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$29.95 buys Dick Cheney

Tuesday, February 28, 2006



On sale at HeroBuilders.com. Only this shooting plastic bastard doesn't look like he's had four or five heart attacks.

Hat tip, Raw Story.


Bush Approval Map - Feb 2006 Edition

bushmap.gif
As promised, it's the latest edition of the Bush Approval Map. If you joined us late, the map features the state-by-state opinion polls from SurveyUSA. I've taken Bush's Disapproval Rating and subtracted it from his Approval Rating, which gives us a Net Approval Rating.

Positive percentages represent more love for Bush, which I've color-coded red. Negative percentages represent where more people hate Bush than love him. Those states are shaded in blue. The darker the blue or the red, the more intense the feelings for Bush (purple represents about a 50/50 split, within the +/- 3% margin of error).

The bar on the right shows the overall weighted Net Approval for Bush. This is based on aggregating all the Net Approvals for Bush for all 50 states and weighting them to match population (e.g. Wyoming's love for Bush is only worth 1/77th of California's hatred of Bush.)

Enjoy the map as it turns darker and darker blue biggrin.gif. A month will appear for five seconds.


SC woman kills man with vacuum cleaner

It's hard to see this household appliance as a deadly weapon, but here you go.
An Anderson man is dead after being strangled with a vacuum cleaner hose, and his common-law wife is charged with his murder. Anderson County Sheriff's deputies said they received the call at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

A spokesman for the sheriff's office said Evelyn Pressley admitted to killing Jerome Powers. Deputies said Pressley beat and strangled Powers with vacuum cleaner accessories.


Journalism and the 'free' internet

No one believes that Fox is "fair and balanced," but the ridiculous perversion of what is called journalism needs to cease when this sort of nonsense comes out. (Raw Story):
A simple search of Federal Election Commission records reveals that many News Corp. employees, including chairman and chief executive officer Rupert Murdoch, have made direct, personal donations to the Senator's re-election campaign, as well as other mostly Republican candidates.

Records indicate that in November, 2005, Murdoch personally donated $2,100 to Santorum's campaign. This wasn't he first monetary gift Murdoch made to Santorum; the right wing media mogul shelled out $1,000 to elect the Senator in 2000.

...A review of declared donations indicates that, with few exceptions (such as Chernin's donations to Berman for Congress and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Greta Van Susteren's donation to her sister's campaign for Senate) higher-ups at the "fair and balanced" cable news outlet overwhelmingly give GOP.
John @ AmericaBlog actually has a post up that addresses this fallacy of journalism being pure and devoid of political slant (on either side). It's disingenuous to say that reporters have no political opinions, or for that matter, if you watch Faux News for 30 seconds or so, don't express them.

The issue of objectivity, reporting and blogging is always being bandied about -- what are bloggers -- reporters, "columnists", etc.? It's a new medium and perhaps there's no clear way to pigeon-hole the participants in the blogosphere. John:
...why are being an activist and a journalist mutually exclusive? This came up in the context of CNN's Lou Dobbs going after the Dubai Ports. CBS News' blog quoted a media observer making the following point:
"To me, you're either an advocate or a journalist. You shouldn't pretend to be both."
Now, I don't pretend to be an expert on the history of journalism, but I did watch the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" yesterday. It's about CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow taking on red-scare-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy. Now, I don't pretend to be as great as Edward R. Murrow, though I can certainly aspire. But much of what he had to say to and about McCarthy reminded me of a lot of what we do on the blogs, and in our activism work, every day.

And to take this off of myself, how did Murrow's public criticism of McCarthy differ in any way from Lou Dobbs' criticism of the Dubai deal? I can't find any difference.
The MSM itself plays dumb on this as well, preferring to pretend objectivity exists in its ranks rather than show its bias one way or the other -- and declare it.

Bloggers, for better or for worse, are both activists and journalists. Most don't claim to be wedded to one side or another. In fact, most bloggers are not journalists by any stretch of the imagination -- we don't normally break stories, we analyze, chew on the reporting of others and pass them around the virtual table to share with our readers. But that doesn't exclude us from the capacity to break stories, check facts (or help correct them), and sometimes affect opinion or spur activism.

It's precisely why establishment media, as well as the government, can't quite decide how to deal with bloggers -- but you get the feeling that these entities would like the genie of info sharing back in the bottle, either by attempts at regulation or controlling access.

***

Control is also why you see idiotic proposals like AOL's bright idea, Goodmail's CertifiedEmail, designed to charge companies and organizations to send emails to their members in an effort to "validate" emails as "spam-free" and thus would pass through the AOL-approved gateway. This affects any organization, such as non-profits or grassroots political organizations as well, which is why you have entities such as MoveOn.org Civic Action, Gun Owners of America and Association of Cancer Online Resources all on board in opposition to AOL's master plan.

This proposal is so godawful that this coalition of organizations has formed DearAOL, a site that opposes this move to destroy the free nature of the internet under the guise of protecting you from spam. It's a slippery slope from there.
The Internet is a revolutionary force for free speech, civic organizing, and economic innovation precisely because it is open and accessible to all Internet users equally. On a free and open Internet, small ideas can become big ideas overnight. As Internet advocacy groups, charities, non-profits, businesses, civic organizing groups, and email experts, we ask you to reconsider your pay-to-send proposal and to keep the Internet free.

A pay-to-send system won't help the fight against spam - in fact, this plan assumes that spam will continue and that mass mailers will be willing to pay to have their emails bypass spam filters. And non-paying spammers will not reduce the amount of mail they throw at your filters simply because others pay to evade them.

Perversely, the new two-tiered system AOL proposes would actually reward AOL financially for failing to maintain its email service. The chief advantage of paying to send CertifiedEmail is that it can bypass AOL's spam filters. Non-paying customers are being asked to trust that after paid mail goes into effect, AOL will properly maintain its spam filters so only unwanted mail gets thrown away.


How people land at the Blend

Visits are way up over the past year, thanks to Blenders passing the word on, and newbies who decided to return...

Visits by month:


These are the top 20 search strings that people put in and then click over to surf the Blend. I don't know why Anderson Cooper comes out at #1 this month, but he must be a popular guy on the "internets." :)

anderson cooper
porky pig
rednecks
tissues
lynchings
redneck
piss on ford
krispy kreme
kirk cameron
pam's house blend
bulge
82nd airborne porn
82nd airborne gay
kidney stone
ann coulter
pat robertson
hellfire
angela bassett
spike lee
pam spaulding

Average visits per day to PHB
Webalyzer: 6014
Sitemeter: 3,369

I'm not sure why there's such a discrepancy. The criteria for what is considered a "visit" (length of time on the site) must differ.


Divine Interventions provides a religious experience

Only it's not the kind of experience the bible beaters appreciate very much.

Divine Interventions is a sex toy company that sells religious-themed "appliances" that are raising the blood pressure of the AmTaliban. I wonder if the keyboards at AgapePress caught on fire or whether their monitors blew up when they surfed over to "investigate."
Web-based Divine Productions goes out of its way to promote products that clearly offend and mock Christianity and the Catholic Church. Through its website, the company is offering sex toys like a "baby Jesus b--- plug," a "jackhammer Jesus," and a "diving nun."


[Former pastor and recovered sex addict] Gene McConnell is director of Authentic Relationships International, an organization that reaches out to men and women who are struggling with addiction to pornography. "It is clear that [porn] providers like this have to expose their customers to more destructive ideas to get their customers to come back for more," he says.



The distributor sells its products by using religious imagery and terminology to make fun of biblical characters, among them Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Judas, and Moses. Company advertising employs slogans such as: "Let Judas make a martyr out of you"; "help Moses part the ---- sea"; or "find out what it means to be truly touched by God" by using "God's immaculate --- ."

McConnell believes Divine Productions "is using sex to communicate hate to the religious community."


...Syndicated radio talk-show host Paul McGuire says "it is amazing to the me that major media groups do not see this as a frontal assault on Christianity."
How did these pious folks find this web site anyway? Just asking -- I've never been to this site before, and I'm one of those deviant homos. I would assume their NetNanny or whatever other porn filter they have on their browsers would have kept their tender eyes away from these images.


Gay panic defense pays off for killer in Alabama

[Welcome Towleroad and Raw Story readers...]

What a f*cking outrage. Twenty-year-old animal Raymond Carlisle was convicted of the lesser charge of felony murder (as opposed to capital murder) in the brutal death of Sammie Speigner III, an adjunct professor of sociology at Birmingham Southern College.

His defense attorneys during the trial used the infamous "gay panic" defense, claiming Carlisle reacted "in the heat of passion" when Speigner "tried to homosexually assault him. Defense attorney Amber Ladner even compared the Speigner’s actions to that of a molester using a puppy to lure a young child. His attorneys were pleased by the light verdict.

Now, in the sentencing phase, Circuit Judge Clyde Jones gave Carlisle a mere 21 year sentence (one over the minimum). There is no justice in Alabama.
Carlisle should be eligible for parole in 10 years, said his attorney, Cynthia Umstead.

...Carlisle had testified that Speigner picked up Carlisle under the guise of wanting to buy marijuana, then tried to force the then-19-year-old to engage in sex with him.

Prosecutor Joe Roberts contended that Carlisle deserved the maximum sentence...
Carlisle was so "traumatized" by the encounter with Speigner that he killed the man, stole the professor's credit card to buy beer, cigarettes and gasoline later in the day while joyriding with friends. Even worse, he rented the car to another friend and was finally arrested while smoking dope inside the car, which he had upfitted with a new tag and freshly tinted windows. G-ddamn.

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues:
...even though Raymond Carlisle pulled a gun, chased Prof. Speigner from his car, and then shot him when the Prof got back to his car and tried to drive away. Then Carlisle took Prof. Speigner’s wallet and his car and left him to bleed to death. Carlisle’s excuse? Why, gay panic, of course. And it worked, by God.
***

For a shining positive light in Alabama, see this post, Another brave ally speaks out, on a progressive Baptist pastor who has been an ally to the LGBT community and calls out the homophobia regarding the state's upcoming marriage amendment vote.

More fresh Blend here.


Supremes on abortion protestors

This ruling is a mixed bag, because it prevents Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) laws from being used to stop abortion protestors from congregating and harassing clients outside clinics. The RICO legal strategy was initially and successfully devised by NOW.

However, social activists and the AFL-CIO (who sided with the abortion demonstrators) charged that RICO could be used to quash efforts to change public policy or work for change in wages and working conditions. Alito did not participate in this decision.
The Supreme Court dealt a setback today to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.

The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 ruling by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.

Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the appellate court sought to determine whether the injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence.

In today’s ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend to create “a freestanding physical violence offense” in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act.
Shakes Sis and The Moderate Voice have posts up.


No Bush left behind

When the blasts at the White House are coming from a WingNutDaily columnist, you know this Administration is going downhill fast. Jerome R. Corsi is co-author (with sleazebag John O'Neill) of the Kerry slimefest Unfit for Command, so it's interesting to see him take out Bush on the ports deal.

Investors from the United Arab Emirates helped fund the $23 million Neil Bush raised for Ignite!, the learning systems company that holds lucrative No Child Left Behind Act contracts in Florida and Texas. The "Cow" is an Ignite! portable computer designed to work in a classroom, providing interactive instruction aimed at improving students' scores on standardized tests. If you loved Billy Carter and "Billy Beer," you're certain to love Neil Bush and the "Ignite! Cow."

Neil Bush's frequent travels to Dubai are documented by Datamatix, a Dubai-based information technology company that has featured Neil Bush as a speaker. The Datamatix website features several prominent photographs of Neil Bush addressing a Dubai conference, identifying Neil Bush as "the brother of U.S. President George Bush."

...Anti-Bush Internet websites have been touting the Neil Bush connection with Dubai for months, although the story has been largely shut out of the mainstream media. Many times over, Neil Bush has won the distinction of being the "black sheep" of the Bush family. In 1988, Neil Bush was a director of the failed Silverado Savings and Loan, which collapsed in a scandal that ultimately cost taxpayers an estimated $1 billion. For his role in the savings and loan debacle, Neil Bush was personally fined and permanently banned from any further activities in banking. In a messy divorce ending a 23-year marriage with Sharon Bush, the mother of his children, Neil Bush gave a deposition in which he admitted multiple sex romps with Oriental prostitutes during his many "business trips" to Asia.
I've posted on Neil's little cash cow before -- No Child Left Behind: the Bush family cashes in too


Homo-bigot Claymates file complaint, citing 'false advertising'



Jeezus. Poor fellow Tar Heel Clay Aiken; he doesn't deserve this crap.

First he's sold out by a sleazy dirtbag John Paulus, who was determined to out him by, among other things, saving a alleged washrag with Clay's, um, DNA, on it from his tryst with the American Idol star. Now some of his allegedly devoted Claymates have filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint, saying they were duped about Clay's image.
They allege that employees of RCA, Sony/BMG, and Aiken himself "engaged in collusion to prevent public disclosures they believed might be harmful to their product".

The angry ladies go on to state, "This is tantamount to a manufacturer concealing information about a defective product. Therefore these actions were both unfair and deceptive to consumers."

A spokeswoman for the group says, "As consumers, we feel ripped off. It is obvious now that the private Clay is very different from the manufactured packaged public Clay that was marketed to us."
So as part of their false advertising charge, is one of the problems that they cannot masturbate to his poster without imagining him sleeping with a guy? What damage has been done? The guy's a singer, not a sex god for Dobson's sake. If these chicks only knew how many of the celebrities they moon about are g-a-y.

Related:
* Claymate heartbreak?


NJ school board refuses to fire trans teacher

A big decision, and in the right direction. The conservative Toms River, NJ school board refused to suck up to the fundie parents who wanted transgendered teacher Lily B. McBeth fired. Cretin parent Mark Schnepp, as you read in my earlier post, said that McBeth's presence in the classroom is an affront to his convictions "violates my religious beliefs."

Sanity against bigotry prevailed. (365gay.com):
A school board in one of the most conservative counties in New Jersey Monday night refused to bow to pressure from a small group of parents who demanded the removal of a transgendered teacher.

Lily B. McBeth took a leave of absence from her job as a substitute teacher with the Eagleswood School District last year and at age 69 transitioned. When her physical transformation was complete she petitioned the board to return to work. The board voted 41 to 1 to return her to her old job.

When a small group of a parents realized that Mr McBeth was now Ms McBeth they demanded the board rescind its decision. One parent, Mark Schnepp, took out a full-page newspaper ad urging parents to attend the Board of Education's Monday meeting.
About 100 people showed up, the majority supportive of McBeth.
...But most of the speakers praised McBeth calling her well liked by children and an asset to the school system. Prior to the meeting the school board met privately with McBeth and her attorney. After listening to both sides of the issue during the public meeting the board, without a vote, said it would not amend its early decision.

"This is a historic night for transgender rights," Steven Goldstein, the chair of Garden State Equality told 365Gay.com.
Bluejersey.net's jmelli weighed in, noting Ocean County's bigots are 0 for 2 (after Laurel Hester's victory), citing a Blender commenter:
Mr Schnepp may subscribe to a religion that prohibits his children from getting a quality education from gifted teachers, but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to. Tata said it best: "Welcome to the public schools, where you and your child will meet the public, whether you like it or not." Just one month after the late Laurel Hester was granted domestic partner benefits, we have another triumph over bigotry in Ocean County.


Dubai Ports World to CNN: muzzle Lou Dobbs


Crooks and Liars has the video. Friends, when you have thuggery like the spokesman of Dubai Ports World saying the state-owned company is refusing to give CNN interviews or access to its sites unless they silence on-fire-over-the ports-deal Lou Dobbs, it's a PR disaster for UAE and the White House goons.

After all, it simply confirms that Bush bed buddie$$ operate on the same level as Rovian bullies.

CNN, by the way, backed Dobbs and told Dubai Ports World to go jump. A rare display of cojones by the MSM.


Another brave ally speaks out -- in Alabama

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues pointed me to an editorial in the Decatur Daily by a highly-regarded pastor in Alabama, James L. Evans of Auburn First Baptist Church. She says that he is "a wonderful progressive Baptist pastor who has statewide readership. He has been an ally to the LGBT community for a long time, and he gets the attention of the moderate straight community."

He definitely bucks the trend of the bible beaters there by telling voters in the state, who are looking at gays being dragged out as the boogeyman by the Republicans yet again (there's a marriage amendment on the ballot in June), to look at the game that Frist and Roy Moore are playing.
Senate Majority leader Bill Frist recently announced on the floor of Senate that he was once again calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. His reference is to the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment brought to the floor during the last political season.

The reason it's back again, Frist explains, is out of fear that some state may take action to legalize gay marriage, and because of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called "full faith and credit" clause, marriages in one state are legal in all states.

Alabama gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore also is trumpeting the need for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Even though there is already a law that prohibits same-sex marriage in Alabama, Moore believes it is not enough. Alabama needs a hedge against what other states might do.

Curiously, both Frist and Moore's initiatives will reach their climax around the first of June. The significance for Alabama is obvious. The Republican primary is June 6. Moore has stated publicly that the gay marriage ban will attract concerned Christian voters, many of whom also may support his candidacy.
And Evans brings home the lunacy of the whole matter in terms that the average, God-fearing voter can understand.
In Alabama, the last thing we need to worry about is a surge of gay couples flooding the courthouse with marriage requests. In Alabama, we need to worry about the future of our public school system. We need to be concerned about the status of our healthcare safety net for children and senior adults. We need to be worried about an unfair tax structure and grossly ineffective constitution.

We have some serious issues before us here in Alabama, but gay marriage is not one of them. It is a wedge issue, a whip designed not to inspire voters to vote for better government, but to frighten voters into electing a savior.

And the last time I checked, that job was already taken.
Democrats can learn from Evans when combatting the Repugs ready to toss down the gay card and playing pious. (should Dems ever bother to reframe the issue -- they are so timid it's pathetic).

You can thank Pastor Evans for speaking out on a tough subject to a tough crowd: faithmatters@mindspring.com.


Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low - 34%

Monday, February 27, 2006


The Chimp is in freefall. All thinking beings -- except that hardcore delusional ~30% -- know this guy blows. (CBS):
Mr. Bush's overall job rating has fallen to 34 percent, down from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the job the president is doing. For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn't care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

Just 30 percent approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the Iraq war, another all-time low.

By two to one, the poll finds Americans think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly – the worst assessment yet of progress in Iraq. Even on fighting terrorism, which has long been a strong suit for Mr. Bush, his ratings dropped lower than ever. Half of Americans say they disapprove of how he's handling the war on terror, while 43 percent approve.

And what about the Dark Lord, who hasn't done well in any poll I've seen? He's down to 18% approval. I can't figure out how it's that high.

***

Cheney to quit?

Things must not be going well in the White House with Darth; Insight Magazine is reporting that Dick Cheney's going to step down after the elections. This is clearly another trial balloon. (WingNutDaily):
The sources said they envision Cheney being persuaded to step down as he becomes an increasing liability to President Bush.

There is a growing rift between the president and the vice president and their staffs, the sources said, citing Cheney's delay in informing the president of the accidental shooting of the vice president's hunting colleague.

Cheney could face a new crisis by the end of the year with possible accusations from his former chief of staff Lewis Libby, who faces charges in connection with the CIA leak probe. Libby told a grand jury unnamed "superiors" directed him to relay the content of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in July 2003.

The White House, according to Insight, anticipates Libby putting Cheney on the defensive with claims the vice president ordered Libby to relay classified information – a charge that could lead to a congressional probe and even impeachment proceedings.

"Nothing will happen until after the congressional elections," a GOP source told Insight. "After that, there will be significant changes in the administration and Cheney will probably be part of that."


SpongeBob's on our side

Courtesy of the hardest working man w/P'shop, Mike Tidmus, riffing on the "ex-gay" nonsense in St. Louis over the weekend, where some of the fundies were worked up over the "reimagining" of the Exodus "I questioned homosexuality" billboards...

Oh no! It appears someone has vandalized my beautiful header graphic. And, I worked so hard on it! I strongly suspect it might have been those used-gays. Of course I don’t have a shred of evidence to support that contention, but then Josh Montez at Focus on the Family’s In Focus website had no proof that a couple of billboards promoting the Cash Won Out conference in Saint Louis were, in fact, attacked by gay activists, when he blubbered out, “Billboards advertising this weekend’s Love [sic] Won Out Conference in St. Louis are defaced, presumably by gay activists opposing the meeting.”


Heels and dresses

Jasmyne Cannick's Black America's Infatuation With Butch Men Up in Heels is a must read. She asks the question:
While images of Black men dressed as woman have become a popular part of Black American culture in entertainment, does the success of the Black actor who plays a role in drag depend on that actor's heterosexism in real life?
It's interesting when you look at the contrast in acceptance in the black community of Tyler Perry in drag in Madea's Family Reunion, Martin Lawrence as Big Momma, or Damon Wayans and David Allen Grier as flamers Blaine Edwards and Antoine Merriweather on In Living Color versus RuPaul, who is openly gay. His success has largely come from white audiences. Jasmyne notes how this represents the unaddressed homophobia in the religious black community.
But what if Tyler Perry were gay? Would Madea continue to be as popular among Black churchgoers? Probably not. At least with his assumed heterosexuality, Christians can rest at ease that they are not supporting anything gay because after all, it is just a role. RuPaul, while a great performer, was openly gay and therefore never found the wide spread acceptance and fame that Madea has.


Dennis Weaver is gone

Boy, it's not a good week to be a celebrity. Weaver was best known for his TV roles in Gunsmoke and McCloud, two series I didn't watch back in the day.

The two films that I recall when thinking of Dennis Weaver:


Duel (1971): Steven Spielberg's first film, a TV movie about a businessman being chased on the dusty highways and hills by a maniac in an 18-wheeler. It still holds up today as a thriller.

A Touch of Evil (1958): A masterpiece by Orson Welles. Weaver plays the weird night clerk of a motel where Janet Leigh is terrorized and assaulted by a gang (Mercedes McCambridge as a biker dyke/gang member!). The role of the freaky motel clerk was expanded during shooting as Weaver and Welles came up with new ideas for the character. The opening sequence in the film is amazing, as are all of the performances, save Charlton Heston's completely unconvincing portrayal of a Mexican narcotics investigator.


Patently Shameless Blogwhoring


Well, howdy, Blenders! Your token (or is that "tokin'"?) straight white male barista has been away from the coffeehouse for awhile. I've been putting the finishing touches on my website's migration away from ValueWeb hosting, Blogger publishing, and Haloscan comments. I've moved to my own domain, hosted completely (posts & comments) on my own dedicated server at IdeaServed (Portland's #1 Webhost - support local business!) using the Movable Type publishing system.

I couldn't be happier! The new system is awesome. It lets me categorize posts, provides great navigation through archives, e-mail subscription, Google toolbar integration, and includes a TypeKey-verified commenting system (to keep the spammers and trolls away.) Check out the new Radical Writ.

I'll still be posting over here from time to time, when I have posts about LGBT issues or the American Taliban. But my rants on the War On (Certain American Taxpayers Using Non-Alcoholic, Non-Pharmaceutical, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, Modern Mythology and the People Who Believe It, The Bill of Rights and Other Quaint Anachronisms, and Sex, Sex, & More Kinky Alternative Sex will remain housed at the Writ.

Stop on by if you get the chance. Think of my place as that counterculture head shop next door to the lesbian coffeehouse. You're all welcome and will be immediately set as trusted commenters (immediate posting rights) the minute I see your handle in my commenter logs (after you log in and post a comment.) Mind the construction; we're still working on the Radical SWAG Store, the Conservative Values Monitor, the Iraquagmire pages, and the Family Photo Gallery (switching a site from all PHP to all CGI is HARD!), but there will be plenty of bloggy goodness and, er, novelty functional glass art for tobacco use only for everyone.


Score one against abstinence-only ed



The ludicrous virginity pledge organization Silver Ring Thing ("A high-tech, high-energy program for teens promoting the idea of remaining sexually abstinent until marriage") has lost its funding from the Bush admin, as a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. It alleged that the operation was using the funds to proselytize.

The government terminated the grant effective January 31. (gay.com):
The settlement means the Silver Ring Thing, which doles out silver rings to remind young people of their promise to abstain from sex, will not be eligible for federal money unless it changes its program to ensure the money isn't used for religious purposes.

The organization has received more than $1 million in federal funding during the past three years, the Associated Press reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the program in U.S. District Court in Boston in May.

The WaPo reported last March that those virginity pledges touted by head-in-the-sand organizations like True Love Waits and the Silver Ring Thing are doing nothing to stop STDs. Among the 20 percent of kids that took a virginity pledge, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying or prior to 2002 interviews. Almost 7 percent of the students who did not make a pledge were diagnosed with an STD, compared with 6.4 percent of the "inconsistent pledgers" and 4.6 percent of the "consistent pledgers."

So much for success on the "sexual purity" front.

Related:
* Virginity pledge org busted by feds for proselytizing on your dime

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Bring on the end times

So we don't have to deal with fools like these people anymore.
Pastors of some of the largest evangelical churches in America met recently in Inglewood to polish strategies for starting five million new churches worldwide in 10 years -- an effort they say they hope will hasten the End Time.

The Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus always has been the ultimate goal of evangelicalism. But when that would occur was any Christian's guess.

The "Billion Souls Initiative" of the Global Pastors Network aims to shorten the path to Judgment Day by partnering church resources with the latest communications systems to spread the gospel.

In an interview at Faith Central Bible Church in Inglewood, James Davis, president of the campaign, said, "Jesus Christ commissioned his disciples to go to the ends of the Earth and tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life.

"As we advance around the world, we'll be shortening the time needed to fulfill that great commission," he said. "Then, the Bible says, the end will come."
In what can only be described as a surreal and disturbing sign of things to come in terms of pandering to the holy rollers, likely 2008 prez hopeful Rudy Giuliani recently spoke before the pastors' group in Orlando, shilling his upcoming book on "what it takes to be a leader in time of crisis."



