting."
  • 77% believe that "gays contribute to society in unique and positive ways."
  • 71% believe that adult homosexual behavior should be legal. This compares with only 54% of adults, according to a recent Gallup poll.
  • 71% would allow gay men to serve as Scout leaders.
  • 69% disagree with the statement "Gay men are disgusting."
  • 68% would allow gay couples to adopt children.
  • 66% feel that same-sex marriages should be legal. This compares to about 33% of adults, according to recent polls conducted by the Associated Press, Gallup and the LA Times.
  • 63% would be comfortable in a class with a gay math teacher.
  • 61% disagree with the statement "Gay lifestyles are morally wrong."
  • About 50% said that they had heard classmates insult gay students by calling them "faggot," "homo," "dyke" or similar names.
  • 43% would be comfortable with a gay lab partner.
  • 39% say that "gay lifestyles are morally wrong."
  • 31% would be comfortable at a party with both straight and gay couples.
The survey found that 30% of the students, mainly "highly religious" evangelical Christians, could be characterized as "anti-homosexual." One professor who conducted the survey said: "Their views are firmly rooted, and unlikely to change real [sic] soon." However, even among the evangelical Christians, 80% supported hate crime legislation and half said homosexuals should be accepted by society.

Some comments volunteered by the students:
  • "Who they are as a person is more important than who they sleep with or love. It shouldn't be a big deal."
  • "Flaming homosexuals are just weird and gross. But if they don't flash it there's nothing wrong with it."
  • "I don't like fags. I want to beat their queer asses." (The homophobia gene will take more than a generation or two to completely disappear...)
  • "God made them that way. Let them be."
  • "I believe it is a choice, a moral decision. And I don't believe what they are doing is right."
  • "Gays are morally wrong, but should be accepted for who they are and not discriminated against."
  • "People say they are gay to get attention."
  • "I like gays. They are nice people."
Beliefs of high school students are particularly important because today's students will be the adult decision makers in future decades.
So when you, Mr. LaBarbera or homophobic troll, browse through this blog, remember that it is us who are on the right side of the future and you who are the endangered minority. And you, the scared, confused gay or lesbian teen looking for solace, know that not only do you have the support of millions of other gays and lesbians, but also many more millions of straight folks, too.


The Peter LaBarbera thread

The entry with my response to the letter I received from Peter LaBarbera from the supremely anti-gay (and gay sex obsessed) Illinois Family Institute is up to over 90 posts and will scroll off the main screen soon.



If you missed it, I'm placing a link to the post here. You can also go directly to the comments from this link.

I have not received any response from Mr. LaBarbera yet, btw.

Additional related reading from the Blend archives: Letter from a Blender to LaBarbera and An encounter with Peter LaBarbera.

***

BTW, the Blend is still leading (by 200 or so votes) in the category of Best LGBT Blog in the 2005 Weblog Awards. Thanks for such strong support, friends -- I had no idea I would be leading the pack at any point when I found out I was nominated!

UPDATE: Gay Patriot has been supplanted by Brat Boy School in second place, and the latter is mounting a campaign in each post on his site to rouse his supporters as the blog closes in on PHB -- so those daily votes count! Many thanks. :)

As you can see in the sidebar, daily voting continues through December 15. Props to Jesus' General, which is winning in a landslide in the Best Humor/Comics Blog category, as well as Yellow Dog Blog, leading Best New Blog voting.



Newsflash: O'Reilly has a hard-on for the lesbos

Saturday, December 10, 2005



It's no news that O'Reilly is a bigot and boor; the news is that he keeps opening his self-important piehole and saying unhinged nonsense at exponentially increasing intervals -- without any sense of self-awareness that his credibility and influence have been swirling the bowl for some time now. Even the Freepers open fire on him from time to time.

Something must have snapped after the harassment suit was slapped on him by a former staffer. He learned nothing from that payout, since he's taken to calling for "a full-body search" on Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl, and in another instance told her, "You're here because you're good-looking, so I got somebody to look over."

In the latest incident of buffoonery, Mr. Asshat displays a particularly strong obsession with lesbians and Howard Stern, so much so that it leaves you with the impression that he thinks about Sapphic action way too much.

From Media Matters (where there is also video of this clown):
On the December 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly offered a Factor jacket to radio "shock jock" Howard Stern. After Stern said, "I won't wear it, but I will give it to a crack whore" and handed it back, O'Reilly told him: "I'm not having this on some lesbian somewhere. It's not going to happen."

...O'Reilly's comment came during part two of his three-part interview with Stern. Throughout his December 8 television show, O'Reilly read teasers for the taped interview:

* "And part two of my interview with Howard Stern. He has some problems with The Factor, and he's sticking up for lesbians."
* "And later, Howard Stern, a walking controversy. He talks about how lesbians have made him millions. Upcoming."
* "Howard Stern has some problems with The Factor but no problems with lesbians. We'll discuss the issues with him."
* "When we come back, part two of my interview with Howard Stern. He's got some problems with The Factor but no problems with lesbians. Don't miss this one. Right back with it."

In the interview, O'Reilly brought up the lesbian "issue," asking Stern if his show was "still going to be lesbians on parade and strippers and all that" following its move to Sirius Satellite Radio in January. After vowing, "As long as I'm breathing, there will be lesbians,"
Gee, methinks Bill has a teensy problem. Maybe not so teensy. The guy can barely contain himself -- it makes you wonder how often he polishes off Little O'Reilly thinking about girl-on-girl action.

I do love Howard Stern's comments about Bill's Gift Shop...
Stern criticized O'Reilly for selling Factor merchandise, saying, "It looks like you emptied out a junkyard and slapped your name on everything."


Ford to meet with gay leaders on Monday

It's about time. If you ask me, the folks Ford really needs to meet with are the executives at Kraft, who had the cojones to tell the fringe wingnuts at the American Family Association to go f*ck themselves. Maybe Kraft can lend FoMoCo some brass ones to stand up to the wingers, or show them where they can buy a set.
Facing a maelstrom of criticism over allegations it caved in to conservative Christians, Ford Motor Company has agreed to meet with national LGBT groups over the company's decision to pull advertising from the gay media. The meeting will take place on Monday, Rita Sklar, the spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told 365Gay.com.

Following Ford's announcement that it was dropping ads in the gay media for its Land Rover and Jaguar lines the American Family Association declared victory and said it was ending its threatened boycott. The AFA said the Ford decision was made following a meeting between it and the company at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan

Ford claims that the decision to cut back on advertising and the AFA meeting were not related but the company did not dispute the conservative group's interpretation of the meeting.
More over at AmericaBlog.


Richard Pryor and Eugene McCarthy

Both of these landmark figures passed away today.



Pathbreaking Comedian Richard Pryor Dies. I remember vividly in the 70s and early 80s eagerly awaiting my older cousin to rush out and buy Pryor's latest concert LP. For you youngsters out there, prior to video, the only way to enjoy the great stand up comedians of the day was to buy one of those big albums played at 33 1/3-speed. Everyone would gather around the stereo system and have a roaring good time.
Richard Pryor, the caustic yet perceptive actor-comedian who lived dangerously close to the edge both on stage and off, died Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

"He did not suffer, he went quickly and at the end there was a smile on his face," his wife, Jennifer Pryor, said. "I'm honored now that I have an opportunity to protect and continue his legacy because he's a very, very, very amazing man and he opened doors to so many people."

Pryor's audacious style influenced an array of stand-up artists, including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and Damon Wayans, as well as Robin Williams, David Letterman and others.

He was regarded early in his career as one of the most foul-mouthed comics in the business, but he gained a wide following for his expletive-filled but universal and frequently personal insights into modern life and race relations.
We listened to Bill Cosby to hear observations on the common, color-blind experience of being an American -- particularly the humor of family, but you just couldn't hear insight on race relations that spoke to the reality of what black and white America was really thinking about one another from anyone better than Richard Pryor.

Yes, he was profane, yes, he could be outrageous, but the things that made people uncomfortable were his observations on the painful truth about cultural difference between the races at a time when sensitivities were running high and emotions were barely in check. It was odd to see him on Saturday Night Live, when you knew he was constrained by the censors from tapping into his really biting stuff.

The one exception, and I bet most of you can guess which skit I'm going to mention, is the infamous 1975 SNL skit with Chevy Chase, the Racist Word Association Interview. Just go read the whole thing.



In searching for the transcript of this, I came across this essay, by writer Tim Wise, that is an interesting analysis of the skit's use of epithets and the power of the words (or lack thereof):
In the skit, Chase and Pryor face one another and trade off racial epithets during a segment of Weekend Update. Chase calls Pryor a “porch monkey.” Pryor responds with “honky.” Chase ups the ante with “jungle bunny.” Pryor, unable to counter with a more vicious slur against whites, responds with “honky, honky.” Chase then trumps all previous slurs with “nigger,” to which Pryor responds: “dead honky.”

The line elicits laughs all around, but also makes clear, at least implicitly that when it comes to racial antilocution, people of color are limited in the repertoire of slurs they can use against whites, and even the ones of which they can avail themselves sound more comic than hateful. The impact of hearing the antiblack slurs in the skit was of a magnitude unparalleled by hearing Pryor say “honky” over and over again.

As a white person I always saw terms like honky or cracker as evidence of how much more potent white racism was than any variation on the theme practiced by the black or brown.

When a group of people has little or no power over you institutionally, they don’t get to define the terms of your existence, they can’t limit your opportunities, and you needn’t worry much about the use of a slur to describe you and yours, since, in all likelihood, the slur is as far as it’s going to go. What are they going to do next: deny you a bank loan? Yeah, right.

So whereas “nigger” was and is a term used by whites to dehumanize blacks, to imply their inferiority, to “put them in their place” if you will, the same cannot be said of honky: after all, you can’t put white people in their place when they own the place to begin with.
I'm certain that there are many people that will only remember Pryor for setting himself on fire while freebasing in the 80s -- a spectacularly stupid act, but remember this was during the time when blow ruled Hollywood and everyone knew it. He wasn't the only casualty of excess.

I haven't watched much stand-up comedy over the years I remember Robin Williams being incredibly funny in his heyday on the stage, and I saw Bill Maher live waaaaay back at Catch a Rising Star in NY in the early/mid-80s (strangely enough, his timing was really off that night; I wasn't sure he was going to go anywhere, lololol). I have some pictures of him from that night. I ought to post them.

Of today's comedians, perhaps the one that reminds me most of Pryor -- and may, in fact, be as spot-on in his observations -- is Chris Rock.

I'd be interested to hear Blender comments on Pryor.

***



Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy, 89, Dies. I was not old enough to remember his most significant run ('68), so it would be good to hear from folks old enough to compare his gadfly run to other "insurgent" candidacies (particularly to Dean in '04).
Former Minnesota Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, whose insurgent campaign toppled a sitting president in 1968 and forced the Democratic Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 89.

McCarthy died in his sleep at assisted living home in the Georgetown neighborhood where he had lived for the past few years, said his son, Michael.

Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

...Helped by his legion of idealistic young volunteers known as "clean-for-Gene kids," McCarthy got 42 percent of the vote in the state's 1968 Democratic primary. That showing embarrassed Johnson into withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to his vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey.

Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York also decided to seek the nomination, but was assassinated in June 1968. McCarthy and his followers went to the party convention in Chicago, where fellow Minnesotan Humphrey won the nomination amid bitter strife both on the convention floor and in the streets.

Humphrey went on to narrowly lose the general election to Richard Nixon. The racial, social and political tensions within the Democratic Party in 1968 have continued to affect presidential politics ever since.

..With a sardonic sense of humor, McCarthy needled whatever establishment was in power. In 1980 he endorsed Republican Ronald Reagan with the argument that anyone was better than incumbent Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.
I wonder what McCarthy would have thought about the current Adminstration's recent boondoggles. A telling quote about the Vietnam era may give us a clue, as well as a more recent one:
Although he supported the Korean War, McCarthy said he opposed the Vietnam War because "as it went on, you could tell the people running it didn't know what was going on."

...In an interview a month before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, McCarthy compared the Bush administration with the characters in the William Golding novel "Lord of the Flies," in which a group of boys stranded on an island turn to savagery.

"The bullies are running it," McCarthy said. "Bush is bullying everything."


Ripe caption opportunity


Actual caption: In a humorous holiday video shown Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005 by first lady Laura Bush during a program at the Children's National Medical Center, President Bush confronts his Scottish terrier Barney who has been displaying some jealousy of his more popular sister, Miss Beazley, in Washington. After scolding Barney for playing hide and seek with Miss Beazley's gifts, President Bush chides a contrite Miss Beazley, saying, 'I understand you've been a media hound.' (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

What would the dogs really say to this whackjob boob?


Jewish, Evangelical leaders meet over differences

"What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God? When they cloak themselves in religion and forget mercy, it strikes us as blasphemy."
-- Union for Reform Judaism President Eric Yoffie on the Religious Right


"The extreme Christian right" is campaigning to impose Christocracy and take permanent control of the major political, cultural, educational, medical, judicial, economic, media and legal institutions of the United States."
-- Reform Rabbi James Rudin, author of "The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us"
Jewish leaders met with members of the evangelical movement for the first time to discuss their growing differences of opinion on gay rights issues, and other social conservative political stances in the fringe evangelical movement that represent a desire to "re-form" America in its own image. Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall for those sessions? (365gay.com):
Conservative Judaism's prime campus was the site for respectful talks between national-level figures from both faiths, with participants agreeing on support for Israel and greater willingness from each side to learn about the other. But there also was evident wariness on domestic politics, reflecting the complicated relationship between the two groups.

Planning for the meeting, co-sponsored by Baylor and Temple universities, began in 2002. It probably wouldn't have happened in years past. One expert panelist, University of Akron political scientist John Green, noted polls that show evangelicals are no more negative toward Jews than other Americans and that their attitudes have softened markedly since an anti-Semitism survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in 1964.

Yet the timing of the meeting coincidentally pointed up rising tensions between the two groups. Just last month, the heads of two major U.S. Jewish organizations unleashed incendiary attacks on conservative religious activism, in which evangelicals stand in the forefront.

Director Abraham Foxman told the Anti-Defamation League's national leadership "the key domestic challenge" now facing Jews is arrogant "Christian Right" leaders' campaign to "Christianize all aspects of American life."

...Foxman targeted the work of evangelical groups including the Alliance Defense Fund, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and Florida-based TV preacher D. James Kennedy.

...Jewish complaints about evangelicals have historically centered on their zeal for converts, in some instances specifically seeking out Jews.

The new furor is political. Foxman, Rudin and Yoffie are variously concerned with issues such as abortion, gay marriage, civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research, school prayer and Bible-reading, "intelligent design," abstinence education, the right to die, assisted suicide, judicial nominations and government aid for "faith-based" charities.
The article goes on to note that traditional, socially conservative Jews (and Catholics) often agree with evangelicals, as well as the fact that some evangelicals are disturbed by the fringe element within the community that has hijacked their brand of faith.

It sounds like an interesting time in history between these two groups, and the fact that a major basis for the widening gulf of understanding is over gays (under the cover of "values issues") is kind of bizarre if you think about it, though it is the batsh*t evangelical crowd that is politically obsessed with homos, which explains a lot. There are so many issues that the faith community should be worrying about/discussing across the board -- poverty, child mortality, environmental destruction, the treatment of women in the developing world...the list goes on and on. Why is this issue driving the train?


George W. Bush on The Constitution


Hey, George, didn't you swear -- to God & Jesus on a Bible, no less -- to preserve, protect, and defend that "goddamned piece of paper"?
(Capitol Hill Blue) GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the [PATRIOT] act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

"I don't give a goddamn," Bush retorted. "I'm the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way."

"Mr. President," one aide in the meeting said, "There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution."

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

I've talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper."
I didn't really need a quote to confirm what Bush and his cronies think of the Constitution. The use of cruel and unusual punishment on war prisoners (torture), indefinite incommunicado chargeless imprisonment of citizens on the president's word alone, secret "sneak and peek" searches without warrant, there have long been plenty of signs indicating their opinion. I'm just stunned at the hubris (or idiocy) it takes to say something like that out loud.

And to think, Nixon was almost impeached over the cover-up of political dirty tricks that culminated in a burglary and Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about sexual favors from an intern.


Less people (but still a majority) hate Bush

Friday, December 09, 2005


OK, since I've brought up the polls when Bush is down, it's only fair to bring up the polls when Bush is up...
Shifting into campaign mode to reverse his slide in public opinion polls, Bush has boosted his support among key constituency groups -- particularly in the Northeast and West -- on his handling of Iraq and the economy, an AP-Ipsos poll found.

Bush improved his job approval rating from 37 percent in November to 42 percent now, though his standing with the public remains relatively low. Fifty-seven percent still disapprove, down from 61.
Ain't it sad to see your ratings go up by 5%, and still you're disapproved of by more than half the country?
Those factors combined with Iraq and the price of gasoline hitting $3 a gallon left the president with the lowest public support of his presidency from September through November.

Now, gas prices have eased, and Bush has been barnstorming the country to tout a stronger economy and claim progress in Iraq.

A recent report noted that the nation added 215,000 jobs in November, and Bush declared on Monday that "the best days are yet to come for the American economy."
Absolutely, because you'll be gone in 1,138 days. (By the way, I think 215,000 more jobs is fabulous. How much closer does that put us, then, to the number of jobs we had before you took office? And how is that median family income coming along, or number of families below the poverty level. Somehow, if I headed a single-income family and lost my $60K manufacturing job, but my wife and I were able to secure two of these new $25K Wal-McJobs, I wouldn't be cheering.)

I think one of the scarier aspects of these polls seeing how closely they are tied to the price of gasoline. Yeah, sure, he supports torture, the end of the separation of church and state, second-class citizenship for gays, getting 2,100 soldiers killed for his lies, fraudulent elections, government-enforced procreation laws, spending our grandchildren into gargantuan deficit, cutting services for the poorest among us in favor of tax cuts for the wealthiest, defending traitors and incompetants in his administration, leaving the poor to fend for themselves after natural disasters, and did I mention the torture? But the artifically-inflated big-oil-collusion fixed price of gas is now only 67¢ higher (avg. $2.127 nationwide, 12/5/05) than it was when he took office (avg. $1.456 1/22/01), and that moves the poll 5 points? By comparison, Clinton's gallon of gas cost $1.055 on 1/25/93, meaning that in eight years, the price of a gallon of gas rose only 40¢ over that eight year period. No wonder Big Dog's approval ratings were so high!

Certainly the gas prices can't be the only thing that moves the poll. The public's short attention span may also be to blame. The pictures from Katrina have faded from memory, that 2,000th dead soldier is a milepost long since passed, and Fitzgerald has gone back into investigatory hibernation. C'mon, Karl, there must be a way to get Chimpy back above 50%. Aren't there some decorated / paraplegic / former POW Vietnam vets or marryin' queers to smear and denigrate? Hey, we haven't had an Orange Alert in some time...


Word games from the land of wingnuttia

Earlier today, I posted about James Dobson's new definition for homosexual (which does not include lesbians). While surfing along this evening, I came across the amusing wisdom of one James L. Lambert, in his commentary Liberals' Use of Words Effective Tool in Promoting Radical Ideologies. He claims that the crazy liberals are the ones doing all the deviant redefinition of words, along with the help of the mainstream media (you know those folks are in our back pockets, right?).

BTW, Lambert is a licensed real-estate mortgage loan sales agent by day and, according to his bio, a frequent contributor to AgapePress and the author of Porn in America. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere.

Have a cup a joe and a laugh.
Political correctness has played a huge part in contributing to the general atmosphere in the media where clever word usage is an important tool in changing public thought and or policy. Here are some interesting examples of the ways liberals have redefined words to persuade:

'Choice' - Who isn't against choice? Everyone is for choice! Yet this word has been used by liberals for several decades to eliminate any negative connotation when discussing the abortion issue. "Pro-choice" is certainly a better term than "pro-abortion." Abortions are an ugly business. In most cases the fetus is extracted from the uterus, often dismembered. Yet whose choice is it? It may be the choice of the mother, but how about the baby who does not have a choice? The reality of abortion is something liberals don't want to debate.

* 'Gay' - For centuries, gay was defined as "merry, happily excited or lively." Homosexual activists have reinvented this word to define their lifestyle. It's odd, isn't it, that the term "gay" would be used to describe a lifestyle than (on average) lowers the life expectancy of homosexual males by over 20 years? That's according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta -- not a statistic just dreamed up by opponents of homosexuality.

* 'Fundamentalists' - The meaning of this term has changed over time into one with a very negative connotation. Liberals, especially since 9-11, have used it to compare conservative Christians to Wahabe Islamists and the Taliban. While this comparison is absurd, liberals in the media have used it to wage war against religious Christians. They do this in part by demonizing Christians and by calling them "fundamentalists." They imply that all conservative Christians want a theocracy, condemn others to hell, wish to punish sinners, and militantly want to force their religious beliefs on others.

* 'Intolerant' - Webster's definition of this word is "unable to endure, unwilling to endure, or unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters or other social, political or professional rights." Liberals have effectively eliminated the "religious matters" part. They see religion, especially the Christian religion, as intolerant. The use of this word by liberals reveals their goal of avoiding all forms of judgment. If conservatives critically question liberal ideas, they are immediately labeled as "intolerant." Yet liberals cannot see that their intolerance of religious people defines that term.

* 'Homophobic' - This term cannot even be found in my Webster's dictionary. Yet we have seen this term applied to anyone who disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle. This is yet another way for radical homosexuals and lesbians to intimidate and harass any who dare oppose them in the political and social arena.

* 'Diversity' - This word reeks of political correctness. While diversity is a good word that describes "a condition of differences," the word is also used by liberals to put forth the notion that any kind of differentiation is bad. In the liberal world, making personal judgment calls is wrong -- and diversity tells us that every lifestyle should be accepted and promoted.

All pundits of various social, political and cultural persuasions prefer to use key words in making their point. (Personally I like to refer to owners in the adult industry as "smut peddlers.") Even so, I have found most liberal pundits have been effective in using their favorite words to direct public opinion their way. Perhaps they would not be as effective without their friends in mainstream media.


Sorry, Katie

I have to break some more bad news about Alabama to the wifey, who hails from the Heart of Dixie: Most Alabamans Surveyed Trust Bible's Creation Account Over Darwin's. This is from AgapePress, where the spin is that this is good news.
A new poll shows more people in Alabama adhere to the biblical account of creation than to Darwin's theory of evolution. Of the more than 400 Alabamians surveyed between November 28 and December 1, about three out of four identified themselves as "born-again Christians."

The survey conducted by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama found that about 70 percent of the state's residents believe creationism and intelligent design should be taught in public school science classes. Fewer than half of those polled said the theory of evolution should be taught in schools.

Dale Younce, a Christian Studies professor at the University of Mobile, says he was "delightfully surprised" by the survey's findings. The result is particularly unexpected, he asserts, considering that evolutionism "holds the floor" in secondary and higher education classrooms, even in Alabama.

..."I would like to think that the conservative Baptist churches throughout the state have an effect in causing the church members to think thorough the question of creation and evolution, but I have no evidence to support that," Younce says.
The article also notes that the Alabama Board of Education recently voted to retain an insert for state biology textbooks that refers to evolution as a "controversial theory" on the origins of life. You can read the unhinged excerpt here.


Big Dog slams Dubya on Kyoto


What a nice weekend gift! The best president in my lifetime just slammed the worst president in my lifetime.
MONTREAL, Quebec (AP) -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told a global audience of diplomats, environmentalists and others on Friday that the Bush administration is "flat wrong" in claiming that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to fight global warming would damage the U.S. economy.
"Flat wrong." That's Clintonian for "batshit crazy".
With a "serious disciplined effort" to develop energy-saving technology, he said, "we could meet and surpass the Kyoto targets in a way that would strengthen and not weaken our economies."

"There's no longer any serious doubt that climate change is real, acclerating and caused by human activities," said Clinton, whose address was interrupted repeatedly by enthusiastic applause.

"We are uncertain about how deep and the time of arrival of the consequences, but we are quite clear they will not be good."
That's what I always say in global warming arguments. The anti-Kyoto wingnuts will say that we're just in a natural warming cycle, or cow farts cause more greenhouse emissions than cars, or our contribution to warming is miniscule compared to natural factors. Yeah, so? If 99% of global warming comes from natural causes, does that mean we don't work on the 1% we can control? Maybe global warming is naturally inevitable, but does that mean we should hurry it along, or should we try to forestall it for a generation or two?
Efforts by host-country Canada and others to draw the United States into the process were failing. The Bush administration says it favors a voluntary approach, not global negotiations, to deal with climate issues.
Because depending on countries and corporations to voluntarily police their environmental messes has worked so well in the past.
"It's such a pity the United States is still very much unwilling to join the international community, to have a multilateral effort to deal with climate change," said Kenya's Emily Ojoo Massawa, chair of the African group of nations at the conference.
Don't take it personally, Emily. We're not much into multinational efforts or the opinions of the international community anymore. Yer either with us or against us!
A broad scientific consensus agrees that these gases accumulating in the atmosphere, byproducts of automobile engines, power plants and other fossil fuel-burning industries, contributed significantly to the past century's global temperature rise of 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.7 degree Celsius). Continued warming is expected to disrupt the global climate.

In the late 1990s the U.S. Senate balked at ratifying Kyoto, and the incoming President Bush in 2001 formally renounced the accord, saying it would harm the U.S. economy.
And besides, that's his job.


Torture got us in this mess, torture will get us out... into a bigger mess!


For the past three years we've been screaming at the Bush Administration that torture is not an American ideal. We know that the information gleaned from torture is usually wrong or worthless, because the tortured person will say anything to make the pain stop.

However, that does not mean that torture doesn't further the Bush Administration's agenda...
(New York Times) The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.
...or what we used to call "shipping our prisoners to a barbaric foreign country for interrogation" where they can be tortured without the pesky intrusion of courts, lawyers, the ACLU, the Constitution, or American law.
During his time in Egyptian custody, Mr. Libi was among a group of what American officials have described as about 150 prisoners sent by the United States from one foreign country to another since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks for the purposes of interrogation. American officials including Ms. Rice have defended the practice, saying it draws on language and cultural expertise of American allies, particularly in the Middle East, and provides an important tool for interrogation. They have said that the United States carries out the renditions only after obtaining explicit assurances from the receiving countries that the prisoners will not be tortured.
OK, Egypt, we're handing over to you a Muslim terrorism suspect. We know your government has been very torturous to other prisoners during interrogations. We know your state religion supports doing some pretty cruel things to blasphemers of the faith, like this terrorism suspect. So promise us you won't torture him. Pinkie-swear on a stack of Korans!
In statements before the war, and without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, and other officials repeatedly cited the information provided by Mr. Libi as "credible" evidence that Iraq was training Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons. Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases." ...the Defense Intelligence Agency had identified Mr. Libi as a probable fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda involving illicit weapons.
Torture. It's lousy for getting accurate information, but wonderful for lying your country into a war your want and stoking the enemy's resistance once warfare begins.


Letter from Peter LaBarbera

Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute, one of the "pro-family" organizations that has been a thorn in the side of reality-based people that believe in the civil equality of gays and lesbians, has been featured in several posts on the Blend.

LaBarbera actually emailed me the other day (he reads the Blend?!), and dared me to post his letter. Why would I deny my readers this? So here it is.


From: Peter L.
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2005 8:28 AM
To: Pam S.
Subject: Pam, question for you....

I have to chuckle at your description of me as "leather loving," but it's par for the course for homosexual activists who use smear tactics rather than facts to discredit their opponents. Often they turn the extremes of the "gay" movement (e.g., sadism/masochism) against their foes-sophomoric as that tactic is.

Let me ask you a question: If you were to discover a local KKK group, which you consider deviant and threatening activity-as I would-so you set out to expose it, even by going undercover, would it be fair to call you the "Klan loving Pam Spaulding"?

Yes, the IML was and is, in my view, a grotesque event worthy of being exposed. Dare I say that you, too, would be highly offended at some of the activities that are "tolerated" there-such as a booth for the "Waterboys"-men who urinate on and in one another for sexual pleasure? (I'm presuming you find that heinous and deeply disturbing-please correct me if I'm wrong.) So, yes, we walked through the IML vendors' room, and wrote about it. This sort of muckraking journalism-although ours was just a web article--has been going on for years in America.

You may disagree with me about the "leather" movement, but surely you would not argue that the subject is not controversial. If you disagree with me, why don't you defend the IML activities (warning: the fact that they are "consensual" is hardly a persuasive argument), rather than making puerile attacks against people like me who oppose and expose them?

How silly: Peter LaBarbera criticizes the homosexual and leather movements, therefore he secretly yearns to be a homosexual leatherman. Let's follow the (il)logic: NOW staffers secretly yearn to work at pro-life crisis pregnancy centers; conservative Republicans secretly pine for higher taxes; NRA activists sneakily crusade to pass the Brady Bill in their off hours: and Human Rights Campaign employees desperately want to work for the Family Research Council (don't tell their bosses!).

Oh, and I almost forgot: the "conservative Christian-loving Pam Spaulding" just criticizes the "religious right" for cover. :)

Please publish this on your site unless you lack the guts to do so.

Best--pl

Peter LaBarbera
Illinois Family Institute
www.illinoisfamily.org
Before I fisk Mr. LaBarbera's email, I just want to say a couple of things about this blog...

It is my outlet for rambling, ranting, humor and serious thinking aloud about the world I live in. Therefore, you will read posts here are flip, profane and possibly offensive to someone out there, but you'll also find posts that analyze and discuss issues of the day in a serious manner and encourage open discussion with those that take time out of their day to stop by.

If you're offended, why are you reading? This little coffeehouse is not exactly a master of the universe blog with its roughly 2000 or so visits a day, so for those put-upon by my commentary -- like Peter LaBarbera -- this seems kind of funny. It's not as if the Blend has enough influence to quash the well-funded work of the Illinois Family Institute, or bigger fish like James Dobson. I wish.

OK. On to the letter.

***

it's par for the course for homosexual activists who use smear tactics rather than facts to discredit their opponents.

Interesting. This goes on by those on the Right all the time. The Ann Coulters, Michelle Malkins, Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world - they certainly don't have a problem doing this. It's their First Amendment right to say that BS, but it's my First Amendment right to call things as they see them in my space here. After all, how can I let a statement like this go unanswered...
"I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools...Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the 'sexual orientation' agenda works its way into their children's education."
(backing the Southern Baptist's call to investigate the influence of the homo agenda in public schools)
-- Peter LaBarbera
Come on, Peter. There is no Homosexual AgendaTM, any more than there is a "black agenda" or a "feminist agenda" to help children (and educable grownups) understand the changing world in which we live in and to tolerate and accept difference. Then, again, maybe you do believe there is a organized left-wing conspiracy to destroy our culture that includes gays, women and minorities. I just know that I have not received a special decoder ring, password or special orders telling me how to accomplish this goal of world domination/destruction. Yet.

The real problem here is that composition of today's American family has changed, and this fact has sent the Religious Right into a tizzy of denial and desire to wind the cultural clock back. It's the fear of what is now considered NORMAL.

Families have two mommies, two daddies, moms and dads of different races or religions; there are families that choose to be child-free. Families today don't look like the Cleavers any more and the Right cannot grasp this concept. Given that attitude, the kind of organized anti-gay efforts and support of legislation to stifle gay civil rights by organizations such as IFI is understandable.

If you were to discover a local KKK group, which you consider deviant and threatening activity-as I would-so you set out to expose it, even by going undercover, would it be fair to call you the "Klan loving Pam Spaulding"?

This makes no sense, though I'm not surprised that you would compare gay people to the Klan, an organized group with a mission to return the country to a culturally "pure" (read: white Protestant) state that terrorized and killed minorities after the darkest period in our country's history -- slavery.

I'll assume this was hyperbole.

A more apt comparison would be for me to infiltrate an organization like IFI and to report on its agenda to destroy the lives of tax-paying, law-abiding gays and lesbians -- many, incidentally, who belong to faith communities and share more values than not with many of the people you work with.

***

You've objected to corporate sponsorship of gay themed events, something you didn't mention in your letter. That is an important effort of your organization.
"The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it's wrong for Walgreen's to sponsor it. They've taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event."
-- Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute
IFI and other anti-gay groups are free to boycott, write letters to and speak with elected officials and corporate sponsors of events that you disagree with. Gay rights groups can do the same. What I sense, however, is a massive frustration that progress on this front to turn back time is hit and miss -- that there are companies, like Kraft and Walgreens, that thumb their nose at Right-wing organizations that want to impose their sense of morality onto the entire country and threaten boycotts. Take their response to your objection to sponsorship of the Gay Games, to be held in Chicago:
Walgreens is the latest company to come under fire by a conservative Christian group for its support the 2006 Gay Games to be held in Chicago.

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

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

...The company, like Kraft and Harris, shows no sign of caving in to the institute's demands.
***

Dare I say that you, too, would be highly offended at some of the activities that are "tolerated" there-such as a booth for the "Waterboys"-men who urinate on and in one another for sexual pleasure?

Quite frankly, I don't think much about this stuff unless I read it on bible-beating moralist news sites, why do you? While I personally don't find the idea of this particular practice appealing, I don't have to partake in it, nor do you or your fellow good Christians. This is about adult, consensual behavior (despite your attempt to pre-empt the use of this as a counter-argument). Why is this not a persuasive argument? Are you saying you would like to criminalize golden showers? How, exactly, would that be enforced? Hetero or homo participants or both?

If the issue is about the decline of public morality or that our society has an unusual and unhealthy preoccupation with sex, that's a different matter worthy of debate, but I don't see what this has to do with sexual orientation or private consensual acts.

When you make multiple trips to "uncover" deviant acts by "going undercover" to gay pride events (or International Mr. Leather), this kind of effort doesn't tell your audience anything about the entire gay community, any more than heading to hetero swingers clubs, a frat house or the local meet-market bar tells me about straight sexual culture. Sexual subcultures exist along the entire orientation spectrum. Why are you so fixated on the sex? Is it because it is non-procreative? Explain this need to place yourself in these situations.

Any Pride event I've attended has had booth upon booth of non-sexual-related information and resources. Your skewed "reporting" overlooks all of the aspects of the gay community at an event like this that have nothing to do with sex: health and legal resources, information on gay-friendly churches, local organizations for LGBT youth, information on positions of local politicians, etc. That, I venture, would not be interesting "news" to report to your folks.

I'm interested in your thoughts on Willie Wilson, who seems quite fixated on sexual acts in his anti-gay rhetoric. Peter, do you agree with a man of the cloth saying things like this in a Sunday sermon:

"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.
This man clearly identifies as a Christian. Are these sentiments something you are on board with?

***

While I have your attention, Peter, I want to ask you about the unhinged Fred Phelps, a man we talk about from time to time here on the Blend. I see that Fred doesn't seem to like your work and he's really rude to boot.



Why on earth have you suggested that The Rotting CryptkeeperTM could be a plant of the Left?
"Politically and culturally speaking, Phelps and his protesters serve as a crude caricature of pro-family traditionalists who oppose the normalization of homosexuality. Fred makes an easy target for the media and secularists who are tempted (partly by their own prejudices) to paint any opposition to "gay rights" as hateful. For this reason, I have sometimes wondered if Phelps and his lawyerly clan are 'gay plants.' "
-- Peter LaBarbera
Trust me -- we don't want him either. His band of hateful relatives actually came to my town this year.

As far as "puerile attacks" go, it's my pad and welcome to it. I have plenty of posts that are rants, but there are many that are not (as my readers can tell you), but all of them reflect my dissatisfaction with organized efforts of the Right to legislate my rights away, as if I were a monster or predator. Why, pray tell, is it too much to ask from the country I live in to allow gays to:

* serve openly in the military
* adopt and raise children
* have the same partnership and legal benefits as married couples
* not fear losing a job if their orientation becomes known.

What I see over and over by people in "pro-family" organizations is that fear of the normalization of homosexuality in our culture. That's the core issue. It's why you and many in your camp have pressed on with the idea of "ex-gay" facilities to "cure" people of their gayness, and to continue to look at it as a sickness, a pathology. It is an attempt to restore your sense of social order, one that makes life more comfortable, less complex for people like yourself to deal with.

It's why you choose to go undercover to "investigate" unusual sexual practices that you are repulsed by versus looking at the lives of average gays and lesbians who are more concerned about work, life and current events.

NEWSFLASH: most gay people lead pedestrian, unexceptional lives, some are quite fabulous -- it's all over the map, just like the straight world. We have pets, get the flu, we kick back and watch TV (btw, I like Law and Order: SVU and have never seen an episode of Will and Grace -- maybe I just flunked the gay test, Peter).

But that wouldn't be interesting enough to publish in your newsletter.

Exclusion and demonization of gay people has worked in scaring many politicians, particularly moderate Democrats, from taking clear stands in favor of civil equality (something we rail about here), but where you have not succeeded is in corporate America, which operates on dollars and cents and gay dollars are just as green as yours. Granted, it's clear the Right has now caught on -- thus this big dust up with the AFA and Ford -- but I think you all know in the end that this is a losing proposition. You can try to pass legislation and put pressure on institutions, but the society at large has accepted that openly gay people exist and deserve civil rights.

The civil marriage issue has been conflated in the public's mind with religious marriage, and thus it has served the Right well as a diversion from the question of overall civil equality for gays and lesbians. Both sides know that this is a linchpin. It will, eventually, come down to a Supreme Court decision. One day. But by the time that happens, will you have lost the culture war?

Deep down, you know that this "problem" of homosexuality will not go away, so instead we see strident efforts to recriminalize and recloset it. Civil equality for a minority is something that should never be determined by majority vote. We've learned that time and again. Sadly, human nature, by default, never seems to lead on this front.

However, the more people that have the courage to come out, the less power you have -- we are your friends, neighbors, colleagues, service providers, ministers, doctors, and leaders. We want nothing more than to be able to live our lives as full citizens with equal rights.

The only way your side can win is if gays are in the closet.

And that's where I can hope that my minor voice in the blogosphere makes a difference, just a reader at a time.

Thanks for writing.

***

Related: Peter LaBarbera's trolling for scat talk

Click here for more fresh Blend.


For British gays, new law rings in wedding bells


Britain this week brought the Civil Partnerships Act into force. The act grants same-sex couples almost identical rights to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; the main difference being that a civil partnership cannot be registered on religious premises.
It seems a bit discriminatory to me that gay people of faith won't be able to consecrate their union in the house of worship of their choice. However, if that's the small bone that has to be tossed to the fundies, so be it. Most churches are plenty anti-gay, anyway.
"The government doesn't support gay marriage, but you'd have to look hard to find the differences between the rights and responsibilities which it affords straight and gay couples," said Britain's Gay Times "Pride and Groom" December issue, adding that "in the media, it's increasingly being called 'gay marriage.'"

England will see its first wave of partnership ceremonies on Dec. 21, after registered couples have waited out a 15-day "cooling off" period.
"Cooling off?" Alright, boys, we know you think you're gay and in love, but let's give you a fortnight and a day to really consider it. Who knew that marriage was such an incredibly important bond that government feels compelled to force couples in love to wait fifteen days to be absolutely sure? I mean, when I got married, nobody forced me into a waiting period.

Oh, wait, I forgot, my wife and I are straight, therefore, we can be trusted to be mature and wise enough to make important life-altering commitments to each other without government interference.
A gay wedding "has a lot more emotion involved [than a heterosexual wedding] because some couples have waited 20 years to do this, so, it's 20 years in the making and it all comes out on that one big day," said Ben Spence, owner of Pink Products and co-owner of the Gay Wedding Show.
And then, of course, there's the fact that it is two gay men planning a wedding...
Not only will their marriage represent a declaration of their love for one another, but it will also ensure that they will be able to live together legally forever -- that is, as long as they don't move back to the United States.