RIP, Octavia Butler


Photo: Joshua Trujillo / Seattle P-I

My brother is a big fan of Octavia Butler, a pioneer author in the sci-fi genre. (Seattle PI):
Her father was a shoeshine man who died when she was a child, her mother was a maid who brought her along on jobs, yet Octavia Butler rose from these humble beginnings to become one of the country's leading writers - a female African American pioneer in the white, male domain of science fiction.

She remains the only science fiction writer to receive one of the vaunted "genius grants" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a hard-earned $295,000 windfall in 1995 that followed years of poverty and personal struggles with shyness and self-doubt.


Jeremy gets mail

One of the Rotting CryptkeeperTM's clan actually writes Jeremy of Good As You -- and he writes her back.

Shirley Phelps-Roper tells him that his writing is a hoot, but that he's still hell-bound.


The leader of the free world

US leader crashed by trying to 'pedal, wave and speak at same time'. This story is on the release of details of a 2005 bicycle crash at the Gleneagles golf resort in Scotland, where the Chimperor collided with a police officer. Bush was getting a little R&R while at the G8 summit.
He may be the most powerful man in the world, but proof has emerged that President George Bush cannot ride a bike, wave and speak at the same time.

...After a hard day's discussion with fellow world leaders, the president was looking for some relaxation. Instead, he ended up the subject of a police report in which the leader of the free world was described, in classic police language, as a "moving/falling object".
Here's how the crash unfolded -- The Scotsman reports that the facts were kept under wraps for "fear of embarrassing Bush" by the local police. When you read this, it's obvious why.
"[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Road as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through." The report goes on: "[At] about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.


"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties."

...Jim McDermott, a Democrat Congressman, last night quipped: "Not only does he break the law over here on eavesdropping and spying on our own citizens, but it seems he can't even keep to your law when it comes to riding a bike. It's another example of how he can't keep his mind on the things he should be thinking about."
Remember, he also took a dive off of his bike at the ranch in Crawford back in 2004.



And he didn't have much more luck when taking a spin on a Segway...



Then again, he was stationary before he choked on the pretzel and fell -- off of a couch in 2002.


Bruise from the "pretzel choke incident."

You may begin your own snarky quips now.

***

Shakes Sis comments on the story:
Did you notice at the tail end of the article, it said the officer he hit was out of work for 14 weeks?! In my post, I went back and looked at how his injuries were described at the time as "minor". It's total bullshit - this is exactly the same as Cheney's hunting "accident." These guys have both seriously hurt people with impunity.
Hat tip, Raw Story.


On-the-scene report from Love Won Out counter-vigil in St. Louis

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blender NancyP has turned in a great first-hand report on Exodus/Daddy Dobson's ex-gay roadshow, Love Won Out, which was held in St. Louis over the weekend (my post here). Her account follows this report on what went on inside.

The First Evangelical Free Church was the location of the "ex-gay" event, with about 1500 people paying $50 for the pleasure of being told that homosexuality is choice that can be cured, according to 365gay.com's coverage. Also, at no time was the audience told that the statistics spouted about have long been discredited by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

Professional heterosexual Melissa Fryrear, Gender Issues Analyst for Focus on the Family.

One of the speakers, Melissa Fryrear, said she had been "saved" from her lesbianism. She said that often homosexuality is the result of a fractured parent child relationship or sexual abuse. "Ever wonder why some lesbians look mannish?" she asked the audience. "It’s a vulnerability to be a woman. That suit of armor to keep you from being hurt."

Speakers also promoted books and other material on sale at the conference, including a $50 boxed set called "Male Homosexuality Package," that included books called "Coming out of Homosexuality" and "You Don’t Have to Be Gay."
Alrighty then.

Nancy and hundreds of others braved the freezing elements to peacefully show that "Love Needs No Cure."

St. Louis responds to LWO: A billboard promoting the conference was modified into a positive message, affirming and celebrating gay identity. This happened sometime just before the day of the conference. Photo: St. Louis Independent Media Center

This event was like Pride with a wind chill of 5 above zero. People were incredibly cheerful, despite the 30 degree weather with winds up to 30 mph. Also the hour - we wanted big turnout when people were coming and going from the conference. Consequently, some 500 people showed up at the 6:30 AM rally on a Saturday morning on Mardi Gras weekend, a fine turnout. The afternoon (4:00PM) session was less well attended, with perhaps 150 at the peak, and weather was still tough. We were jumping up and down to stay warm, and constantly repairing the flimsier signs that were blowing to pieces. I was trying to hang onto my pole of the 2-person 8' lgbt physicians' group banner, and making jokes about going sailing in the Midwest cornfields.

I think it must have been obvious that we were having a good time, waving at passersby and conference attendees. At least two teens in the conference managed to take "long bathroom breaks" or some such, and snuck outside and talked with the teen and college student contingent we had, and I saw a number of teens, in back seats of cars driven by parents, who gave us the thumbs up when entering or leaving the conference. There were also the confused or polite attendees who waved back when we waved at them, the attendees who scowled and hurriedly rolled up their windows or accelerated onto the road when we waved and smiled, and the stony-faced.

The cops were pretty happy with us - we set up liaison people well in advance, provided our own foot-traffic control/security folks, and cleaned up after ourselves, obeyed the rules, and tried to keep the noise down - and the event provided them extra overtime time-and-a-half that is probably hard to get in the glossy and dull suburb. Perhaps one of the most unusual moments was when one of the homeowners across the street pulled out some extra gloves and coats and loaned them to us for the day. I later found out their names, and it turns out that I know and work with them, one is a medical lab. tech. in my hospital department, the other is a professor at the medical school.

I feel proud of our community for pulling together this peaceful, cheerful event in the course of 10 days, yes, TEN DAYS, dropping everything and squeezing a few more hours into the days to get the preparatory work done. I was "sign queen", and we had several dozen people stop by one of the three sign-making sessions, contributing their creativity and generally having a good time. People opened their facilities to us - the local lgbt coffeehouse owner, a UCC with a lesbian pastor, Eden Seminary (UCC). The security people trained. The parking people lined up local churches willing to let us use their lots for the day, attendants for the lots, and shuttle busses. The liason person talked to all the pertinent police and city officials beforehand. The media folks lined up experts and interviews with local media, and our own pediatrician-of-the-air, whose usual on-air topic is something on the order of "what to do when your child has diarrhea", put on his activist hat and gave several radio, tv, and newspaper interviews, as did several ministers. Everybody did publicity within the community, to get turnout.

This was a movement-building event, engaging not only the usual suspects (political mavens), but community members who never participated in such an action before. In my opinion, FOTF/Exodus did us a favor. And I hope they have an opposition-research person reading this blog, to find out this.
Nancy added that she had her two seconds of fame as a signholder in a long shot on one of the local TV news programs, she noted it was a local FOX affiliate to boot -- they actually gave the story more airtime and more positive focus than other area TV stations.

Here are some other links:

* Gay Spirituality & Culture's take on the vigil

* Mike Airhart's report, 'Love Won Out' to Parents: Discriminate With A Smile, at Ex-Gay Watch.

* Students from Washington University in St. Louis and the vigil


More of the base marches in Orlando


Photos: Julie Fletcher/Orlando Sentinel

The National Socialist Movement managed to find 22 true believers to march through Orlando's historic black Parramore neighborhood Saturday. More than 500 counterprotestors showed up.



Related:
* More wisdom from 'the base'


Buckley drop kicks Bush on Iraq


No one is going to contest William F. Buckley's conservative credentials, so how are the Bushies going to work their way around this point-blank assessment of Iraq?
One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed... Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

...The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each other's throats.
Over at Unclaimed Territory, Glenn Greenwald smartly digs up an earlier quote from Howard Dean that the DNC chair was scorched on by the right wing.
Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years. . . .

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."
Surf over to Glenn's pad for a collection of winning quotes from the knob-ends of the right (including the horrid Malkin and Michael Reagan -- the latter issued a death sentence for Dean!), who took turns blasting Dean for the above quote.

There's also a generous helping of painful winger spinning, trying to square on Buckley's almost identical "coming out" party on Iraq this week. It's not like they can call him a wild-eyed liberal, traitor or agent of Al Qaeda. Well, I guess we can't put anything past the Kool-Aid set.


Rove in 'Strategery': sHillary will lose



Hey, most Blenders can actually agree with Rove on this one (scary thought there). Queen Drudge is bleating in a "world exclusive" that in the new book Stategery, by reporter Bill Sammon, Turdblossom and Bush are on the record saying they expect sHillary to be the Dem nominee and that her ass will be whipped in the general election. Rove:
There is a “brittleness about her” that could prove a weakness in November 2008. But Rove added that the “hard-driving” Clinton will easily vanquish Democratic primary rivals like New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who are merely “preening for the vice presidential slot.”

...“She is the dominant player on their side of the slate,” Rove said of Clinton. “Anybody who thinks that she’s not going to be the candidate is kidding themselves.”

...“For somebody who is philosophically very liberal, she’ll be a very cautious candidate at times,” he said. “That cautiousness will serve her well a lot of times — not always, but a lot of times. “For example, her cautiousness had her vote for the Iraq war,” he said. “Her cautiousness has led her to do things to sort of try to position herself as a centrist.”

Asked to describe Clinton’s weaknesses, Rove said, “her personal philosophy and her brittleness about her.”she conducts herself. But it will also be settled in part by who the Republican nominee is and how he or she conducts themselves.”
That brittleness crap from Rove is just the beginning of the misogyny campaign against sHillary, but quite frankly they don't need to start that sh*t to find plenty of fault with the senator from NY, such as her transparent pandering of the center-right crowd on a host of issues.

BTW, this was from the same series of interviews where the Chimp calls sHillary "formidable." Whatever.

***

Mo' money...

Oh, and if you folks in NY get any phone calls asking for money for sHillary "for her Senate race" -- she doesn't need it.
At the end of 2005, the former first lady had $17 million in her campaign account and was working hard to expand her national base of contributors.

..."She's raising money she won't even need" for her state race, said former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a New York Republican powerbroker.

Leftover money could be used for a presidential campaign in 2008 if she runs.


Fake wing wang nuked by brain-dead couple

That about sums this one up from Paul. Read and weep.

Microwaved Penis Turns Out To Be Fake. Now I have to admit that the above headline got my attention. The story in a nutshell is that a couple go into a convenience store and ask to warm something up in the microwave there. The clerk notices that the item that they place in the microwave is apparently a severed penis and calls the cops.

Now here is where an admittedly already strange story starts to get seriously weird. It turns out that the woman is due to take a pre-employment drug piss test and she is trying to find a way to beat it. These morons get hold of one of those fake dicks with a pee reservoir, you know, the thing designed for GUYS to hang out of their pants in front of the drug inspector, which they fill with the boyfriend's clean pee.
What was this woman thinking? She was more concerned about the urine being body temperature for the test, but not the fact that she was going to whip out a fake wang-dang doodle for the test. Paul had me rolling.
I don't know what kind of job she was applying for, but my guess is that unless it was one where the cash register has pictures of food items on the buttons instead of numbers, she probably isn't qualified. I just hope that the mastermind of this plot was the drug addled woman and not her substance free boyfriend.


Darrin McGavin passes away



He was 83. One of my favorite shows from my childhood was The Night Stalker, which ran from September 1974 to March 1975. The WaPo obit features that role prominently.
But the 20 episodes of the "Night Stalker" series, in which he played a rumpled, grumpy Chicago news reporter whose determination to follow every lead allows him to save society from the dangers of the supernatural, seemed to define his career.

The episodes in which he played Carl Kolchak on ABC in 1974 and 1975 were distinguished by his portrayal of the dogged shoe-leather reporter and combined the appeal of the newsroom drama with the attractions of fantasy and the occult.
He also appeared in a few episodes of the X-Files in 1998 and 1999 (another favorite show of mine), playing Agent Arthur Dales. McGavin won an Emmy in 1990 as Candice Bergen's opinionated father in an episode of "Murphy Brown."

Also:
* The Darren McGavin official web site.
* The Night Stalker/Night Strangler DVD came out recently (I got it for Christmas).

I always loved the creepy, off-kilter shows as a kid, and was also a big "Twilight Zone" fan (the original series via reruns). My copy of Marc Scott Zicree's Twilight Zone Companion literally fell apart from overuse. I had to throw it out several years ago. :(

***


Also, I forgot to mention the passing yesterday of five-time Emmy winner Don Knotts. I always remembered him (aside from The Andy Griffith Show), from The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which I enjoyed as a child (on TV in the 70s; I was only 1 when it was released in 1964).


Battling Virginia's marriage amendment

I received this update on the Virginia marriage amendment from Josh Israel, of the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club.

This week, State Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mary Margaret Whipple of Arlington (one of our strongest allies in the State Senate) pushed through an amendment to the referendum text to include the ENTIRE text of the proposed amendment, rather than the inaccurate abbreviated version. This full version passed both the House and Senate unanimously---the Republicans who had earlier killed a similar effort on a party-lines vote shifed course and decided that they'd allow voters to actually know what they were voting on.

Now, it is going to be our job to make sure every fair-minded Virginian knows what this amendment could do and we will do everything we can to defeat this dangerous and dangerously worded amendment.
Josh took a lot of heat a couple of weeks ago (the post "Spineless Leadership") for not pushing Governor Tim Kaine to vote against the marriage amendment that is going to be on the ballot this fall. Josh responded in the comments of another thread on this, explaining the logistical issues and the dilemma ahead. A snippet:
Constitutional amendments must be proposed by our state legislature and ratified by a popular vote--the Governor's power in the matter is the same as any Virginian: speaking out for or against a proposal and ultimately voting for or against it as a voter, should it make it to the ballot...

Governor Kaine, though not yet with us on marriage equality, has also announced that he is opposed to the dangerously written amendment as passed by the legislature and has announced that he will vote against it (and I'd add, he made no empty promises on this--he said repeatedly during the campaign that he opposed same-sex unions but supported employment non-discrimination).
To make it clear, I didn't suggest that Kaine had the power to stop an amendment in its tracks, that's clearly not possible -- what one of his roles is, as Josh pointed out, is to ensure the amendment language is accurate -- which is why you have Kaine making the ridiculous statement that he was "not comfortable" with the current language, but that he'll still sign off on an amendment that he basically agrees with. He is against same sex civil equality when it comes to marriage -- that's his position. That is also the core problem -- clarifying what the voters will see on the ballot is one matter -- agreeing on the overall principle of the amendment and to not speak out as to why it should be defeated is another.

From the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club release, which outlines the heinous language:
The Partisans also blasted the Republican legislature for passing the proposed constitutional amendment (HJ 41) itself and vowed to do everything in their power to ensure that the amendment is defeated in November. The amendment not only writes into the state constitution that only heterosexual marriages shall be valid in Virginia, it also prohibits any legal status for relationships of unmarried people "that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage" and bans any recognition of any other "union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."


Even supporters of this legislation, such as anti-gay Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) have conceded publicly that the language of the amendment could have dangerous unintended consequences. Marshall said last year that he "voted for it almost like flipping a coin."
You know what, Bob? Flipping a coin on the backs of your gay and lesbian citizens (never mind all the others that may be affected by your cavalier position) is f*cking sick. If that's the best judgment you can use on legislation before you, you need to step aside for someone who actually thinks about the best interests of all Virginians.


Unfortunately, Governor Tim Kaine has decided that the severe and permanent impact that the amendment as articulated will have on VA gays and lesbians really doesn't matter as long as his shining "rising star" rep is preserved. I'm not sure what is left to educate him about on this issue This tap dance of "discomfort" for him is not an abstraction to the gays and lesbians who will officially have second-class citizenship in that Virginia. Kaine represents the larger problem with the kind of faux-Democrats that the party at the national level is now supporting.

If the VPGLDC has any hope of succeeding in changing enough voters' minds to defeat this amendment, they would certainly need the open support of the governor to tell the voters why they should vote it down. In the end, they aren't going to get it from Tim Kaine.

***

Meanwhile, in the Big Balls category of bigotry...


The Virginia AG, Robert F. McDonnell (R), in response to above bigot Delegate Marshall, has warned Kaine that he may have violated the state constitution with the executive order (first signed by former Gov. Warner, then Kaine) banning discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the state workforce.

McDonnell's opinion is not binding in any way; the order remains in effect, but the outright hostility toward gays and lesbians takes your breath away.
In his opinion, requested by a state lawmaker, McDonnell said Kaine's executive order "is beyond the scope of executive authority and, therefore, unconstitutional." In an interview, McDonnell said the governor had usurped the legislature's right to make law.

"He is not free to set a policy on his own that is beyond the scope of that which has been authorized by the General Assembly," McDonnell said. He also said the Virginia Supreme Court has never recognized gay people as a protected class.

"The General Assembly has clearly set various policies about nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex and national origin," McDonnell said. He added: "To the contrary, [lawmakers] have . . . rejected a statewide policy of nondiscrimination regarding sexual orientation."
This state is so full of batsh*t sick bigots that I don't know how gay folks are going to be able to make a stand there. The straight allies are sorely needed in this fight.

Do support grassroots efforts to defeat the amendment, including Equality Virginia.


Looks like McCain won't get 2008 help from Alaska


Rep. Don Young is pissed and Bush-humping John McCain was the focus of a very public blast at a news conference in Anchorage by the congressman. McCain's railing on the "bridge to nowhere" project resulted in the funding to the state losing its earmarks, the beneficiary of which would have been the bridge construction. (Anchorage Daily News):
At a rare Anchorage news conference Thursday, Rep. Don Young urged state lawmakers to help pay for the big bridges in Anchorage and Ketchikan and blamed Sen. John McCain for spoiling public opinion of the embattled projects.

...After Hurricane Katrina leveled New Orleans in the fall, Young became a fixture in national media as critics asked why Congress was spending hundreds of millions of dollars for bridges in Alaska instead of to rebuild Louisiana.

Young and Sen. Ted Stevens fought to keep federal earmarks for $223 million for a Ketchikan-Gravina Island bridge and $229 million for the Knik bridge proposal. Alaska got the $452 million, but the earmarks are gone, meaning state lawmakers can use the money for other projects. In retrospect, Young said he wouldn't have pursued the projects any differently. He said he was a victim of circumstance. And U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

A potential contender in the next presidential race, McCain's criticism of the bridges helped the project become a national joke for comedians and personalities like Jay Leno, David Letterman and Rush Limbaugh, Young said.

"I will never work for John McCain. Ever. I may support Hillary Clinton if he gets the nomination," Young told an audience at the Palmer Rotary.


Zimbabwe's homo-bigot


The 82-year-old "elected" dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, hasn't lost any steam when it comes to gay bashing. At a celebration of his own birthday, held in a stadium and attended by thousands, he let loose bile worthy of the American Family Association, only he has the power to arrest gay-affirming clergy. He made threats to do so. (365gay):
Speaking in Shona, one of Zimbabwe's two major tongues, Mugabe denounced homosexuality.

"Leave whites to do that," he declared. Mugabe told the cheering throng that same-sex marriage is a threat to mankind and condemned churches that bless gay unions.

He said his government would jail any clergy who performed a blessing ceremony for gay couples in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is heavily Anglican and the speech was applauded by Anglican priests in the crowd.

Mugabe routinely refers to gays as dogs and has on two occasions ordered police to round up and imprison gays.
Even with those clear cut wild remarks, there has been a lot of talk about whether Mugabe's up to the job anymore.


Love Won Out nuts in St. Louis

As we mentioned earlier this week, the Daddy Dobson ex-gay roadshow known as Love Won Out was heading for St. Louis. Well, they've teamed up with some local pastors who are spewing the nonsense. Promoters claim more than 1,300 people have registered, and are coming from 28 states. Yes, the gay bars will be crowded.

Some quotes of wisdom from the local religious leaders...

"The movie 'Brokeback Mountain' may win best picture of the year, the issues are being discussed very openly now and, in the media, it's in your face everyday. The church has been silent on this issue for so long, and now we want to offer an opportunity to those who are dissatisfied with that lifestyle."
-- Mark Friz of St. Paul's Evangelical Free Church in Creve Coeur


"Churches decades ago didn't respond properly to this issue...what the conference is giving out is "simply information." I guarantee you, there's no peace in their [homos] life ... there's no comfort."
-- Leroy Gill Jr., pastor of Jubilee Community Church in north St. Louis


"My feeling is, homosexuals are not born. Homosexuals need help. They need to be told the truth...I love people. I love homosexuals. I love sinners. But this is God's word. They damn themselves to Hell."
-- Willie Kent, pastor of the Community Fellowship church in the Central West End
***

Blender NancyP has been participating in a peaceful protest outside the LWO event; she noted this in the comments of another thread earlier today:
FWIW, we had about 500 polite protesters at the morning action "Love Needs No Cure" at the St. Louis Love Won Out conference. What was cool was that for every car passing to turn into the church lot, other cars were honking and waving. Only 4 cars flipped the bird or otherwise were significantly hostile - most of the attendees were trying to be stony-faced.

Well, off for the afternoon action, now that I have eaten and warmed up. 40 degrees, 10-15 mph wind, and a 2 person 8' banner without windholes - I felt we were about to fly away like Dorothy.
Nancy, if you write up an account of what went on from your group's POV, I'll be happy to post it.

Hat tip to Blender Anthony.


Demons vanquished in Ohio

Saturday, February 25, 2006


The Rev. Bob Larson: "Not everyone spits green pea soup and has their head rotate 360 degrees. But everybody needs deliverance." Photo: Toledo Blade/Jessica Crossfield.

Holly sends me these two articles, Pastor feels called to fight demons and Toledo gets visit from 'The Exorcist', and I read them wondering whether this was a joke, that perhaps the Rev. Bob Larson was a comedian.

Nope. He's dead serious, and he claims to have cast out over 6000 demons during his road shows, called 'Spiritual Freedom Conferences'. One passage in the article caught my eye, since it has particular relevance for Russ, who is out there in the Pacific Northwest.
Mr. Larson said the influence of demons varies according to location, with some parts of the United States and certain countries having more demonic activity than others.

"I've never had a problem finding demons in the Pacific Northwest, for example, because it has been such a non-church, non-religious area. Demons are more free to operate," he said. "Ironically, the other place is the Bible Belt. The devil is where he's not expected to be. It's what happens when people have too much religion and not enough spirituality."

There is a finite number of demons in the world because God created a set number of angels, he said. The evil spirits are those who followed Lucifer when he rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. But demons are becoming more active, Mr. Larson said, as seen in the increased incidents of violence, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and criminal behavior among Americans today.

"There has been exponential growth of demonic activity today than when I started 30 years ago," he said. "It's rampant."
Larson has toured the country over the last six years, building exorcist teams to handle demon cast-outs and healings. He claims to have trained 100 teams, including the Toledo team -- Rev. Louis C. Roy's Oasis Christian Fellowship.


The Rev. Bob Larson works on the demons inside Mishael Dempsey at the Clarion Westgate Hotel in Toledo, Ohio. Dempsey said demons also caused her father to kill her mother and then take his own life. "There are demons with mental powers, and demons with physical powers. But the most dangerous demons are mind demons. They're mentally crafty. There's a spiritual strategy involved." Photo: Toledo Blade/Jessica Crossfield.


Florida GOP sends marriage amendment bigots another $150K

The Sunshine State GOP gave the goons at Florida4Marriage after an initial boost of $150K back in October. Their efforts failed, as not enough signatures were acquired to move the amendment measure forward. (St. Pete Times):
Determined to get a gay marriage ban on the ballot for Florida voters, the state Republican Party has doubled its initial investment in the effort to $300,000.

State Senate President Tom Lee said the additional $150,000 came after Florida4marriage.org, the political committee working to amend the state Constitution, failed to get enough signatures in time to qualify for the 2006 ballot.

Lee, R-Valrico, said he embraced the extra $150,000 donation because Florida4Marriage still wants to get the measure on the ballot in 2008. "I supported it because I know it's an important issue to Republicans. I know it may not be more important than tax cuts, it may not be more important than property rights or whatever, but it is an element, just as the sanctity of life issues are an element of importance of our party," Lee said. He noted that lawmakers in 2005 spent days debating whether to try to force feeding tubes back into Terri Schiavo.

State Democratic Party spokesman Mark Bubriski had a different take: "It looks like they're afraid they can't win on the issues that actually matter to Floridians - issues like port security, offshore drilling, prescription drugs and class size reduction," he said.
Governor Jebbie Bush tries to play it cool, saying in the article that he was unaware of the party contribution, and says the amendment isn't necessary because Florida law already bars same-sex marriage.

Andy Eddy, vice president of Log Cabin Republicans of Broward County was understandably angry at his party for wasting $300K on efforts to make gay Floridians second-class citizens, but that's the state of things there.
Voters need to let Party officers know that the GOP needs to focus on the issues that are important to everyone in Florida like homeland security, hurricane prepardness, a strong economy, education, property ownership protection, education, transportation and healthcare. Let the RPOF know you don't support this kind of wasteful spending. Contact the RPOF or by phone at 850.222.7920.
Hat tip, Eva at Lloydletta.

***

While we're on the state of Florida, a Schadenfreude alert...



My, my, why would we take pleasure in the misery known as the Katherine Harris Senate campaign? Tee hee. She's traumatized us by tossing the 2000 election to an unqualified dolt, and subjecting people to this painful run for higher office. She's in a tad bit o' trouble. From Perrspectives:
Things just keep going from bad to worse for Katherine Harris. The GOP's 2000 Florida recount heroine is facing almost certain defeat in her upcoming 2006 Senate race, a campaign her one-time Republican backers in DC pulled out all the stops to prevent. Now comes the news that Harris accepted $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Duke Cunningham's bagman, Mitchell Wade of defense contractor MZM.