Although Mason, 40, and Cairns, 33, will be spouses in the eyes of the U.K. government -- and for the purposes of citizenship, hospital visitation rights, pensions, inheritance taxes and entitlement to most parental rights -- the United States government will not recognize their union.

"He won't be able to travel any more freely to the States than he can now; he still couldn't be a U.S. citizen or resident," Mason said of his partner.

About a dozen countries in Europe allow same-sex unions, as do Canada and New Zealand, and South Africa recently paved the way to introduce them as early as next year. But in the United States, same-sex couples only have increased rights in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is allowed; Vermont, which recognizes civil unions; and in a handful of other states and cities that make some allowances for gay couples.

Despite facing some homophobia living in the Bible Belt, "to be very honest with you, if we could live in the States today, we'd go home," Mason said. But for both partners to work, own property and be legally recognized as a couple, they had to cross the Atlantic.

"Because America doesn't have the same thing, Tony's taken all his investments out of the United States, sold the house and taken his education with him, and in the end Britain's benefiting from his investments and knowledge," Cairns said of his American partner.
Sheesh, we're losing all our engineers to China and India, now we're losing all our gays to Europe and South Africa! Who will be left to engineer technologically marvelous buildings and design the fabulous interiors therein?


Add Sears to the list of companies scared of the AFA

Sears decided to "save Christmas" because the AFA said so. (AgapePress):
In the wake of pro-family pressure and consumer backlash, one of America's largest retailers has agreed to put "Merry Christmas" signs in its stores. Recently Sears was listed by the American Family Association as one of the many companies that have barred use of the word "Christmas" in their in-store promotions and retail advertising.

AFA encouraged concerned Christians to contact Sears and the other companies to protest the politically correct policies banning the word "Christmas" in their seasonal advertising. Now AFA's special projects director, Randy Sharp, notes that Sears has started displaying "Merry Christmas" signs in all their stores. "We think Sears has been very responsive," he says. "They are doing the right thing. And I believe a lot of Americans will appreciate Sears going that extra step to make sure that 'Christmas' stays part of our culture and that it stays in their advertising program." Sharp says other U.S. companies are also making similar changes to include "Christmas" in their promotions.
Other companies targeted by the AFA on the "Christmas initiative" include: Target, Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot; coincidentally (or not), Sears, Target and Walgreens scored a perfect 100 on Human Rights Campaign's "Buying for Equality" guide.


Lesbians are not homos, according to Daddy Dobson

Some confused parents in Rhode Island think their children cannot digest the film version of Rent, based on Daddy Dobson's assertion that the film is the work of the Homosexual Agenda.

The trip has not been canceled, since the principal, Joseph P. Maruszczak, says it will encourage classroom discussions about diversity and tolerance. Besides, I agree with one of committee members -- don't sign the permission slip if you don't want your child to attend.
A group of parents is calling a high school field trip a "promotion of homosexuality". The parents are threatening to pull their teenage children from a Ponaganset High School trip to see the movie "Rent" at a local theater.

"Rent", the film version of the long running Pulitzer and Tony-winning drama, is about a group of young New Yorkers coming to grips with poverty and AIDS features two gay couples. Although rated PG-13, the parents say the movie is too controversial and adult for the grade 9 students.

"The lifestyles depicted in this movie are not the majority, not the lifestyles of 99.9 percent of the kids that live in these two towns," School Committee cochair Donna Mansolillo told a meeting of the committee this week.

Mansolillo then handed out a review of the film by the conservative group Focus on the Family that calls the movie "an in-your-face glorification of homosexuality and lesbianism."
Wha!?

I really think Dobson should change his organization's name to Focus on the Anus. I was joking in earlier references to it on the Blend, but it's clear that he has decided to redefine the word for himself and others, based on some new information that he might want to pass on to dictionary publishers...
ho mo sex u al i ty n.

1. Sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
2. Sexual activity with another of the same sex.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

ho mo sex u al i ty
Function: noun
Inflected Form: plural -ties
1 : the quality or state of being homosexual
2 : erotic activity with another of the same sex
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary
Are women not included in this definition? Oh wait, maybe it's that we aren't "persons" in Dobson's world. That has to be the explanation. Thanks for the update, doc. If only I had the energy to rant further on this one. You all take it over in the comments...


Man cleared of rape charge after 24 years

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I have a strange outlook on the death penalty. I don't think the death penalty is a cruel or unusual punishment, not, at least, as our founding fathers saw it. The Constitution explicitly mentions a penalty of death for treason. On a case-by-case basis, I'm a big supporter of the death penalty. You see a monster like BTK or Dahmer and you realize those are brains that are broken and there isn't much hope for rehabilitation.

But the death penalty in general, as we have it today, no, I can't support that. I can't support a system that convicts and sentences black men far more often than white men. I can't support a system that disproportionately targets poor offenders. Most of all, there have been 76 men on death row who have later been exonerated by DNA evidence.

If the legal system were 100% correct and colorblind, I could support the death penalty. But if even one innocent man, through error, is murdered by the state, that is too high a price to pay. Therefore, I have to accept the burden of keeping a BTK on ice for the rest of his life so that no innocent man, like Robert Clark in Georgia, is ever condemned to die. (Yes, Clark was not sentenced to death, rather, life + 20 years, but my point is the same. Innocent men are sometimes convicted unfairly.)
(Sydney Morning Herald) Robert Clark couldn't stop smiling, despite spending 24 years in jail for a rape he didn't commit.

That's because a US judge freed him on yesterday, after DNA evidence proved Clark's decades of pleading innocent were right.

A smiling Clark hugged and kissed family members, repeatedly saying: "I told you. I told you."

Clark's mother died and his children grew up and had families of their own while he sat in prison for a 1981 attack on an Atlanta woman.

His lawyers said DNA from another man matches not only that rape, but two others that were committed later.

"This is a truly horrific case," said Vanessa Potkin, an attorney for the Innocence Project. "While Robert Clark was wrongfully convicted, it appears the true perpetrator of this crime was out there harming women and children."

Clark, 45, was convicted and sentenced to life plus 20 years after a woman identified him as the man who carjacked her at gunpoint from outside an Atlanta Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and raped her repeatedly.

But recent DNA tests showed that Clark - who had no prior adult felony convictions - did not commit the crime.
At least all Clark lost was 24 years and not his life. You can free a wrongly-convicted man, but you can't resurrect a wrongly-executed man.


The new Ford Klansman!

Hat tip to Jesus' General.


Read these...and an open thread

Since I am not feeling well enough to write much, I'm tossing some good reading items out there for you all to comment on...

* BTW, the Blend rolled over 450,000 unique visits!

* Shakes Sis has an piece up on the wonderful story of British couple Bernard and Joyce Rogers. In 1991, Bernard underwent gender reassignment surgery and is now Bernadette. They have remained together, "We have an absolutely ideal relationship. We complement each other in every way." Because of the new civil partnerships law, they can now "remarry."

* "... And watch the right run" is Nancy Goldstein's latest ace column. She takes on the Right's narrow definition of "pro-life":
What might the world look like if our elected officials and “pro-life” activists devoted the time, energy, and funding they currently spend on restricting abortion to helping women to care for their families? Or to ensuring that pregnant women live in a country where they need not worry that their children will survive infancy or go without health care, food, shelter, a good education, and a safe and healthy environment?
* Kathy at Birmingham Blues comments on the goings-on Samford University, a Baptist school in Birmingham where faculty protested an Intelligent Design speech. She also has sighted a Roy Moore for Governor bumper sticker. Good god.

* Those loser Ocean County Freeholders in New Jersey who refused to extend pension rights to the partner of a dying police officer and her partner are also f*ckwads. (Read more here.) Mike Rogers posts on it: "Well, it seems last night they pulled a really swift move. Rather than face the waiting media, the Freeholders slipped out a rear door. Wimps." Mike called to find out the party registration of the five Freeholders -- all Repugs.

* Paul passed along the horrid video scandal rocking the S.F. police department story. About 20 San Francisco cops face suspension because of their alleged involvement in what the mayor and police chief describe as videos (done on city time, mind you) that featured parodying stereotypes of gays, transsexuals, Asians, backs and portrayed women as sex objects.

* Facing South is blogging live from New Orleans. Posts about the current situation -- and the impact of Washington's neglect of the city -- can be found here.

* Scott of Reality Cubed wanted to alert folks to an obituary for a pastor in Charlotte who understood that equality includes sexual orientation, not just color.
Until he retired in 1983, [The Rev. Charles] Milford rose to the pulpit each Sunday at Park Road Baptist and shared what was on his mind with a congregation that welcomed his warmth, honesty and often left-of-center positions. In the obituary the family worked on Wednesday, they noted his support for the "civil rights movement and integration of the local school system, equal rights for women and for homosexual persons, unilateral world peace, decent housing for all people, and efforts to end world hunger."
***

Also, to leave you with a little item of suspense, I received an email from none other than Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute. I just don't have the energy today, but I emailed him back and said I plan to post his letter and to respond at length to him here, because I want to politely address his points once I'm in better form.

It seemed like it took forever to do this post. Off to run a hot bath. These chills are awful.


Flu bug

This sucks. I've been fighting a flu bug for the last three days, but finally I just had to stay home. The over-the-counter stuff that I can take (most I cannot) just isn't cutting the misery to a level I can function on.

I don't care what all the medical talking heads say on TV, every year I get a flu shot, and a week or so later, I come down with something. It certainly doesn't feel like "mild flu-like symptoms," which is the disclaimer you sign off on before getting the shot. Well, yes, I guess it's mild in comparison to something that kills, you, but damn, I just want to sleep. Actually, that would be great if I could 1) breathe, and 2) stop coughing.

***

FYI: 2005 Weblog voting for Best LGBT Blog continues to be interesting, with the Blend holding a small lead over Gay Patriot. You can vote daily until 12/15.

Also, thanks to fellow finalist Jeremy, of the stellar Good As You. Unsolicited, he has also asked his crowd to lend support (as Mike at BlogActive did yesterday). Again, many thanks to all of you that enjoy the blog enough to click over and vote.

BTW, Surf over to Jeremy's hilarious post today, Poo-based coffee: An epic tale of fun, faggotry, and feces. Based on that headline, I think you won't find it surprising that he's blogging about the unhinged crowd at the Westboro Baptist Church. It's un-f*cking-believable. Here's a hint of the batsh*ttery:



MN cabbie kicks gay men out because of 'religious beliefs'

Why can't the man just d-r-i-v-e? You can't tell me that this cabbie hasn't witnessed more than a "peck on the cheek" between het couples in the back of his cab. These 'religious belief' situations are getting out of control in this country. (WCCO).
Three gay men say they were kicked out of a Twin Cities taxi by a cabbie who said a couple's kiss violated his religious beliefs.

The three men took a cab home after partying at The Saloon in downtown Minneapolis last Friday. Brent Opall said his friends exchanged a kiss in the cab. "It wasn't anything very intimate, just a peck on the cheek," he said.



Opall said the driver started yelling, "making statements like he can't be surrounded by people like us -- it was against his religion, (making statements such as) 'Burn in hell,' 'Go to hell.'"

...The manager said that kind of behavior by a cab driver is unacceptable and has never happened in the company before. Many local cabbies are Muslim, and many Muslims believe homosexuality violates Islamic law.

State Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim and an attorney, told WCCO-TV the cab incident probably violates state law.
You can see video of the story here.


WI Senate passes marriage amendment

Wisconsin homos, you're sh*t out of luck. A gay marriage ban is ready for an Assembly vote and if it passes there, the amendment will be on the 2006 ballot. At this point, it doesn't look like it will be stopped.

The "Defense of Marriage Amendment" (Senate Joint Resolution 53) goes whole-hog because it bans gay marriage, civil unions, and it could be interpreted to strip unmarried couples of health-care benefits and other legal recognitions. (The Badger-Herald):
“Marriage in Wisconsin is under attack by activist judges from out of state who are trying to impose their extreme liberal views on the public,” State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, an author of the resolution, said in a release. “We didn’t pick this fight, but it’s one we must win. Our laws and our traditions must be defended.”

Fitzgerald said a 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court decision could threaten Wisconsin’s existing statue which defines marriage as being between “a husband and a wife” by forcing the state to recognize gay marriages that took place outside Wisconsin.

However, the amendment’s opponents said prohibiting same-sex marriage and civil unions disenfranchises certain groups of people and is a step backward from the progress made to afford equal rights to all people.

“This vote is discriminating against a number of our citizens,” Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said. “It has left unequal a number of our citizens. There’s no justification for such a vote.”


The meeting 'broker' between the AFA and Ford speaks

Eva at Lloydletta has corresponded with Dallas Ford Dealer Jerry Reynolds, the man who brokered the meeting between the homo-hating AFA and Ford over the automaker's then-positive relationship with the LGBT community. She has his response up at her pad, and contrasts it with public comments of his in other publications on the matter. In his letter he claims:
You can believe the press or you can believe me, whichever you choose. But there was NO DEAL made with the AFA, period. I was successful in convincing them to call off the boycott because it hurts the DEALERS, not Ford. Ford sells NOTHING to the public and therefore a boycott would not harm them, only us, and we have no control over where they spend their advertising dollars.
Reynolds claims there was no deal, yet, as we all know, the end result of that meeting was:

1) Ford will no longer advertise in gay publications, and in cases where its other brands do advertise, the ads will not specifically target the gay community; and 2) Ford will no longer sponsor any LGBT events.

In Express Gay News, Reynolds has no problem expressing that he sides with the goals of the AFA:
Reynolds said the aim of the meeting with Ford is to "see what things most bother [the AFA] and what can be changed to make them happy," Reynolds said. "If the AFA has input into the marketing content, it could have benefits to both Ford and the AFA," he said.

"I believe in family values, too. I'm a Christian, too," Reynolds added.
You read, you decide. Better yet, you can ask him to clarify things.

Jerry's twisting a bit in the wind now because Ford spokesmen Mike Moran and Jim Cain have admitted publicly that those decisions were made because of AFA pressure.

***

And what might Ford think about the support it gets from this kind of open-minded, intellectual mindset:

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Woudn't LINCOLNS appeal to log cabin Repubs?"

"The "Jags Are For Fags" and "Rump Rover" ads weren't generating enough sales?"

""Hello, Ford? We demand an emergenthy meeting with Ford ecthecutiveth immediately! What timeth do you have in your thchedule to meet with uth?!""

""I'm sorry sir, but we don't have the opening you're looking for.""

"dont they all drive beater Volvo wagons?"

"Automobiles have sexual preferrence? Who knew?! So, Volvos take it in the tailpipe?"

"You left out Subaru."

"Mustang has a history of confusion... but it's very, very straight."

"what about vulvo's??"

"They went with gay adverts when they realized the cars were nothing but a couple of hangar queens."

"A few years back when Ford started marketing to queers, one of their ads showed a guy driving a Probe up Uranus...."

""Anti-gay industry?" Since when are gay folk suffering in America? Aren't they at the high end(ahem) of the income ladder, and don't they live rather high off the hog(oops)?"

"I hear they are cancelling production on a new car that you can get 8 in the front seat. with an easy entry rear door."

"Indeed. They went gay to increase sales, and sales apparently went down instead. One wonders who the marketing genius was that hatched this campaign, and whether they championed the idea based on dispassionate market research (including unintended consequences) or based on personal gender proclivity ... and if they'll now be promoted to groundskeeper."

"Trust me, if a gay or lesbian walks into a Lincoln or Land Rover dealership with $50,000, the dealership will sell them a car."

"It's simple. How much money are they spending to advertise to 2-3% of the population?? Just about everybody needs a car, regardless of your gender or orientation. Those have nothing to do with it. Someone just got smart and noticed they were wasting money for no good reason. A gay or lesbian or transgender who needs a car will get what they need and can afford, and not base it on who advertised in a barely-read publication."

"Yeah, there are more gays celebrated featured on TV/Cable than conservative Christians. Christians get the back of the bus treatment. Hmmmm, perhaps we need own own Rosa Parks."

"How many of these people actually buy American cars? What a waste of advertising dollars."

"I know Subaru has a large gay following, but I think it would have to have a large straight following as well. They are about every third car in Utah and I doubt that is a real gay hot spot."

"And Ford will have to do to Washington with a tin cup at some point. When they do the sodomites won't be much help. Seriously, though, I saw an article in the WSJ yesterday talking about how corporate images rose and fell. It mentioned that Procter and Gamble's approval polling fell by 9%. It never suggested that this might have something to do with their corporate support of the sodomite agenda."


Grinch


(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


Chimpy's 'holiday card' pisses off the bible beaters

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hee hee. Nothing like a little political correctness by the White House to send the "base" into a tizzy. After all, they've been bashing retailers about putting the "Christ" back in Christmas, and their fearless leader has let them down -- the official White House card, sent to over a million people wishes recipients a happy "holiday season."

As the WaPo article says, "some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings."


"[Bush] claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one. I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."
-- wingnut extraordinaire Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WingNutDaily


"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture...Ninety-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Spare me the diversity lecture."
-- the barely sane William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights



"It bothers me that the White House card leaves off any reference to Jesus, while we've got Ramadan celebrations in the White House," Wildmon said. "What's going on there?"
-- new best friend of Ford Motor Company, Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association

Thanks to Blender Paul for this hilarious pointer.

Also: check out The Pensito Review, which has a picture of the infamous card.

***

In an event to remember -- another one that ticked off the Right -- the Chimperor, at the White House tree lighting ceremony, went off script and made an ass out of himself. (WingNutDaily):
...President Bush made a remark alluding to Jesus Christ, which some feel compared Him with Santa Claus.


While alluding to Jesus, President Bush thanked Santa Claus for coming to National Christmas tree lighting a White House last night (White House photo by Paul Morse)

Flanked by the first lady, as well as members of Congress and the Cabinet, Bush told the public, "The lighting of the National Christmas tree is one of the great traditions in our nation's capital. Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy – and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming. Glad you made it."

The remark received a few chuckles from those in attendance, as Bush continued to speak to a Santa Claus figure, stating, "I know you've got a lot of commitments this time of year. By the way, we have a lot of chimneys at the White House if you're looking for something to do."
By the way, after this WingNutDaily piece ran, the White House damage control machine's whipping boy, Scotty McClellan, had to email an explanation for his brain-damaged master's miscue to WND. He reassured them that Bush was just "changing topics."
WND: Scott, just one question today. At yesterday's briefing, the transcript records my quoting the president in his saying, "Each year we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity. Santa, thanks for coming." When I asked you WorldNetDaily's question, will the president apologize to Christians offended by his referring to Jesus as Santa, you responded, "The president meant exactly what he said, Les." But last night, I received an e-mail which had your name on it, which said there were two separate – (laughter.)

McCLELLAN: Keep working on my e-mails, sending you things.

WND: There were two separate thoughts –

McCLELLAN: Must have been a little – must have been a little elf. (Laughter.)

WND: Well, wait a minute, let me just tell you what was in the e-mail –

McCLELLAN: Go ahead. I want to give you the stage.

WND: – which it said, there were –

McCLELLAN: I think I know where you're going with this.

WND: – two separate thoughts – after he spoke about the meaning of Christmas, he then recognized Santa. And first of all, I want to ask, was that your e-mail? And was it your final and conclusive answer rather than, the president meant –

McCLELLAN: Well, it was my e-mail. He wasn't, as you phrased it yesterday, comparing the two. Santa was at the event for the children that were there, and I don't think you want to take Santa away from all those children.