Michael Crowley in The New Republic details Harris' fall from grace among national Republicans. Celebrated with flowers and marriage proposals after her successful efforts as Florida Secretary of State to block Al Gore's 2000 recount hopes, Harris' repeated stumbles and polarization of the Florida electorate has alienated the national GOP. Despite her personal wealth, fund-raising success and name recognition, Harris just squeaked by in her two house races in 2002 and 2004. Her high disapproval numbers were only made worse by "ThreatGate," Harris' fabricated claims in 2004 about the Bush administration's supposed thwarting of over 100 terrorist plots, including a mythical attempt to destroy the electrical grid in Carmel, Indiana.

The result for Harris is a dismal showing to date in her 2006 Senate race against the unpopular Democrat Bill Nelson.
She's trailing Nelson by 15 points and she's so radioactive, the Chimperor is not coming anywhere near her on the campaign trail.

My favorite GOP-dumping-on-Harris tale up to this point was when The Empty Wig Dole, in her role as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, took a private plane to New York last year to try to convince MSNBC bleating head and former Florida representative Joe Scarborough to run against Harris (he said no because of, well, some problems).

Hat tip, oddjob.


Southern Baptists: our women are out of control

The Women's Missionary Union is too independent for the men of the Southern Baptist Convention, so it is mulling whether to bring the body under the control of the SBC. It's not enough to desire womb control; thought and freedom of association is apparently too much for these men to take from their females. Have they placed an order for burqas yet? (WaPo):
Formed in 1888, the Woman's Missionary Union is considered an "auxiliary" _ or helper _ to the denomination, but it has always been self-governing and financially independent.

Now the executive committee of the SBC is considering a motion to place the women's group under the direct authority of the convention. Top Baptist officials stress that it's early in the process and such a step is unlikely. But if approved by both groups, the change would likely stop the Woman's Missionary Union from continuing its work with more moderate Baptist churches that are not affiliated with the SBC.

"Surely one reason this is happening is the desire to keep these Baptist women from connecting with non-SBC Baptist groups," said Bill Leonard, dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School and an opponent of the conservative takeover of the denomination. Leonard said the Southern Baptist Convention is "very nervous about entities they cannot control."

.."The WMU has been the one organization controlled and run by women," said Robert Parham, executive director of Baptist Center for Ethics, a Nashville group that often criticizes the conservative direction of the Southern Baptists. "Taking control of the WMU solidifies male dominance of the SBC."

Parham said Southern Baptists are wary of female leadership, noting that in recent years the denomination has ruled that women should not be pastors and that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands.
Hat tip Holly.


'Discovered' emails may prove Cheney lied on Plame leak


This is huge. It's too bad Darth wasn't under oath when he lied about the plan to discredit Joe Wilson by leaking the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative, but it's bad enough to drag this story back into the spotlight.

Somehow the White House has recently "discovered" heretofore missing emails and turned them over to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that, sources say, could prove the Dark Lord is a lying bastard on this. The emails were originally requested in 2003. (Truthout via Raw Story):
The emails are said to be explosive, and may prove that Cheney played an active role in the effort to discredit Plame Wilson’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s prewar Iraq intelligence, sources close to the investigation said.

Sources close to the probe said the White House “discovered” the emails two weeks ago and turned them over to Fitzgerald last week. The sources added that the emails could prove that Cheney lied to FBI investigators when he was interviewed about the leak in early 2004. Cheney said that he was unaware of any effort to discredit Wilson or unmask his wife’s undercover status to reporters.


Cheney was not under oath when he was interviewed. He told investigators how the White House came to rely on Niger documents that purportedly showed that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country. Cheney said he had received an intelligence briefing on the allegations in late December 2003, or early January 2004, and had asked the CIA for more information about the issue.

Cheney said he was unaware that Ambassador Wilson was chosen to travel to Niger to look into the uranium claims, and that he never saw a report Wilson had given a CIA analyst upon his return which stated that the Niger claims were untrue. He said the CIA never told him about Wilson's trip.

However, the emails say otherwise, and will show that the vice president spearheaded an effort in March 2003 to attack Wilson’s credibility and used the CIA to dig up information on the former ambassador that could be used against him, sources said.
Torture Boy/Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had already withheld tons of emails, citing executive privilege and national security as concerns of the White House.

The question is, how hot does this blaze have to get for Cheney to step down? Since he's the one running the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there probably isn't even being seriously discussed. However, if Cheney ends up with the target on his back because of this evidence, there's not much he can do to step out of the way of the birdshot -- someone is going to have to take the blast for the plan.


Scooter Libby's already in the hot seat; he's scheduled to go to trial in January of 2007, and yesterday this nice bit of news came across the AP that indicates he's going to be sweating, since the judge in the case is making efforts to keep information under wraps that the Chimp could later withhold, claiming executive privilege.

You may recall that Scooter already told a grand jury he was "authorized by his superiors" to disclose classified information from an intelligence report to reporters.
Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, charged with perjury in the CIA leak case, cannot be told the identity of another government official who is said to have divulged a CIA operative's identity to reporters, a federal judge ruled Friday.

At the same time, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said Libby could have copies of notes he took during an 11-month period in 2003 and 2004 while serving as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. The judge also set the stage for a showdown in late April over the defense's plans to subpoena reporters and news organizations for notes and other documents in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity.

During a hearing Friday afternoon, Walton said Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald can keep secret the other government official's identity because that person has not been charged and has a right to privacy.

The judge put off deciding whether Libby can have access to highly classified presidential daily briefs, summaries of intelligence on threats against the United States that Libby and Cheney received six days a week from a CIA official.

Walton said he is concerned that Libby's request could "sabotage" the case because President Bush probably will invoke executive privilege and refuse to turn over the classified reports.


Coulter opens trap, calls audience member 'gay boy'


Indiana University invited the nasty beast Ann Coulter to speak, and while she drew a full crowd, a lot of people walked out or were ejected. The Indiana Daily Student News covered the event, and it sounded like the usual spiel is getting really tired.

One protester showed up wearing a blonde wig, white sheet and a sign that said "Coultergeist" on it. Needless to say, he was ejected, with the beast uttering "I think we should have saved the ushers some time and just removed all the ugly people." More bile and intellectually feeble commentary continued.
Coulter raised some controversy in her speech when she said that Democrats don't want democracy to succeed in Iraq. She said, "They don't think the little brown boys could handle democracy," to which students responded, "We don't tolerate racism here. Go back to Germany."

...During her question-and-answer session, Coulter responded to both fans and protesters. One comment that drew strong audience reactions came from a young man who asked her if she didn't like Democrats, wouldn't it just be better to have a dictatorship? Coulter responded with a jab at the way the student talked.

"You don't want the Republicans in power, does that mean you want a dictatorship, gay boy?" she said.

IU College Republicans President Shane Kennedy defended Coulter's comments by stressing that the speech was for entertainment and attendees should have expected Coulter to say controversial comments. "I think the guy could have been more respectful to her," he said. "I mean, we already know that she was going to be controversial and she was just saying what people were thinking. If you are going to talk like you are gay, then Ann Coulter is going to call you gay. Of course, she said it in a spiteful tone, but it was expected."


Parent demands transgender teacher be tossed

I can understand discomfort of a parent (in this uptight culture) who may have a difficult time having a conversation with their child to explain the concept of "transgendered," but this excuse by a NJ parent as to why substitute teacher Lily McBeth should not be able to teach in a public school -- "it's against my religion" -- is bullsh*t. The claim by the Methodist father is that the school board is violating his rights if McBeth enters a classroom. (365gay):
The Eagleswood School District will meet Monday to hear a parent's demand that a transgendered substitute teacher be either fired or parents allowed to have their children taught by someone else.

Lily B. McBeth became a substitute teacher after retiring from her job as a medical marketing executive. At age 70 she says she knows something about kids. Before transitioning last year she fathered and raised three of her own.

The school district says that her teaching record is among the best in the state. But none of that is good enough for parent Mark Schnepp. Schnepp has two children attending school in district. He says that the idea of someone who had a sex change teaching his children is an affront to his convictions. "It violates my religious beliefs," the 39-year-old told the Asbury Park Press.

...New Jersey courts have ruling in other cases that it is illegal to discriminate against the transgendered, but the state's nondiscrimination law does not specifically name transsexuals as a protected category.

The law absolutely protects Lily McBeth, but make no mistake: Her situation proves why we want the state legislature to amend the state's Law Against Discrimination specifically to include the transgender community. It would give the case law extra power," said Barbra Casbar, vice-chair of Garden State Equality.
Please tell me where in Mark Schnepp's bible is there a definition or condemnation of the transgendered?


This and that

Still catching up with mail...some good stuff to click over to:

* Just a note: I'll be posting an update later from Josh Israel, president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club, on the marriage amendment fight in that state, and where things stand with Tim Kaine.

* A scholarship fund has been established in the late Laurel Hester's name. Michael Jensen at The Big Gay Picture reports:
Laurel's partner, Stacie Andree, and Dane Wells, a co-worker who helped Laurel in her fight for equality, have found a way to help Laurel's dream come true despite her passing. They have announced the creation of the Laurel Hester Scholarship Fund/TPLF, c/o The Personal Liberty Fund, P.O. Box 11335, New Brunswick, NJ 08906-1335. The scholarship will be for the benefit of "young adults who have shown leadership in the LGBTI community." It will be administered by the New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition, an organization that includes about 25 groups as members.
* Alaska stonewalling on election 2004 security concerns: The Brad Blog is covering the bizarre refusal of a long-standing public records request the 2004 election database that was created by Diebold's voting system. It's been revealed that the company's contract with the state claims the information to be a "company secret," and the state stepped in to stop the request, giving the smells-to-high-heaven reason that the release would pose a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

* Juan at Boozhy has a good post up, The Flip Side of the Freedom of Speech, on the Austrian Courts' sentencing of historian David Irving to three years in prison for denying the existence of the holocaust in a 1989 Austrian press interview.

* Hughes for America takes on efforts to stop gays from adopting.

* Blender ZZ pointed to an article on what she says is "a small bright spot in the usual hateful state of affairs around here," referring to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. saying he'd veto two bills aimed at banning gay-straight alliances in public high schools and limiting what students are taught about evolution.

* A laugher out of New Zealand. I agree with Blender Paul on this one -- an appeal from the Catholic Church for New Zealanders to boycott an episode of South Park completely backfired, as six times as many people actually tune in.
The South Park episode revolves around a nearby town's discovery that a statue of the Virgin Mary has begun bleeding. The event is dubbed a miracle and the people flock to see the statue, including Pope Benedict XVI, who ultimately pronounces that the statue is menstruating.
* Paul also has a great post up at his pad about our tax dollars at work regarding torture, er, interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo (via The Houston Chronicle):
Military interrogators posing as FBI agents at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrapped terrorism suspects in an Israeli flag and forced them to watch homosexual pornography under strobe lights during interrogation sessions that lasted as long as 18 hours, according to one of a batch of FBI memos released Thursday.
The real FBI agents had to step in to say that any confessions extracted under those circumstances wouldn't be admissable in court. Gee, I wonder why.

* Blog to check out: That Black Lesbian Jew. TBLJ has a spot-on commentary about Slate's "Gay in America" photo piece, which is lacking people of color.

* And finally, Blender Willy sent me a letter of his that was posted at the weekly alternative Free Times in Columbia, SC. He said he has been enjoying Blend posts on the Dems selling out gays at every turn, and that this missive was his chance to unload about the state of politics in the party. He said his piece was "not too badly butchered, though they killed my last paragraph."
When people take the approach that if an anti-gay-marriage although pro-civil-union politician runs, that's better than nothing, basically they are saying our civil rights and equality are NOT the most important thing our government can support and protect, that it is okay to back-burner those issues or let some people be second-class, be not as good, be not quite as worthy, for however much longer, so that some _real good_ can be accomplished.

And I watch as my gay friends and my str8 friends and acquaintances come to this decision over and over: we will sacrifice your (or our, if you are gay) rights and equality so that we can have the hope of a better life or so that we can defeat the forces of evil. Yet these same people, str8 or gay, are so quick to condemn exactly that same argument regarding domestic spying, that we can sacrifice the rights of some to achieve other gains, that the ends justifies the means.

To me it seems clearly hypocritical. You aren't protecting what may have been good about this country in either case. You are destroying the good. You are an enabler. You are part of that awful process, and I find the middle-grounders in this, the "be patient, wait while we do other things that are more important," to be more depressing to think about or deal with than the people on the far right, who at least are not being hypocritical. I think those on the right pretty much believe what they say when they say gay marriage is simply a ploy for "special rights" and an attempt to destroy society. I may not agree, but I don't see the internal discrepancy that I see in the "gay people wait for their rights while we elect people who will protect everyone's right not to be spied on, etc." Sorry, but I can't understand why civil rights would not be an all or nothing thing, and both these issues in some ways involve rights to privacy and freedom of association.

The polarization between right and left seems to exist to some degree between all the varieties of right and left, although to me the left seems more damaged by it. I don't see myself persuading anyone I know not to vote for the middle ground on equal rights issues. I sure as hell don't see any of them changing me in the least.

In a way I suppose I would like to thank the middle-grounders and the "yes, it's not fair, but you have to be realistic" crowd for making me stop and think about just what is going on here. After growing up in the sixties and seventies feeling completely "other," a queer in a str8 world, an atheist in the Bible Belt, a socialist in the Democrat-becoming-Republican solid south, you'd think it'd have been hard for me to feel even less welcome, but that's pretty much what the marriage debate has done for me. And it's not the right who's done it; it's the compromise crowd.

Gay-Straight Alliance, anyone? I can see what we queers are giving up here. Can someone remind me what the str8s are giving up in not supporting in every possible way fair and equal civil rights for all?
Thankfully we have a good number of straight allies in the fight, Willy, and we'll need help from every one of them to educate people who don't have civil equality on their radar. The "New Dems" aren't interested in talking about it, so changing minds is really only going to happen at the grassroots level, perhaps even more effectively at the person-to-person level. It will take gays kicking open the closet door (and straight allies "coming out" as supporters) in strong numbers. You just wish that the Dems would lead the way and not show such cowardice.


Where did your Senators land?

Survey USA's latest ranking of U.S. Senators by approval ratings came out this week. Bush-humping McCain came out on top (!?), and Little Ricky is almost dead last. I don't see how the Empty Wig managed to make it to #62.
1 AZ McCain, John R Sr 72% 24% 48%
1 IL Obama, Barack D Jr 71% 23% 48%
3 ME Collins, Susan R Jr 71% 24% 47%
3 SD Johnson, Tim D Sr 71% 24% 47%
5 RI Reed, Jack D Sr 68% 22% 46%
5 ME Snowe, Olympia R Sr 71% 25% 46%
7 HI Inouye, Daniel D Sr 69% 24% 45%
8 NE Nelson, Ben D Jr 68% 24% 44%
9 VA Warner, John R Sr 65% 22% 43%
10 ND Conrad, Kent D Sr 68% 26% 42%
11 VT Leahy, Patrick D Sr 68% 27% 41%
12 NM Domenici, Pete R Sr 65% 26% 39%
13 IA Grassley, Charles R Sr 65% 27% 38%
14 VT Jeffords, James I Jr 65% 28% 37%
15 ND Dorgan, Byron D Jr 65% 30% 35%
15 DE Carper, Thomas D Jr 63% 28% 35%
17 MS Lott, Trent R Jr 64% 30% 34%
17 IN Lugar, Richard R Sr 62% 28% 34%
19 AK Stevens, Ted R Sr 63% 30% 33%
20 SC Graham, Lindsey R Sr 62% 30% 32%
20 NM Bingaman, Jeff D Jr 60% 28% 32%
22 NY Schumer, Charles D Sr 62% 31% 31%
23 IN Bayh, Evan D Jr 61% 31% 30%
23 WV Byrd, Robert D Sr 63% 33% 30%
23 WV Rockefeller, Jay D Jr 62% 32% 30%
26 MS Cochran, Thad R Sr 60% 32% 28%
26 TX Hutchison, Kay R Sr 58% 30% 28%
26 AL Sessions, Jeff R Jr 58% 30% 28%
29 ID Crapo, Michael R Jr 58% 31% 27%
29 WY Enzi, Michael R Jr 58% 31% 27%
29 CT Lieberman, Joseph D Jr 59% 32% 27%
29 MD Mikulski, Barbara D Jr 59% 32% 27%
29 AL Shelby, Richard R Sr 58% 31% 27%
29 WY Thomas, Craig R Sr 57% 30% 27%
35 TN Alexander, Lamar R Jr 56% 30% 26%
35 KS Roberts, Pat R Jr 56% 30% 26%
35 HI Akaka, Daniel D Jr 58% 32% 26%
35 DE Biden, Joseph D Sr 60% 34% 26%
35 NE Hagel, Chuck R Sr 59% 33% 26%
35 OR Wyden, Ron D Sr 57% 31% 26%
41 MA Kennedy, Edward D Sr 61% 36% 25%
41 CT Dodd, Christopher D Sr 57% 32% 25%
43 MT Baucus, Max D Sr 58% 34% 24%
43 CA Feinstein, Dianne D Sr 57% 33% 24%
43 UT Hatch, Orrin R Sr 58% 34% 24%
46 UT Bennett, Robert R Jr 52% 29% 23%
46 ID Craig, Larry R Sr 56% 33% 23%
46 NY Clinton, Hillary D Jr 61% 38% 23%
46 SD Thune, John R Jr 60% 37% 23%
46 LA Vitter, David R Jr 58% 35% 23%
51 WI Kohl, Herb D Sr 56% 34% 22%
52 AR Pryor, Mark D Jr 56% 35% 21%
53 NV Ensign, John R Jr 52% 32% 20%
54 MO Bond, Kit R Sr 55% 36% 19%
54 CA Boxer, Barbara D Jr 55% 36% 19%
54 KS Brownback, Sam R Sr 54% 35% 19%
54 PA Specter, Arlen R Sr 55% 36% 19%
58 WA Murray, Patty D Sr 54% 36% 18%
58 VA Allen, George R Jr 51% 33% 18%
60 MI Levin, Carl D Sr 53% 36% 17%
60 OR Smith, Gordon R Jr 51% 34% 17%
62 NC Dole, Elizabeth R Sr 51% 35% 16%
62 WI Feingold, Russell D Jr 54% 38% 16%
62 NH Gregg, Judd R Sr 52% 36% 16%
62 CO Ken Salazar D Jr 54% 38% 16%
62 AR Lincoln, Blanche D Sr 54% 38% 16%
62 KY McConnell, Mitch R Sr 53% 37% 16%
62 GA Isakson, Johnny R Jr 50% 34% 16%
69 OK Coburn, Tom R Jr 52% 37% 15%
69 MN Coleman, Norm R Jr 53% 38% 15%
69 TN Frist, Bill R Sr 53% 38% 15%
69 FL Nelson, Bill D Sr 49% 34% 15%
73 MA Kerry, John D Jr 55% 41% 14%
73 IL Durbin, Richard D Sr 51% 37% 14%
75 WA Cantwell, Maria D Jr 50% 37% 13%
75 MD Sarbanes, Paul D Sr 49% 36% 13%
77 IA Harkin, Tom D Jr 52% 40% 12%
78 AZ Kyl, Jon R Jr 47% 37% 10%
78 MI Stabenow, Debbie D Jr 49% 39% 10%
80 CO Allard, Wayne R Sr 47% 38% 9%
80 RI Chafee, Lincoln R Jr 49% 40% 9%
80 GA Chambliss, Saxby R Sr 48% 39% 9%
83 NC Burr, Richard R Jr 43% 35% 8%
84 KY Bunning, Jim R Jr 46% 39% 7%
84 OK Inhofe, James R Sr 48% 41% 7%
84 MO Talent, Jim R Jr 48% 41% 7%
84 OH Voinovich, George R Jr 49% 42% 7%
88 SC DeMint, Jim R Jr 48% 42% 6%
88 FL Martinez, Mel R Jr 46% 40% 6%
88 NV Reid, Harry D Sr 49% 43% 6%
88 NH Sununu, John R Jr 46% 40% 6%
92 MN Dayton, Mark D Sr 47% 42% 5%
93 AK Murkowski, Lisa R Jr 49% 45% 4%
94 TX Cornyn, John R Jr 40% 38% 2%
95 NJ Menendez, Robert D Jr 36% 36% 0%
96 OH DeWine, Mike R Sr 43% 44% -1%
97 LA Landrieu, Mary D Sr 46% 49% -3%
97 PA Santorum, Rick R Jr 43% 46% -3%
99 NJ Lautenberg, Frank D Sr 37% 47% -10%
99 MT Burns, Conrad R Jr 42% 52% -10%
You can also take a look at your governor's rankings for this month here. The bottom five: Missouri's Matt Blunt, the Governator in CA, Louisiana's Kathleen Blanco, Alaska's Frank Murkowski, and Ohio's Bob Taft at #50 (no surprise there).

Hat tip, Facing South.


82nd Airborne paratroopers charged with engaging in sex acts in video

Friday, February 24, 2006

Last month I posted about these guys, clearly are a few fries short of a happy meal, who dropped trou for a gay military-themed porn site, ActiveDuty.com, and didn't think anyone would find out. The members of the 82nd 'Airporn' were moved from their barracks during the investigation, but the news today is that they are in hot water and will be booted. (AP):
Three of the soldiers face courts-martial on charges of sodomy, pandering and engaging in sex acts for money, according to a statement released by the military. Four other soldiers received what the military calls nonjudicial punishments. The Army has recommended that all be discharged.

The charges do not mention the name of the site, but the division had previously been investigating allegations that soldiers appeared on a gay pornography Web site. A spokesman for the division said Friday's charges were a result of that investigation. The military-themed Web site did not make any direct reference to the division or Fort Bragg, a sprawling post about 70 miles south of Raleigh.

"As far as we're concerned, it's isolated to the unit, and our investigation determined that these seven individuals were the only ones" involved, said 82nd Airborne spokesman Maj. Thomas Earnhardt.
After this stint in the military, I'm sure these young men will have a more lucrative future "onscreen" anyway.


Bush names homo-bigot to AIDS panel


Faux-Family Reseach Council head Tony Perkins and Focus on the Anus guru Daddy Dobson pal around with faith-ba$$$ed pastor Herbert Lusk. (Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP)

Holy crap. The Bush admin continues its anti-gay rampage, naming faith-based cash recipient Rev. Herbert Lusk to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (the official announcement is March 16). This is a heinous appointment. (WashBlade):
In a move yet to be publicly announced, Bush last month named Rev. Herbert Lusk, a former Philadelphia Eagles football star and current pastor of Philadelphia’s Greater Exodus Baptist Church, as one of five new members of the presidential AIDS advisory panel, known as PACHA, according to a current PACHA member.

Lusk is a member of the board of advisers for the Alliance for Marriage, a conservative religious organization that lobbies lawmakers to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

...Lusk heads a multi-million dollar faith-based social services agency in Philadelphia that he founded called People for People. Lusk told the New York Times the organization receives about $10 million a year in government funds, with at least $1 million a year coming from federal, faith-based grants.
Lusk's church's charitable wing has received a cool million of faith-based bucks as far back as 2002 -- so he's been on Dear Leader's payroll for a while.

Also, Lusk was the host at January's rally to support Alito, Justice Sunday III, which was held at his church:


In attendance at JSIII: Daddy Dobson, Dr. Alveda C. King, Bishop Wellington Boone (The Father's House), Tony Perkins, Lusk, Senator Little Ricky Santorum, Rev. Tinkywinky.

During Justice Sunday III, Lusk erupted with bible-thumping threats:
[Lusk] railed against gay marriage, abortion and what he termed as Christian-bashing, and warned that those who trifle with "people of god" will face consequences.

"Don't fool with the church," said Rev. Lusk, "because the church has buried many a critic, and all the critics we have not buried we're making funeral arrangements for."

Rev. Lusk has been a figure of controversy since he spoke in support of Mr. Bush from his church in 2000 and was subsequently accused by the leader of Americans United for Separation of Church and State of breaking tax regulations that forbid churches from endorsing candidates. Rev. Lusk has denied any wrongdoing.


Accuracy in Media's Kincaid: still getting a woody over 'Brokeback'



Batsh*t Cliff Kincaid of the wingnut media monitoring organization Accuracy in Media is at it again.

He has turned up before on the Blend over his ridiculous comment that "the homosexual lifestyle is as addictive as smoking," and for his assertion that Brokeback Mountain "will be another breakthrough for the homosexual lobby, which still manages to transform their deadly and dangerous lifestyle into something considered mainstream and even attractive."

This time around he's still got a hard-on for the movie, with his spin today focusing on a group out of Rochester, NY (hey 'Bean!) that calls itself Viewers Insulted by Loser Entertainment (VILE), which held a protest against the film. :
...The VILE acronym is appropriate because "Brokeback Mountain" is truly an example of "loser entertainment." It is a winner, however, for the militant homosexual lobby, which wants to force the public to accept, sanction, and celebrate its "lifestyle."

...In addition to their street protest, the VILE group issued a detailed statement explaining how "Brokeback Mountain" functions as pro-homosexual propaganda. The second-rate acting and beautiful scenery are backdrops to an attempt "to convince the American public to condone a self-centered, obsessive, disordered 'love' as more important than the misery inflicted on the families, wives and children that this 'love' affair wounds and disassembles," the statement explains.

...The film, the release goes on, "attempts to brainwash the viewer into empathy for destructive, self-centered behavior." Hence, abnormal behavior is depicted as normal. What's more, those of us who react negatively to this abnormal behavior are being led to believe that we are abnormal, and that we should just "get with it" and learn to appreciate degeneracy.
The best part of the post is actually at the end, when Kincaid jumps off the reality cliff.
Hollywood is a very corrupt place in many ways. One reader has sent me a note, asking, "Did you ever check out the number of registered sex offenders in Hollywood? Very dense, relative to other areas. I wonder why." He recommended a website where you can find the names and addresses of sex offenders in a given area.

Take a look. Just type in the 90210 zip code and California. And take a look at some of the mug shots. This is the side of Hollywood you won't see on Oscar night.
Blender Adrian, who sent me this one, said:
I love the last two paragraphs where he implies that there are more registered sex offenders in Hollywood than other places. Funny...because if you go to the Family Watchdog website and put in the AIM's address in Washington, DC they have 642 sexual offenders in their zip code where as the Hollywood zip code only has 536.

Wow, what does they say about Washington, DC?


Perhaps the best ever

Shakes Sis on McCain backing the Chimp on Dubai Ports World:



Q: What do Bush’s balls taste like?
A: I don’t fucking know. Ask John McCain.

As I said over at her pad, the only thing worse would have been to have invoked images of Denny Hastert.


The gayest mag ever - GQ

DNR News (via Gawker) has determined, based on sales/circulation, which magazines attract the most gay or straight readers (of course they are referring to men here).

Gee, ESPN magazine didn't make the cut, despite that hot studly cover I posted yesterday. Read and have at it...
Gayest
1. GQ, 10.39% of male readers are gay/bi
2. Entertainment Weekly, 10.35%
3. TV Guide, 5.46%
4. People, 5.1%
5. Newsweek, 4.74% (tie)
6. Time, 4.74% (tie)
7. Men’s Health, 4.68%
8. National Geographic, 4.1%
9. Consumer Reports, 3.96%
10. U.S. News, 3.9%

Straightest

1. North American Hunter, 99.9% of male readers are straight
2. North American Fisherman, 99.5%
3. Four Wheeler, 99.45%
4. Guns & Ammo, 99.43%
5. Sporting News, 99.41%
6. American Rifleman, 99.37%
7. Cycle World, 99.25%
8. Stuff, 99.23% (tie)
9. Field & Stream, 99.23 (tie)
10. Midwest Living, 99.23 (tie)


Tidmus on the 'ex-gay for pay' movement

Another beauty from Mike Tidmus, a take-off on the cover of the book by John Paulk, who is now probably one of the most famous "ex-gays" ever, considering he was famously caught by author Wayne Besen (of Anything But Straight) exiting a DC gay bar (see snippets from that encounter below).

Paulk first used the excuse that he just needed to use the restroom, but then he spent the next 45 minutes chatting up the patrons in the bar before running away as Wayne snapped photos of the happy heterosexual.

Mike calls this piece, Cash Won Out:



Also check out Brent Hartinger's piece at The Big Gay Picture, Poor Ex-Gay Groups: Just so Victimized and Misunderstood.

***

Here's what happened when Paulk went into the DC bar, back in 2000 (SoVo).
"I was walking around DuPont [Circle], and I needed to use the bathroom, so I walked in, but I did not know Mr. P's was a gay bar," Paulk said. "Once I was inside, I thought, 'Oh, this is a gay bar, and I probably shouldn't be in here.'"

..."I thought I'll go in and go to the bathroom," Paulk said. "I wandered back, thinking it was weird to be in a gay bar again. I got a glass of water, sat down and chatted with patrons, including a gentleman who was married." Paulk said he had not been inside a gay bar since 1987.

...Paulk said he was in the gay bar "only 20 minutes," primarily to use a bathroom. Yet Herschaft said Paulk was in the bar "at least 40 minutes" and socialized with a number of men during that time, including "speaking intimately with one man."

Paulk denied encountering Besen until he exited the bar. Besen disagreed and provided a photo of Paulk inside the gay bar. In an interview Tuesday night, the bouncer at Mr. P's, Robert Rosa, confirmed that Paulk encountered Besen inside the bar. Rosa confronted Besen as he attempted to photograph Paulk, enforcing bar policy prohibiting photographs inside the establishment.

Paulk said that after the confrontation with Besen, he exited the establishment out of fear for his life. "He came to me and said he was being pursued, and asked if there was another exit other than the front door," said John Mako, owner of Mr. P's.

Herschaft recalled Paulk as calm until the encounter with Besen. "He was smiling, laughing, and socializing," Herschaft said. "He offered to buy me a drink."

"Until I tried to photograph him, I would say he was having a gay old time," Besen said. "I didn't know that using the bathroom involved 40 minutes of socializing in a bar and offering drinks to strangers."


Ohio legislator calls for barring Republicans from adopting

Trey at Daddy, Papa & Me passed this smart bit of business along (as did Kathy at Birmingham Blues).

An Ohio lawmaker, State Sen. Robert Hagan, is threatening to introduce legislation that would bar Republicans from adopting children -- how beautiful is this?!
State Sen. Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to fellow lawmakers late Wednesday night, stating that he intends to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents." The e-mail ended with a request for co-sponsorship.


Hagan, Hood.

...Hagan said his legislation was written in response to a bill introduced in the Ohio House this month by state Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, that is aimed at prohibiting gay adoption.

"We need to see what we are doing," said Hagan, who called Hood's proposed bill blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive. Hagan called Hood and the eight other conservative House Republicans who backed the anti-gay adoption bill "homophobic."

Hood's bill, which does not have support of House leadership, seeks to ban children from being placed for adoption or foster care in homes where the prospective parent or a roommate is homosexual, bisexual or transgender.

To further lampoon Hood's bill, Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that "credible research" shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."
The best part is that Hagen freely admits that he has no scientific evidence to support the claims that Republicans are unfit to adopt kids (though we here at the Blend can come up with plenty of unscientific reasons), which is equally valid as Hood's "evidence" that gay parents would be harmful to children.

Trey's wry comment is a hoot:
I just love it. I mean, they could easily change, those Republicans, if they wanted to have children. it isn't inborn. What if their children ended up Republican? We can't have that! Though i guess you could argue that just because the parents are Republican doesn't mean the children will be. Look at me for example, raised by two Republicans, now I'm a Democrat.
You can thank Hagan for taking a stand in a state that is filled with legislative bigots. His contact info:

Senate Building
Room #051, Ground Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: 614/466-8285
Email: haganoffice@maild.sen.state.oh.us


Teen groups lobby Congress for sex ed funding

Raw Story reporter Melissa McEwan (aka bloggrrl Shakes Sis) has an news article up on teen groups pushing Congress for comprehensive sex education in the face of misleading and inaccurate abstinence-only programs funded by the Bush Administration -- 11 out of 13 abstinence-only curricula examined were found to contain errors and distortions. Lovely.

The disinformation being put out there, discovered by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year included unhinged nonsense such as this:
• A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."

• HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.

• Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

• One curriculum, called "Me, My World, My Future," teaches that women who have an abortion "are more prone to suicide" and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.
Teen advocates have decided to take action and work to make funding available for comprehensive sex education. From the Raw Story article:
In response to federal budget requests which would increase funding once again for abstinence-only sex education, Advocates for Youth has launched two new campaigns domestically and abroad—the Keep it REAL campaign and the Fix the Gap campaign, which seek to prioritize sex education programs that include information about contraception and the HIV prevention.

"We launched the campaigns for several reasons," Caeden Dempsey, Advocates for Youth's Program Manager, said. "First, to educate the public on the importance of comprehensive sex education, which includes information about both abstinence and contraception. Secondly, to affect policy change; specifically, increase Senate support for the REAL Act, and increase Senate and general House support for global funding of comprehensive HIV prevention education. And finally, to build capacity among young organizers to advocate on their own behalf."

Advocates for Youth, which operates on a premise of Rights, Respect and Responsibility, currently has 15,000 young people nationwide as part of their Youth Activist Network.

"Advocates for Youth believes that all young people have the right to balanced, accurate, and realistic comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education," Dempsey said. "Young people deserve respect and must be included in the development of comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education programs and policies. Society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health and protect themselves from HIV."
Read the rest; these young people are making a difference and countering the tide of ignorance-promotion.


What is wrong with Americans?

A Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion poll:
Twenty-seven percent of voters said they were not likely to vote for a woman candidate in 2008 no matter which party ticket she headed, according to the poll sponsored by WNBC-TV in New York City. Of that 27 percent, almost one-third said they wouldn't back a female candidate because "women are not up to the job" while 10 percent said it was because the presidency is "a man's job."
I may think sHillary is a horrible choice for a Dem nominee, but it isn't because she's a woman. Crap, after this pretend man's man cowboy wagging his dick around for the last while, a change of gender in the Oval Office would actually be welcome.

***


The new wax Hillary, unveiled at Madame Tussaud's New York Wax Museum yesterday.

Oh, and while we're on sHillary again, there's a counter opinion over at Proceed At Your own Risk, slamming Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Agenda for his stance that he will no longer raise $$ for sHillary because of her inability to support full gay civil equality, and those of us in the community who will no longer be quiet about the shortcomings of sHillary and the Dems who take gay support for granted. A snippet:
Like it or not, in today's America, gay marriage is an extremist and deeply polarizing issue. If this becomes the focus for any national candidate, that candidate is likely doomed. And if a candidate, like Hillary Clinton needs some distance from such polarizing issues in order to take back the White House and Congress, she needs as much support as possible and she needs the votes.

In my view, for a prominent gay leader to call for a financial and political boycott of one of the few and rare responsible Democratic leaders who would actually put this country back on the right track, a democratic, humanist track, is grossly irresponsible and terribly misguided.
I just cannot get behind Clinton or any of these faux Dems interested in their own political ascendancy, because they have every intention of tossing gays under the bus each and every time.

While it would be great and courageous to come out for marriage equality, we cannot even get them to discuss the issue of gay rights at all when facing Republicans. The Dems have chosen people as the new faces of the party those who support the Iraq war, are anti-choice, and even support states passing marriage amendments. Why on earth should we vote for these people?

They should be reframing and recasting gay civil equality as the civil rights issue that it is, but they aren't even trying. They have ceded the "values" issue regarding gays to the GOP frame and want to run and hide from any aspect of the conversation.

Just populating the White House and Congress with Dems of this stripe won't advance anything for gays -- if these poll-driven, focus group slave politicians truly believe that gay rights is a radioactive political issue, their ambition to stay in power will always supercede doing "the right thing" for a constituency that has voted loyally, but their "issue" threatens the pol's re-election.

For gays to ask for a return on the investment and call those Dems on this issue publicly for their cowardice may not be popular in some circles, but at this point in time it is absolutely necessary.

The sad truth is that there are Dems out there, at the local level, who do know how to do the right thing at their own political risk and get little support or fanfare for their bravery from the party. I will point again to the speeches of Senfronia Thompson in Texas and David Englin in Virginia. Go to those links to read what a real Dem at the national level could say.


The sinister Rovian twist

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oh my NESD. I'm watching Anderson Cooper. I'm listening to Rep. Jerrold Nadler. They're talking about the Dubai port deal. Nadler is talking about how it is not racist to suspect a UAE company, because UAE supported terrorists, looked the other way to let 9/11 happen, whatever. I wasn't following really closely.

And then it hit me. The sinister Rovian twist.

Nadler's defense of keeping ports out of the UAE's hands sounded a lot like the chickenhawks' explanation of invading Iraq. Well, they weren't directly behind 9/11, but they looked the other way. They supported terrorism financially. It's not racism to suspect this Arab country. Our security is too important to leave any doubt.

Bingo. Sound bites of Democrats saying we gotta be tough on those A-rabs to protect American security, just in time for Congressional elections. Republicans able to run against their lame duck president, rather than with him, by looking tougher on terrorism than Democrats. Republicans able to jump on the unprotected ports issue that's been lying dormant, unmolested by Democratic strategists (whoops... oxymoron!) who should have hammered on that in 2004. Democrats forced in to a "yeah, but it's different" and lose the sheeple elctorate in nuance and explanation.

Meanwhile the anti-gay adoption initiatives and anti-abortion initiatives and anti-whatever fundamentalists-and-morons (whoops... redundancy!) hate today initiatives get out the right-base vote, without any sort of minimum wage initiatives and civil unions initiatives and children's health care iitiatives to bring out the left-base vote, add in a few million Diebold machines, cut the Democrats off at the knees on the domestic security issue (the issue they should've hammered in 2004), let Iraq descend into sectarian civil war (hmmm... makes you wonder who planned to blow up that sacred dome?) so they can claim it's just too crazy out there and withdraw troops (O'Reilly's already floating that balloon), and voilá!, the final two years of the BushCo regime cruise along with a Republican congress and another couple of Supreme Court vacancies.

Oh well. 224 years was a heck of a good run as far as constitutional democracies go.


Shocking gossip


We can't always cover the serious stuff and ignore homo dishing, Blenders...

Say it isn't so -- native Tar Heel Star Jones is having second thoughts about her marriage to the much-rumored-to-be-queer Al Reynolds. You just couldn't see this one coming, huh? The story is from The Enquirer, so it's only a matter of time till it moves up the gossip food chain to US Weekly, then People -- unless, of course, the "deeply religious" diva of The View herself comments on the matter.
"I think at the root of it all is the fact she wonders whether Al really loves her. Gay rumors have followed their marriage from the beginning. It's probably caused her to question what's really going on. He seems to be hanging with his friends at odd hours."

The National Enquirer revealed in November how rumors over 47-year-old banker Al's sexuality had hurt the relationship. The insider said: "Al goes away for days. Star says he's working out of town. But she knows he's working less. He's living like a king."

Star, 43, appeared on TV on February 8 with a Band-Aid where her wedding ring usually is. At a booksigning session in White Plains, N.Y. later that day, she said: "I got 1,000 messages asking me if something was wrong and I said no. I told them not to worry. It's a nice thing that people are that loving - I appreciate it."
Al signed a prenup that says if the marriage lasts for less than two years, he gets zip (they married November 13, 2004).


Anyone who had a TV on during the run-up to their Big Day of JoyTM heard about these two ho-beasting themselves with an over-the-top wedding, much of it "sponsored" by companies that paid for everything, in exchange for Star shilling for them. And then there's that nauseating web site. After reading this, get the barf bag. It sounds like she was desperately trying to convince herself of something.
In her new book, "Shine," the "View" hostess portrays the 35-year-old banker as nothing short of a superstud.

"The first time he held me in his arms sexually, it was almost frightening because we knew our erotic interest in each other could take over every other thing," Star writes breathlessly. "We had an intoxicatingly sexual connection the first two months of our relationship."

So volcanic was their lust that they consulted their pastor, who advised them to remain celibate until their wedding. "It wasn't an easy decision," recalls Star. "Al is a beautiful man. He's got the legs of a stallion. He'd be a perfect Ralph Lauren model."
Stallion Al, before the wedding, had to deal with a past that just wouldn't go away, according to the New York Daily News.
Ever since Wall Street banker Al Reynolds proposed to "The View" host on Feb. 15 during the NBA All-Star Game, there have been whispers that her betrothed used to play on the other team. At least part of the time.

One friend recalls Reynolds sharing a house in the Fire Island community of Water Island. Another remembers him showing up at a mostly male Halloween party dressed as Bam-Bam from "The Flintstones." "He wore a little Speedo swimsuit, and carried a bone," says the source.
And Al's bachelor party didn't do much more to stop the tongues from wagging at the time. (SoVo):
We already knew that Mr. STAR JONES, nee AL REYNOLDS, had plenty of friends of Dorothy from the super gay Halloween party he attended last month (dressed as a male stripper, no less). But his bachelor party, apparently, was equally enthralling.

The Friday before his Nov. 13 nuptials to Jones, Reynolds hosted the festivities at New York’s Time Hotel. The theme was “Roman Baths” and we all know Romans and bathhouses are notorious for their staunch … heterosexuality.

Anyway, a “spy” at the party told New York Post gossip column Page Six, “You had to sign a confidentiality agreement to get in and then you were sent to the penthouse, where they made you get naked.”

It gets better.

At the party, there were about 60 men sitting around in bathrobes when 10 topless female dancers came out.

“They were butt-ugly except for two of them who simulated lesbian sex on the bed. Ten people left immediately,” the spy says, not noting whether they left because the dancers were ugly or because they were expecting male dancers.

Now it looks like Reynolds will be forced to stay out of the bathhouse for the next two years.
The sanctity of marriage strikes again.


Poland's president under fire for anti-gay stance


President Lech Kaczynski of Poland hasn't been much of a friend to the country's gay citizens. In fact, he's been condemned by Human Rights Watch for his homophobic acts and statements (as well as those by political allies), including the canceling of a Pride parade and encouraging a "Normality Parade" just days after deep-sixing the Pride march. From the letter sent to Kaczynski by Human Rights Watch's Scott Long, the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program:
Human Rights Watch has been monitoring with grave reservations several restrictions placed on the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Poland over the past number of years. We are aware that you yourself have supported restrictions on that minority's rights in your prior capacity as mayor of Warsaw, as have members of your party and government in public statements.

In 2004 and 2005, as mayor of Warsaw, you banned Gay Pride marches-a peaceful exercise of the freedom of assembly which had taken place several times in previous years without incident. You declared that you were opposed to "propagating gay orientation." In 2004, you refused even to meet with the organizing group, the Campaign Against Homophobia-reportedly stating, "I am not willing to meet perverts." On the other hand you approved counter-demonstrations by conservative groups opposed to the march, the League of Polish Families and the All-Polish Youth. In the same year, a "March for Tolerance" organized by the Campaign Against Homophobia in Cracow was attacked by over two hundred demonstrators, many skinheads from the All-Polish Youth, who pelted them with eggs, bottles, and rocks, and shouted "Send the fags to the hospital!" and "Perverts, get out of Cracow!"

...Also in 2005, following the example of Warsaw, the mayor of Poznan banned a March for Equality and Tolerance in Poznan-one sponsored not only by the Campaign Against Homophobia but by human rights, women's, and student organizations. When a small number of marchers persisted in assembling, members of the All-Polish Youth assaulted them, throwing projectiles and shouting "Gas the fags!" and "We'll do to you what Hitler did to the Jews!" In this case, police intervened against the marchers rather than the attackers, arresting sixty-eight of them.

Since you assumed the presidency, your political allies have continued to make ominous statements threatening state action against the public expression or defense of homosexuality. Prime Minister Kasimierz Marcinkiewicz has told the press that if a homosexual "tries to 'infect' others with their homosexuality, then the state must intervene in this violation of freedom." Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Party, and your brother, called during the 2005 election campaign for banning gays and lesbians from teaching. In January 2006, he condemned a situation where "gay people are allowed to conduct perverse demonstrations in the streets, but it is forbidden to discuss the issue of moral censorship."

We are also concerned by the election by the Sejm, on January 26, of Janusz Kochanowski as Ombudsman for Human Rights. Mr. Kochanowski has stated in the past that "a culture favorable to pedophilia has come to Poland. … This culture already accepts homosexuality and wants it to be seen as equal to heterosexuality. And there is a link between pedophilia and homosexuality: the majority of pedophiles are homosexual."

That statement is untrue. Further, the mentality it reflects--one in which myth and stigma are used to vilify a minority and nullify its right to participate in society--is inimical to Poland's vibrant democracy. Fears of "infection" and blatant invocations of prejudice cannot be allowed to decide how citizens exercise their rights. Gays and lesbians marching in the streets pose no conceivable threat to other Poles. To suppress their freedoms threatens all people's equality.
OK. It's pretty clearcut that this man and his allies are sick people who have no business being dog catcher, let alone leaders in Poland. What must it feel like to be gay or lesbian under this oppressive regime? Guess what -- the Freepi couldn't give a crap.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I would advise the Poles to tell them to KMA, but they would drop to their knees in a heartbeat."

"I guess they don't consider it hate to have a wall pushed over on them."

"rising homophobia in Poland and other eastern European states Find out what is causing this and do more of it.........."

"On January 26, the Sejm (or Polish parliament) elected as Ombudsman for Human Rights the lawyer Janusz Kochanowski, who has claimed that pedophilia and homosexuality are linked."

"He's wrong actually, as they are not linked. Just like cancer and plague are not either. (sarcasm)"

"All those Polish jokes were wrong. Poland is the only country in Eurabia that is sane."

"I note the ongoing comingling of terms ("rights", "human rights" and the debatable "homosexual rights" expression) and consider this to be, quite literally, a reassertion of pre-World War II social perspectives."

"Homosexuals threaten lives. Screw the supposed rights."

"It would be nice if they would separate a person's status as a 'person deserving of equal status to all other person's' and a person's actions as a person. 'Queer' should not be a noun, but verb. Thus all persons can be held to be equal, while not all actions, obviously, are not held to be equal."

"Poland better be ever watchful. The EU is going to try to impose its agenda on Poland."

"Could someone tell me what rights are being threatened? Among "normal" homos (I've never thought I can write those 2 words in one sentence;) in Poland there is an opinion that they have all the rights they need and they are not discriminated against. So wtf? The answer is simple. Some acrivists want to earn some money for their "activism"."

"Don't forget we are (Poland) the EU, well part of it. So is Italy, Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Lithuania...It's not easy to impose that agenda once you are not alone..."

"Well, I've just finished a post-graduated studies on European law. And I found out an interesting thing relating to one of the basic freedoms - freedom of movement among EU member countries. The thing is, that it's very possible, that - according to EU law - Poland will have to respect status of gay marriage, if it had a place in other EU country. So if - let's say - Dutch, or Spanish, or Swedish gay couple get "married" in their country and decide to move to Poland - Polish authorities may have to accept it, no matter that such "marriages" are not allowed in Poland. When I asked a question related to this issue - the lecturer answered in our Prime Minister's way - "well, that's a very good question"."

"Human Rights Watch ..........more like Homo Perversion Rights Nazi's. Hold your ground Poland! I pray we will gain the support to follow in your footsteps. These folks HRW, are the biggest perverts on the planet! And should be banned."

"there doesn't seem to be ANY fear on the part of the Poles, just dis-like for the homos abhorant behavior which makes my American (with Polish heritage) chest swell with pride yet again"

"I agree. I'm so sick and tired of the filth and corruption of innocence that these perverts promote. It is the ultimate form of selfishness to be blunt. It's a sexual, psychological, and cultural example of unparalleled self-centeredness. It drives me to distraction that these monsters want more and more and more. Their greed and lust for innocent children (that they are more than willing to ruin just to increase their numbers and influence) goes to show that...I don't even know what to say. I just know that they need to be either stopped, shot, or somehow sent SOMEWHERE where they cannot spread their perverted doctrine and attack our children."

"All the figures I've read show that two thirds of child molestation is same sex. And the vast majority of homosexuals were molested as children. It's key. It's done to them, they get twisted, they do it to others, creating a new generation of homosexuals. It needs to stop."

"I am not willing to meet perverts."

"That is without doubt the funniest comment from a leader to a group of fruits that I have ever read."
Hat tip. PageOneQ.


This just in from the Dept. of Terrifying Screen Captures

bush-worry.gif
What's there to worry about, folks? You've stocked up on duct tape and plastic sheeting, right? Rest easy, America, George W. Bush (and Michael Chertoff in the background) are on the case.


Princess Barbie Talibania's Vagina Monologue

swindellb5.gif

My favorite rising star in the American Taliban, Princess Barbie Talibania of Boise, Idaho, is so kind to send me periodic e-mails, just to let me know what's happening in her crusades to allow government controlled mandatory procreation, enshrine and idolize Christian scripture in our courts of law and public spaces, ensure godly end-of-life suffering by sparing brain-dead and terminally-ill people from the choice of checking out humanely and with dignity, and maintain the virginity of our teenagers by denying them birth control and sex education in favor of "Just Say No"

I have a fetish for sexually-repressed hot Christian chicks. You can read previous posts on Bible Brandi Swindell at:
Brandi's important resolution for 2006
Princess Barbie Talibania for Scalito... but he doesn't have any sort of agenda, you know
Barbie's Been Busy
Princess Brandi Talibania goes down by 10,000 votes
www.BrandiSwindell.com
Ten Commandments fight shifts to Boise
"Kinsey=Mengele"


Her latest update must be causing severe cognitive dissonance for her poor vagina. On the one hand, it's got to be positively moist about the Scalito court taking up the dialation-and-extraction abortion case (the Nebraska state law on banning the procedure that was declared unconstitutional because it made no allowances for the health of the mother... hey, sometimes God has to kill a few pregnant women to make sure that procreation is enforced.) But on the other hand, her vagina must be itchy and smelly with the thought of college women actually talking about vaginas. That could lead to those women wanting to do put something more interesting than a tampon in there!
US Supreme Court to Hear Partial Birth Abortion Case

The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would rule on the constitutionality of a ban on the inhumane practice of partial-birth abortion. [Partial Birth? Is that like "a little bit pregnant"?]

I was in Washington DC during the previous Supreme Court decision regarding partial birth abortion in 2000, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor provided the tie-breaking vote in the 5-4 decision overturning the ban on such abortions.

The High Court got it wrong in the 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, which overturned a Nebraska law banning partial birth abortion.

President Bush signed a law banning such abortions in November 2003, but activist judges in the states of California, Nebraska and New York overturned the law. [Damn activist judges, interpreting the Constitution and all that! How dare they try to provide an exception to the ban when the life of the mother is in danger!]

I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments in the partial birth abortion case, Gonzales v. Carhart. Sandra Day O'Connor cast the deciding vote in the Stenberg case. O'Connor was replaced last month by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who appears likely to join Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Kennedy in upholding the federal partial birth abortion ban at issue in Gonzales. We must hope and pray for a just decision to outlaw this barbaric practice. [...and instead return to good ol' family values, like our women dying in childbirth. If it was good enough for the pioneers of the 19th century, it's good enough for us!]

It is clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose partial birth abortion. The Supreme Court will hear the arguments for the 2003 law banning partial birth abortions this Fall and the court's possible 5-4 decision upholding such a law will probably be issued before the 2006 elections.
Can you say "wedge issues" boys and girls? I thought that you could. Iraq is a civil war, Iran wants nukes, Afghanistan is a narco-terrorist state (again), Palestine is ruled by Hamas, Dubai is running our ports, China is holding our debt, North Korea is batshit crazy, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still a disaster area, our soldiers and journalists are dying in Mesopotamia, we have the greatest budget deficits and oil company profits in history, seniors are being shafted by the new Medicare plan, and more people are in poverty than ever before... and God's Oil Party and wingnuts like Princess Talibania are overwrought about a rarely-used medical procedure and gay people adopting and marrying (first they're pissed about rampant anti-family promiscuous queer hedonism, now they can't have the queers being respectable monogamous family folk) and nakedly unabashed about how that will play out in the upcoming elections.