Vatican to Boston archdiocese: gays are unfit to adopt

...allowing children to be adopted by persons living in (same-sex) unions would actually mean doing violence to these children.”
-- Papa Ratzi, back in a 2003 document, when he was a Cardinal
The latest trickle-down gay-bashing from the power-mad Prada Pope. A letter has been issued from a DC-based Vatican stooge telling Catholic Charities of Boston that it can no longer broker adoptions if gay couples are in the pool of potential parents. (Boston Herald):
The recommendation was contained in a letter sent recently from the office of Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, the papal nuncio, the source said on condition of anonymity.

...“The dioceses of Massachusetts are currently reviewing the issue of Catholic Charities having facilitated adoptions for same-sex couples,” the statement continues. “The bishops expect to receive a recommendation concerning this matter early in the New Year.”

Catholic Charities officials defended the practice in published reports. One official cited the need to work within state guidelines mandating that agencies allow same-sex couples to adopt. Another cited the good of putting hard-to-place kids in loving families.

... A church official in Rome said Montalvo could have become involved for a number of reasons — among them if someone in Boston had lodged a complaint.


C.J. Doyle is not down with the gays caring for children. (Source:AP/George Rizer)

An outspoken local critic of the policy, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts Executive Director C.J. Doyle, said he had not filed such a formal complaint. But if Catholic Charities is forced to stop arranging same-sex adoptions, he said, “We would obviously be delighted with that.”
And what about those hard-to-place children. Are they to remain in a foster system? That is preferable to being in a loving home of a same-sex couple? Benedict and his diseased brethren of bigotry in the church are slowly destroying it. Actually, they have really put it on a fast track on all fronts.


Excellent article on the Ford mess

MetroWeekly has a comprehensive article on the Ford mess, Roll Over: Ford puts itself at the center of the latest battle over gays and corporate America. It include an interview with John Aravosis, who is slamming Ford hard on AmericaBlog. There are good quotes and coverage on both sides of the issue.
Aravosis sees AFA's actions as part of an overall strategy to go after the pillars of the GLBT community's support.

''They want to knock out the foundation of our movement, in this case the financial and cultural support,'' he said. ''They're going after the ones who embrace us, who support their [gay] employees.... They're going after our strengths and knocking them down.''
Even our leather-loving friend, Peter LaBarbera tossed his two cents in; surprisingly, he's not so sure that the American Family Association is going to succeed in the long run.


Peter LaBarbera, head of the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) and long-time anti-gay activist, said that the gay community has had a huge amount of success in recruiting corporations to its side. ''I would say the gay side is miles ahead of us,'' he said. ''They were smart enough to go at it early, and make their focus not just on politics, which is a clear mistake of my side, which focused more on Washington and not as much on the cultural aspects.''

LaBarbera, who is currently working to have Walgreens and other corporations drop their sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, said that the corporations don't realize how their pro-gay activities damage their reputation with ''pro-family perspectives.''

IFI is not affiliated with AFA's effort to boycott Ford. LaBarbera expressed some reservations about the effectiveness of boycotts, particularly if there are too many going on. ''There's so much stuff that qualifies for [a] boycott that you have to pick and choose,'' he said.
The theory that the Ford dealerships in the hinterlands are behind the pressure on Ford HQ is supported by industry insiders.
...AFA's threatened boycott may have driven some independent Ford dealers to push the corporation to reach an agreement.

''I would say dealers played a big role in this,'' said Cliff Banks, a Ward's Auto editor and one of the reporters on the WardsAuto.com stories. ''A lot of them are in the Bible-belt area, and they were hearing a lot from their customers, saying that they were going to go along with the boycott.''Banks said that the feeling among those dealers is that AFA is a powerful group with their customers. But, he said, ''Ford could have handled the situation better.''

''It's pretty obvious to me that Ford wanted to avoid one boycott, and avoid stepping into another boycott,'' he said.

...Kathleen deBold, executive director of the Mautner Project for Lesbian Health, said the Ford situation shows that the community must constantly be ready for these controversies. ''Corporations exist to make a profit, and the profit motive can make for fair-weather friends,'' she said. ''This just shows why we have to be vigilant in watching what's going on behind this scenes.'' Still, she said, Ford's actions don't necessarily make sense from the profit perspective.

''It's a very silly thing for a company to do, because if they want to make money, they should be selling to every consumer,'' she said, noting that studies have shown the gays and lesbians are well-educated consumers who remember things for a very long time.
Oh yes, as long as the AFA is Ford's bed-buddy, my next car won't be a Ford, thank you very much.


Indianapolis bigots in the pulpit are unhinged

The brainlessness goes on unabated in Indianapolis, where the bigots in the pulpit are fixated on their view of civil rights as a zero-sum game when you're talking about equal rights for LGBT citizens. From Focus on the Anus's news site:
Gay activists like to talk about the civil rights battles of the 60’s. They claim their struggle is the same. But one group of African-Americans is bristling at the connection, pastors. The latest example is in Indiana where black pastors are protesting an Indianapolis city ordinance that gives special rights to homosexuals. Eric Miller with Advance America is opposed to the change.



“This ordinance stated that a business with six or more employees could not refuse to hire a homosexual or someone based upon their gender identity like a cross dresser.”
I also love this next quote. I think they are using a Batsh*t Homophobic Comment GeneratorTM:
And he’s not alone. Joining him in dissent are 21 African-American pastors in Indianapolis. Pastor Terry Webster of Nu Corinthian Baptist Church is one.



“When they’re talking about civil rights, they actually have equated it to the civil rights struggle and discrimination that the black community went through. We’re not against human rights. We are for human rights and we are not for anyone being discriminated against, but we also feel that this is a smokescreen and it’s seeking still to elevate homosexuality.”
And they manage to dig up our friend over at P21 for a quote. Isn't this shameless?

"They are offended that people are equating a behavior to something that was basically denied them because of the color of their skin. They don’t see that there’s equality among the suffering there and that’s why they’re rebelling against it."
-- The curiously pale head of black wingnut organization Project 21, David Almasi, on why lawmakers should listen to bigoted black pastors in Indianapolis who oppose gay civil equality
***

I also found interesting info on Advance America/Eric Miller. There was a multi-part series on him by Gary R. Welsh of Advance Indiana. This is a snippet of one of the parts, over at GayIndy.org.
Advance America's website touts itself as the "largest pro-family, pro-church, pro-private and home school and pro-tax reform organization" in Indiana. It boasts a membership of over 42,000 families, 1,600 businesses and over 3,800 churches around the state. According to its website it is "a nonpartisan, tax-exempt, educational organization and as such does not endorse any candidate or political party."

Its purported mission is "to [inform] and [educate] the citizens of Indiana as to how their government works and what they can do to make a difference on issues of importance to them." When the Ku Klux Klan first obtained its charter to operate in Indiana it purported to be a "purely benevolent and eleemosynary" (i.e. compassion, mercy) and a "patriotic fraternal order." Don't be fooled by Advance America's description.

...Other legislative agenda items of Advance America have included: the mandatory display of the American flag in all public schools and require students to recite the pledge of allegiance; provide tax credits to parents who send their children to Christian schools; require that the motto "In God We Trust" be placed in all public schools; expanding tax-exempt status of churches; and opposition to expanded gambling activities in Indiana among others. Indiana's Constitution specifically bars the use of public funds for the benefit of a religious institution. Nonetheless, Advance American uses its own tax exempt status to push provisions which clearly violate this prohibition. If you look at the Ku Klux Klan's "Americanization" agenda from 1925, it is difficult to distinguish from Advance America's legislative agenda. Like D.C. Stephenson, its leader is politically ambitious. Eric Miller unsuccessfully sought the Governor's office in 2004.

...While Miller fervently devotes his efforts to banning same sex marriages and civil unions based on the false belief that it represents an assault on families in Indiana, actions he has taken in his own personal life raise serious questions about his commitment to family. Miller's first marriage ended in divorce. A few years ago he married for the second time. Miller has produced no children from either marriage even though he argues that God reserves marriage for heterosexual couples because they can procreate and insure the survival of the human race. Does Eric Miller and his followers actually believe that committed relationships between gays and lesbians are a threat to heterosexual marriages given that more than 50% of them end in divorce? Why doesn't his organization devote its effort to saving heterosexual marriages? Does he discuss the harm heterosexual divorces causes to Indiana families?
Don't you love it?

Thanks to Blender Scott of Reality Cubed for the pointer.


Ford digs a very deep hole for itself

[UPDATE (1 PM)]: Ford has agreed to no longer sponsor any gay events, and its spokesman now admits that the company has bowed completely to the American Taliban.]

Ford has decided that it would rather lose gay and gay-friendly business than face the wrath of the extreme fringe element of the Right Wing by agreeing to the demands of the American Family Association. Initially it was over the decision not to advertise in gay publications, but now we have learned that it's over way more than just a few ads...

Here's the info on Ford's complete cave-in posted at AmericaBlog.
This is from WardsAuto.com, the publication that broke the Ford story last week, and it's owned by Primedia, it's a real industry publication:
Ford Motor Co.'s decision to cease advertising in gay publications for its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands is part of a truce between the auto maker and the American Family Assn. (AFA) to avert a threatened boycott by the right-wing Christian conservative group, Ward‚s learns....

As part of the latest agreement hammered out Nov. 29, sources confirm Volvo Cars will continue to advertise in the publications but will use generic ads not tailored to the gay community.

In addition, Ford has agreed not to sponsor any future gay and lesbian events but will continue to maintain its employee policies, such as same-sex partner benefits.
(Note: This is a subscription only publication.)

Gee, isn't that swell. Ford agreed not to viciously revoke its benefits for all of its employees. Gosh, I'm so proud of them. Not to mention, if Ford is stating that it's not revoking its benefits, then it sounds like the religious right wanted them to. Yet Ford told us that the issue was only about a few ads.
Damn...what must it feel like as a gay employee at Ford, to see your employer back away from public support of your community because of the likes of the AFA?

***

Eva over at Lloydletta has a great post up with more background, Ford Does More Self Inflicted Damage. She notes that Jerry Reynolds, who is an an influential Ford dealer in Garland, Texas, was the "broker" of the arrangement with the AFA officials and Ford, after his whining that many dealers were concerned about the AFA boycott.

Also, Eva points out that we should be all over Michigan's Carl Levin, who is already trolling for a handout for the financially troubled automaker.
Meanwhile Ford is looking for a bailout from Washington, but they don't want those words used.
They're also asking for one rhetorical favor: Please don't call the requests a bailout. "I don't view it as a bailout," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said.

"We're not looking for a bailout," agreed William C. Ford Jr., chairman of Ford Motor Co.
GM and Ford, if you add up their wish list of taxpayer pocketpicking, would cost tens of billions -- far more than Chrysler received back (it garnered $1.5 billion in loan guarantees in 1979 and 1980).

Look, I don't care if Levin's a Dem, he needs to be asking some hard questions of Ford executives about this bedding down with the AmTaliban. Those are my tax dollars wants to use to guarantee that Ford stays afloat.

This is war.

As John noted, folks might want to contact your local Ford dealership to express your dismay at the decisions Ford corporate HQ is making, and to let them know where your next car won't be purchased from.

Ford Motor Company

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

Board of Directors

Phone:
800-392-3673
800-232-5952 (TDD for the Hearing Impaired)

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

Click here to email senior officials at Jaguar, Ford, Mazda, and Hertz all at once.

The pain is just beginning. The bad PR is clearly hurting Ford, because AB's got the Ford PR machine trolling in the comments. John chased the IP and found the post came from the automaker.

***

Below is a unity statement by LGBT groups that call on Ford to get its act together. I am sure after this latest bit of news, there will be more to releases come.
We are deeply dismayed by reports in the media and otherwise that the Ford Motor Company has entered into a confidential agreement with the extremist American Family Association (AFA) that requires Ford to stop advertising in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media. If there is an agreement with AFA, we expect Ford to disavow it. We expect Ford to publicly reaffirm its historic support for our community. And, we expect Ford to meet with LGBT representatives this week to resolve these concerns.

Family Pride
Freedom to Marry
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Human Rights Campaign
Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC)
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
Triangle Foundation


Wisconsin nutcase calls for 'open season' on homos

"[I'm] concerned there are people out there . . calling themselves Christians, with this kind of attitude. This time of year to be discussing something in such a negative light as this phone call was, is just amazing to me."
-- Wisconsin State Senator Dave Hansen, on an anonymous message left on his voicemail
Of course it's easy for a cowardly bastard to leave a dumbass message like this without a name attached:
"We gotta stop these queers. There's no question in everybody's mind that this cannot go through. Uh, we, we...this is getting ridiculous. We gotta..we gotta stop this..there's no such thing as queer marriages..we gotta stop it..in fact, no, i think we should have an amendment put on the ballot, a referendum, uh, maybe we should have an open season on those people and just let 'em know how we really think. Okay? Bye."
You can listen to it here. It's obvious that the unhinged batsh*t-crazy crowd feels that they are losing cultural ground.

In this case its the Wisconsin Taliban that is becoming more and more irrational (if that is possible for these people) as the state Senate is expected to take up a constitutional amendment today prohibiting gay marriage and civil unions. The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin sent out 4,000 copies of a propaganda DVD entitled, "The Battle for Marriage in Wisconsin" to churches across the state.

According to 365gay.com, the film juxtaposes images of the flag and traditional families with gay couples, suggesting that homosexuality is un-American. It also uses the scare tactic that "without an amendment Wisconsin courts could follow the Massachusetts Supreme Court and clear the way for gay marriage." Smell the fear...
"Who knows what the next attack will be?" the video proclaimed. "If we continue down this road we'll be asked to legalize marriage between one man and two or more women or even between groups of people."



"We think that the churches are the key to educating the people on what this amendment is all about," said the group's executive director, Julaine Appling.

The DVD goes on to say, "But this battle needs many foot soldiers. We need individuals and churches just like you and your church all across the state to join us and preserve one man one woman marriage in Wisconsin for the sake of our future and our children."

..."If this vast social experiment is allowed to succeed, what will happen to our churches and pastors, to our businesses, to our public schools, to our religious liberties, and most importantly to our children?" the DVD states.
Well, at least these folks haven't mentioned our Agenda included Man-Dead Sex, huh?

Thanks to Jeremy of Good As You.


HR 550: Is your vote safe?



No more black box voting.

Last Wednesday, I blogged about House Resolution 550 is the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act, sponsored by Congressman Rush Holt (NJ-12) and co-sponsored by 159 Representatives. You know, the bill only nine Republicans signed on to.

The bill 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

If you think it's important to have an auditable voting system in this country, blog about this legislation and go sign the petition in support of H.R. 550 here.

DBK of Blanton and Ashton’s has launched this blogswarm, and you can find more information on news and action items there.


Thanks, Mike

I just wanted to give a shout-out to Mike Rogers of BlogActive (and PageOneQ), who has asked his audience to cast a daily vote for the Blend for the Best LGBT blog. He's way too kind...
It's that time of year... web awards season... when bloggers get to ask you to vote for them in an effort to be designated as the biggest vote getter. I was preparing my "it's just an honor to be nominated with these amaz...." when I wondered, "How can these awards be used to create some positive change?"

Here's my idea. Go to this link, and vote for PAM'S HOUSE BLEND. Why help move the Blend up to the number one slot? The logic is simple, In a blog world dominated by guys, Pam continues to break new ground. Her site is a daily must read.

Now get this. Fifteen LGBT blogs have been nominated. The total number of those blogs from women: One! Of course, this should come as no surprise as the awards are run by right leaning Wizbang.


Mike had this cute graphic up - where did he dig that up, lol?

So, I hope visitors will go to the Weblog voting page and vote for Pam's House Blend and help put the L back in LGBT.
Voting has been brisk, with PHB and the conservative Gay Patriot trading places at the top of the heap so far. You can cast your daily ballot up until the 15th. I'm genuinely surprised to be up there at the top at all, so many thanks to everyone!

Merci! (Oops. Is that too French of me)?


Sayonara to the 'big tent' for Wake GOP head

"The Republican Party appears to be going further and further to the right," Mintz said. "It's really not the party for me any longer. I'm not bitter. I have a lot of friends who are Republicans."
-- Chris Mintz, former head of the Wake County (NC) Republican Mens Club, who has switched parties and is now challenging State Rep. Russell Capps of Raleigh
This is what the NC Taliban fears most -- a schism between centrist Republicans and the bible beaters in the Tar Heel State. It's a beautiful thing...(N&O):
State Rep. Russell Capps of Raleigh will be getting a most unusual Democratic challenger next year -- the president of the Wake County Republican Mens Club. Chris Mintz, a Raleigh financial planner, is not only resigning as club president, but is changing his registration to Democrat.

Mintz, 30, said he decided to leave the Republican Party because he thinks it is too focused on social issues rather than on economic issues. He also said the GOP is becoming less tolerant of different viewpoints. Mintz said he thought his political views were pretty much in the middle, where most North Carolinians are.

Mintz has worked in numerous Republican campaigns, most notably the gubernatorial campaigns of Richard Vinroot in 1996 and Patrick Ballantine in 2004.
He'll have to face Dem Duke University fund-raiser Ty Harrell, who has announced that he will run for the Capps seat. Harrell served as finance director for Erskine Bowles' botched U.S. Senate campaign in 2002 (against 'Empty Wig' Dole) and was Howard Dean's southern regional finance director in 2004.

Frank Williams, acting chairman of the Wake County Republican Men’s Club club is smarting, lol. Look at the wild spinning...

I was shocked to read in this morning's edition of The News & Observer that our club's Chairman has resigned his post and is switching to the Democratic party. As someone who has known Chris Mintz for nearly ten years, I have a difficult time believing that anyone who truly stands for the principles for which he has always claimed to stand can ever feel at home in the Democratic Party. Sadly, I can only reach one conclusion: that this decision was made on the basis of political opportunity, not principle.


Anti-gay marriage bigot hoping for a turnaround with Harper


Brian Rushfeldt has said gay marriage in the Great White North will mean the unimaginable destruction of society. Sound familiar?
"One of the dynamics that [Harper's comment] sets up for our organization is it's an encouragement to the very people we work with who were demoralized after we lost the [marriage] definition law six months ago."
-- Brian Rushfeldt of the Canada Family Action Coalition, about wingnut Stephen Harper's priority to define marriage as between a man and a woman if Conservatives come into power.
At this point it looks like the Liberals will not win a majority in the upcoming January 23 election, but this James Dobson wannabe believes that he can build a groundswell of support on the back of the delusional Stephen Harper to elect enough Conservatives to overturn same-sex marriage.
The head of a Canadian pro-family organization says conservative Canadians will be energized now that Conservative leader Stephen Harper has pledged to reopen the debate on same-sex "marriage" in their country.

Ousted Prime Minister Paul Martin, whose government had only been in power for 17 months, barely fought off an earlier no-confidence vote in May, but was voted down decisively last week 171-133. The Globe & Mail of Canada reported that within hours of the announcement of the no-confidence vote in Parliament, Conservative leader Stephen Harper pledged to work to reinstate the traditional definition of marriage if he is elected prime minister in January.

Brian Rushfeldt of the Canada Family Action Coalition believes Harper has re-energized Canadians who were devastated after same-sex marriage was legalized six months ago.

"I was absolutely delighted to hear him go public with that [announcement], knowing that it's a risky move for a politician to do that in one sense," says the Coalition president and co-founder. "And yet I am so convinced that the majority of Canadians are going to be delighted by that. We're very encouraged with Stephen Harper's comment and commitment to reopen the whole issue on same-sex marriage."

-- and I think that dynamic certainly might help very much on the Conservative side for getting out the vote as well."

Rushfeldt expects the marriage issue will help bring more Conservatives to the polls. "They will be excited; I think we can mobilize them on this fact," he says.


Mike Tidmus.


Howler: AFA using a failed 'ex-gay' in video

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wayne Besen has the scoop over on PageOneQ.
Author and activist Wayne Besen is reporting that the American Family Association is continuing to use the story of Michael Johnston, a so-called ex-gay, in their propaganda campaign against gay and lesbian Americans. "When I first saw the video featuring Johnston on the AFA website, I was shocked. How could an organization like the AFA keep on using an HIV positive, failed ex-gay, as the centerpiece of their efforts?" Besen told PageOneQ this morning.
Johnston allegedly continued to engage in unsafe sex two years ago -- with several men in Virginia. This resulted in Johnston stepping down from his role as spokesman for the "ex-gay" movement.