Could she possibly find a less nationally-pressing issue of importance with which to pimp her Religious Reich street cred? Silly Radical... of course she can, she's got God in her corner:
Vagina Monologues

I wanted to pass along information about an event at Boise State University this Friday. I was recently contacted by a group of concerned BSU students who informed me that the Women's Center is sponsoring and promoting a production called The Vagina Monologues. To promote this production the Women's Center has sold vagina shaped lollipops on campus! Is this what higher education is about? [Eek! Vagina shaped lollipops! Everyone knows lollipops are supposed to be testicle shaped and popsicles are supposed to be penis shaped!]

The Vagina Monologues is quite vulgar as women describe their sexual experiences. One portion of the show includes a 13 year old describing her rape by a lesbian as a "good rape." This message that rape or molestation can be good is absolutely sick.
Er... context dearie, context. The woman is describing her first sexual experience at age 13 at the hands of a 24-year-old woman. Is it rape? Yes, even though the 13-year-old consented. Is it a message that consensual statutory rape is good? Apparently the 13-year-old who grew up to write it thought so... but in the context of the play she's just describing her sexual experiences. It's no more "promotion" of rape than, say, an individual voting for George W. Bush is promoting of torture, my Christian friend.

Oh, and another thing - you're referencing the original Vagina Monolgues performance from 2001, which featured this one vignette entitled "The Little Coochi-Snorter That Could" -- one of many of the monologues -- and was endlessly blasted through the FOXosphere as an endorsement of rape and a reinforcement of the "gays recruit our kids!" scare tactic (because the protagonist vagina says, "Now I'll never need a man!") In 2002, the scene was re-written so the protagonist vagina is 16 and makes no reference to a "good rape", which in itself, in context, was the girl not understanding how her consenting to get her Coochi-Snorter petted, which felt so good, could possibley be a "rape".
Jessica Bruton with the campus group Network of Enlightened Women, Brandon Stoker the President of College Republicans and Jon Sawmiller with the Conservative Student Coalition are coordinating an event to speak out against this production. It seems that BSU students are fed up with the one sided agenda being pushed by the BSU "elite." Many students are alarmed by the obscene nature of the performance.

This passionate group of students (motivated to take a stand on their campus) are inviting the public to join them demonstrate against the Friday night presentation of the Vagina Monologues.

The education and awareness demonstration will be this Friday, February 24th at the Student Union Building Special Events Center. They will be meeting in the Cataldo room of the SUB at 5:45, then march to the demonstration at 6:15. The event will be from 6:15 pm to 7:15 pm.
Here's a radical idea: don't go see the f*cking play! Have you considered that the BSU "elite" (why is it rich conservative people with country club memberships and penthouses always refer to poor liberal college professors as "elite"?) may just be putting on popular, award-winning plays that might draw an audience? I can understand how uptight conservative Christians get their knickers in a bind about women being unashamed of sex and sexuality and openly talking about the parts that God created on them, but why are they so uptight about other people who aren't uptight about it?

Here's another radical idea: lobby the "elite" to put on a play you'd like, or raise the funds and the staff to put on a play you'd like. Maybe you could commission a playwright to pen a stage production of "The Passion of the Christ" -- there's a performance utterly reeking of "family values". Good luck finding one; I understand a lot of those playwrights are - gasp! - homosexuals!

So, in honor of Princess Barbie Talibania's Virgin Vagina, I present its monologue:
Oh, beautiful body! You are as LORD God created it. Pure and supple, strong yet yielding, my golden hair to my pedicured toes. You are my gift from God, pledged to Jesus, a sacred temple into which no offending substances may enter, no offending thoughts may harbor, and no boys may touch.

You are a marvel of God's creation. From my smiling face and sparkling eyes, to my lithe arms and flat stomach, to my hips and belly that, someday, God willing, will be fruitful and multiply, to my... Eeek! Oh, disgusting! It's slimy! Ick! Gross! Gag me with a spoon!


Beefcake for the guys



For a publication that purportedly courts the het American male sports lover, this sure looks mighty, well, homosensational.

Andy at Towleroad is spot-on about this ESPN Magazine cover: "I've never been a huge fan of NASCAR racing but I've got a feeling they're about to get a bunch of new fans because of this trip to the body shop."

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course.


Womb control full steam ahead

South Dakota is going full steam ahead with womb control measures (and, sorry Ohio, you're on deck again -- more later), with an onerous bill that solidly cleared its Senate in a 32-12 vote. The state is the first to pass a law banning abortion under almost any circumstance, and the intention is to force the long-desired Roe v. Wade showdown in the Supreme Court for the Christofascists.
House Bill 1215 would ban most abortions in South Dakota. It now goes back to the House, which passed an earlier version and must now decide whether to accept changes made by the Senate. The bill would then go to Gov. Mike Rounds.


Republican Sen. Bill Napoli of Rapid City said, "This bill is as straightforward and as honest as it can be. It just says no more abortions unless the life of the mother is threatened." Republican Sen. Tom Dempster of Sioux Falls said, "This bill ends up being cold, indifferent and as hostile as any great prairie blizzard that this state has ever seen.''


Democrat Sen. Julie Bartling of Burke said the time is right for the ban on abortion. "In my opinion, it is the time for this South Dakota Legislature to deal with this issue and protect the rights and lives of unborn children," she said during the Senate's debate. "There is a movement across this country of the wishes to save and protect the lives of unborn children." Republican Sen. Stan Adelstein of Rapid City had tried to amend the bill to include an exception for abortions for victims of rape. The amendment lost 14-21.
Shakes Sis, Amanda at Pandagon, and Jill at Feministe weigh in. Shakes:
This issue is not just about women who may, at some point, want or need abortions. It's about all women-and our standing in society, our autonomy. Control over my own body, of which legalized abortion is a significant part, is part of how I define and understand myself and my role in our culture. Taking that away from me is taking away a part of myself, and make no mistake, that's what this fight is really about.
Amanda's post title says it all - "South Dakota women might as well die for fucking":
Between abstinence-only "education", anti-contraceptive activism and laws banning women from terminating life-threatening pregnancies, it appears the wingnut opinion on the proper lifecycle of the womb-body is-one begins as a bright-eyed, innocent virgin, loses your virginity in some weird post-wedding masculinity rite, preferably with maximum blood, fall pregnant immediately, and then die in childbirth so everyone can remember you fondly. God apparently fucked up, as far as the Wingnutteria is concerned. If he was thinking correctly, then he would have made women more like actual flowers, who reproduce and then wither away.
Jill nails it:
This ban additionally states that "life begins at the time of conception," which again demonstrates that politicians probably shouldn't be making laws about medicine when they have no idea what they're talking about (hello there, "partial-birth" abortion!). "Conception" isn't a medical term. Fertilization is, but pregnancy doesn't start at fertilization - it starts at implantation. And if "life" in South Dakota starts at "conception," they're going to have a skyrocketing miscarriage rate, as about half of fertilized eggs naturally don't implant in the uterus and get flushed out. Perhaps the next initiative will require women to save their used tampons and pads, or at least give them a proper burial, considering the possibility that there's a baby on them.
If that bold move by South Dakota doesn't take your breath away, take a look at this morally ambiguous doozer out of Ohio, H. B. No. 287, which attempts an end-run under the guise of "protecting" doctors. Hat tip to Blender tarminian, who wrote:
The purpose of this bill is to exempt the Amish (or other religious sects) from rules and regulations on freestanding birth centers.

Along the way one of the Ohio wingnuts added language that will exempt these centers from being sued if "because of an act or omission an abortion was not performed". So, basically if the doctor doesn't provide information to the client that their baby has any number of conditions that would be problematic or incompatible with life after birth they have no ability to get legal remediation for the mistake.
In this bill, parents can still sue if the doctor purposefully withholds information parents might need to determine whether or not to seek abortion if there is a tragic defect of some sort, but this bill clearly is chipping away at reproductive freedom if a doctor can say that a "mistake" was made in diagnosis of a severely troubled pregnancy. From a story in the Columbus Dispatch.
A proposal that wraps medical malpractice and abortion controversies into the same package passed a Senate committee yesterday and could potentially pass the full Senate next week.

...If approved, Ohio would become the seventh state to prohibit wrongful-life or wrongful-birth lawsuits, where parents sue a doctor for failing to provide them proper information about the birth defects of a fetus. In two such cases pending before the Ohio Supreme Court, mothers said that if doctors provided them with the proper information, they would have terminated the pregnancies.

But Anne Valentine, a Columbus lawyer speaking for the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, said the proposal lets doctors off the hook for making mistakes. Under the bill, a doctor that misreads a test result or performs the test improperly could not be sued if a child is born with a defect that should have been caught. The amendment, attached to an unrelated bill dealing with licensing birthing centers, would still permit a lawsuit if the doctor willfully withholds information about a medical diagnosis.

The bill provides no recourse for a family that must deal with the emotional and financial trauma of raising a child with potentially painful, debilitating, or fatal birth defects that, because of a doctor’s mistake, were not discovered sooner, she said. "Information about the health of a fetus has ramifications for a family that most of us cannot fathom," Valentine said.

...Valentine noted that abortions are legal, and legislators were protecting doctors who deny parents the chance to make a legal choice.


More wisdom from 'the base'

A Kentucky white supremacist is exercising his first amendment right to spew his agenda on cable access, but Insight Communications, the cable company, has shuttled the broadcast from primetime to midnight because of the bad PR surrounding the programming. Ransdell is a real winner. (Cincinnati.com):
Public access gives a video stage to everyone from government leaders to teachers. But something else is being channeled through the airwaves in Northern Kentucky.

With a cardboard sign and microphone, Robert Ransdell advocates a white separatist agenda during his own primetime slot. "The purpose of the program is to make white Americans aware of some things they might not be aware of in this community," Ransdell said.

..."In the next couple of weeks we're going to be airing some educational cartoons," Ransdell said. "We have cartoons that are meant to educate people about what has happened in this country."
Sweet. I think more of Ransdell's views need to be seen. After all, he shares political opinions held by the some of the Republican base that has been courted by the Rove machine. Read and see, despite the outrageous, coarse expression of racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism, how some of the views sound mighty familiar...I could be right in Freeperville, or LGF.

One should also note that Viacom's Sumner Redstone, who isn't treated well by this cretin, considers himself a liberal Dem but supported Bush in the last election, saying "I look at the election from what's good for Viacom. I vote for what's good for Viacom." I wonder how it feels to vote with the National Alliance crowd, Sumner? From an editorial by Ransdell at National Alliance News, which I am not going to link to:
MTV has morphed in the past five to ten years however. Many of you probably avoid MTV altogether and you may not have noticed the changes or you may only be partly aware of what young White teenagers are being fed by Sumner Redstone and his ilk these days.


There are hardly any music videos anymore. Instead the Jew Redstone and his MTV network has put our children on a steady diet of degenerate, racially and morally destructive programming that focuses on social relationships and dating. And I mean all relationships, even those which were not tolerated by America when it was a healthy nation. Upon viewing this parade of toilet bowl programming that is currently featured on MTV, one who is in the minority of truly morally and spiritually healthy White Americans would ask, just what is next?

What is the next bit of culturally destructive filth that Redstone and his MTV network is going to peddle as fashionable programming to our young people? Well folks "Next" is next.

"Next" is a dating show that appears regularly on MTV. The gimmick of the show is to place five individuals, always eighteen to twenty-five years of age, on a RV bus while one other individual dates the bus occupants in succession. The dater can reject anyone who comes out of the bus on the basis of physical appearance or lack of compatible personality and go on to the next person. If the dater enjoys the date with the former bus occupant then they can ask the former bus occupant to go on another date with them or "take the money". The money is the dollar amount of the time spent with each other on the date. [example : 32 minutes = 32 dollars].

While the date is taking place the other four occupants of the bus engage in conversation. The conversation is always laced with sexual innuendos and other degenerate bantering. There is absolutely no educational value to this show, unless you consider learning the latest joke about your various bodily functions educational. Of course this is very much in line with all MTV programming.

You really could write a list noting all of the morally and racially destructive aspects of this show.

In fact let me list them for you.



1- The show often promotes race-mixing. Whenever a White female or male is the "picker" there is almost always at-least one non-White on the RV bus to choose from.

2- Overall the show promotes that love and happiness can be found at first sight, that physical appearance is all that matters in forming a relationship. While I defiantly believe that you must have a physical attraction present on the part of the man and the woman both for a relationship to work, it cannot work on just that one aspect alone.

3- The overall moral tone. This show does not go ninety seconds without some sort of sexual joke or innuendo.

However the most disturbing and disgusting aspect about this show is the high degree of promotion of homosexuality on the show. Each half-hour episode has two sets of "pickers" and daters. The sampling of episodes I have viewed have been almost fifty-percent homosexual dating.

You may have noticed when reading my brief description of the show a few paragraphs back that I referred to the daters as "persons" and "individuals". This is due to the fact that this show features, seriously, about half of all of the dates, males dating males and females dating females.

Most of the gay dates are male however. I will not go into detail about the perversion of the dates or the conversation that goes on between the four homosexuals that are waiting on the bus. I assure you it would really turn the stomach of any morally healthy White person.

Believe me though, I didn't decide to write an article about this show because the talk and behavior was tame. It is very disturbing. It really shows us how arrogant the Jews are right now. They are cramming some really degenerate stuff down our throats.

I am certain that the greater majority of these sick individuals would not have chosen this sick existence if the media had not been in the hands of the Jews. If it were not for shows like "Next" most of the males I've seen on this show would be perfectly normal. They have chosen a lifestyle that will probably cause them to die a horrible death from AIDS and cause them to be rejected from all of normal healthy society.

To be sure the Jewish media bosses have convinced many of our people that it is wrong to condemn homosexuality. Many people don't have the courage to stand up against this rotten sickness that has been promoted by the vermin that control our mass media.

However this does not change the fact that most White Americans have an instinctive abhorrence for homosexuals. It is in our nature to see these freaks as the demented individuals they are. And all of this is evident in the legislation that has been passed, or is pending, that restricts gay marriage and gay adoption, which is a particularly disturbing phenomenon. With the exception of a few liberal enclaves that are thoroughly multiculturalized, for the most part White America has rejected these freaks. In the privacy of the voting booth White Americans are standing up for decency regarding the issue of homosexuality.
Is this a vote Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman counts as part of "the base" of their party? They'll never admit it, but the leap from this guy to the likes of Don and Tim Wildmon at the American Family Association -- which has a hotline to the White House and the Republican leaders on the Hill on speed-dial -- is a small one indeed. Looks at the filth the AFA puts its reputation behind:

The AFA:
* has an advocate for executing gays and abortion providers on its radio show

* believes gays were the real evil behind the Holocaust

* thinks gays are responsible for the "end of times"

* tries to convince the public that gays are a "public health" threat? or diseased perverts who die early

* publishes an article in its AFA Journal that says a "Jewish upbringing" leads to a life of crime

* believes that Europe is "infested" with Muslims who breed "faster than we do"

* Opines that Jews control Hollywood.
From John at Americablog: 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."

The Republican party cries foul when critics draw parallels or relationships to the fringe racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic movements like National Alliance, yet they are bedding down with those whose views differ little from those bigots at this stage in the game. The only difference is that the smooth talking, PR-savvy, well-heeled orgs like the AFA dress up the same views and tone down the bile -- sorry, but the positions still stink like a pile of vile cowsh*t. No one calls them on it, as the party inches ever closer to the fringe.

Dems may have their own internal battles to fight about ideology, principles and positions, but the folks that look like real losers are the Republican moderates. They should be ashamed at what has happened to the GOP, and need to be at the head of the line blasting organizations like the AFA night and day to reclaim their party.

Hat tip Holly.


The sHillary backlash continues


Blender, New Yorker, and Julien's List contributor 'Bean sent the Empire State Pride Agenda a kick-ass letter to thank the gay org for its decision to cease fundraising for the Clinton machine. The Senator's ambitions have been funded with gay dollars and no commitment to full civil equality, while she coasts along the road to Republican-lite positions (See my post). The matter has stirred up lively discussion at the New York Observer.

The irony is that sHillary is probably so unpopular in flyover country that she won't have a prayer if she got the Dem nomination anyway. That's why you have Dear Leader calling her "formidable." She's the candidate they want and need to get another four years to destroy the country.

'Bean's given me permission to reprint his letter, which sums it all up.
'Bean
Registered Democrat, Monroe County
Registered Member, MoveOn Progressive PAC
Contributor, Julien's List (GLBT blog)
Rochester, NY 14615

Dear Empire State Pride Agenda Representative:

Today, I read this article about Executive Director Alan Van Capelle's decision to not support Senator Hillary Clinton in any future endeavors given her stances and policies.

The article I mention is linked to a GLBT blog, Pam's House Blend here:

Given driving out to your offices, throwing my arms around Alan Van Capelle's neck, and intimately kissing him breathless for finally standing up to a Turncoat Liberal like Clinton would be (1) inconvenient, (2) time consuming, (3) awkward, (4) likely a tad embarrassing for all involved, and (5) a rather probable way to get arrested (although, believe me, when I read the article, doing as described *WAS* my first instinct), I quelled my enthusiasm and decided to write this note instead.

A note is more civil, after all.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for finally taking a stand for GLBT liberals - and for GLBT liberals in a state reputed for *BEING* liberal, at that.

When I first moved to New York State in 2004 from a Hate State (Ohio), I was initially impressed with Senator Clinton's "newsmaker" face and comments.

As she started shilling for the Iraq war, defending her husband's DOMA legislation, cheering for CAFTA in light of NAFTA as New York job losses continue, co-supporting "Flag Burning Legislation" with a GLBT-hating-and-baiting Republican nut-job from Utah, and finally saber-rattling at Iran in the pages of Salon Magazine . . . and then she has the tasteless gall to come and ask GLBT folks for votes and money?

This series of events rather left a bad taste in my mouth.

I sincerely, vigorously, unabashedly, unashamedly, and publicly thank both the Empire State Pride Agenda and Director Alan Van Capelle's courage to stand up and say, "Hey! No more 'something for nothing, lady!'"

Please note I copied the publishers (who are, in some degree, also my friends) on this letter: the GLBT community needs and deserves to know that (1) not only did someone finally say "Enough!" to the Spineless, Self-Serving, Democratic Turncoats like Clinton who sell out their supporters . . . but that (2) one of the GLBT people you support by your work is willing to publicly support you, too.

VERY well done - and so tastefully, too: thank you! Thank you so very much!

The only possible way I could be any happier this moment is if you managed to get the South-Central Republican-Lite Carpetbagger back on a train to Arkansas!

Warmly,

'Bean

Cc: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, via Senatorial
website
'Bean is also working with his local MoveOn organization to launch a sHillary "NO!" campaign. More on that soon.


Speaking of sh*t

So, the FCC is considering making shit a bad word. I usually use sh*t myself when typing, but it's more of a stylistic matter rather than an objection to the word as profanity.

The FCC is in the business of deciding for you (and broadcasters) what is a reasonable limit on profane and sexually explicit speech on the air (satellite TV and radio aren't restricted), and there has been a backlog of "indecency cases" that are going to be acted upon shortly.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering a proposal to rule that the word "s***" is profane and violates decency limits in certain contexts, the source said, declining further identification. The agency has already declared the word "f***" off-limits in most cases.

...The expected action against television broadcasters would be the first in well over a year by the FCC despite a push by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, for stricter enforcement of federal broadcast decency limits.

Federal regulations bar television and radio broadcast stations from airing obscene material and limit them from airing indecent material, such as profanity and sexually explicit content, except in late-night hours when children are less likely to be in the audience.

...The Parents Television Council, which has argued for stricter enforcement of federal decency limits, warned in late 2005 that continued inaction by the FCC would lead to racier programming.

The FCC also did not take action against broadcast television stations that aired the World War Two movie "Saving Private Ryan" even though many profane words were used in the dialogue.
So is it bad for a rock star to utter a profane word live during an awards broadcast, but it's ok in a movie with a military theme that calls for salty language? What kind of criteria are we talking about up in the hallowed halls of the FCC? If you're a broadcaster possibly facing a fine, you're going to err on the side of caution, and thus there is a chilling effect overall on content they are willing to put on the air -- which is what the PTC wants.

***


While on the matter of sh*t, here's an appropriate story...

San Francisco Examines Power of Dog Droppings.
City officials are hoping to harness the power of dog doo. San Franciscans already recycle more than 60 percent of their garbage, but in this dog-friendly town, animal feces make up nearly 4 percent of residential waste, or 6,500 tons a year — nearly as much as disposable diapers, according to the city.

Within the next few months, Norcal Waste, a garbage hauling company that collects San Francisco's trash, will begin a pilot program under which it will use biodegradable bags and dog-waste carts to pick up droppings at a popular dog park.

The droppings will be tossed into a contraption called a methane digester, which is basically a tank in which bacteria feed on feces for weeks to create methane gas.

The methane could then be piped directly to a gas stove, heater, turbine or anything else powered by natural gas. It can also be used to generate electricity.
Imagine how much fuel economy the U.S. could achieve if we bagged and burned all the sacks of bullsh*t coming out of the politicians' mouths in Washington.


O'Reilly interviews Harry Hamlin and Tab Hunter

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Blender Mykull sent this my way...a surreal interview about gays and Hollywood on The O'Reilly Factor, of all places, with Tab Hunter, who has an autobiography out about his glory days in Tinseltown (and in the closet), and Harry Hamlin, who starred in the ahead-of-its-time gay-themed Making Love (1982).

O'Lielly manages to keep himself under control through most of it, but he gets hung up on whether an openly gay actor could play a straight leading man -- and bring in big box office. Of course, he didn't talk about the lesbos in Hollywood. We don't matter in this universe. Harry Hamlin, incidentally, does say playing gay hurt him in terms of big screen offers. He did, however, score a big TV lead -- L.A. Law.
O'REILLY: But they want to believe that a Tab Hunter and a Harry Hamlin are actually romancing the girl.

HUNTER: But you are.

O'REILLY: But you're not if you're really gay.

HUNTER: But it's all Hollywood. It's all make believe anyway. It's all a lot of B.S., as you know.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, Mr. Hamlin.

HAMLIN: I believed that, too, when I made "Making Love." And I'm an actor, a repertory theater actor. I played this role, thinking, well, I'm just playing a guy, I'm playing a role, and I'll be able to get away with this. People won't confuse me with the person that I'm playing.

It's so weird that when you play a role that has a different sexual orientation, they seem to cross over, and they don't get it. You could play an ax murderer or you could play a rapist or whatever and get away with that, but for some reason when you cross the sexual boundary, it makes a difference.

O'REILLY: I'm with you.

HUNTER: That is a good point because they do associate you, though, basically with what you play on the screen. I mean, they do.

O'REILLY: They do.

HUNTER: They do.

O'REILLY: And they want to believe it. They want to believe it. But we are in a different world. And Ledger and Gyllenhaal aren't going to be hurt, I don't think. I think that picture will win.


AFA now targeting 'Desperate Housewives'

This is so tiring -- what do they want on the air -- 24/7 of 700 Club? One of the many tentacles of the Wildmon's American Family Association, OneMillionMoms.com, is calling Desperate Housewives "one of the most vulgar and tasteless programs on television." And with that, OMM plans a one-year boycott of advertisers.

"We want to identify companies that sponsor 'Desperate Housewives' and ask moms not to buy their products for a period of one year," said Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of OneMillionMoms.com, in a statement. "So instead of boosting sales because of their sponsorship of the program, the company or companies selected will lose sales.

"ABC says the show is watched by 15 million people each week. That means that 265 million don't watch the show but still end up paying for it by the products they buy," he said.

Wildmon says he doesn't buy the argument that people who don't like a particular show should simply turn off their TV. "Will they also tell us that if we don't like drunk drivers on the highway to stay off the highway? Sure we can turn the TV off. But why should we have to do that? Why do our children need to be exposed to such trash? Why do the networks keep putting out trash and more trash?"


Stephen Bennett and the homo bandwagon



Our friend at Straight Talk Radio, happily married, professional "former" homo Stephen Bennett, is perplexed at Willie Nelson's gay cowboy song, and the overall popularity of Brokeback Mountain.
A well-known country music singer has jumped on the homosexual cowboy "bandwagon" with the release of the first "homosexual cowboy" song. The hoopla over the homosexual cowboy flick Brokeback Mountain has spilled over into the music scene with Willie Nelson's release of "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other."

Stephen Bennett, a former homosexual and a Christian evangelist, had this reaction to the song's release. "I think Willie Nelson's braids are pulled too tight," Bennett says. The ministry leader suspects Nelson is just taking advantage of the "gay western" fad. "I don't understand why everybody is jumping on the bandwagon of homosexuality," says Bennett. "It is like the 'in thing' today. And, of course, with this movie Brokeback Mountain, everybody is jumping in now to do what they can to capitalize on this newest, latest fad that people are accepting." The founder of Stephen Bennett Ministries is now a married man with children who has found his career in Christian music.
To delve more deeply into the help Stephen can give you to avoid that bandwagon, he's prepared a special 4 CD audio series, TESTIFY! (for $35). Look at some of the scintillating offerings of personal testimony...
* A Faithful Friend - The Story of Kathy (The Woman Who Led Stephen Bennett to Christ)
* A Real 'Wonder Woman': The Deliverance of Linda Carter from Lesbianism
* A Senior Citizen Set Free from Lesbianism: The Testimony of Janet
* From 'Drag' to Riches: The Testimony of Jerry
And his ministry is there to help keep you from falling off the het wagon...
Stephen Bennett Ministries, Inc. (SBM) serves several purposes. First and foremost, SBM encourages men and women to successfully and permanently overcome their unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA.) SBM firmly believes no one is born homosexual; that inmost cases, unnatural homosexual attractions tragically develop early on in the childhood; and by biblically dealing with the root cause(s) of one's same-sex attraction, homosexuality can be completely overcome - just as drug addiction, alcoholism or any other sinful behavior. Men and women can then effectively move on to healthy heterosexuality - as part of God's natural, perfect design and plan for man and woman.


The Empty Wig's husband shills for Dubai Ports World


Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole hasn't been on pitching Viagra lately, but now he's going to earn a paycheck lobbying for the company that is slated to take control of several major U.S. ports.

The (useless) North Carolina Senator's husband will attempt to smooth the ruffled Republican feathers over this deal. (Raw Story):
CNN's Andrea Koppel reports: "The Dubai-based company at the center of a controversy over the management of six U.S. seaports has hired former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to lobby on its behalf against bipartisan criticism of the deal, a Dole aide said Wednesday.

"The 1996 Republican presidential candidate was "engaged" by Dubai Ports World shortly after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began expressing their strong opposition to the deal, said Mike Galloway, an aide to the retired senator.

..."Dole is a special counsel in the Washington office of the law firm Alston & Bird. DP World hired the firm in 2005 to help shepherd its purchase of the British-based firm Peninsular and Oriental, which currently manages the U.S. ports, Galloway said.


Where has this Brit been?

British Pol Advises American Christians to Get Involved in Politics. The Christofascist tornado has been tearing across this country for years; has this dude been under a f*cking rock? Get him on a phone with the Wildmons and Daddy Dobson.
A member of the British House of Lords has told the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Dallas that biblical preaching could be outlawed unless Christians become more politically active.

Recently the British Parliament nearly passed legislation that would have amended that nation's Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and outlawed incitement to religious hatred. The measure lost by a single vote -- the vote of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left early, confident that the bill would pass without him.

John Taylor, a member of the House of Lords, spoke at this week's NRB gathering in Texas. Taylor said passage of the bill could have led to pastors being arrested for so-called "hate speech." Unless Christians take action, says Taylor, clergy in his country -- as well as in the United States -- could fall victim to such statutes, should they be enacted.

"There's an old saying that things won't change until people change," Taylor says. "So we can moan about these [political] institutions and so forth, or we can basically get in there. We are called to be salt and light -- so why don't we take over the Senate and Congress and so forth?"
Let's see...the presidency...check...the Congress...check...the Supreme Court...almost checked. I don't know what's left for the goons to take over, Taylor.


Sarah Vowell cracks me up

Sarah Vowell, the excellent NPR contributor with the cartoon voice (from The Incredibles) always cracks me up with her turn of phrase. Last night on the Daily Show, she let loose with this one, which I'll try to paraphrase to the best of my memory:
It's amazing what a disaster the Bush administration has been. It's hard for me to even watch the news, much less research the news deeply in order to write my pieces for the show. I know it's your stock in trade, but it depresses me... you know, when I was watching Bush at his first inauguration, I was so worried about him rolling back affirmative action or pollution controls... in retrospect, I'm ashamed at what little imagination I had for how bad he could be.
Or something like that. If someone can find the exact quote, I'd appreciate it (TiVo doesn't arrive until next week...)


Legomania



Mike Tidmus, a big fan of the colorful, interlocking blocks, pointed me to Daniel Brown's Brokeback Lego series. What a hoot!

But the Lego coolness doesn't stop there. Take a look at the new LaCie hard drive products...



Eight meat plant workers claim $365 million jackpot

lottery.gif
LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP) -- Eight workers at a Nebraska meat processing plant claimed the record $365 million Powerball jackpot Wednesday, each getting about $15.5 million after taxes.

The seven men and one woman, introduced by Gov. Dave Heineman, all work at a ConAgra ham processing plant near the U Stop convenience store where they bought the winning ticket for Saturday's lottery.

At least three of the winners Wednesday are immigrants.

Quang Dao, 56, who like Dung Tran, 34, came to the U.S. from Vietnam about 16 years ago, said he was looking for freedom when he headed for America.

"After I hit the lottery, it also changed my family's life in Vietnam," he said.

Alain Maboussou, a 26-year-old who fled his war-torn homeland in Central Africa, said he planned to earn a degree in accounting now.

"It's too early for me to retire, but I did four days ago. I'm going to be working for myself now," Maboussou said. He said of his three-month-old daughter, Katherine, "she's going to be happy for the rest of her life."

"I don't think they have a reason to be jealous," Maboussou said of the rest of his colleagues, "because when it's a pool day, we ask people to put in five bucks. So if you wasn't there, or you didn't put five bucks in, sorry."
You know, good for them, and I'm especially happy that hard-working blue-collar folks and immigrants get to be millionaires. But I'm left wondering, .how's life going to be back at the plant for the rest of the workers? All of a sudden you have eight people quit. That makes the remaining workers' jobs a little bit harder, doesn't it?

And woe to the co-worker who accidentally left his wallet at home the day the pool came a-callin', or those who've played before but sat out this time for whatever reason. Can you imagine the morale at the plant this week?

Has anyone ever taken a look at the aftermath of a co-worker's group lottery pool striking it rich? Do they have seminars for management on how to deal with this kind of situation? And think about the environment this sets up at other workplaces where there is a lottery pool -- certainly stories like this exert more pressure on the non-playing emplyees to join in... you don't want to be the only one left here working, do you?

It's not like I'm advocating anti-lottery-pool workplace regulations or anything like that; they'd be impossible to enforce, I'd think. Just musing about how work life will be for the non-winners stuck at the plant.


NY gay rights group blasts sHillary


Van Capelle: supporting fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton would "actually hurt" the gay and lesbian community.

Finally! A gay org comes right out and takes a blowtorch to the Dem fraud known as Hillary Clinton. Time for a happy dance for the candor! (NYT):
In a memorandum to board members, Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, said Mrs. Clinton was "a complete disappointment," taking issue with her opposition to same-sex marriage and her support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

...In his memo, which was reported on Tuesday on the Politicker Web site of The New York Observer, Mr. Van Capelle said that he refused to "lend my name and sell tickets" to any fund-raiser sponsored by a gay group for Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign.
He's still going to vote for her, mind you, since, well, what's the alternative? More from an article on 365gay.com:
"We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send."

The Senator's staff disputes Van Capelle's position, saying she has always been a strong supporter of LGBT rights. New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane (D-Manhattan) who is openly gay, said that Van Capelle's position was strident.

Duane told the New York Times that Clinton was a strong advocate on LGBT issues, noting that she has helped secure federal funding for critically important programs, including AIDS treatment.

"Would we like her to be 100 percent on the marriage issue? Yes," he said. "But it's important for us to continue educating her on the issue."
Educating her? What's left to do, man!? She's aware of the issue. Her support for civil equality regarding marriage is a no-go because it interferes with her political ambitions, period.

Check out more commentary from homos sour on SHillary at the New York Observer Politicker, "Exclusive: Gays Rebuff Hillary."


Ohio GOP: Blackwell is 'burning down the house'



Fundie butt-kissing, homo-bigot, Ohio State Treasurer and GOP candidate for governor Ken Blackwell is running ads that thr party chair is calling "smear tactics" against primary opponent Jim Petro. I love it when they eat their own. (Cincinnati.com):
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell's new cable TV and radio ads attacking opponent Jim Petro are so bare-knuckled that the chairman of Blackwell's own party has called them "smear tactics."

"Ken Blackwell should have a better strategy for winning this primary than simply burning down the house," Ohio GOP Chairman Bob Bennett said.

But Blackwell said Tuesday he has no intention of changing the tone of the ads or his campaign, and charged the chairman was playing favorites. "I'm the chairman's prodigal political son," Blackwell said. "(Ohio Gov.) Bob Taft and Jim Petro are his favorites."

...The Blackwell TV ad, seen on cable systems around the state but not in the Cincinnati market, takes aim at both Taft and Petro, attempting to tie Petro, the Ohio attorney general, to the ethical lapses of the governor and the "coingate" scandal.

In the ad, images of former GOP fundraiser Tom Noe, the subject of a 53-count indictment this month, and Taft, convicted of misdemeanor offenses last year, are followed by a grim-looking photo of Petro and a voiceover that says Petro "has used the special counsel program as a fundraising ATM."
Sadly, I think Ohio's GOP has been burning its political house down quite well on its own -- before Blackwell came and sprayed on the kerosene.

Ken Blackwell runs with the Christofascist crowd -- his best buds are Talibangelist Rod Parsley of Reformation Ohio (its "mission" is to convert 100,000 people to Christianity within four years) and Russell Johnson, founder of the winger Ohio Restoration Project and the Patriot Pastors movement. Blackwell's also endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life and Mother Schlafly's Eagle Forum, so they've got his back in this race.

Hat tip, Holly.

Also:
* The friends of homo-bigot Ken Blackwell
* Wingnuts at 'tent revival' kickoff for Reformation Ohio
* Group calls for IRS to investigate two winger churches


Bush didn't even know about the UAE port deal

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It's bad enough that all the usual checks on big national security deals like this were bypassed, it's worse that the Secretary of Defense had no idea what was going on, but it is unfathomable that the President himself would be unaware that operations at six American ports had been sold from the British to the United Arab Emirates (motto: enjoy our beautiful beaches and relax before your next jihad destination!).

Well, unfathomable only if you think this "president" is actually in charge of anything. (Who's corporate America's good little boy? Who's a good little president? You are, boy! Good boy, good president! Now roll over...)
WASHINGTON - President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

Defending the deal anew, the administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among both Republicans and Democrats.

Bush on Tuesday brushed aside objections by leaders in the Senate and House that the $6.8 billion sale could raise risks of terrorism at American ports. In a forceful defense of his administration’s earlier approval of the deal, he pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement.


What Democratic Values?

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I've been writing about the battle between the progressives and the poll-watching triangulating 36-year-losing-streak so-called moderate DLC types for some time now. HuffPo's Bob Burnett sees some of the same issues:
Paraphrasing Bob Dylan, “Something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. [Brooks]?” The N.Y. Times conservative pundit [David Brooks] has unwittingly wandered into the middle of a fight for the heart of the Democratic Party. A battle between tactics-based apparatchiks and values-based loyalists. Between the DC-based Dem “intelligentsia” and those of us who inhabit the real world.

This is a fight that has great bearing on what should be the Democrats’ signature issues—national security. Unbeknownst to most voters, the Dems have actually prepared a sensible plan for protecting America. Only the public can’t see it because they don’t trust the Dems anymore than the trust the GOP. The latest Gallup poll “On dealing with corruption in Government,” found that only twelve percent of Americans saw the Democratic Party as more trustworthy than Republicans.

Ironically, the fight for the heart of the Democratic Party will not be decided by the issue of Iraq or the Economy or the other issues vying for media attention. This fight will be about morality. What set of values will the Democrats embrace?


More 'ex-gay' nonsense coming to St. Louis this weekend

Daddy Dobson's "ex-gay" road show, Love Won Out, is heading to St. Louis on Feb. 25. One of the organizers and host of the program, LWO's Mike Haley, says there will be record-breaking attendance at the conference.
"We could not be more pleased with the response," said Mike Haley, host of Love Won Out and a former homosexual. "We will have people coming from at least 23 different states on Saturday, and we're set to break our all-time record with more than 1,300 attendees.
You know what that means -- all the gay bars will be packed with partiers, friends. At the very least, I'm sure the LWO folks will be there doing homo research, a la LaBarbera.


The faces of LWO in their own words: "Former homo" Mike Haley is director of the Homosexuality and Gender department for Focus on the Family's Public Policy division; Alan Chambers "left homosexuality" in 1991 and is now the President of Exodus International, the "largest resource and referral organization dealing with homosexuality in the world today." Professional heterosexual Melissa Fryrear, Gender Issues Analyst for FoF: "No one has ever walked out of homosexuality without a hand extended."


Pennsylvania winger drops the gay bomb on Bob Casey



The winger freaks in Pennsylvania are beside themselves that Bob Casey is anti-choice, and therefore presents an alternative to Little Ricky for the sheeple voters, so they have to lob the gay bomb over the fence in the battle.
In an attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Rick Santorum in this fall's election, Pennsylvania Democrats have selected a pro-life candidate to appeal to the state's values voters. The Democrats hope their candidate, Bob Casey, Jr., will help them re-connect with pro-family citizens.


However, Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania says Casey has made a huge blunder by agreeing to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexual advocacy organization in the world. "He touts himself as a pro-life Democrat; that is one reason why the Democratic Party has fallen in line behind him so readily," Gramley says, "because, of course, Senator Santorum is pro-life, so they're thinking [they've also] got a pro-life candidate."

But now, the pro-family spokeswoman notes, "Bob Casey Jr. is scheduled to speak at a Human Rights Campaign black-tie gala." What that means, she explains, is that as Casey addresses the crowd at the $175 per plate dinner, "part of the proceeds from that will be used to fight our Marriage Protection Amendment that was just introduced here in Pennsylvania on January 24." Meanwhile, Gramley says Casey's devotion to pro-life issues also leaves room for doubt because she cannot seem to find any comments on pro-life issues on his website.
Casey is one of those "New Dems" that the party is in love with these days, so there's not much for progressives on that front; the only real plus is that he supports laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation -- a clear distinction he's decided to draw vs. man-on-dog Santorum. No wonder the gay bomb is being lobbed.

To confuse matters further, commenter postdated noted in the comments of another thread that Casey is against gay adoption, according a 2004 PA Catholic Conference questionnaire that he answered (question 8). I suppose Casey needs to decide which level of discrimination he is for or against -- or does it just depend on which audience he is addressing at the time? And the other question raised is how does that square with HRC, which endorses Casey?

Sigh, the Dems - what a choice.

Also: Little Ricky also has a few ethics problems blowing up in the news, right when he's being considered by the Senate GOP for its ethics czar post. Teehee.

SpinDentist has more at All Spin Zone.


Learning from Mr. Hetero



I posted about the Mr. Hetero Contest back in December; the joyous event was finally held recently in Massachusetts. It was billed as "A Celebration of God's Creation -- a real competition that will bring fun and laughter as we celebrate God's design," put on by Tom Crouse, pastor of Massachusetts' Holland Congregational Church. You can catch his take on the event on his blog. He sounds a tad defensive.
If you are a believer who vocally opposed the event, I would encourage you to find someone who went and hear for yourself what it really was. If you are someone who is homosexual and opposed the event, contact some of the activists who attended and hear for yourself what really went on.
For the record, I didn't oppose the event; I just thought it was hysterical and over-the-top. After all, the rainbow sticker and the "we're taking it back!" message pretty much says it all -- the guy protests a bit too much. These clownish events need the light of the exposure upon them.

Peterson Toscano, blogging out of Hartford, CT, actually went to Mr. Hetero to check out the action, and the sad state of this misguided group of straight guys. Peterson describes himself as "a theatrical, performance, artist, a very queer and quirky Quaker," and you can imagine that he has an interesting take on the events...
When I was a young person struggling with same-sex attractions, I often tried to decode behavior around me. How did normal guys operate? How did they greet each other? How did they walk, laugh, dress and how could I copy them?

If I were my queer youth self sitting in the Mr. Hetero audience, here are some of the messages that I would have heard.



The Events

The Best Use of Duct Tape
Highlights: men demonstrated how they used duct tape to remove lint from their clothing, trim down unsightly body hair and clean the gunk out of their belly buttons.
What I learned: Straight men value self grooming albeit in a primitive fashion.

Name the Food
Where blindfolded straight men identified different junk foods by tasting them.
Highlight: When Jimmy identified the first item to be Lays Original Potato Chips, Pastor Tom Crouse was not going to let that past. As a literalist, he wanted to hear Lays Classic. The crowd pressured him into relenting.
What I learned: Straight men value junk food and have leanings towards being literal when it comes to written texts.

Wedding Proposal
Where men demonstrated how they proposed to their wives or how they will propose to prospective wife.
Highlight: After hearing some pretty lame and self-centered proposals (and cute ones too) contestant Pat, stole the show. He hopped off the stage, knelt before his wife seated in the front row and proposed to her anew thanking her for being so patient with him then he expressed his commitment to a partnership where they help each other grow in life, love and faith. A stunning moment of healthy relating. Many women in the audience (oh and me too) dabbed the tears away from our eyes.
What I learned: Most straight men don't know how to talk to women yet somehow stumble along, but some may genuinely care about healthy, loving partnerships. (Hey so do I!)

Talent
Highlight: The crowd went wild when Jimmy belted out a 1980's rock anthem. Lots of other performances, some less than noteworthy, but all done with heart.
What I learned: Straight men can be goofy and even play with queer themes, but only as part of an act.

Strength (or tearing up Oprah's O magazine).
Tom Crouse totally backpeddled on this one. He said he didn't understand what the fuss was about in the press. He claims he chose Oprah's magazine simply because it was the thickest one. Lame, lame, lame and it sounded like a lie. This event wasn't about strength, if it were, then why did each man get just one magazine to tear up? It was a symbolic gesture. (yes and they also tore up one Sports Illustrated, but not the coveted swimsuit issue).

This event was NOT about strength. It was about power and the fear that power is being lost to folks who shouldn't have it.

The entire audience was white, except for the young Black minister imported from Springfield, MA who endorsed the event with an opening prayer.

I've heard white folks talk with derision about Oprah for years. Why? I reckon it is because she is a strong, independent, successful, unmarried rich Black woman who gets women to talk to each other about the issues and their lives (oh, and gets lots of folks to read books). But Tom Crouse cannot say this from the platform or behind the mic (and perhaps he hasn't even articulated it for himself yet but lives with a vague disdain for Oprah without ever investigating what it is all about).

What I learned: some straight white men choose to do something that is offensive, doggedly stick to it,then think they can get away with a thoughtless and disingenuous explanation about it,(and most often they do).
Now back to Crouse's claim that the event had nothing to do with gay-bashing and was only about men exploring their Dobson-approved manliness and connection to the Creator. Peterson saw something quite different going on.
The real danger that was preached to us (and put on the big screen and t-shirts) is that heterosexuality is designed by God, and in effect everything else is deformed, defective and demonic.

Hearing that message explicitly and implicitly, it is no wonder that 22-year-old Jonathan, raised in the church with a preacher father, lived a double life for years, hiding his same-sex attractions. Imported from a Bible school many hundreds of miles away, Jonathan shared his testimony with us of how he repented of homosexuality.

I have no doubt that he has repented, but I feel pretty sure that like the hundreds former "ex-gays" and handful of current "ex-gays" I know, he still struggles with same-sex attractions. But he knows that to survive in his heteronormative Christian family, church and college, he has to live free of homosexuality or at least proclaim that he is free.

Sadly when he slips up one too many times or even begins to questions things, he will most likely find himself on the outside, maybe even homeless. (yes, it happens all the time in good Christian homes and many queer Christian youth end up taking their own lives).
The rest of Peterson's post is moving and personal as he engages with young people who attended the event, and describes the painful and damaging messages sent by people like Crouse. Another post with more thoughts on the Mr. Hetero Contest by Peterson is here. He also points to another on-the-scene report from the Worcester Independent's Mike Benedetti. Here are snippets that made me laugh out loud:
One could not help but note three major Hetero things that were missing from this pageant:

* The Three Stooges
* Procreation
* Anything that might lead to procreation

...Crouse described the Mr. Hetero competition as the "First ever. Last ever too, the way this one is going."

The PA played Queen's "We Are the Champions" and Crouse sang along. (How is this resisting the Gay Menace?)

My recommendations for future Mr. Heteros:

* Make the thing a celebration of heterosexuality. Nix the stuff about being saved from homosexuality. It derails the event, and attracts protesters.

* Find some way to not have to pay $6500 for police protection. Otherwise you'll end up deep in the red.

* Hold it in a church rather than a concert hall. You're not going to get enough people to fill the hall. There was a monster truck rally this weekend, which attracted all the real heteros.

* Don't ask people to pay to watch a bunch of amateur hams goof around on stage. It's kind of entertaining, but this stuff should be free, not $12 .
Hat tip, Christine.


Supremes on womb control, religious freedom

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A weird Supreme Court news day. First, the big story that folks are talking about most -- the fact that late-term abortions are back on the table. The battle to control the wombs of America is in full swing, and Alito stands to be the deciding vote on the matter.
The Supreme Court said Tuesday it would consider reinstating a federal ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortion, pulling the contentious issue back to the high court on conservative Justice Samuel Alito's first day.

...It is the first time the court has considered a federal restriction on abortion, and conservatives said they expect the membership change to affect the outcome.

"This is the frontline abortion case in the country," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, who represents members of Congress in the case.

...Abortion rights groups were worried, however, that the new court could make it easier for legislators to limit women's access to abortions.

"Today's action means the core principle of protecting women's health as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade is in clear and present danger," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
We all knew this was coming, including the f*cktard lazy Dems who didn't put up a real fight or have a game plan for the Alito nomination. We'll be paying the price for that bit of business for decades.

***

Moving along, I'm wondering if the Bushies would have been fighting so hard over a TEABAG if a fundie winger church was on the other side of the argument. This is the first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts. (AP):
"This is a very important decision for minority religious freedom in this country," said lawyer John Boyd, who represents about 130 U.S. members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal who live in New Mexico, California and Colorado.

The tea, which contains an illegal drug known as DMT, is considered sacred to members of the sect, which has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions. Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies.

A trial judge found the government's evidence that the drug is harmful was equal in weight to information provided by the sect that said its method of use in tea is not.

Roberts, in writing the opinion for the court, said the government had failed to prove that federal drug laws should outweigh the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Congress passed in 1993 to prohibit burdening a person's exercise of religion.

...The Bush administration had argued that the drug in the tea not only violates a federal narcotics law but a treaty in which the United States promised to block the importation of drugs including dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT.


Utah legislature moves to prevent gay parent visitation

When will the endless homo-bashing stop? The unintended consequence of passing a bill that will prevent a gay parent from visiting a child from a former relationship is that it could affect the ability of grandparents or step-parents as well. But the bible-thumpers don't care about that or the fallout by preventing gays from adopting the kids the hets won't take -- it's all about punishing the homos.
A bill to prevent a court from awarding parental rights against the wishes of the biological or adoptive parent passed the Utah House on Tuesday.

The legislation stemmed from a case involving two lesbians who broke up and where a judge give one of the women visitation rights despite the objections of the other who was the birth parent.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen (R-Draper) who also sponsored Utah's constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and is involved in suit challenging Salt Lake City's domestic partner benefits.

...The case, Jones v Barlow, is now before the Utah Supreme Court.

Keri Lynn Jones and Cheryl Pike Barlow met in 2000 and were together about three years. "Probably after we were dating six months maybe, we decided we wanted to have a baby in the next year so we spent a lot of time talking to our attorney," Jones contends in court papers.

Jones contends they intended to rear the girl - now 5 years old - together and took several steps to establish legal relationship for her and the baby. Barlow disputes that she ever intended for Jones to have a legal relationship to the child.
Barlow claims she is now "ex-gay," converting to evangelical Christianity, and thus the lawsuit.


Hope she doesn't come looking for a cup of sugar

High-five for Amy Dickinson, the Chicago Tribune's advice columnist. She slaps down a bigot who clearly doesn't know how to be neighborly to the fabulous gay folks living nearby.
Dear Amy:
My husband and I have lived in our quiet suburban Denver neighborhood for six years.

About two years ago two young gay men moved in across the street. They've taken the ugliest, most run-down property in the neighborhood and remodeled and transformed it into the pride of the street.

When it snows, they shovel out my car and are friendly, yet they mostly keep to themselves.

Last month I went out to retrieve my newspaper and watched them kiss each other goodbye and embrace as they each left for work.

I was appalled that they would do something like that in plain view of everyone. I was so disturbed that I spoke to my pastor. He encouraged me to draft a letter telling them how much we appreciate their help but asking them to refrain from that behavior in our neighborhood.

I did so and asked a few of our neighbors to sign it.

Since I delivered it, I've not been able to get them to even engage me in conversation.

I offer greetings but they've chosen to ignore me.

They have made it so uncomfortable for the other neighbors and me by not even acknowledging our presence.

How would you suggest we open communications with them and explain to them that we value their contributions to the neighborhood but will not tolerate watching unnatural and disturbing behavior. - Wondering

***

Dear Wondering:

You're lucky that these gentlemen merely choose to ignore you.

Your neighbors could respond to your hospitality by hosting weekly outdoor "gay pride" barbecues and inviting all of their friends to enjoy life on our quiet suburban street.

I can hold out hope that they will choose to do this, but I'm spiteful in that way. Your neighbors sound much more kind.

In your original petition to these men, you basically stated that while you value them when they are raising the standard on your street and shoveling your driveway, you loathe them for being who they are.

The only way to open communication with your neighbors would be to start by apologizing to them for engaging your other neighbors in your campaign. Because you don't sound likely to apologize, you are just going to have to tolerate being ignored.
Hat tip, Anne.


Bush on the ropes over port deal



My god, he just doesn't get it, the moron. And he's making threats saying he would veto any congressional effort to stop his deal -- that's balls.

Jeebus H. Christ, January 2009 can't get here fast enough. I hate to break it to him, but this one is a political loser. Has Turdblossom gone tone-deaf on this one? (AP):
"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly.'"

Bush called reporters to his conference room on the plane after returning from a speech in Colorado, addressing a controversy that is becoming a major headache for the White House. He said the seaports arrangement was "a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country."

...Two Republican governors, New York's George Pataki and Maryland's Robert Ehrlich, voiced their own doubts a day earlier.

But Bush said sternly he would not back down.

"They ought to listen to what I have to say about this. They'll look at the facts and understand the consequences of what they're going to do," he said. "But if they pass a law, I'll deal with it with a veto."
See my earlier post on the port fracas here.


Sam Brownback to be picketed by Phelps

Somehow, homophobe Kansas Senator Sam Brownback wasn't on the top of my list of the folks I would imagine The Rotting CryptkeeperTM picketing, but lo and behold...



Remember, Sam of the awesome 70's 'fro once told a group of businessmen he wanted to be the next Jesse Helms. Also, he will not hire openly gay people to work for him, and has a chief of staff, Robert Wasinger, who wrote in a campus magazine funded by the Heritage Foundation, that the "innocent sperm" of gay men are "forced to swim into feces."