Hahahahaha. Wayne Besen has called on The American Family Association to immediately stop selling the video "It's Not Gay."


Kansas anti-evolutionists beat the sh*t out of anti-ID professor

"I didn’t know them, but I’m sure they knew me."
-- Kansas University religious studies professor Paul Mirecki, who was beaten by cretins in response to Mirecki's comments about fundamentalists and "intelligent design"
When Paul Mirecki planned to teach a class called "Intelligent Design, Creationism and Other Religious Mythologies," he sent out an email that was clear he didn't share the views of anti-evolutionist Kansans.
"The fundies want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology.’" Mirecki said he was "doing my part" to upset "the religious right" and signed his posting "Evil Dr. P."
As you can imagine, supporters of intelligent design got so riled up over this insult to their new "faux science" that a hellstorm of protests forced Kansas University to deep-six the class. For some of these bible beaters, this wasn't enough. A couple of God-fearing Kansans decided to get medieval on Mirecki's ass.
Paul Mirecki reported he was beaten by two men about 6:40 a.m. today on a roadside in rural Douglas County. In a series of interviews late this afternoon, Mirecki said the men who beat him were making references to the controversy that has propelled him into the headlines in recent weeks.

Mirecki said he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.

"I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind," he said. "They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out."

He said the men beat him about the upper body with their fists, and he said he thinks they struck him with a metal object. He was treated and released at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

...The sheriff’s department is looking for the suspects, described as two white males between ages 30 and 40, one wearing a red visor and wool gloves, and both wearing jeans. They were last seen in a large pickup truck.
I'm sure those good "Christians" that opened the can of Whoop-Ass on the professor went home, dropped on their knees and prayed for forgiveness, right?

I agree with Shakes Sis on this one -- you won't see any outrage on the Right about this.
Let’s get real about what happened here. A liberal said something inappropriate. Not threatening, not inflammatory, not even especially provacative. And he got beaten up.

Meanwhile, conservatives go around with liberal hunting licenses stuck on their bumpers, Ann Coulter says a baseball bat is the most effective way to talk to liberals, Bill O’Reilly offers up San Francisco to terrorists, conservative hate groups are on the rise again, violence against the LGBT community is on the rise again, women who report rapes are being prosecuted, pharmacists are telling women they’re being punished by God as they rip up their prescriptions, the poor suffer a constant barrage of shit from conservatives and their policies that allow them to abstractly blather about an “ownership society” but have real-world, life and death consequences for the people subjected to those policies, and the asinine duo of O’Reilly and Coulter have the temerity to moan about how conservatives need to employ security details to protect them from liberals. Can we please have a modicum of perspective on who, exactly, is being attacked here? What’s Ann’s big concern? That she might get another pie thrown at her? Well, sorry—I don’t have a lot of fucking sympathy for someone who incites violence against liberals and then finds herself with whipped cream in her hair.
Hat tips to Eva of Lloydletta and Agitprop.


Cunningham's co-conspirator and his 'hospitality suite'


Brent Wilkes (L), founder of ADCS Inc., is identified by officials as "co-conspirator No. 1" in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery case. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The GOP sleaze knows no bounds. First we have the revelation that Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the disgraced corrupt Congressman is yet another self-loathing GOP homo.

Now we find out one of the co-conspirators in Duke's pocket-lining activities, formerly identified as "co-conspirator No. 1," is lobbyist and military contractor Brent Wilkes. Cunningham received more than $630,000 in cash and favors (more on those possible favors later) from Wilkes.

It should be noted that Wilkes also served as San Diego County finance co-chairman of The Governator's campaign and as state finance co-chairman for President Bush, but it looks like he was running something completely different in DC.

The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a lengthy piece that dug into all the connections, but The Hotline pulled out a most interesting snippet that sounds mighty randy to me...
According to the U-T, Wilkes also "ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in" DC -- "first in the Watergate Hotel and then" in a Capitol Hill hotel.

Come again? A "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

Talk about raising more questions, including:

-- Why does a lobbyist need a "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

-- Who uses those bedrooms and for what?

These lobbying scandals involving Cunningham and Wilkes and Abramoff are looking more and more like a bad movie script every day.
God, I am sick of the GOP claiming to be the party of values when you've got what looks like another Rethug rent-boy/rent-girl scandal just waiting to explode. Hey, was our boy Gannon working this story (in more ways than one)?

Look at who else is in Wilkes's contact file, and the cushy way he benefited from those relationships.
Over the past 20 years, Wilkes has devoted much of his career to developing political contacts in Washington. He and his associates have spent at least $600,000 on political contributions and $1.1 million on lobbying beyond the gifts mentioned in the Cunningham plea agreement, as they cultivated such politicians as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis.

And since 1996, he has received at least $95 million in government contracts for the small family of firms based in his $11 million headquarters in Poway, including ADCS Inc. and Group W.
If these were Democrats, you know it would be 24/7 on the newschannels, digging into the sex-potential of the story. Of course I really don't want to visualize what kind of actual deviance goes on in a Republican "hospitality suite."

Hat tip, BlogActive


Hillary continues image building with more wingnut bootlicking


Hil and new buddy Bob Bennett of Utah.

House Blender and Julien's List contributor 'Bean is steaming over the latest transparent and craven move by Hillary Clinton to cozy up to the wingnut faction. As he puts it:
"She's Co-Sponsoring a bit of Flag-Burning legislation with a Right-Wing Freak from UTAH. Never mind the hardcore Lefties AND Righties who happen to rather LIKE the First Amendment!"
She tries to mitigate this sad move by saying she's against a constitutional ban on flag attacks. Come on, Hil. Do you think we are all dumb as rocks? (Newsday):
Clinton, D-N.Y., has agreed to co-sponsor a measure by Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, which has been written in hopes of surviving any constitutional challenge following a 2003 Supreme Court ruling on the subject.

Her support of Bennett's bill follows her position in Congress last summer, when a constitutional ban on flag-burning was debated. Clinton said then she didn't support a constitutional ban, but did support federal legislation making it a crime to desecrate the flag.

In her public statements, she has compared the act of flag-burning to burning a cross, which can be considered a violation of federal civil rights law.

The Bennett-sponsored measure outlaws a protester intimidating any person by burning the flag, lighting someone else's flag, or desecrating the flag on federal property.
Hillary, like her colleague on the other side of the aisle, the Bush-humping, AZ marriage amendment-supporting John McCain, will do whatever it takes to try to bring that public image to the perceived center.



The error is they believe that they must kowtow to the lowest common denominator -- the 35% or so of wingnut sheeple that are probably not going to vote for either of them anyway.

Since when has freedom of speech been against her core principles? Probably since the last focus group or polling her minions conducted about her national political viability. Ultimately, that is tie that binds her to Bill. It's all about putting the finger in the wind, and if any group, opinion, or idea stands in the way of political success, it will be tossed overboard in a heartbeat. I suppose that would be fine if it's strictly a Trojan horse to win and then to push for more progressive policies, but we know how that worked the last time around, especially for the LGBT crowd.

Bill gave us Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA, and even told Kerry to toss gays overboard to get the win in 2004. When we compromise and bite the bullet for the centrist Dems that curry favor with the Right Wing, progressives get a condescending pat on the head and a lecture to be quiet. As we have seen in the case of gay rights, we didn't get a return on the investment -- in fact, we've been fighting the AmTaliban to keep rights from slipping away ever since, state by state, town by town -- with no leadership at the national level willing to give vocal, unwavering support.

But don't worry -- the appeals to open queer and progressive wallets will continue unabated.

The Senator from New York will not be receiving a dime from me for her presidential run because this is just a taste of the "compromises" to come that no one will buy anyway.


A double dose of the Freepi

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blenders, Blenders, I have deprived you of quotes from the land of the knuckledragging mouth-breathers in Freeperland for way too long. Here are two items found from my journey over there.

First I wanted to see the reaction to the news that civil partnerships are now the law in the U.K., and people can now register. The first ceremonies can take place in Northern Ireland on 19 December, followed by Scotland the next day and England and Wales on 21 December.



Elton John and his partner David Furnish plan to be one of the first UK couples to marry. They registered their civil partnership today.

So what did emerged from the swamp?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"The sun has finally set on the British Empire."

"Make me vomit."

"Looks like they're going the way of the Romans. . ."


"From the mouth of Archie Bunker, "England is a fag country." I guess he never knew. I wonder how this is going over with the population."

"Then I must remember that it won't end with gay marriage. Liberals will always push boundaries to new obscene levels and sell their queer ideas, particularly to kids and teenagers, or anyone too soft to stand up against "tolerance"."

"There is a silver lining here. Use it for statistics for counting gays in the population. If they say it isn't representative because gays don't get married in large percentages, then we have the situation that most don't really want to live a "normal" middle-class lifestyle, as the activists often claim."

"there just aren't enough gays in this world to justify all the bullshiot they are getting away with, something big must be slipping by, but what?"

"That's no silver lining. Besides, gays are made, not born. Their numbers will increase with all this outreach. Why? Because of human depravity and arrogance that ignores the laws of nature and nature's God."

"Adult-Child "marriage" is next."

"So what happens when British moslems start complaining? Won't the UK have to backtrack to show how pluralist and tolerant of other cultures they are?"



"I'm sure normal marriage will survive. Yet, the combination of all other types of Unions will probably start creeping out of the woodwork. Man-Boy, Man-Dead, Woman-Animal, etc etc. Who are we to prevent the old Europe from this illness."

"Oh, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed bestiality from its list of mental diseases a few years ago, claiming that animals and humans could share long-lasting bonds of love that transcended just sex. It's just a matter of time. These perverts and their "tolerant" and "diversity" loving buddies know no ends. Everytime I hear either of the above two words, I want to vomit."
***

Then, I found this hysterically unhinged "Vanity" piece up there, so horrid that even the Freepers deemed this poor feeble soul a troll....
Why I think homosexuals are stupid

1. An inability to figure out what sexually dimorphic species implys.
2. Obsession with perverted sexual behavior.
3. Ask yourself why every homosexual posting to this site turns virtually every subject thread to homosexual behavior discussions, homosexuals are victims, help homosexuals fight "bigotry."
4. Claiming that the Will and Grace show is what the homosexual lifestyle is all about.
5. Ah, AIDS is a disease associated primarily with aberrant behavior.
6. A million cases of AIDS in U.S. and they haven't seem to figure out why??
7. The placement of one's sex organs in another same sex's excretory routes.
8. Aberrant practice of fisting, rimming, felching, and odd behavior of placing rodents in rectums.
9. Claiming that people who are disgusted with said aberrations are somehow terrified of said behavior--homophobes. This idiotic notion implys that those supporting homos are homophiles.
10. Membership in NAMBLA
11. Homosexuals deserve rights above and beyond others because people oppose their perverted behavior--they call it "hate crime legislation."
12. Homosexuals consider having a lethal venereal disease a badge of courage-- what an accomplishment.
13. Most male homos want to molest young boys--aka--the NAMBLA recruitment technique mastered by the leaders in the movement.
14. Claiming that the hundreds of homosexual priests that raped young boys were really pedophiles only, not homosexual molestors or pederasts.
15. Claiming their lifestyle is "natural and normal" while those people disgusted by it, are called "abnormal." Admittedly, normal folks dumb enough to believe this should probably be reclassified as stupid.
I'm sure you all could come up with 15 reasons Why Freepers are Dumbasses without breaking a sweat. The reaction from his peers?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I agree with most of what you said except they aren't all stupid. You can be smart(ish) and immoral at the same time. Granted, homosexuality is a stupid act, but some of the people who do it are very cunning. They have been brilliant in their marketing of this evil. If anyone is stupid it's the people who are buying what the gay activists are selling. And then there are the cowards who just won't speak up, even when their own children are being corrupted by this stuff."

"This is the sort of thread people post on Free Republic so they can point out to others how "intolerant" FReepers are. Begone, Troll!"

"I don't disagree with most of what you say, however, they are spreading the death warrant of AIDS at record rates. This is being stupid to the public health risk of self-destructive behavior, IMHO."


Caption this


Actual caption: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reads a prepared statement to reporters before flying to Europe from the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland December 5, 2005. Rice defended the practice of 'rendition', which she defined as transporting terrorist suspects from one country to another 'to be questioned, held or brought to justice'. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/Reuters)

A telling clip from the AP article, Rice Defends U.S. Terrorism Policy:
Although she stopped short of confirming the existence of such prisons, Rice said that "the captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice."

"We need to adapt," she said.


No one wanted Daddy Dobson's balls

I love how this AgapePress piece doesn't mention the stress balls ("items") that were handed out at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day to promote the "ex-gay" movement (see my earlier post).

It looks like the Focus on the Anus crew are now taking a different approach to get suckers over to the TroubledWith web site -- targeting people with seasonal/holiday depression -- no mention of homosexuality as a disorder "that can be cured through faith" in this article. Isn't that rich!

I guess if you are gay and click over there, they'll just attempt to kill two birds with one stone...
Last month Focus on the Family (FOTF) began a campaign of prominent presence in New York City by running a 30-second spot on the Times Square Jumbotron to highlight "www.troubledwith.com," a website that offers practical advice and counseling referrals for people dealing with a broad range of difficult issues. The ad also aired during the Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil shows in the New York market, and FOTF representatives were also on hand at New York City's famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to hand out items promoting the TroubledWith.com site along the parade route.

The ministry is specifically targeting the holiday season with the website's message of "where to go when you don't know where to go" because of the reported increase in depression, abuse, and suicide during this time of year.

Steve Watters, FOTF's Director of Marriage and Family Formation, says too many people are living "in quiet desperation, hurting and struggling through troubling situations because they just aren't sure where to turn for help." The objective of the TroubledWith.com campaign, he explains, is "to reach as many of those people as possible and offer them the help they desperately need."


9/11 Commission: Chimp and Company get Ds and Fs


"We shouldn't need another wake-up call. We believe that the terrorists will strike again, so does every responsible expert that we have talked to. And if they do, and these reforms that might have prevented such an attack have not been implemented, what will our excuse be?"
-- former 9/11 commission chairman Tom Kean
Hit us again Osama -- our Dear Leader hasn't done a freaking thing to stop you. Even Faux News is reporting what a suck-*ss job this Administration is doing at "keeping America safe." Frankly, the Congress is equally to blame, worrying more about pork pocket lining than whether our transportation and infrastructures are any more resistant to terrorist attack.

How many billions have been wasted on Iraq that could have gone into making you feel more secure? Didn't Darth Cheney say that if Americans put George Bush back in the White House instead of "the other guy" that we would be safer? Why do Republicans hate America? (AP):
Meeting for the last time since being appointed by Congress in 2002, commission members gave the government "more F's than A's" among the 41 grades measuring progress on security recommendations they issued last year.

...Specifically, the panel gave the government an "F" on homeland security spending for cities most at risk, on improving radio communication for emergency agencies and on airline passenger prescreening. They awarded only one A — actually an A-minus — for the administration's efforts to curb terrorist financing.

...Since the commission's final report in July 2004, the government has enacted the centerpiece proposal to create a national intelligence director. But it has stalled on other ideas, including improving communication among emergency responders and shifting federal terrorism-fighting money so it goes to states based on risk level.

"There are so many competing priorities," said vice chairman Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana. We've got three wars going on: one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq and the war against terror. And it's awfully hard to keep people focused on something like this."

...Kean and Hamilton urged Congress to pass spending bills that would allow police and fire to communicate across radio spectrums and to reallocate money so that Washington and New York, which have more people and symbolic landmarks, could receive more for terrorism defense.

Both bills have stalled in Congress, in part over the level of spending and turf fights over which states should get the most dollars.
And remember, the Transportation "SECURITY" Administration has declared that you and your buddies can now bring your blades (4 inches or less), screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers back on board. Sorry folks, your box cutters, ice picks, knives, and bows and arrows didn't make the cut -- pun intended.


Ford gets smoked by Jesus' General



Just go see the whole graphic. Priceless.

Also, it looks like AmericaBlog is about to burn Ford to a crisp as well, planning to do a Microsoft to the auto giant.

* Ford caves in to Wildmon and AFA


Blend nominated for 2005 Weblog Award



[UPDATE (Monday, 1:30PM): The "Vote" link is now live.]

As I was checking referrals to the Blend in Sitemeter, I saw a link to the 2005 Weblog Awards (run by Wizbang).

Unbelievably, the Blend is a finalist in the category of "Best LGBT Blog."

Our little coffeehouse was nominated by Chandler in Hollywood and Eva of Lloydletta -- thanks for thinking of PHB, friends!

I don't know how the winger Wizbang let this blog get to the finals, but stranger things have happened, lololol. :) Much of the success of this blog is due to you, the readers and commenters -- and of course, the fine contributions of fellow barista, "Radical" Russ.

The Blend is nominated in good company -- many are blogs much larger than this pad...

Best LGBT Blog

Gay Patriot
Queer Visions
Pam's House Blend
Boi From Troy
Right Side of the Rainbow
Gay Orbit
Shades of Gray
Brat Boy School
Classical Values
Good as You
Troubled Diva
The Malcontent
BlogActive
TowleRoad
Homocon

The rest of the categories are here.

Also, Pandagon (I'm a contributor/co-moderator there) is up for Best Group Blog.

According to the site, voting begins December 5, 2005 and ends December 15, 2005. You may vote once per category every 24 hours. When you click on the category, it should take you to a page where there is a "Vote!" link.

If you feel so inclined, surf over and cast a vote for your favorite blog(s)!


Washington Blade editorial: 'outing' can change votes

Surf over to the Washington Blade for Executive Editor Chris Crain's editorial on the "outing" of gay hypocrites on the Hill.

The piece starts out with confirmation that Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (he resigned last week after pleading guilty to bribery, mail fraud, tax evasion and wire fraud) is yet another self-loathing homo with a terrible voting record on gay issues.
What you won't read about in these mainstream press accounts is the other double life led by the closet case, Duke, the anti-gay conservative.

Cunningham, who is married with grown children, has admitted to romantic, loving relationships with men, both during his Vietnam military service and as a civilian. That was the remarkable story that this publication reported two years ago, when Elizabeth Birch, the former Human Rights Campaign leader, inadvertently outed Cunningham at a gay rights forum.
Crain then goes on to compare some of the folks on the Hill that you've read about on the Blend before. Some have been outed with fanfare (like former Rep. Ed Schrock, below), others, like David Dreier, have been outed repeatedly, but it has been largely ignored by mainstream media.


The Schrock tapes were released by BlogActive.

What is interesting is that Crain acknowledges that the outings have been able to change voting patterns of some of these folks, which validates the work of Mike Rogers over at BlogActive.
THE SAD STORY of Cunningham's double lives was destined to come to an ugly end, just as it did for Ed Schrock, another anti-gay Congressman who was outed, if not so inadvertently. Caught last year leaving explicit voice messages on a gay phone hookup line, the married Virginia Republican abruptly announced he would not seek re-election.

Things went differently for two gay Republicans in Congress who showed the courage to come out, albeit under pressure. Jim Kolbe, who announced his retirement this week, and Steve Gunderson, who quit in 1996, both came out because they believed they were about to be outed involuntarily.

Neither had been particularly friendly to gay rights while still in the closet. Kolbe had scored a 43 and a 67 on HRC's report card, while Gunderson managed a mediocre 57. Once they no longer were living their own double-life lies, their voting records followed suit. They both scored a perfect 100 in the term after they came out, and Kolbe went on to score perfect or near-perfect scores every term since.



The same could be said for Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who traveled openly within gay circles with his long-term partner until he went back into the closet for a U.S. Senate run in 2004.