I can't imagine why Fred would want to picket someone with those credentials.

***

Speaking of the The Rotting CryptkeeperTM, his band of bigots was met by a counter-demonstration held by bikers who are tired of his protests at soldiers' funerals. (CNN):
Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters.




They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals.

...The bikers shield the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.

"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."

...Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kansas-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.

"The scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."
Hat tip, Holly.


More state efforts to ban gays from adopting

Sixteen states have some sort of measures on tap to ban gays from adopting, in a continuation of the culture wars being used to drum up votes in the fall election.

Reality-based people see the system full of children who are in need of loving homes, and the bigoted bible beaters are clearly more interested in politicking than stepping up and adopting these children. They'd rather deprive kids of the chance at a permanent home, simply because the prospective adoptive parents are gay. That's hardly "Christian" of them. (USAToday):
Steps to pass laws or secure November ballot initiatives are underway in at least 16 states, adoption, gay rights and conservative groups say. Some — such as Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky — approved constitutional amendments in 2004 banning gay marriage.

The aim is to replicate 2004, says Julie Brueggemann of the gay rights group PROMO: Personal Rights of Missourians. She says marriage initiatives mobilized conservative voters in 2004 and helped President Bush win in closely contested states such as Ohio. Republicans "see this as a get-out-the-vote tactic."

Republican pollster Whit Ayres is skeptical. Adoption, he says, "doesn't have the emotional power of the gay marriage issue because there is no such thing as the phrase 'the sanctity of adoption.' "
Of course it is always couched as somehow protecting the children by the wingers.

"Marriage or any civil union has been declared unconstitutional (in Ohio), so why would they be able to adopt children?" asks the Rev. Russell Johnson, chairman of the Ohio Restoration Project, a conservative Christian group. "These people cannot reproduce. ... Experimenting on children through gay adoption is a problem."

Johnson led the fight in 2004 to get marriage on the ballot and vows to do the same with adoption this year if legislators don't act. The group plans to tout the adoption ban in a mailing to nearly 500,000 supporters in mid-March.

But if gay marriage unites most conservatives in opposition, gay adoption does not. Already, there are splits among Republicans.

"This is not an issue about gays," says Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican, who was adopted as a child. "This is about children." Although he favored legislation to ban same-sex marriage in Ohio, he opposes the adoption bill and has no plans to schedule a hearing to discuss it.

"Conservatives may well overreach if they try to ban gays from adopting children," Brookings Institution political analyst Thomas Mann says. "Americans have become more tolerant of same-sex relations, and this action may strike them as unnecessarily punitive."
The article also cited recent polls indicating that there isn't public support for this kind of bigotry -- asked about a constitutional amendment to ban adoptions by gays and lesbians, 58% of Missouri voters polled in November and 62% of Ohio voters this month said they would vote against it.


Ports wide open

[UPDATE: Below I joked about the AFA having a direct line to Bill Frist's batphone. Look at this AP story, right on time: Frist Calls for Halt to U.S. Ports Deal.]

Bush's deal with a United Arab Emirates-based company to provide operational and security control over six of our nation's largest ports is outrageous, given he's the Wartime President. Some of the 9/11 hijackers were originally from the UAE. Several businesses in the country are also suspected of having financial ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorists groups. Imagine if Clinton made a decision like this?

Even more embarrassing, they had to trot out zero-credibility Chertoff to defend the deal, saying "We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint."

Don't you feel better about the deal now? That shows you how pathetic this security situation is. It's so beyond the pale that two GOP governors are pissed off. (AP):
New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich on Monday voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

The British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

Both governors indicated they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states because of the DP World takeover.

"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a news release. "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them."

Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he was "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved the Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports. "We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.
What's Ehrlich smoking? Did he really expect this administration to consult with anyone before doing something like this? That would break protocol, darling. You silly governors just need to trust your Dear Leader and his competent, altruistic minions.

As Blender Paul wrote me last night:
You know this port issue may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I have a friend who has many Repub and right wing friends and he says that they are going ape sh-t over the idea of handing the ports over. These people who never before would admit that anything the Chimp did was less than divinely inspired are really pissed at him now. Cheney's shooting might be fun to joke about, this might turn into the real story of the year.
And Paul's right. The base is growling. The Kool-Aid drinkers, the "my Chimperor right or wrong" crowd has lost its cookies over this one. Look at the American Family Association. Don and Tim Wildmon most certainly have picked up the Bill Frist batphone and let him know this press release was going out.
Help Keep Our Country Secure By Keeping Control Of Our Ports


Normally we don't ask you to participate in issues such as this, but we feel that this one justifies your involvement.

Our port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia have been, or soon will be, purchased by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates, a firm that manages port facilities. The purchase was cleared by an obscure federal panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, with little fanfare.

The United Arab Emirates government is generally pro-U.S., but the September 11 hijackers traveled easily through the country, and Al Qaeda-linked groups have used its banking system. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is pleading with the administration to reverse the decision. At a press conference outlining his opposition, he said, "Handing the keys to U.S. strategic ports to a regime that recognized the Taliban is not a sound next step in our war against terror."

Several Senators and Representatives are calling for hearings into the matter. This is a matter which deserves a full and complete hearing. Ask President Bush to override the agreement and conduct a special investigation into the matter.

To read the Washington Times article on this, click here.

Click Here to send a letter to President Bush now!

Thanks for caring enough to get involved.
The Freepi are all over the map on this as well. Some are steaming mad, others are STILL trying to defend the administration. Those knuckledraggers will be the last to turn the lights out.

One astute Freeper, however, noted that Dubai Ports also owns the CSX Railroad's port operations: "If they get hold of this port, they could bring in a 100 shipping container nukes, load them on the railroad, and park them up and down the east coast. Then set 'em off, all at once." From the press release on the deal:
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Dubai Ports, commented: “This is a major step in DPI’s global expansion strategy. The acquisition will give DPI an important platform in the North Asia region, notably in Hong Kong, China and Korea and further expands our global network in Europe and the Americas. We look forward to working with our new and existing partners, customers and the relevant governments and regulatory bodies to contribute to the fabric of the local social environment.

...Michael Ward, Chairman, CSX Corporation:”On behalf of CSX, I am delighted to join the announcement of the agreement to sell CSX World Terminals to Dubai Ports International...Ward added that the transaction will be “another important step in our continuing efforts to focus on the North American railroad business. CSX is focused on leadership in the U.S. rail industry through safe, reliable service to customers and consistent, continuous improvement quality in all aspects of our performance.”
The Star-Ledger asked people in Newark, Bush supporters, about how this deal was flying with them.
On any day, the docks of a busy waterfront like Port Newark can be a place to hear some of the most colorful phrases the English language has to offer.

But yesterday was something special.

At the mention of the Bush administration's approval of the sale of port operations to a Dubai-based company, longshoremen, truck drivers, mechanics and waitresses gushed with harsh words.

"Horrendous. Scary and horrendous," said Tom DiDomenico, a longhoreman from East Hanover, uttering one of the few printable reactions by customers at the Port Eatery on Corbin Street in Newark. "I'm a big Republican and I think Bush has lost his mind."

... As is the case at most U.S. ports, government inspectors at Port Newark are able to check only about 5 percent of the containers unloaded from arriving ships. Some experts warn such lapses could allow terrorists to sneak in weapons or other materials.

"Even now, sometimes I don't know what I'm pulling," said Oscar Marquez, a Jersey City truck driver who makes frequent stops at the port to pick up cargo unloaded from ships. "You want to turn this all over to these guys?"
Again, envision a Democrat in the White House making a deal like this under the radar. If the Dems cannot capitalize on this as a valid national security issue, the party is toast.

Also, some more facts about the UAE via Think Progress:
– The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

– The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

– According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

– After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.


Gay and lesbian veterans protest DADT

Today there will be a kickoff at Harvard of a campaign by gay and lesbian veterans who are speaking out for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." (Boston Herald):
The seven-week, nationwide speaking tour, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Starr Auditorium, will feature seven former service members who argue that the law keeps able-bodied Americans from serving in the military at a time when it is desperate to recruit and retain troops because of the war in Iraq.

"A lot of people have never known a gay or lesbian person and, as a result, have all sorts of misconceptions about what gays and lesbians are like, and no idea what impact 'don't ask, don't tell' has had on national security," said Alex Nicholson, an Army veteran and founder and director of the "Call to Duty Tour."

In 1993, shortly after taking office, President Bill Clinton suspended a Department of Defense policy banning gays and lesbians from the military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and influential members of Congress, however, opposed Clinton's attempt to permanently lift the ban.

The compromise was "don't ask, don't tell," under which the military was not to inquire about the sexual orientation of prospective service members, and gays and lesbians were not to reveal their sexual orientation. Those who did or were "found out" would be subject to dismissal.
And we all know what the impact of that lunacy was. Over the last ten years, our government has wasted an estimated $363 million discharging able-bodied men and women who have received training in essential positions (for instance, Arabic translators), simply because of sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, recruitment has tanked, resulting in a lowering of standards, admitting people convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats. That's truly an Army of One.

The Freepswamp was full of bile and sickness. The fact that these seven men and women risked their lives for the country that the Freepers hold near and dear to their hearts (so that they can sit on their asses and say this sh*t) says a lot. Why would anyone want to serve after reading crap like this?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I got good news and bad news for you. The Good news is that your protests for more gays in the military have been heard and acted upon. The Bad news is that you are leaving for Iran in half an hour to attack their nuclear sites."

"Three percent has no business trying to push around the other 97 percent. They should be thankful for "Don't Ask" because they can be left alone. That is really a right in America; the right to be left alone."

"...gay and lesbian veterans...Oxymoron."

"Please explain this to me."

"I know of a Korean war vet who is a homosexual. It's not an oxymoron."

"I agree...the don't ask don't tell Clinton policy was a bunch of B.S. I'm all for the FIBO policy...Find Out...Boot Out!"

"But, but, but they always say we know a lot of people who are homosexual."

"AIDS advocates even tell us that "Anyone can get it," when they want our money. But they say, "It's almost impossible to get it," when they want to push their lifestyle on any and all aspects of society. If the military is having such a tough time recruiting, opening up the ranks to avowed homosexuals will make it 10 times worse."

"Since their admission of their perversion means they were ineligible to serve in the first place, we should pursue all legal means to revoke any and all military benefits that these sexual degenerates might be receiving."

"these clowns are trying to give the impression that they are "macho" guys & are not a stereotype...wrong. Many years ago I worked on the General Staff & the new protocol officer could have been the precursor for "Queer Eye"!! He flitted around the hallways, giggled and everything was "fabulous"....it to the point that the general "hid him" when he had big wigs in town..."

"I have nothing against gays as long as they dont lay their perversions on me. I dont care how many times they bend over and take on their partner, why do they insist on telling me about it. Nobody knows they are queer until they advertise it. Dont ask Dont tell sounds like a good idea for every day life too."

"You know why they want out?? Because unlike men and women who recognise each other they could be standing next to another queer and not know it themselves , missing out on another chance to get their ashes hauled. They dont recognise each other and that cuts down on their opportunities."

"If the military's Don't etc. policy is repealed and isn't immediately replaced with a nohomosexualsnever policy, the military will have taken a giant step to uselessness or alternatively, a giant step to total technicalization and elimination of troops as necessary for anything dangerous."

"You are pretty slow arent you. That's the policy until 1993. It was defacto dont ask dont tell. Yes the US Military needs fasion designers, artists, actors and other irresponsible sodomists it to "round out" it's full spectrum warfare. //sarcasm guess we need the sodomites to deal with the middle eastern homos."

"The deviants want to force themselves and their life style choices onto the majority of non deviants and then have special laws and enforcement created to protect them from critcism or from the retaliation by those who are sick of their constant whinning, crying,complaining and bitching. Naturally they also want special power..special priveleges..and extra consideration for promotion. Their greed and lust for power and tyranny of the minority never diminishes,never abates..in fact when appeased it only gets worse...and always to the detriment of the mission..."

"Wow a whole 7 people. You think the military could get the job done without them? Yep."

"Sorry, if you are a veteran, there are so many more important issues you should be concerned with, besides your preferred method of orgasm. You want to serve, fine, serve, and keep your perversion out of it. The military is for self control and self discipline, not activism."

"I'd like to see a bunch of vets get together and speak out on the other side of this issue. I've read some comments here and there over the years of FR and used to have them saved for threads like these. It's obvious to anyone who is not a part of the "gay" agenda that homosexuals do not belong in the military. For many obvous reasons."

"Policy should be: Ask, and if it's the wrong answer, show 'em the door. And if it turns out later they lied, dishonorable discharge at the very least."

"These men and women have fought and in some cases died for this Country. How DARE you suggest that they are not entitled to all the same benefits as are any other patriotic American Veteran. Shame on you!
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


F-word, not interrupted in Maine

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wingnuts on parade again; major knickers in a twist over a book. (AgapePress):
A school district in Maine has reaffirmed its reinstatement of a sexually explicit book several parents want removed from the local high school's curriculum. The Orono School Committee recently voted to retain the controversial novel Girl Interrupted in the ninth grade English literature class at Orono High School.

Girl Interrupted, a novel written by Susanna Kaysen, was affirmed for use in the high school curriculum over the objections of parents and local residents who take exception to the profuse profanity and sexual content in the book. Michael Heath, head of the Christian Civic League of Maine (CCLM), says this graphic work of fiction has no place in schools where impressionable young people will be exposed to it.


"It's a book about an 18-year-old," Heath explains, "who ends up in a mental asylum and has a number of conversations with mentally disturbed people -- conversations of the most graphic sort, especially sexual. The f-word [appears] 30 times in one page, and this is being given to freshmen in high school as literature. It's absolutely horrifying."


Daddy Dobson's not-so-undercover ops in the Great White North



Focus on the Anus has expanded into Canada under its well-worn "brand name," but it has also formed a shadow organization to fly under the media radar. Dave of The Galloping Beaver sent in this item; Dobson's front organization for all things marriage-related in Canada is called The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. It would have been so much easier to just call this outfit Focus on the Great White North Anus and be done with it. Its mission (on what is a very meager web site):
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada is pleased to announce its official opening effective Thursday, February 16, 2006. The IMFC, located close to Parliament Hill, is an initiative of Focus on the Family (Canada). The purpose of the IMFC is to be a think tank and research resource for Canada’s decision makers.


Executive Director, Dave Quist stated, “Today is the first step in adding a new dimension of research and background to the important policy issues that involve marriage and family. Family is the foundation upon our society. Without a strong family, society will weaken.”

The IMFC will initially have five staff, concentrating on creating and collecting research from both within Canada as well as around the world and bringing it into a Canadian context. “I am very excited by the opportunity to bring new insights and research forward to the people that shape Canada’s social and family policy,” continued Quist.
Quist is a true believer; he spent six years as executive assistant to former British Columbia Conservative MP Reed Elley.

The Galloping Beaver outlines some of the organizations that have been rubbing their hands together, smiling since Stephen Harper rose to power, and Dave discusses Dobson's role in stoking the fires of fundamentalism.
Now, however, there is a whole range of groups, all with the same basic agenda starting to congregate in Ottawa intent on becoming close to government and bent on ramming their agenda down the throats of a majority who do not share their beliefs nor their views.


Tristan Emmanuel says many Canadian Christians tell him that Canada is a lost cause and that they plan to give up and move to the United States.

Concerned Christians Canada Inc, another for-profit organization has made no effort to hide their disdain for those who do not share their views. They are affiliated with Tristan Emmanuel, a dangerous homophobe and somebody with whom Harper has had personal dealings. CCCI is nothing short of a pure political movement which has been involved in the nomination and election of candidates. From their own literature:


CCC will aggressively, consistently and methodically combat the liberal stranglehold on the national agenda. We will ensure that the social conservative agenda is part of the national agenda.
They have been active fundraisers and the Conservative Party owes them.

Another group is the Institute for Canadian Values. They have established a "national think-tank" and profess to be a non-religious organization. Nothing could be further from the truth and their own literature contradicts this claim. Again, they promote regressive political action and the marginalization of any group who does not share their view. They have also worked to elect the Conservative Party and expect repayment in the form of legislation and regulations.

Citizen Impact Canada is a London, Ontario based lobby group which promotes an anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-science education agenda. They have been of little consequence on the national scene up to now and they were unsuccessful in returning either of their candidates to parliament in the last election. That fact notwithstanding, they are notorious for their proselytizing and feel they have a stake in legislation which will marginalize homosexuals, women and which will introduce Christian creationism into school classrooms.
There's plenty to chew on in Dave's post, so go read the rest.


Asheville pastor takes up the cause of gay marriage equality

Blender Ann, who sent in the report about the anti-discrimination rally in Asheville over the weekend, passed along word that a pastor there has stepped up to challenge the bigotry on gay civil equality.
Pam,

Wanted to give you a head’s up about news concerning the aftermath of the rally to protest GLBT workplace discrimination in NC.

...As you know, at the rally on Saturday the Rev. Lane Calloway challenged her fellow clergy to cease performing marriage ceremonies until GLBT folks have the right to marry in NC. Well, the next day, one of the clergy present at the rally, Rev. Joe Hoffman, First Congregational United Church of Christ, took her up on the challenge. Step by little step, progress is being made, civil disobedience is being demonstrated, and hearts and minds are being won over.....step by small step.
Here is a snippet of the great news, from the Asheville Citizen-Times:
The Rev. Joe Hoffman, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville (http://www.uccasheville.org/), made the announcement in his Sunday morning sermon in an effort to treat his gay and lesbian parishioners the same as heterosexuals — a move that he believes is a first in this area.

When I sign that piece of paper for marriage, as an agent of the state, I give (heterosexual couples) about 1,100 rights and privileges that gay and lesbian couples do not get,” Hoffman said. “I believe in equal rights for all people. As a minister, I was participating in a system that was unjust.”

...Hoffman said he made the decision on a personal level and says he is not speaking for his church, made up of more than 200 members.

“I hope it will prompt people to think,” Hoffman said. “I hope they will question what this is all about. I think for heterosexuals, it will be a small inconvenience to have a religious ceremony and then get it legalized. But I hope it calls attention to the great injustice that people who are gay and lesbian live with every day.”


Addicted to Oil? Try Nucular Power!


As Pam noted below, the Smirking Chimp is smack dab in the middle of Operation Kick The Oil Addiction photo op tour. Will we get as much effective action from this posturing as we did from Operation Gulf Coast Three Days Later, Operation Mission Accomplished, and Operation Grandstanding On Pulverized Towers? Only time will tell, but I'm not encouraged by the lack of firefighters in his latest photographs.

C- Augustus trumpeted the beginning of Operation Kick The Oil Addiction on his Saturday radio address, which I listened to because I'm a fan of unintentional comedy. (There were some problems in the transcript; someone at the White House keeps misspelling "nucular"...)
This morning, I want to speak to you about one part of this initiative: our plans to expand the use of safe and clean nucular power. Nucular power generates large amounts of low-cost electricity without emitting air pollution or greenhouse gases. Yet nucular power now produces only about 20 percent of America's electricity. It has the potential to play an even greater role. For example, over the past three decades, France has built 58 nucular power plants and now gets more than 78 percent of its electricity from nucular power. Yet here in America, we have not ordered a new nucular power plant since the 1970s. So last summer I signed energy legislation that offered incentives to encourage the building of new nucular plants in America. Our goal is to start the construction of new nucular power plants by the end of this decade.
After I stopped laughing, I had these four initial thoughts:

1) Wait a minute... we're supposed to emulate France now? This American of French descent is so confused. One day I'm eating freedom fries and the next I'm supposed to embrace froggy's energy policies?

2) When it comes to running highly radioactive nucular plants, where a single accident can annihilate a three-state radius for 10,000 years, I can think of no group better equipped to deal with it than the gang that couldn't save a city from a hurricane, couldn't manage a war against a third-world country, couldn't ensure the safety of mine workers, and couldn't protect us from 19 al Qaeda terrorists with box cutters, even with plenty of warning and acknowledged experts telling them exactly what to do and what to expect.

3) Ah, yes, no greenhouse gases or air pollution, but plenty of highly radioactive waste that they want to ship by train all over the country to store in a mountain on a fault line sitting over the aquifer that serves Las Vegas and Southern California. No group would be better equipped to deal with that than the gang that brought us new mercury-enhanced fish, three-eyed amphibians, clear-cut forests, strip-mined mountains, and leadership that doesn't believe in global warming, evolution, and the potential of embryonic stem-cell research. (But to be fair, maybe they're going to import scientists from India or China.)

4) No new plants since the 1970's? I wonder why that is. Gosh, it's on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't recall... Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon... Man, it's just a mystery, Mr. Bush!


Good lord


Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush dons safety glasses as he tours the Johnson Controls Battery Technology Center in Glendale, Wisconsin, February 20, 2006. In a push to showcase his national energy policy, Bush is on a two-day trip to a battery plant for hybrid cars, a solar power enterprise in Michigan and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. REUTERS/Jason Reed

He's the Environment President, right?


Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush holds a set of new technology Lithium-ion batteries being tested for use in future hybrid vehicles as he tours the Johnson Controls Battery Technology Center in Glendale, Wisconsin, February 20, 2006. In a push to showcase his national energy policy, Bush is on a two-day trip to a battery plant for hybrid cars, a solar power enterprise in Michigan and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. Pictured alongside Bush are Johnson employees Joyce Kaiser (L) and Mike Iverson. REUTERS/Jason Reed


'Brokeback' & Abu Ghraib: What's our Problem with Gays?

Jesse Kornbluth has this great post up at HuffingtonPost today. Go read the whole thing. Here's a taste:
This topic switch started with the release, by an Australian TV show, of a fresh wave of photos from Abu Ghraib. The horrors aren't random --- the "story" they tell is of systematic attacks on Islamic values. In what amounts to S&M gay porn, our interrogators strip the Iraqis of their heterosexual masculinity, then force them to reenact somebody's idea of gay scenarios.

... That day after I studied the Abu Ghraib images, I stumbled over gay sex again. This time, it was in a conversation with a Media Guru about the upcoming Academy Awards. He saw a ratings disaster. "After Jon Stewart's opening segment," he said, "everyone will change the channel."

"What makes you think so?"

"This country isn't going to show up to watch 'Brokeback Mountain' win a bunch of awards."

... So here's my question: Why are so many Americans --- most of them living where there's no uncloseted homosexual for miles --- so full of fear and hate for gay men? (Gay women are another story; just ask any horny guy.) Why is gay sex unacceptable within our borders, but ideal to export to foreign torture chambers? Why, of all our urgent issues, is homosexuality right up there at the top?

... Then Slater suggested a more provocative question: Why are people on the Christian and political Right so angry when they seem to be winning?

I suggested some sort of twisted sexual rage --- their religions limited their sexual expression and that made them jealous of those who felt unfettered by religious constraints.

Slater had another response: The Christian Right and the political conservatives are not winning. And they know it. That's what infuriates them.
I love the first comment posted after the post: "Weissman (me)'s law states the situation. 'Men who are down on homosexuals in public have been down on homosexuals in private.'"


Domino's former honcho building bible-beating community


Tom Monaghan: "I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines."

[UPDATE: For accuracy's sake, Monaghan sold his controlling interests in Domino's to Bain Capital for one billion dollars. Bain, along with Bush's friends at The Carlyle Group, picked up Dunkin' Donuts last year...what a small world.]

I haven't eaten Domino's for years because of the company's anti-choice, winger stands -- it has a 100% rating for contributing to Republican/conservative concerns. It tasted like prefab crap anyway.

The millionaire womb-control advocate and former owner of Domino's Pizza, Tom Monaghan, is planning to fulfill his dream -- building a new town for Christofascists to come and settle in. (MSNBC):
The 5,000-acre tomato field in southwestern Florida sure doesn't look like heaven. Bulldozers scrape the land flat while clusters of Porta Pottis signal an undeniable earthiness. But soon a massive cathedral will rise from this barren spot. Reaching 100 feet in the air behind a 65-foot crucifix, the Oratory will anchor Ave Maria, a whole new town and Roman Catholic university 30 miles east of Naples. Ground was officially broken last week, and the plan is to build 11,000 homes—likely drawing families who already hold the church at the center of their lives.

For Tom Monaghan, the devout Catholic who founded Domino's Pizza and is now bankrolling most of the initial $400 million cost of the project, Ave Maria is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to spreading his own strict interpretation of Catholicism.

Though he says nonbelievers are welcome, Monaghan clearly wants the community to embody his conservative values. He controls all the commercial real estate in town (along with his developing partner, Barron Collier Cos.) and is asking pharmacies not to carry contraceptives. If forced to choose between two otherwise comparable drugstores, Barron Collier would favor the one that honored that request, says its president and CEO, Paul Marinelli.

...The ACLU of Florida is worried about how he's playing the game. "It is completely naive to think this first attempt [to restrict access to contraception] will be their last," says executive director Howard Simon. Armed with a 1946 Supreme Court opinion that "ownership [of a town] does not always mean absolute dominion," Simon will be watching Ave Maria for any signs of Monaghan's request's becoming a demand. Planned Parenthood is similarly alarmed. So far, Naples Community Hospital, which plans to open a clinic in Ave Maria Town, says it will not prescribe any birth control to students.
Let's see, I would love to see a study down the road of the number of STDs and unplanned pregnancies that crop up in Ave Maria Town.

And you know there will be no prostitution, alcohol or recreational drug consumption going on either. I wonder if dancing will be banned, or even - gasp - homo-sex?


T-shirt causes school administrators to freak out


Stephanie, right, had worn the shirt to school before without incident. Photo: Moonee Valley Leader

Why are schools so inconsistent in their faux outrage? This Melbourne teen wore her "Nobody knows I'm a lesbian" T-shirt to school several times before without incident. Somehow, when it came to school photo day, the school administrators got the vapors and asked her to remove it. (The Mercury):
About 30 students at Strathmore Secondary College last week rallied behind Year 12 classmate Stephanie, 17, after she was told by teachers to change out of the T-shirt for school photos.