Like the others, the closeted Foley scored a dismal 44 on HRC's scorecard, but during his 1996 re-election bid he was outed by local activists in his South Florida district. Since then, he's scored in the 80s or higher on HRC's report card and played an active role on several important pieces of gay rights legislation.

...David Dreier, a member of the GOP House leadership, is also openly closeted, refusing to deny long-standing rumors that he is gay. The rumors only came to a head in the last year, and their only visible impact so far was to take Dreier out of the running for House majority leader after Tom DeLay was forced to resign. But Dreier's voting record looks very much like that of his pre-outed colleagues, ranging between 0 and 25 in the last decade.
Remember, most of the people we're talking about are not closeted in their social circles; their friends, staffers and colleagues know of the person's orientation.

Most are just not politically out, choosing to lie by omission because it suits their day jobs sucking up to the likes of the Christian Coalition. We're not only talking about elected officials. This closet is full of campaign managers, fundraisers and legislators in the corridors of power, ready to elect homophobic officials with homo-hating tactics, and pass anti-gay measure, even as they enjoy homosexual activities themselves under the cover of anonymity.

These folks are addicted to access and power, and know that publicly kicking the closet door open will jeopardize that power in the homo-hating wing of the GOP that currently rules the roost. Look no further than the pathetic Dreier.

However, there is a subset of these hypocrites that are truly self-loathing homosexuals -- the Schrocks of the world -- cruising for homo-sex in the shadows, hating themselves the next day and atoning for their "sin" by casting votes against taxpaying citizens that choose to live their lives honestly as openly gay people.

As I've said before, they all need to be exposed because some of them are clearly unfit to lead, particularly those that fall in the latter category; I think those folks will never see the light.
What's common among the closeted Republican homo-hypocrites is that their padlocked closets are impeding their ability to think clearly. They are are living a lie, and often they are products of their environment -- socially conservative families and neighborhoods -- that make the personal aspect, let alone the political aspect of coming out too psychologically difficult to deal with. Look at Ed Schrock.

In my opinion, closeted gay legislators like Schrock that consistently work against the cause of gay civil rights have no business being in public office. They are simply unbalanced and not able to carry the weight of the closet, a weight I can guarantee you is more of a burden, as a human being, than coming out and dealing with the fallout. I don't know anyone that has come out that would prefer to be back in the closet.

...Time after time, you've seen on this blog that it is the publicly pious legislators who are privately deviant fools unable to reconcile who they are with their ethics, morals or basic priniciples. These people need to just come the f*ck out and get it over with, get a shrink, heal themselves, and not cast a vote on the floor to restrict my rights because they are a mental case about their orientation.
Also:
See Mike Rogers's (BlogActive) excellent response to the editorial.

Related: Back to the subject of outing


'Gift card shopping while black' at Wal-Mart

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"I keep going over and over the incident in my mind. I cannot come up with any possible reason why I was treated like this except that I am black."
-- Reginald Pitts, human resources manager at roofing supplier GAF Materials, who was roughed up while trying to purchase gift cards for employees at Wal-Mart. His company will now buy the cards at Target.
[UPDATE: More Wal-mart woes added at the end.]

Wal-Mart apologizes to corporate shopper for bad check accusation. Nice. The amoral big box retailer really doesn't need any more bad publicity, but here it comes again. How big does the check have to be before someone thinks a black man forged it? In Wal-Mart's case it was a $13,600 corporate check to pay for 520 gift cards for employees.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber said Friday that the company does not tolerate discrimination. "We probably could have handled it better, but I won't know until we complete the investigation," Weber said.

Pitts said that when he went to the store last week to pick up the preprinted cards, store managers stalled for about two hours while he waited. He had handed over his business card, his driver's license and phone numbers to GAF's bank. His accounting supervisor assured them over the phone that GAF was good for the check.

Later, two Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies appeared. One grabbed Pitts by the arm. He objected to the rough handling and asked if he was being arrested. "We need to talk with you about this forged check that you brought in here," Pitts quoted one as deputy saying. The deputy said later Wal-Mart had called and reported that Pitts had committed a felony. A short time later deputies, determined there were no grounds for a criminal charge.
If any of you have seen Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, this story fits right in with the rest of the corporate culture exposed by the Robert Greenwald documentary.

Thanks to Blender Anne for the pointer.

***

Paul of Paul's Rants passed along more woes for Wal-Mart, this time in the shape of lawsuits slapped on the retailer for selling shoddy, defective child bikes. The front wheel comes off while in motion, causing crashes and injuries to the kids.

That kind of lawsuit is not surprising, but this is Wal-Mart and its suppliers, my friends. It looks like the importer and the retail giant failed to report injuries or the alleged defects to the government - and kept on selling the bikes. (SFGate):
Anthony McCurdy watched the front wheel fall off his bike while riding to a bowling alley, he says. The 12-year-old's face hit the sidewalk, and his bicycle landed on his chest. Short of breath, he got up, but then had a seizure and again fell face-first, knocking out his two top front teeth.

Anthony, now a high school junior in West Chicago, said the crash more than five years ago changed him. "I'm just not as able to absorb information as I was before," he said.

He and eight other boys from around the nation are suing retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which sold the bikes, and a San Rafael company that imported them from China. A trial in the case begins Monday in a Marin County courtroom, and the youths are expected to testify about smashing their faces into pavement after the front wheels came loose.

...The lawsuit asserts that the so-called quick-release devices on the front wheels malfunctioned when the bikes hit bumps. The clasps, used on millions of bicycles, are designed to hold the front-wheel axle to the frame and allow the wheel to be easily removed for repairs or transport.

...Under federal law, importers, distributors, retailers and manufacturers are required to tell regulators about anything "that could be a substantial product hazard or has injured or killed a consumer," said U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson.


Update on same-sex marriage around the world

Agence France Presse has a piece up on the state of same-sex marriage around the world. It's good to check in to see how ass-backwards the U.S. is on the matter. The country is clearly on the wrong side of history, and the matter won't be settled for some time as the holy warriors keep up the drumbeat. A summary:

Marriage equality
* The Netherlands (April 2001)
* Belgium (January 2003)
* Canada (June 2005)
* Spain (July 2005).
* South Africa (2005-06): Its Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages on Thursday and ordered parliament to change "intolerant" laws within a year.
* This month Britain becomes the fifth country to allow gay 'marriages' or unions that approximate rights of heterosexual marriages. However, the Church of England has refused to celebrate same-sex unions, even though the gay marriage law comes into effect on Monday.
* Massachusetts (2004)
* California: Its senate approved marriage equality this year, but it was vetoed by the Governator.

Something less than marriage...

* Denmark: was the first country to allow "registered partnerships" or civil unions followed by the other main Nordic nations.
* France recognizes a union between any two adults, whether man or woman, in a Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS).
* Portugal : has had a similar measure on the books since 2001, but Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said his government will not consider gay marriage.

In the United States:
* Vermont and Connecticut recognize same-sex civil unions, while Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and California allow couples living together the same rights as married couples.

No way, no how

* Australia: Its conservative government passed legislation last year that defined marriage as "a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others."

* India: homosexuality is an offense punishable by up to life in prison, and there is no discussion of the issue. Same-sex marriages are prohibited in China and Russia.

* Japan: no gay marriages and prohibits child adoption by gays and lesbians; some inheritance and other family rights are permitted.

* In Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan, it is simply out of the question.

And forget many of the other developing nations in the world -- you can be put to death or imprisoned for being openly gay -- or even perceived as gay.


Bible-beating doctors gone wild

"We fear this decision is going to worsen the confusion in the minds of the public about whether you can legally discriminate in the name of religion. The bottom line is that you should not be able to treat patients in a discriminatory way."
-- Jennifer Pizer, attorney for Lambda Legal Defense Fund
Along with the moralist pharmacists declaring they cannot fill prescriptions if they have a religious conflict, we have an unhinged ruling by a California judge that allows fertility doctors to deny treatment to lesbians (or single women for that matter) because of objections to the patient's marital status. (365gay.com):
Friday's ruling reversed a lower court decision that Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton could not use religion as a defense against a lawsuit filed by Guadalupe Benitez.

The panel found that the doctors were within their rights because they based their decision on Benitez's unmarried status and that discrimination based on marital status is not prohibited by state law.


Guadalupe Benitez (right), with partner Joanne and son Gabriel, sued her doctors in Vista, CA in 2001, saying they would not perform artificial insemination because she is gay. (John Gastaldo/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Benitez was eventually treated elsewhere and gave birth to a boy who is now 3 years old.

In her suit, Benitez claims that Brody told her in 1999 that her religious beliefs prevented her from helping a homosexual conceive a child by artificial insemination, but that other physicians at the practice would be able to help her. The next year, Benitez said, she was told that both Brody and Fenton were unable to help her because they did not feel comfortable with her sexual orientation.
In addition to that bullcrap, we have some severely preposterous behavior by a doctor up in Michigan: Wiccan says she got lecture, not birth control prescription she wanted.
Amanda Blake believes in being prepared. So, when she turned 18 and started dating, she got the blessing of her father and went to get birth control pills even though she had no plans to have sexual relations with anyone.

She didn’t count on seeing a doctor who she said gave her a lecture about morality and her religious beliefs and didn’t prescribe any kind of birth control for her. The physician, Dr. Delbert Huelskoetter, practices at the Southwestern Medical Clinic’s Niles office on South 11th Street. He could not be reached for comment.

...“Not one medical question was brought up,” she said. “He just talked about religion and charged me $68. I found out later he did diagnose me with depression because I cried.” “To me, it’s a basic right (to get pills),” the Niles homeschooler said. “It’s normal and responsible to get birth control. People make such a big deal about safe sex, and that’s important. I have no plans to go out and lose my virginity, but I want to be prepared.”
Thanks to Blenders Paul and Cat for the pointers.


Victimized twice

You have to shake your head in disbelief at some of the sh*t that happens in this country.

Shakes Sis and many others (via The Heretik) have blogged mightily about the disgusting case of a 19-year-old woman in Beaverton, OR, who has been charged with filing a false police report of being gang-raped by three men -- even though she never recanted.
The woman's attorney and advocates for rape victims say the prosecution sets a dangerous precedent and could discourage others from reporting sexual assaults.

"This will have a huge chilling effect on men and women across the board," said Erin Ellis, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Washington County. "We're sliding backwards."

After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman's friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.
Come on. Is there a specific way a victim must act in order to be "credible"? This judge has his head up his ass. While there are always many facets about a rape case and credibility is always a question, the deck was stacked against this woman.

Why?

Blogger Kevin Hayden of The American Street has known the survivor since she was a baby, attended the trial, and had these observations:
The judge found inconsistencies in all of the stories, thus establishing reasonable doubt in every story. Yet he convicted the victim. ‘Boys’ will be ‘boys’.

The young woman’s friends were a classmate at high school and her mother. The mother a) has always been seen with an alcoholic beverage or high on prescription pills by all who know her, b) provided the 17-year old with the alcohol she’d had that evening, which she stole from the store she cashiers at and c) was awaiting her boyfriend’s return to her home within two months of the rape. That boyfriend was in prison for molesting his own daughter. That’s hardly a credible witness with any sympathy for victims of sexual assault. But none of this could be introduced into evidence. Only the 17 year old’s sexual history could be exposed.

Additionally, the two ‘friends’ were the ones who convinced the 17 year old that she should report it to the police. So if the young woman is guilty, the instigating accessories to her ‘crime’ are considered credible experts about how a rape victim should act.
Shakes Sis eloquently makes the point that this "act traumatized" bullshit negates the breadth of human response to the life-changing impact of a rape.
Immediately following a rape, some women go into shock. Some are lucid. Some are angry. Some are ashamed. Some are practical. Some are irrational. Some want to report it. Some don’t. Most have a combination of emotions, but there is no standard response. Responses to rape are as varied as its victims. In the long term, some rape victims act out. Some crawl inside themselves. Some have healthy sex lives. Some never will again.

...And now, women have one less reason to come forward—the possible horror of watching their attackers go free while they are found guilty.
And Amanda at Pandagon adds this...
Reporting a rape to the police is a living nightmare. I can assure you that most people would really just prefer rape victims to shut up, go away, and not trouble them and definitely not cause problems for the rapist. I wouldn't have prosecuted except I couldn't bear the guilt if he did it to someone else. I still almost didn't, except at the insistence of my boyfriend at the time that it was wrong to just roll over and pretend it didn't happen. It took me a week to work up the courage. I wouldn't have done it if I'd thought I'd get in trouble with the law for seeking justice.
This judge and the prosecutors are a disgrace to their profession; I can only hope they never have to experience the horror of any of their children being sexually assaulted and suffering a second painful, damaging indignity of not being believed by those that have taken an oath to protect her as a citizen.

And imagine, we recoil in horror at the worldwide atrocity of rape as weapon and instrument of control during wars, but we don't have to look beyond our own borders (or legal system) to see this is a crime that continues to barbarize and intimidate victims who choose to speak out because of ignorance, misogyny or both.


Some weekends are better than others

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Light posting because it's been quite a weekend so far. My sister-in-law and niece came to town and unfortunately the timing was such that she had a day and a half straight of morning sickness/nausea. We hope that she bounces back soon.

We did manage to get to the NC Museum of Life and Science here in Durham, which, if you have kids (or are even a curious adult), is a really enjoyable experience. Along with a tropical conservatory for butterflies, there are fascinating space, science and weather exhibits, many of which have hands-on items for kids.

One picture I snapped, over in the farm animal exhibit, made me think of about 57 million Americans, you know, the ones that voted for our Dear Leader...


Kate called this shot: "asleep at the wheel," since the "driver" is clearly out of it.

***

Another blow was that Tonka was very sick (hurling) at about 3AM last night, looking weak, drooling and miserable. It came out of nowhere.

I took him to the vet today, and his ALT levels are four times the normal value, indicating something serious wrong with his liver. The folks at Colony Park couldn't run a full panel, but it could be a lot of things, from the potentially fatal (virus affecting kidney and liver, cancer) to a bacterial bug.

While we were there, they put an IV put on to give him fluids, was shot up with Pepcid, and he's not allowed to eat or drink until tomorrow AM. It's watch and wait -- I won't know anything more until Monday AM when I take him in again for more tests.

He's on a course of antibiotics in case it is the bacterial infection.

I am mortified at the thought of only having had Tonka less than a year (he's nine and was a rescue) and being faced with the possibility of losing him.

He's resting comfortably this evening and is enjoying the warmth of the fire.


I know, just wait and see.

Bailey, who had oral surgery on Tuesday, is doing fine. She perked back up the second day after she returned home.



Tidmus on Canadian winger Stephen Harper



Mike knows who Harper's idols are...

Civil marriage rights for gays should be decided by a public vote, according to Harper; and so he's railing on that if he is elected, it's at the top of his agenda.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says his party would allow a free vote on same-sex marriage if it forms the next government.

"It will be a genuine free vote when I'm prime minister. I will not whip our cabinet,'' he said Tuesday in Ottawa...Harper raised the issue after his handlers had cut off further questions from reporters.

"I was asked about it, and it's not a secret that it's our commitment," he told CTV Newsnet's Mike Duffy on Monday afternoon. The people will have their say, and our commitment is to ask Parliament what its view will be."

..."Mr. Harper begins his campaign with an unequivocal statement that, if elected prime minister, he would act swiftly to roll back charter rights," Scott Reid, a Martin spokesman, said soon after Harper's comments.

"This is just the kind of thinking that drove me away from the Conservative Party," said Belinda Stronach, who left the Tories in May to become a Liberal cabinet minister.

"It's very divisive, it's divisive over individual rights, and for a fellow that wants to be prime minister of this country, I think it's a very cavalier way to go with respect to individual rights and minority rights," the first-term MP from Ontario's Newmarket-Aurora riding told CTV Newsnet's Countdown with Mike Duffy.

Asked if she saw it as a major issue, Stronach said: "Who is to say one individual is more equal than another individual? So to me, this is a very important issue."
His little bone to the homos that have already tied the knot up there is that he will allow existing same-sex marriages to continue. Oh thanks, Stevie. Kate and I feel much better that you won't shred our license.

Related: Stronach gives Conservative BF the heave-ho


Ford caves in to Wildmon and AFA

Friday, December 02, 2005

The American Family Association called off its boycott of Ford, but apparently it was because the automaker agreed to cave, pulling its plan to target ads to the gay market in publications for Jaguar and Land Rover. It's calling it a "business decision." (Advocate):
The Dearborn, Mich., automaker came under fire from the AFA in May for its longtime efforts to increase LGBT workplace diversity and support gay rights causes. Ford has long been a regular advertiser within gay media, including The Advocate, and has donated significant sums to LGBT causes and nonprofit groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.

Threatened with a boycott by the Mississippi-based AFA, Ford and some of its dealers agreed to negotiate, and the AFA announced in June that it would hold off on its planned action. On Thursday, AFA announced the boycott would be canceled altogether.

"They've heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are," said Donald Wildmon, AFA's chairman, in a statement. "Obviously there are still some small matters of difference, as people will always have, but generally speaking, we are pleased with the results-and therefore the boycott that had been suspended [is] now officially ended."

Specific terms of any formal agreement between the AFA and Ford-and whether any such agreement has in fact been reached-remain unclear.

When first contacted, Ford spokesman Moran referred Advocate.com to the AFA statement, suggesting that the company had no disagreement with Wildmon's assertions. In a second conversation he confirmed that the company would no longer advertise Jaguar and Land Rover products in the gay media, saying that the decision was strictly "business."
Ford said it will still advertise the Volvo brand in gay publications because "the company believes it's an effective strategy for that market." Boo, Ford.

Let Ford politely know that its otherwise progressive policies are in the mainstream and that caving to wingnuts like the Wildmons and their knuckle-dragging bible beaters is not a good business decision. Remind them of the company's own diversity statement:
Diversity embodies all the differences that make us unique individuals. Not limited to physical aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, it includes culture, religion, education, experience, opinions, beliefs, language, nationality and more. At Ford Motor Company we recognize that diversity is not only a reality of our global nature, it’s a distinct advantage, and one that we value and embrace.
Ford Motor Company

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

Board of Directors

Phone:
800-392-3673
800-232-5952 (TDD for the Hearing Impaired)

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


Would you want to move to New Orleans?

As usual, the government is downplaying long-term health risks posed by waste and chemicals in sediment left in the New Orleans area after Katrina, leaving the impression that it's OK for folks to move back. After reading this, would you move into this toxic mess? (USA Today):
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation's largest environmental groups, and several local Louisiana environmental groups said that heavy metals, petroleum components and pesticides in the dusty residue left behind by Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters pose such a risk that families with children shouldn't return until it is cleaned up.

"The cancer risk and the risk of other long-term health effects is quite significant according to (federal) standards," said Gina Solomon, a physician with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The groups, including the non-profit Advocates for Environmental Human Rights law firm in Louisiana, based their assessment on tests they conducted in September and October.
Some of the data sounds outrageously bad. How on earth can people ignore this:

Average levels of arsenic that are 31 times higher than the level at which federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines require that soil in residential areas be cleaned up.

Levels of pesticides such as DDT and dieldrin exceeded EPA cleanup standards in soil samples just west of the French Quarter.

High levels of cancer-causing hydrocarbons from petroleum products near a federal toxic waste site in New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood northeast of the French Quarter. Tests found levels as much as 20 times higher than EPA cleanup standards.

What does the the EPA have to say about this?
The government agencies recommend that residents take simple precautions when exposed to sediment, such as wearing respirators and washing exposed skin. However, Shepherd said, the state sees "no immediate health issues" that should concern the public.
Folks, much of the city will need to be razed, and a portion may be uninhabitable for years to come -- but don't expect the government to ever tell people this.


Daddy Dobson's crew severs ties with Wells Fargo

“Focus on the Family has elected to end its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, motivated primarily by the bank’s ongoing efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda. These efforts are in direct opposition to the underlying principles and purpose of Focus, and thus a decision of conscience had to be made, and a stand taken."
-- Focus on the Anus President and CEO Jim Daly
Focus on the Family's Founder and Chairman James Dobson really got his panties in a bunch over Wells Fargo's decision to support GLAAD by matching contributions to "fight for equality against the Anti-Gay industry."

Who can be surprised at this move when Wells Fargo committed the ultimate sin of being friendly to the homos:
* Wells Fargo has embraced the GLBT community for over 20 years.
* Since the 1980s, Wells Fargo has given more than $14 million to organizations serving the GLBT community nationwide.
* The company has donated to several local non-profits and national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
* 2004 and 2005 HRC Corporate Equality Index: Perfect score of “100”
* 2003 Diversity Inc.com: #7 Top Companies for GLBT Employees
* 2000 GLAAD Fairness Award
* 2000 Advocate Magazine: Top 10 Workplaces for GLBT Employees
Geez, GLBT support is old news for this company. Why on earth would Daddy Dobson do business with Wells Fargo to begin with?
Earlier this year we learned that Wells Fargo gave a matching gift to a pro-homosexual group to enable it to raise more money to fight organizations like our own. As one of Wells Fargo’s customers, we objected, and we received no satisfactory resolution from the bank’s corporate office.

...We realize that if we dealt only with companies that reflect our Christian values we would have a hard time doing business with Corporate America. That said, when our bank allows proceeds from our business to be used to impede our work, we must object, even if it inconveniences us in our professional relationships.
Play the tiny violin for these FoF losers, boo hoo.


Bush Approval Map - November Edition

I've been tracking the 50 State Bush Approval Poll numbers from Survey USA since Hurricane Katrina back in the end of August. The polls measure Bush's Approval Rating versus his Disapproval Rating to find the Net Approval/Disapproval fro the president on a state-by-state basis. For example, if he has 45% approval and 40% disapproval, that's a +5% Net Approval. If he has 60% disapproval and 29% approval, that's a -31% Net Disapproval.

Previously, I made red/blue color-coordinated maps to display Net Approval (red) and Net Disapproval (blue). It's been fun watching the United States turn progressively bluer as the months wear on. It would've been nicer if this happened a year ago, though.

I've updated the map to animate, showing the last four months in their increasingly blue glory. I've also set gradients of blue and red to gauge the level of Bush love/hate in each state -- 15 points either way gets you medium blue/red, 30 points equals dark blue/red. Purple is for states where approval equals disapproval, a net zero.


Christian Persecution Complex


If you've followed the Radical Writ for any length of time, you're familiar with my anti-blogger, Adam Graham (symbolized by the Spock-from-the-evil-parallel-universe photo). Adam's quite the up-and-coming Christian Conservative political writer and blogger, and cites me as one of his influences in beginning his blog (which has now surpassed mine in terms of TTLB Ecosystem; he's a Marauding Marsupial and I've backslid to Slithering Reptile). Despite our nearly opposite political and religious beliefs, I'm quite proud of him. He's a very thoughtful and kind guy (we met in person back in Boise last summer) and eloquently proves the point that just because you disagree doesn't mean you can't like someone personally.

Anyhow, I recently put up a post about Silly Christian Spam (those paranoid e-mails that make the rounds asking for prayers or complaining about the evil secularists who are trying to ban the Bible, cancel Christmas, and delete God) and Adam replied to it. The gist of the e-mail had to do with how the government is working to undermine God
Since we can't pray to God, can't Trust in God, and cannot Post His Commandments in Government buildings, I don't believe the Government and it's employees should participate in the Easter and Christmas celebrations which honor the God that our government is eliminating from many facets of American life. I'd like my mail delivered on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, & Easter. After all, it's just another day. I'd like the US Supreme Court to be in session on Christmas, Good Friday, Thanksgiving & Easter, as well as Sundays. After all, it's just another day. I'd like the Senate and the House of Representatives to not have to worry about getting home for the "Christmas Break." After all, it's just another day.
And of course I shot that down as the silly Christian nonsense that it is ("what, should only black people get the day off for MLK?"), and added the following question:
Why is your brand of Christians so insecure about recognition of God that it seeks to stamp and impose God on every aspect of our secular government? Shouldn't people come to religion from an inner need to seek truth, rather than the peer pressure of the money, your classmates, and the courthouses advertising for God?

A secular government does nothing to prevent the worship of your God, but a theocratic government will do great injury to the worship of any God but the state's. Separation of church and state exists to protect the church, not the state.
...which led to Adam to write the following, a textbook example of Christian Persecution Complex:

You seriously think money is being used coerce people to God?

Lets turn this around. Why is that your band of Atheists are so insecure they have to obsess about making sure every monument is scrubbed of religion, and that every inch of the public square from stem to stern is religion free. In most cases, there's no talk of adding new mentions of God to the public sphere. Its simply defending the existing ones in most cases.

What if someone came to Boise and started a movement to rip out the Black History museum. Blacks wouldn't be silent.

What the left suggests constantly is that God is a cancer that must be excised from our nation's political life. God is a danger to our freedom. Yet, our money has existed for a century with "In God We Trust" and the term is in our National Anthem. (Whether you want it there or not.) Ten Commandments have stood since our nation's founding. How could anyone whose a true Christian agree with such a damnable assumption?

Prayer happened in schools for nearly 2 centuries until the Supreme Court imposed a ban on school in prayer on a country that to this day after 40 years still doesn't want it.

In essence, what we're witnessing in America is tyranny of the minority, where you guys have gotten everything through cheating and next to nothing through the democratic political process. So, you basically spend 40 years shoving stuff down people's throats and have the audacity to ask why we're not more happy about it. All we're wanting back is what has been taken illegitimately.

People can come to God however they want. I know the state can't make people come to Jesus, or even preach it. Given the state's lack of competence in teaching other topics, I've concluded the result of trying to have the government teach Christianity would be massive conversions to Buddhism. (please don't analyze this too deeply as its a joke.)

I also think a government that reminded that there's a God and we are not Him we'll govern better, will be more condusive to freedom. The Communists didn't know this. The Swedes don't know this and they tried to send a minister to jail for preaching against homosexuality. In Sweden, they in fact govern exactly what names you can give your children.

You see, without the recognition of God's sovereignty, our rights are reduced to grants by the government, subject to change and Amendment by a Supreme Court that views the Constitution as their etcha-sketch.

The difference between us is that you see the greatest danger as the state acknowledging God in any way whatsover. I see the greatest danger as the state making itself God.
No, I don't think our money coerces people to believe in God (I do think it subconsciously indicates what we truly worship in America, though; the almighty dollar). And I don't wish to scrub all references to religion in the public square; just the ones taxpayers are footing the bill for. The government is not supposed to endorse or oppose religion, period.

Bringing up the [Boise] Black History Museum is a non sequitur. Nobody is trying to remove any Christian History Museums. The Black History Museum is not taxpayer funded, and even if it were, the Constitution does not mandate a separation of black history and state.

Cheating? I suppose you're referring to court decisions you don't like. Interesting that you call it cheating when the legitimate exercise of judicial review is used to ensure our nation's laws are constitutionally sound. I don't call it "cheating" when court decision upheld the use of the commerce clause to justify the prohibition of cannabis. I call it a "bad decision", but not "cheating".

The persecuted Christian meme always cracks me up. The "tyranny of the minority" line especially. The Constitution is all about majority rule with respect for minority rights. One of those minority rights is the free exercise of religion or the freedom from religion with a government neutral to religion so as to prevent state endorsement of one faith or state persecution of another. What you're advocating, with your line about "you guys have gotten... next to nothing through the democratic political process" is the idea of tyranny of the majority. The majority is Christian, therefore government should espouse Christianity. The majority thinks there should be prayer in schools, so be it. The majority thinks gay marriage is wrong, so gays should be treated as second-class citizens. Well, the majority also thought women shouldn't vote, alcohol should be federally prohibited, and blacks shouldn't integrate with white society, too.

And woe to the poor persecuted Christians, what with their lighted cross overlooking Boise, little crosses along nearly every roadside where a Christian has wrecked (why are y'all such bad drivers, anyway? I never see any Stars of David or Buddhas marking roadside crash sites), a church steeple every four blocks, massive scripture readerboards alongside the federal highway system, federal holidays marking the birth of your savior (why don't we get Mohammed's birthday as a day off?), almost every calendar made indicates your religious holidays, your holy book in every hotel room, TV shows like "Reba", "Touched by an Angel", "Three Wishes", "7th Heaven" and other very Christian-friendly shows on network TV, worldwide Christian broadcast channels, popular musicians and sports figures giving "shout-outs" to Jesus at every awards show, your holy symbol is a popular piece of jewelry worn by many, missionaries knocking on doors and leaving little Jesus pamphlets in phone books, no politician can ever hope to be elected to national office without at least lip service to your religion (no atheist stands a chance in politics, because he won't affirm the popular superstitions), your Bible stories are inextricably woven into the fabric of our culture, popular newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek devoting cover stories to Jesus, popular broadcast TV news shows running specials on Christian issues (Barbara Walters' next special is about Heaven) and you've still got (in my opinion, unconstitutionally) prayers by chaplains to begin Congress, oaths sworn in court on your holy book, recognition of your deity on the currency, your Ten Commandments still displayed (in a limited fashion) around courthouses, and the leader of the country claiming he's ordained by God. Christians complaining about persecution in America are like white college males complaining there's no White Student Union on campus.

As a member of the majority religion, you don't see these government endorsements of Christianity the way some of us do. You see "In God We Trust" on the money and it's just a simple fact to you; I see government promoting faith in an unprovable opinion. You see Ten Commandments in courthouses and it's a natural extension of God's Law; I see a government that claims to treat all its citizens equally without regard to religion, yet displays Judeo-Christian scripture to show that some religions are more equal than others. You see prayer in public school as a healthy ritual for children; I see the children of Wiccans, Buddhists, Muslims, and Atheists forced to endure government-sponsored indoctrination into Judeo-Christian ideals (how am I supposed to convince my kid that belief in God is a foolish superstition when his school and his government are constantly telling him there is a God?)

You mischaracterize "the left" as well. No one on my side argues that God is a cancer. In fact, many many lefties are people with as deep a faith in God and Jesus as you. They just understand that their belief is their opinion, not a nationally-recognized fact that should be promoted by government.

The past forty years of "shoving stuff down your throats" (funny how the righties tend to use such homoerotic imagery) would be better characterized as forty years of removing the religion that's been unconstitutionally shoved down our throats for the 189 years prior.

I completely disagree with your argument about the necessary recognition of the sovereignty of God by government. In fact, history shows that the more intertwined church and state become, the worse government becomes and the more tyrannical the state becomes. Iran's done a pretty good job of de-secularizing their state and recognizing God, don't you think? (Hey, that's as reasonable a comparison to the right's God fetish as your comparison of lefty secularism to Sweden.)

The genius of the Founders was recognizing that the only legitimate government derives its authority from the just consent of the people, not ordination from somebody's God. Yes, they were Deists, yes, they were religious men, but they understood that their religion was their opinion, and were well aware how the influence of the church on the state corrupts both.

Furthermore, our rights ARE subject to change and amendment, regardless of the existence of God or not. We used to have the right to own slaves, then we didn't. We used to have the right to drink beer, then that right was taken, then it was given back. Women used to not have the right to vote, but then it was granted. All of this was done by changes and amendments and a Supreme Court that views the Constitution, not the Bible, as the supreme law of the land.

The difference between us is that you see the greatest danger is America turning its back on God. I see the greatest danger is America elevating Christianity to a higher status than any other religion or lack of religion. My America -- religion-neutral -- creates a framework where people of all religions or no religion are free to worship as they please. Your America -- Christianity-endorsing -- creates an uneven playing field favoring Christianity in recruiting, fundraising, and political power.

Another thing I find amusing about Christian Persecution Complex is what you are fighting over and the imaginary threats you perceive in the battle. School prayer? Hey, as long as there are finals, there will always be school prayer. What is the harm you can show from the lack of school prayer? What direct, scientifically verifiable effect is derived from forcing schoolkids to pray?

The Ten Commandments in courthouses? Why? The Ten Commandments aren't laws. Cops can't arrest me for not honoring my mother and father or having any other Gods before Him. Whether they are displayed or not doesn't change our legal system one iota, for our laws are based on secualar, not religious, authority. What demonstrable harm can you show from not displaying the Ten Commandments?

Keeping "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why? Is an American Buddhist less less patriotic than a Christian? Can an atheist not show allegiance to country? If we don't say "under God", is He going to get angry and send a record number of hurricanes at us? (Whoops, bad hypothetical...) What terrible thing would happen if we didn't say "under God"?

Fighting embryonic stem-cell research and abortion? Why? Name one American citizen that's been harmed by either. Oh, I know, 40 million "murdered womb babies", right? Ah, but fetuses are not American citizens. According to the Constitution, they have to have been BORN in America or naturalized to be a citizen (good thing, too, or any illegal immigrants who merely conceive on American soil would then be carrying an American citizen fetus, who'd be a citizen even if he were born back in Mexico).

Fighting gay marriage and gay rights? Why? What heterosexual's rights or what straight marriage is negatively affected by allowing gay people the same rights?

All of these issues (except perhaps abortion; there are pro-life atheists) are only controversial to those who place their personal religious opinions based on Biblical scripture above the constitutional law of the land. Religion tells you that if you don't put religion first, bad things will happen. No proof required, no skepticism allowed. It is its own tautological argument -- "the religion is true cuz it's in the Bible, the Bible is true because God wrote it, God exists because the religion says so." That's a great way to run a church where everyone agrees with the opinion, but a lousy way to run a country filled with many contradictory opinions.

Our nation's continued evolution from religious fanaticism to enlightened reason has been going on for longer than forty years. We used to be a country that burned witches, invoked scripture to support slavery and Jim Crow and no rights for women, and unconstitutionally injected Christian religion into secular government as a frightened reaction to the Cold War. Compared to most other Western countries, we still have a long way to go.

To close, here is one of my favorite scriptures:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Vatican goes after ordained gay priests in letter


"We're not talking about breaking celibacy here, or doing something criminal, we're talking about tendency. How will they determine that? ...I think this will put people on edge even more than the earlier document,"
-- Dean R. Hoge, professor of sociology at Catholic University in Washington



"If that's not a witch hunt, I don't know what is. The only way to exclude gay men from faculties of seminaries, would be to ask, 'Are you a homosexual?'"
-- Rev. Richard Prendergast, pastor of St. Josaphat Church in Chicago
Well, Papa Ratzi wasn't kidding. The NYT reports that a cover letter that was attached to the gay seminarian purge document tacked on specific punishments for homo priests that are already ordained -- this letter says that they can no longer teach in or run seminaries.

Hoo boy, are we now going to see mass outings?! This letter really is worse than the document to which it is attached. Gay priests need to just come out of the closet.
The letter, first reported by Catholic News Service, was dated Nov. 4 and sent to Roman Catholic bishops and signed by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Vatican's congregation on education, which devised the directive. A copy of the letter was provided to The New York Times by Origins, a unit of the news service that publishes church documents.


Papa Ratzi by Mike Tidmus.

The directive "does not call into question the validity of the ordination" of priests "with homosexual tendencies," the letter noted. But the letter said that "because of the particular responsibility of those charged with the formation of future priests, they are not to be appointed as rectors or educators in seminaries." The letter and the directive do not define "homosexual tendency."

...Some clergy members played down the possibility that the Vatican sought to purge seminary faculties of gay priests. "You would have to have some kind of presenting incident," said Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, rector of Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. "The Holy See is the last one who would want a witch hunt over this."
Now we have the new term "presenting incident" -- WTF is this? Getting caught with a fellow priest in a compromising position? Reading gay porn? Being supportive of a gay parishioner? Good grief.

Related:
* What the flip is a 'transitory' homosexual tendency?


Headline of the day

CMA Psychiatrist Dreads Homosexual's Possible APA Presidency. From AgapePress of course.
A psychiatrist and spokesman for the Christian Medical Association is expressing his concern that a man currently running for the presidency of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is likely to put the organization "deeper into the pocket of homosexual activists."

Members of organizations and groups that strive to support and assist men and women who want freedom from unwanted homosexuality have expressed concern over Jack Drescher's candidacy for the leadership of the APA. Drescher is openly homosexual and the current head of the APA's Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues.



Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Benzio says he is not a member of the APA because he disagrees with the organization's positions on a number of issues that are important to him and to his Christian faith. He has become increasingly disenchanted with the APA's stances; and it is likely, he contends, that the group will further alienate many of the people in his profession if Drescher is elected.

...A Drescher presidency would allow other agendas an easier course to get, at least, heard if not passed through the APA, Benzio asserts. Meanwhile, he adds, Drescher would surely be supplied with a bigger soapbox to spread his own pro-homosexual ideas.


I'm shopping at Kroger

"Companies who choose to abandon the national observance of Christmas are finding that Americans are not afraid to speak out with their pocketbooks."
-- Tim Wildmon, president of Mississippi-based "pro-family" tyrranical American Family Association
The grocery store chain is not buckling to the American Family Association's pressure to keep "Christ" in Christmas.
Kroger Company has explained its company policy regarding use of the holiday greeting "Merry Christmas." The letter, signed by group vice president Lynn Marmer, says the stores wish to "reflect the diversity" of customers, employees, and society and to make sure every customer and employee feels "welcomed and appreciated."

For that reason, writes Marmer, Kroger uses a variety of greetings and advertising materials during December -- including Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Season's Greetings, and Happy Holidays.

"We have not and do not intend to ban any of these greetings, including Merry Christmas," the letter concludes.
Incidentally, Walgreens and Lowes have fallen into line, apparently intimidated by threats of a boycott by AFA's 2.8-million online supporters and listeners of its nearly 200 radio stations.

In the case of Lowe's, it announced it was going to "avoid confusion" and sell "Christmas trees" instead of "holiday trees." Walgreens delivered a letter to the AFA stating: "Next year, you can be assured our advertising will better incorporate 'Christmas' -- and our holiday trees will be called Christmas trees."

This crap is out of control.


State-sanctioned humiliation

I think I'm going to be sick. Aside from wondering whether you are going to be killed, or forced to take hormones for being gay in a developing country, think about enduring state-ordered anal probes by sadistic "law enforcement" officials attempting to "prove" you are a homo. From Cameroon:
Human rights activists are demanding the immediate release of 11 men detained in a Cameroon jail for the last seven months on suspicion of “sodomy” and awaiting a government-ordered “medical examination” to determine if they are gay.

They were arrested during a raid on a gay bar in the capital of Yaounde. Four other men and two women arrested at the same time have been released. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and seven other human rights organizations have signed a letter to the Minister of Justice calling for the release of the 11 men. and denouncing the medical exams that were ordered by a government prosecutor.

"These examinations have no investigative value, are abusive, intrusive, and when conducted non-consensually and under incarcerated conditions, amount to cruel and inhuman treatment; as such, they constitute a serious violation of the human rights of the detainees," the letter states. "In countries where they have been administered, these examinations have caused grave physical and psychological suffering to their victims."

If they are convicted the men face 6 months to 5 years imprisonment.

Physical examinations of the anal regions of men arrested for homosexuality are common in a number of countries including Egypt, Romania and Zimbabwe. These examinations rely on the false idea that anal sex leaves lasting lesions or tears around the anus. Often involving the insertion of instruments into the anus, they are profoundly humiliating to those forced to undergo them.


Dictionary of Republicanisms

Katrina Vanden Heuvel of The Nation was on The Colbert Report yesterday, and she was a hoot. She has a nice little piece with excerpts from the Dictionary of Republicanisms (Nation Books), a compilation of re-definitions (or perhaps these should qualify as translations) of terms that spill from the mouth of the Right Wing. TomDispatch.com readers and writers submitted these for the book.
abstinence-only sex education n. Ignorance-only sex education [Wayne Martorelli, Lawrenceville, NJ].

alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil [Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colo.].

bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but not corporations [Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.].

"burning bush" n. A biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire [Bill Moyers, New York, NY].

Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils [Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.].

China n. See Wal-Mart [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].

class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage [Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.].

climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].

compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy [Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.].

creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental [Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie [Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.]. 2. Patronage saint [Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].

democracy n. A product so extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted [Michael Schwartz, unknown].

dittohead n. An Oxy(contin)moron [Zydeco Boudreaux, Gretna, La.].

energy independence n. The caribou witness relocation program [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

extraordinary rendition n. Outsourcing torture [Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].

faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

Fox News fict. Faux news [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense [Sean O'Brian, Chicago, Ill.].

girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately [Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].

God n. Senior presidential adviser [Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].

growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

habeas corpus n. Archaic. (Lat.) Legal term no longer in use (See Patriot Act) [Josh Wanstreet, Nutter Fort, WV].

healthy forest n. No tree left behind [Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].

homelandism n. A neologism for love of the Homeland Security State, as in "My Homeland, 'tis of thee, sweet security state of liberty..." [Tom Engelhardt, New York, NY].

honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom is on the march" [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million (See Senate) [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

laziness n. When the poor are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working [Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist [Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].

Miller, Zell n. The man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton after a particularly tough interview on Hardball [Drew Dillion, Arlington, Va.].

neoconservatives n. Nerds with Napoleonic complexes [Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

9/11 n. Tragedy used to justify any administrative policy, especially if unrelated (See Deficit, Iraq War) [Dan Mason, Durham, NH].

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military [Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]. 2. n. The rapture [Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.].

ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth [Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].

Patriot Act n. 1. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first. 2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us [Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].

pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth [Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million [Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors [Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result [Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].

stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian [Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].

voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout [Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].

Wal-Mart n. The nation-state, future tense [Rebecca Solnit, San Francisco, Calif.].

water n. Arsenic storage device [Joy Losee, Gainesville, Ga.].

woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have thechild. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place [Denise Clay, Philadelphia, Pa.].
Cross-posted at Pandagon, where folks are adding to the dictionary. Feel free to do so here.


Like a bad penny...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Around this time last year, I posted about a local homophobic pastor, Patrick Wooden, Sr. of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God. He has a fixation on gay folks:
"I cannot stand by and say nothing while this wicked phenomenon takes place."

"We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals," he said. "They are not gay. We've got to use terms like 'deviant' and 'abomination.' "

"If we're labeled as being fanatical Christians, we embrace it."

"[Homosexuality is] 'one of the greatest enemies of Christianity.'"

He also went on a holiday campaign to put the "Christ" back in Christmas, which I posted about here. He bought a full-page newspaper ad urging 'all Christians to spend their hard-earned dollars with merchants who include the greeting 'Merry Christmas' in their holiday advertising promotions this Christmas'. The church spent $7,600 on that crap - money that would have been better spent helping the less fortunate.

I guess with all the hubbub about "holiday trees" and Falwell threatening to sue anyone recognizing or promoting diverse religious or secular events this year, folks have been Googling and finding this old Wooden piece. I thought that I'd share a couple of comments that posted in the last couple of days. Real gems.
Ms. Pam,
Your an absoulute freaking moron....the word freaking was substituted, just FYI. Christmas (Christ) is missing in this world which tells us the end it near. It's stupid SOB's like yourself and anyone who supports you, who have turned this country against Christ. I know where I'll be in my afterlife....do you? I can only pray for ignorant people such as yourself.

If your so concerned about the homeless...who for the most part are too damn lazy to get a job. Get off your ass and do something...begin a campaign, just get off your ass and try to make an impact. Provide these people with shelter, food, money, etc...whatver makes you feel good.

Pastor Wooden's attempt is to our benefit spiritually...All you weird SOB's in California need to listen to him. He message is clear and supported by myself and many other's in this country. Unfortunately, we have to work and don't have time to sit around and contemplate idiotic thoughts.

And another thing, regardless of what people believe in....THIS IS BUSH COUNTRY!!!!!!
Freddy

***

I agree with everything that Pastor Wooden has stated. I admire Pastor Wooden for his boldness to declare the Word of God in these last days. Do understand that he is an annointed man of God. He speaks that which is found in the Word of God. So when you talk about him you speak against God's word. Instead of talking about Pastor Wooden you should listen. You can learn alot.
Rev. Jamaar A. Scott
Entertaining, aren't they? Wooden also:
* Said that NC needs another added level of protection for marriage that only a constitutional amendment can bring. "Let's just put another lock on the door, just in case, just for safekeeping."

* Sent about 100 members of his flock from Raleigh in a chartered bus to chastise the supporters of a non-binding motion by the Chapel Hill Council against the state's marriage amendment, as well as the current Defense of Marriage Act push back in March. [They were handily outnumbered.]

Yes, I think we've learned more than we'd like to know about our local Willie Wilson ("Yo Butt Ain't Made For That!") and his following.

These "Christians" and their warped brand of faith are so tiring. You get the feeling that they create and spew this meaningless and blissfully ignorant shite out of the same "Pious Pulpit GeneratorTM.


Diebold somehow slips into NC

"You are really asking for trouble. It's going to destroy the confidence of the citizens of the state."
-- Joyce McCloy of Winston-Salem with the North Carolina Coalition for Verified Voting
In what has to be the most foul-smelling of developments, Diebold has been certified as a vendor after earlier this week saying it would not comply with the state standards, specifically to provide the source code for its voting software. (Herald-Sun):
The State Board of Elections approved three companies Thursday to sell voting machines to all 100 counties in time for next year's elections, including a firm that complained earlier it couldn't comply with all the rules for computer software.

Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems all met minimum technical and administrative standards to sell in North Carolina, as determined by a panel of computer and election experts.

The standards were developed under a state law approved this year after more than 4,400 electronic ballots were lost 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.

... Keith Long, who is advising the elections board with the voting equipment changes, said after talking this week with the three winning bidders that "none of them have the source code for all of their software they use."

Computer experts still will be able to review any changes the machine manufacturer has made to the outside software to check if those revisions may have caused the problem, Long said. Diebold Election, based in Allen, Texas, threatened to pull out of the bidding because of its courtroom defeat this week. It decided to stay involved but still has questions, spokesman Brian Bear said. The company now provides voting machines to about 20 North Carolina counties.
The Brad Blog has more information on this "Immaculate Certification" -- look at this sh*t:
One computer savvy voting activist with North Carolina Verifiable Voting has pointed out correctly that the Board of Elections now has another rather obvious problem. The statute requires the Board of Elections to review all of the code used in vendors' proposed system before certification. Either they ignored this part of the code or they have some super code and security experts in hiding somewhere.

At the superior court hearing on Monday, the state Attorney General said that she couldn't imagine that the Board of Elections would certify a system that didn't meet all of the requirements of the statute. Well, they did and now she must defend them.

And who made the decision to go ahead and ignore the code and certify Diebold? A gentleman by the name of Keith Long was hired to be in charge of the process for the state. And what are Mr. Long's credentials to handle this job? Mr. Long was one of the Diebold representatives responsible for previously selling the Diebold voting system to the state of Georgia.


Trying to pray gay rights away


Homophobes of the cloth, praying for bigotry to rule: Pastor Terry Webster (left), New Corinthian Church, joined other ministers in prayer Wednesday at the City-County Building. Nearly 30 clergy members from black churches throughout the city gathered in opposition to a gay rights proposal. - ROB GOEBEL / The Indy Star
"It is an offense to black people to be used – that the blood of our fathers and our own blood that was spilled on the pathways to civil rights should be used - as a lever to get legal license to make their own choices law."
-- Rev. Melvin Jackson of the Christian Love Missionary Baptist Church
Was Willie Wilson invited? More homo-bigots in the pulpit rail on, as black pastors in Indiana are praying for the defeat of a gay rights ordinance.
Huddled in prayer on the first floor of the City-County Building, leaders of more than a dozen black churches expressed opposition Wednesday to legislation designed to protect gays from housing and job discrimination.

...In petitioning God to guide the council members who will decide the issue, the ministers uniformly expressed bitter opposition to the idea that the gay rights movement is the modern equivalent of the struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and '60s.

...Such sentiments are not uncommon around the country. Few black church leaders, the bedrock of the civil rights movement, have been willing to campaign for gay rights.
Likewise, predominantly black churches have seen little of the open warfare over homosexuality that is common in largely white denominations, such as the Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and United Methodists.

Robert Ferguson, president of Indiana Black Pride, a local grassroots organization that supports gay causes, said he can't think of a single leader from a black church who supports his group's work. "We are desperately searching for one," he said.

Mostly, he said, he finds black church leaders who say gays are bound for hell.

"It would seem as black people, we would recognize discrimination and hate rhetoric. But we have somehow taken on some of the characteristics of our oppressor and started to oppress others," he said.
Thanks to Holly for the pointer.

***

And back by popular demand:



Yo Butt Ain't Made For That!" -- Willie Wilson unhinged. Go to SomethingAwful.com... or click the image.


This and that open thread



More interesting things in the Blend mailbag to take a peek at...

From Sonda: South Africa to have gay weddings. Let's see, and the U.S. is the leader in freedom and democracy...
South Africa's highest court has ruled in favour of same-sex marriages, which are banned under current legislation. The Constitutional Court ordered that parliament amend marriage laws to allow gay weddings within a year.

The constitution outlaws discrimination against gays and lesbians, but social attitudes remain more conservative. The court ordered that the definition of marriage be changed from a "union between a man and a woman" to a "union between two persons".
You should check out some of the reader reactions.

***

From Holly: Neo-Nazis get OK for Dec. 10 rally in Toledo.. Let's hope this event doesn't result in a riot -- like the last one did.
The Ohio Building Authority has granted a request for members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement to hold a rally Dec. 10 in front of Government Center in downtown Toledo.

The Nov. 23 letter indicates the rally will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and that access will not be permitted inside the building, which is located on Jackson Street between Erie and Huron streets. Participants cannot block the entrances and exits to the building by authorized personnel or emergency services, the letter states.

...Representatives from Toledo police, the OHP and the neo-Nazi group met last week to discuss arrangements for the Dec. 10 rally. Local and state authorities have been planning for the movement's return since a riot erupted after the group's Oct. 15 rally in North Toledo was canceled.

Several police officers, two city firefighters, and some members of the media were injured during the October rioting, which resulted in more than 120 arrests.


***

HRC gives out grades for U.S. on World AIDS Day. Guess what? Bush's America is flunking Big Time.
Prevention: F

As AIDS ravages minority communities, government programs are failing to adequately respond to the epidemic among vulnerable populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 46 percent of African-American men who have sex with men in five major U.S. cities are HIV positive and almost two-thirds of those infected do not know their status. Infections among gay and bisexual men rose eight percent and still comprise the largest percentage of new HIV cases.

Care and Treatment: F

This year has seen significant cuts to federal HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs. After consistently flat-funding most of the Ryan White CARE Act for five years and passing billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, a CDC study determined that 211,000 Americans are not receiving antiretroviral treatments they need.

Research: D

The most recent version of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill contained a less than 1 percent increase to the National Institute of Health, the smallest percentage increase since 1970.

Global AIDS: C

The highest mark on the report card goes to Global AIDS as Congress passed and the President signed the Assistance for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act this year. However, this year the U.S. will not fully meet its funding commitment to the Global Fund and the U.S. government has mandated that at least one-third of contributions to international programs must be devoted to abstinence-only programs that are seriously flawed and leave little control to local experts.
***

4700 Houston Janitors Choose to Form Union with SEIU. From the SEIU: The janitors who clean Houston’s office buildings, nearly of whom are Latino immigrants, have the lowest wages and benefits of janitors in any big city in America. The janitors do not receive health insurance or other benefits and nearly the entire workforce is part-time. Janitors are paid an average of $106 a week. Meanwhile, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, average expenses for a Houston-area family with two parents and two children are nearly $500 a week. "We work hard, but we don’t make enough to support our families and we can’t afford health care for our children,” said janitor Maria Luisa Berlanga. “If we can do this, then all workers in Houston can unite for a better life. Every worker wants to achieve the American Dream."

***

More on Diebold and its weasely ways in NC from The Boston Progressive, including comment on the legislative requirement that is vexing the company, Senate Bill 223:Public Confidence in Elections.

***

Randy Cunningham Limericks; Ode to Bob Woodward: more fun from MadKane.

***

Surf over to Kevin at The American Street, for the Top Ten Facets of Bush’s New Iraq Plan. Hilarious.

***

Pols...

* Stacey Tallitsch is a Dem running for Congress. Tallitsch, from Metairie, LA, was displaced by Katrina, his home was flooded and destroyed. He's now working out of a coffee house in Dennis Hastert’s district to unseat freshman Congressman Bobby Jindal in the First District of Louisiana. Stacey's appeared on NPR; you can listen here. He's also an author of two books -- Bare Naked Truth: on the Religious Right, and The New American Compact: Restoring the People’s House to America. His blog is here.


* John Hall, a founding member of the band Orleans, and co-author of the hits "Still the One" and "Dance With Me," is running for Congress (19th District seat in NY). You might recall the flack he and the rest of his band gave the GOP for the use of "Still the One," during the 2004 election. He's stepping up to the plate.


Waiting for a kidney while black

Newsweek has an excellent article, "Who Gets the Organs," on institutional racism that affects organ transplants. This is truly sad. It's bad enough that you can be stopped for "driving while black," but now you can be deathly ill and "waiting for an organ while black."
According to figures from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which administers the organ-allocation system, ethnic minorities make up 50 percent of the 96,581 people on the waiting list, but white patients receive 63 percent of organs. Even for kidney transplants, for which Medicare funding should provide a level playing field, minorities made up 60 percent of the waiting list, but less than 45 percent of transplants. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," says Dr. Ashwini Sehgal, assistant professor of biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University. A growing body of research shows that black and Hispanic patients face longer delays in getting referred, spend longer on the waiting list and have worse survival rates even after receiving an organ.

The disparities have prompted soul-searching in the medical community. "This is well recognized, but highly controversial," says Dr. Devon John, a black transplant surgeon at NYU Medical Center. In theory, allocation of organs is race-neutral. Patients receive points for medical need, tissue type and time on the waiting list; doctors use a computer algorithm to decide who gets organs. But they admit the system doesn't always work as intended. Computer programs alone can't eliminate the potential for subconscious bias—or overt racism—among the physicians who use them.
Matching criteria for organs and patients is clearly a complicating factor, but once that and the general disparity in access to appropriate care and known bias is factored in, you've got a deadly and unfortunate combination that is a blow to minority patients at every step of the process.


Judge tells gay murder victim's family to 'get over it'


Aaron Webster was beaten to death.

This is heinous. When the punishment doesn't fit the crime, it's hard to just "move on." Aaron Webster was repeatedly beaten on the head and upper body with a baseball bat or pool cue. He was found naked except for his hiking boots.
Two years after a man went to jail as a young offender for the deadly beating of a gay man, a judge freed him Wednesday and urged the victim's family to try to forgive the killer.


Judge Valmond Romilly of provincial youth court said the 21-year-old man now needs help to salvage some of his life as he enters adulthood. "The sole preoccupation at this stage should be to help the youth, who committed a terrible offence, while still a youth," Romilly said.

The man's release is mandatory and allows him to serve the last one-third of his sentence in the community. He was given three years in prison for manslaughter after admitting to his part in the fatal beating of Aaron Webster, 41, in Vancouver's Stanley Park in 2001.

A group of then-teenagers came upon the naked Webster in a place in the park where gay men often meet for sex. They chased him to his car, where he was beaten to death.

Just before he read out the man's conditions for release, Romilly said to family members sitting in the gallery that it was "time to move on and forgive." He then quoted William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice: "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven."

Fred Norman, who is Webster's cousin, was in the court and said he has a difficult time forgiving the young man. "Two years isn't long enough," he said. "It's gone way too fast. In this young man's case it should be a little bit longer sentence for a human life."
You can read the entire court transcript here.

Thanks to Blender Sean in Dallas for the pointer.


Murtha Says Army Is 'Broken, Worn Out'

Somehow, I don't think this reality made it into Chimpy's "35-page fighting strategy" document Victory in Iraq.
Most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth," Rep. John Murtha told a civic group.

Two weeks ago, Murtha created a storm of comment when he called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq now. The Democratic congressman spoke to a group of community and business leaders in Latrobe on Wednesday, the same day President Bush said troops would be withdrawn when they've achieved victory, not under an artificial deadline set by politicians.

Murtha predicted most troops will be out of Iraq within a year.



"I predict he'll make it look like we're staying the course," Murtha said, referring to Bush. "Staying the course is not a policy."


Blog Against Racism Day: Skin and the Color of Money Redux

Today is Blog Against Racism Day, launched by Creek Running North. I wrote an essay on racism and colorism at my pad back in July that I am reposting a snippet of here to continue much-needed discussion on the topic, particularly in light of the many comments on my cross-post of "The 'new blackface' lesson" on Pandagon last week, which were, let's say, interesting.

People across the political spectrum have difficulty discussing race, but the problem is particularly acute on the Left these days. Many progressive whites feel: 1) unqualified somehow to discuss the topic or 2) are afraid of being slapped down for offering what appears to be an obvious or "stupid" question or opinion. As I also commented in the "blackface" thread:
Race politics for white liberals who don't know many black people on a personal level is an abstraction, not something they live. It's admirable to be for civil equality and against hate, but it's quite another thing to:
* have black friends that you are comfortable discussing race issues with
* live in a neighborhood that is not predominantly white
* send your kids to schools that racially reflect the city in which you live
* feel comfortable in social situations where you, as a white person, are in the minority (if this ever occurs at all).

...The important part of this is talking about complicated feelings and self-reflection...and that goes both ways, mind you -- I think many blacks, in not wanting to deal with the discussion of personal feelings and race with whites, oftentimes throw up the defensive attitude. I understand this too -- sometimes you just get tired of being seen as a color, a political "object," not a human being, by the dominant culture (across the political spectrum).

Openness on all sides can only help, not hurt.
Communicating honestly about all of the complicated relationships between all colors of the human rainbow is sorely needed as well; it's certainly not just a black/white issue.

***

Skin and the color of money
"Can black people tan?"
-- a white college student at Fordham, back in 1983, asking me whether I could turn browner in the sun, as we sat outside in the late spring.
My answer to that question, by the way (after I picked my jaw up off of the floor) was to calmly say "yes," and I took off my watch so she could see the contrast between my tan and what was underneath my timepiece. I then held my arm up next to her olive-skinned Italian forearm to show her that my non-tan color was lighter than her skin tone.

Gina was quite friendly and earnest when she asked the question. The fact that she felt comfortable enough with me to ask it, made me feel that she deserved a response that would not humiliate or embarrass her by pointing out her ignorance. I was, however, quite perplexed by the blunt question for several reasons. It made me curious about what she exactly thought "black" meant in physical terms (educating her on the fact that race is a social construct probably would have been too much for her to handle). In her world, though, were we that different? Did she have no concept that all humans just have varying amounts of the same chemical, melanin, that affects the complexion they have? Was she just racist? That last word is loaded. Gina was not outwardly hostile toward someone of another race. To narrowly define that word here -- she is a victim of growing up in a world of cultural, institutionalized racism and lack of exposure to people of another color.

That lack of exposure perpetuates the problem on both sides. It must be hard if you're white, asking a question about skin tone, hair texture or any physical characteristics commonly associated with being "black." You've got to take the leap of faith that the person you're asking isn't going to react badly. If you're black, the insult of the question can cut psychologically deep. Are they judging my whole value by my color? Are they saying I'm subhuman? Am I, yet again, the inferior "other"? The fear of negative reaction on both sides in this politically correct world often ensures much-needed conversations on race will never occur. It doesn't stop the ignorance, the stereotypes, or promote healing on either side when you remove the ability to ask and answer simple questions about difference.

You can read the rest of the essay here, and come back and comment.