Stephanie, who did not want her surname published, said she had worn a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Nobody knows I'm a lesbian" to school on several occasions without concerns being raised by staff or fellow students.

"I've had it for ages," she said. But she said things changed when she wore it on school photo day, sparking concern among Year 12 co-ordinators.

She was quickly asked to take the T-shirt off. "They said it was because certain parents would complain," Stephanie said.

Her mother, Susan, said she had had the controversial T-shirt printed for her daughter when she was about 15. Susan said her daughter was brave to wear the T-shirt in public and particularly at school.

"I'm proud of her," she said. "I love her and I don't care what she is."
The part of this story that I love is that the other students showed support for the young woman by wearing T-shirts that said, among other things, "Nobody knows I am bulimic", "Nobody knows I'm pregnant," and "Nobody knows I'm on steroids."

Hat tip, PageOneQ


Men, you're getting the shaft

According to WorldNetDaily, it's a woman's world. The cards are just completely stacked against you. Read and weep for your brothers in arms.


Matalin's shop of horrors


This GOP windbag, professional administration apologist, and James Carville boinkee needs a makeover. Aside from going on Meet the Press and spinning the most ridiculous BS about Darth Cheney, she looks like she decided to wear the plant Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors on her boobage. Maybe it was a desperate fashion statement, or merely an attempt to create a visual distraction so that no one would notice the sad spin job that she was trotted out to perform like a good Repug.

Look at this exchange (via ThinkProgress):
RUSSERT: Was alcohol in any way, shape or form consumed during the afternoon? And should we accept the [Vice] president’s “a beer” as literally one beer?

Matalin didn’t answer it:
MS. MATALIN: What Katharine Armstrong was answering is a literal fact going to the question she was asked, which is always the case on the Armstrong ranch, you don’t drink and hunt, and you don’t hunt with drinkers. And that’s what the sheriff reported, that’s what she reported. It is true that the vice president had a beer at lunch, and let me ask anybody sitting at this table who knows the vice president, has known him for many years, has seen him in social situations, he’s known not to be a drinker. But let me ask you a more logical question—you think the Secret Service would let the vice president out, tanked up, with a loaded gun, or let him be around anybody who’s drunk with a loaded gun? It just defies common sense that the press would even go there. And that’s why these adversarial question-and- answer periods set up the presumption that Cheney would be drunk, or having to deny that Cheney was drunk, as opposed to presuming what we all know, that he doesn’t drink, he wouldn’t hunt and drink, the Secret Service wouldn’t let anybody around him who is drinking and hunting.
Crooks and Liars has the video.

UPDATE: This gem from E&P says that in the latest issue of Time, Matalin admits the first statement that Cheney intended to have released to the media didn't even indicate that he was the shooter.
"At about 8 a.m. Sunday, a Cheney aide called strategist Mary Matalin, who regularly advises the Vice President. The aide read her a statement about the accident that Cheney had considered releasing before he decided to encourage Armstrong to go to the (Corpus Christi) Caller-Times.

"But the statement 'didn't say much of anything,' Matalin says—not even that Cheney was the shooter. Matalin then spoke with a second aide and with Cheney's family and heard different versions of what had happened in the shooting. She decided no statement should be released amid the confusion. Matalin spoke with Cheney, and, she says, they agreed that 'a fuller accounting, with an eyewitness,' would be preferable."


Florida moving to tighten petition rules

This could help efforts in the Sunshine State to stop the current petition drive for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The wingers of Florida4Marriage already failed to raise the necessary signatures to continue the amendment process, so the fact the the GOP lawmakers are going to make things even more difficult for them to gain momentum is an extra blessing, even though that wasn't the specific intent. (365gay):
Florida Republicans are preparing a bill to limit the way names are collected on petitions to amend the state constitution.

Last year lawmakers passed legislation shortening the length of time citizen groups have to collect names - a move that a group trying to get a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage put before voters claim was responsible for them coming up short this year.

Now GOP politicians want to tighten the law, forcing hired guns that collect the signatures to swear they registered are voters in the state and wear pins saying they are being paid to collect the names.

The aim is to prevent fraud in the gathering of signatures. The new legislation on its own has nothing to do with the marriage issue. It's more about political survival - a bid to head off a liberal group's effort to block lawmakers from redrawing political districts.
The proposed amendment that Florida4Marriage was pushing would be extremely restrictive, banning civil unions, domestic partnerships and contracts between same-sex individuals that approximate those that convey with marriage.


Kentucky pastor going to clink for bank fraud and tax evasion


Pastor Larry bought himself a Porsche and played the ponies with church funds.

Rev. Larry Davis is going away to the Big House, sentenced to 2½ years for stealing and gambling away his church's money. He had already pleaded guilty to lying on a loan application and didn't pay his federal income taxes back in 2003. Here's just a sampling of the fun Pastor Larry had with the flock of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring's dough:

* He ran up $40,000 of debit card transactions from church accounts.
* $7,400 of that money was withdrawn at horse race tracks.
* Davis set up an account in the church’s name of which congregation members were not aware.
* Davis purchased a Porsche with church money.
* Pastor Larry drew down hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal use from building accounts – and even withdrew money at racetracks.
* When church trustees set up a $3.5 million construction loan, Davis forged documents claiming that the church authorized a loan of $4 million -- and skimmed the difference for himself.

The folks at First Baptist Church of Cold Spring still can't believe the scope of betrayal. (Cincinnati.com):
When the Rev. Larry Davis fleeced his flock, the scandal pitted family members against one another and destroyed long-time friendships and marriages.

Most of all, critics say, the former General Motors factory supervisor-turned-preacher betrayed his congregation's trust. On Friday, Davis was sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for bank fraud and tax evasion. Authorities said he gambled away and otherwise stole up to $730,000 in church funds over three years.

Although Ilene Shelton is still listed on First Baptist Church of Cold Spring membership rolls, the long-time member said she no longer tithes, and she hasn't attended First Baptist in the two years since the scandal broke. "I honestly don't think there's a fitting punishment for something like this," Shelton said. "I always thought that pastors were as close as you could get to God. Now I'm deeply hurt by one of the finest pastors that I have ever known in my lifetime. It's a great betrayal."

But Davis did good things, too. During his nearly 20-year tenure at First Baptist Church of Cold Spring, membership doubled from 600 to 1,200, and Davis was among those who helped bring the Rev. Billy Graham mission to Cincinnati in 2002. Like many families who once worshipped with Davis, Stuart Oehrle has mixed emotions. The Cold Spring resident recalls "the good Larry" who counseled the Oehrles during their young daughter's losing battle with cancer and delivered a moving eulogy at her funeral.

"He did a lot of good things," said Oehrle, who now attends a Christian church in Campbell County that he declined to name. "But the interesting thing is while he was doing these good things he was also stealing from the church and gambling. To this day, there are still people who will never quite trust again because of what happened with Larry. Church is the last place you expect your trust to be broken."
Hat tip Holly.


Sleaze beyond all reasonable expectations

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I guess the alternate title for this one should be "It's a Man's World, part II." This doozer was brought to my attention by my colleague at Pandagon, jedmunds.

The Smoking Gun features a marital contract written by what is possibly the most deviant control freak on the planet.

This country, as you know, is filled with the deranged. And then there's Travis Frey, a 33-year-old Iowa man who is facing charges that he tried to kidnap his own wife (not to mention a separate child pornography rap). Frey, prosecutors contend, apparently is a rather demanding guy. In fact, he actually drew up a bizarre four-page marriage document--a "Contract of Wifely Expectations"--that sought to establish guidelines for his spouse in terms of hygiene, clothing, and sexual activities. In return for fulfilling certain requirements, Frey offered "Good Behavior Days," or GBDs. Each GBD, Frey wrote, could be redeemed by his wife to "get out of doing the things" he requested daily.
Oh, his wife didn't sign this real piece of work; she did, however, provide this little document to the cops.
Hygiene & Self-care

You will shave every third day, which includes underarms, chest, legs, and public area (navel to anus), all areas are to be completely clean shaven. Above your vaginal slit you may have a patch of pubic hair in any shape, that must be centered above your vaginal slit, it will measure no greater than 2.0? X 1.0?, and will maintain a hair lenth of less 1/3?.

Clothes & Other Apparel

You will wear only thigh-highs & garters, and only thong panties. The only exception would be during your menstrual cycle, at which time you could wear either or both. Half of your shoe purchases will be high-heels, 2? or more. You will then wear these high heels more often. …You be able to keep 5 pairs of non-thong panties of your choice for use during menstrual cycle.

Sleepwear & Sleeping

When we are at home … you will be naked within 20 minutes of the kids being in bed, and then sleep naked, unless instructed otherwise. If I am not home when the kids go to bed you are still to be naked before I return home. The only exception will be during your menstrual cycle.

…When we are in bed together I can cuddle, spoon, hold or touch you in any way, as long as it does not excessively disruptive to your sleep.

My-Time

When we are at home … from when you are to be naked until 12:00 am, or for three hours, which ever is later, will be My-Time. This time you will devout solely to me, whereas you will be in my service to do ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING I want, which may or may not be sexual in manner.

… During My-Time you WILL NOT:

1. Argue about anything with me or to me
2. Complain about anything to me, or about me
3. Cry, sob, whine, or pout
4. Sigh, moan, sulk, or otherwise show displeasure or unhappiness


5. Raise your voice at or to me
6. Be condescending to, or about me
7. Ask for anything from me or for me
8. Be distracted from me, by other things

During My-Time, you WILL:

1. Be subservient, submissive, and totally obedient
2. To do what you are asked, when you are asked, exactly how you are asked
3. Be cheerful and adoring towards me
4. Be close at all times, unless otherwise told to


5. Perform any and all sexual acts, excluding anal penetration and/or ingestion of cum, when told to

Good Behavior

Since there will be no trading, negotiations, or concilliations of any kind you are given chances to earn Good Behavior Days (GBD’s). To receive GBD’s you are to be totally compliant with everything requested or expected of you, and perform everything with complete and total enthusiasm. GBD’s will be given when you do things from the descriptions below when not expected…

Each GBD can be used to “get out of” doing the things request or expected of you for an entire day with the following exceptions: birthdays anniversary, shaving, and sleepwear … GBD’s can be redeemed anytime after you received them to the end of the next quarter. You must notify me by 12:00 pm of the day you are using a GBD or it can not be used.

(…)

Fellatio, Intercourse, and Other Sex ActsFellatio must last, at least, 5 min. and may include climax. Intercourse includes anal and vaginal intercourse. Sex acts can be oral, anal or vaginal, and include but are not limited too: stripping, hand-jobs, fingering, masturbation, dildoing, vibrators, and object insertions. All applications of lube to myself, you, or any object, will be done by you.

Fellatio must last, at least, 5 min. and may include climax. Intercourse includes anal and vaginal intercourse. Sex acts can be oral, anal or vaginal, and include but are not limited too: stripping, hand-jobs, fingering, masturbation, dildoing, vibrators, and object insertions. All applications of lube to myself, you, or any object, will be done by you.Photos

You are to pose for 20 photos per quarter on demand … Outfits, toys, and poses will ALWAYS be chosen by me. You must be freshly shaven on the day that photos are taken regardless of your shaving schedule…
When Mr. Frey is sentenced to some time in the clink, what kind of contract will he be signing when he becomes some burly inmate's b*tch?


Not even for free

I'd rather have my toenails pulled out with pliers than watch this. Kid Rock just makes my stomach turn (please, someone give this man a bar of soap). Stapp, btw, has been in the news recently for public intoxication while trying to board a plane at LAX.
A videotape showing Kid Rock and former Creed frontman Scott Stapp engaging in explicit sexual activity with four female fans on a tour bus has been acquired by California company Red Light District, the distributor of the notorious 2004 Paris Hilton sex tape "One Night in Paris."


The company has launched a 40-second preview clip of the 45-minute tape at the Web sites KidRockSexTape.com and ScottStappSexTape.com and says it plans to release the entire video at some point this year.

..Joseph says his attempts to contact Rock and Stapp, who do not engage in sex acts with each other on the tape, have so far been unsuccessful. "This wasn't just shot by one person -- there were a lot of people holding the camera," he says. "Because of that, it's not necessary that we need (Rock and Stapp) to sign off on this. We left messages for them but they didn't respond, so maybe they didn't take it seriously."
So, is the intention of that paragraph saying that Rock and Stapp didn't boff one another just there to clear up any possibility of homosex speculation harming their reps?


SHillary is coming to Charlotte

She's coming to the Tar Heel State this week, no surprise, with her hat out. Bleh. (Charlotte Observer):

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will hold what's billed as an "intimate reception" in Charlotte next week to raise money for her Senate re-election campaign.

Clinton will be the guest at a $1,000-per-person fundraiser Feb. 25 at the home of Johnny Taylor, a Charlotte executive and chairman of the Society for Human Resource Management. Co-hosts include the Rev. Claude Alexander and former ambassadors Mark Erwin of Charlotte and Jeannette Hyde of Raleigh. Also co-hosting is Springs Industries CEO Crandall Bowles. Bowles and Clinton were classmates at Wellesley College.

A spokesman for Clinton declined to discuss the event, other than to say it's closed to the press and the public. The reception is to raise money for Clinton's re-election campaign. She's widely expected to run for president in two years.
As Russ said, she's a "triangulating carpetbagger who's rattling sabers against Iran, pandering to the wingnuts with the Flag Burning Amendment and pandering to the bluenoses with her anti-sex scene video game bloviating."

Related:
* Bag Hillary; this is ridiculous


Rally to protest LGBT workplace discrimination in NC

Blender Ann in Asheville has been following and covering the saga of photographer Laurel Scherer of All Terrain Images, who had a business relationship with Wolf Laurel Ski Area as an independent business taking pictures of skiers and slopes. After marrying her partner in Massachusetts and returning to NC, the Asheville Citizen-Times printed their wedding announcement, and the owners of the resort area, Orville English and Rick Bussey promptly dropped Laurel (but continued to use her work). See my original Blend post on this, Bigotry in NC ski country.

Ann wrote to tell me about yesterday's rally against workplace discrimination, which was spurred on by the Wolf Laurel incident:
Folks are actively pulling their individual and group ski trips from Wolf Laurel Resort because of their bigotry. But then again, in an article in today's local paper, they report that Wolf Laurel was so busy yesterday they had to turn people away. I hope that will change soon. Pam, it was inspiring to see so many enthusiastic supporters stand for two hours in freezing temperatures while being whipped about by the wind, snow and sleet.
Here's Ann's report, along with pictures:

Yesterday here in the Land O' the Sky, the weather was horrid! The temperature hovered between 32-33 degrees along with driving snow and sleet accompanying ten mile an hour winds. Brrrrrrrrrrr!! However, it didn't stop a crowd of over one hundred peaceful protesters from attending a local rally against workplace discrimination for GLBT employees. The rally was sponsored by the North Carolina and Asheville chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW).


The protest was planned after the much publicized discrimination experienced by All Terrain Images at the Wolf Laurel ski resort and was focused on ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Along with Laurel Scherer, owner of All Terrain Images, the agenda included speakers from NOW, Equality NC, supportive local clergy, and many others. In addition, a new Asheville based employment equality group, People for Employment Equality for Gays and Lesbians, was formally introduced at the rally. This group was formed by citizens who are concerned that sexual orientation is not covered under N.C.'s anti-discrimination legislation.


There were many speakers, but one definitely stood out. Rev. Lane Calloway, former state NOW president, urged the men and women of the cloth to take the bold step of ceasing all marriage services, "I ask the fellow clergy present at the rally today to stop and think about the possibility of no longer performing marriage services. You can bless our brothers and sisters that want to marry but stop acting as an agent of the state. It is the only time that the church acts as an agent of the state, no other time. So why the heck are we doing this?" The remark brought cheers and thunderous applause from the rally supporters.

Along with local GLBT publication, Out In Asheville, the protest rally was covered by the national GLBT-focused LOGO channel for an upcoming documentary that focuses on coming out in the workplace and its consequences.


Mitt courting the homo-bigot vote in SC


Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who fantasizes about being the next bible beating president, swung through South Carolina to pander to the Repug base.
Romney, attending a private dinner Friday night with 50 political activists in Spartanburg, "wanted us to think about helping him with a ground game in Spartanburg County if that came to be," Spartanburg County GOP Chairman Rick Beltram said.

Romney downplayed his presidential aspirations. "My job is to activate the activists, to make sure we re-elect Gov. Mark Sanford and Republican candidates across the state," Romney said after the dinner. "Before anyone's talking about running for president, we've got to concentrate on building our base."

Romney's visit a year ago created a stir back home after he told Spartanburg Republicans that same-sex couples "are actually having children born to them. ... It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and a father."

Critics said he was trying to appeal to conservative Republicans in South Carolina even though he had backed a change in the Massachusetts Constitution that would provide same-sex couples the same rights his state's law gives other couples, but ban gay marriage.

...For instance, Romney already has donated $2,000 to the Spartanburg County GOP and gave local officials $500 on Friday. In 2004, Romney gave $50,000 to Statehouse candidates.
He has an uphill battle getting the chunk of the fundie vote that has a problem with the fact that he's a Mormon.
But moderate Republicans aren't the ones who could derail a Romney candidacy. His obstacle is the evangelical base—a voting bloc that now makes up 30 percent of the Republican electorate and that wields particular influence in primary states like South Carolina and Virginia. Just as it is hard to overestimate the importance of evangelicalism in the modern Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to overemphasize the problem evangelicals have with Mormonism. Evangelicals don't have the same vague anti-LDS prejudice that some Americans do. For them it's a doctrinal thing, based on very specific theological disputes that can't be overcome by personality or charm or even shared positions on social issues. Romney's journalistic boosters either don't understand these doctrinal issues or try to sidestep them. But ignoring them won't make them go away. To evangelicals, Mormonism isn't just another religion. It's a cult.
But back to the rest of the 2008 field, folks who are also planning to troll for support through the state. Cat Killer Bill Frist, Sen. George Allen, Rudy Giuliani and Bush humpin' John McCain all plan to hit the circuit.



Not to leave out the "New Conservative Democrats" -- they are already beginning the push to competitively pander to the NASCAR vote in SC as well.

Democrats aren't on the sidelines. For instance, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware will be the keynote speaker at Democratic conventions in Spartanburg and Greenville counties on March 20.

The attention is easy enough to explain. "We are the first-in-the-South primary and everybody all over the country has acknowledged that the road to the White House runs through South Carolina," state Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson said.

State Democrats are trying to stay at the head of the primary lineup. State Democratic Party Chairman Joe Erwin says he's continuing discussions with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean for a repeat of a first-in-the-South primary in South Carolina.


And this is news?

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Pat Robertson Accused of Damaging Movement. What took them so long to realize that the unhinged 700 Club host has a screw loose? He should get more air time and exposure, not less...
Fellow conservative religious leaders have expressed concern and even open criticism over Pat Robertson's habit of shooting from the hip on his daily religious news-and-talk television program, "The 700 Club."

The Christian Coalition founder and former GOP presidential candidate has said American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip.

..."He is in a very visible leadership position and comments such as recent ones related to Mr. Sharon and so many others are misinformed and presumptuous and border on arrogance," said David Dockery, president of Union University, a private college affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Dockery suggested Robertson might want to consult other theologians "before making these pronouncements so quickly."

"It puts the evangelical movement in a bad light when that happens because people make broad generalizations, rightly or wrongly, all the time," said Dockery, who also is chairman of the board for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Robertson, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.

...Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics and religious liberty commission, has said he was "stunned and appalled that Pat Robertson would claim to know the mind of God concerning whether particular tragic events ... were the judgments of God."
Crazy Pat didn't go bonkers overnight. He's been committing word vomit for quite some time now. How about more wacky wisdom from the past:


There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore.
--Pat Robertson, address to his American Center for Law and Justice, November, 1993. Let's see, now: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." How could the prohibition against Congress making laws respecting an establishment of religion be anything but the separation of church and state?

"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society."
--The 700 Club, Dec. 30, 1981

How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age, worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"
-- The New World Order, (1991) p.227

"It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into [our] institutions [today] are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation."
-- New York Magazine, August 18, 1986

If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to.
-- Pat Robertson, The 700 Club television program, August 6, 1998, on the occasion of the Orlando, Florida, Gay Pride Festival 199

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."
--The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

"Individual Christians are the only ones really---and Jewish people, those who trust God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--are the only ones that are qualified to have the reign, because hopefully, they will be governed by God and submit to Him."
--Defending his stance that only Christians and Jews are fit to hold public office, The 700 Club, January 11, 1985

"If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would be no doubt that they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality."
--The New World Order, page 219

"You don't dare say America or Christianity is a better way of living. When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media challenged me. 'You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'"
--The New World Order, 1991

"There will never be world peace until God's house and God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy money changers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"
--The New World Order, p.227

"[The] feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
-- Fundraising letter from Pat Robertson that was an in-kind contribution to the Iowa Committee to Stop ERA, as reported in The Washington Post, August 23, 1993

"Many of those people involved with Adolph Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals--the two things seem to go together."
-- "The 700 Club," 1/21/93, ADL report on Religious Right, page 131

A Supreme Court ruling is not the Law of the United States. The law of the United Sates is the Constitution, treaties made in accordance with the Constitution, and laws duly enacted by the Congress and signed by the president. And any of those things I would uphold totally with all of my strength, whether I agreed with them or not.... I am bound by the laws of the United States and all 50 states ... [but] I am not bound by any case or any court to which I myself am not a party.... I don't think the Congress of the United States is subservient to the courts.... They can ignore a Supreme Court ruling if they so choose.
-- Pat Robertson, speaking to a group of Washington Post writers, as reported in the Washington Post, June 27,1986
(sources: 1, 2, 3)


News and notes -- Blogger adrift edition

Blogger is allegedly back, according to John at AB, but I'm not taking any chances.

Since creating posts was a misery-inducing experience while Blogger was down, I'm doing a roundup of news, notes and commentary in one post.


* Laurel Hester passed away today. Juan Melli @ BlueJersey.net let me know about this.
Laurel Hester, partner of Stacie Andree, and described as "New Jersey's Rosa Parks", passed away this morning at their home in Point Pleasant. Although I never met Laurel, I will remember her for her unselfish, relentless courage - from her 24-year career in the county prosecutor's office through the most physically and emotionally painful last year of her life. Laurel always fought for justice and her bravery inspired countless others to join in that fight. Without a doubt, Laurel left the world a better and more just place than she found it.
And from Michael Jensen at The Big Gay Picture, who interviewed Laurel during the height of her battle with the NJ Freeholders who tried to deny her the ability to leave her pension to her partner.
I know how many of you have followed Laurel and Stacie's struggle with the freeholder's of Ocean County, NJ. Your thoughts, prayers, and support for both Laurel and Stacie touched them both deeply. I've little doubt Laurel lived as long as she did not only because she had something to fight for, but because she believed she was fighting for every one of us. Her passing is a terrible loss, but know that Laurel died content having finished her life the way she had always lived it--doing the right thing in the most honorable and ethical way possible.
Related:
* Laurel Hester stands tall
* Outrage: NJ Freeholders turn down Laurel Hester's plea for partner benefits
* Laurel Hester will be able to leave pension benefit to partner

***

* Surf over to the Pensito Review to read about more fishy trigger-finger Cheney goings-on.
On Countdown Friday night, Keith Olbermann interviewed Texas defense attorney Charles Parnham who finally said what everyone watching the coverage of Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident has been thinking.

Cheney acted like he was covering up crime after he shot Harry Whittington last week - not calling local authorities in investigate, not notifying the press, etc. - because he was. Parnham suggested that people who cause accidents because they were behaving imprudently were charged with criminal negligence every day. Even in Texas.

...If you look at the sequence of events after the shooting, every action taken or avoided by the vice president, his hostess Katherine Armstrong and the hunting party appears to have been part of a deliberate effort to avoid scrutiny.

* While on the Cheney matter, Jesus' General writes a kick-ass letter to Arlen Specter about the "magic BB theory" in the shooting. You will be rolling on the floor while reading this one.

* Gee, we've been paying a lot of attention to Darth's target practicing skills, but there are a lot of things that happened that didn't get the MSM attention they deserved, says my friend Chris Kromm at Facing South. Chris: "Cheney's misfire makes for a good laugh, but liberals haven't been doing themselves any favors by taking it too far. It's also pulling them way off message for the headlines that REALLY needed hammering over the past week." Here are a couple that he points to:
ITEM:U.S. Has Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies: "The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years." (NY Times, 2/13)

ITEM: The House committee's report on Katrina is now available -- all 379 pages (pdf) and 141 appendices (pdf) -- conluding the Katrina response was disasterously "late, uncertain and ineffective." Why does Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff still have a job and why isn't everyone demanding he step down for such failures?
***


* Whipping your son with a belt enough to hospitalize him is not a crime. At least not according to the judge in Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone's case.
"I don't agree with what you did that day," Mock said. "I can't imagine placing a belt on any one of my children. But how you raise your son, sir, is your business. "My job as a judge is to follow the law, even when I don't necessarily agree with it, so as a matter of law, the court is going to make a finding of not guilty." The verdict outraged one corporal-punishment critic, who said state laws are too lax.

"Our laws don't protect children," said Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline.
You might recall my earlier post on this case, where Republican Malone told his son as he beat him that he just wanted to "whip the black off of" his son. (Hat tip, Holly)

***

* Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee (IAVA PAC) has launched a blog, The Daily Vet. According to the press release, The Daily Vet will provide news and commentary related to war and Veterans' issues, and track the progress of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans running for Congress. Featured on the site today is this picture and caption:


Rep. Beauperez (CO) Draft dodger in uniform

***

Scott @ Media Orchard passed along "The Top 10 Moments in Public Honesty," covering the last 12 months. I don't agree with some of the picks (John McCain on any list at this point makes me squirm); it's too bad that there aren't enough of those moments to make it truly competitive.

***


* The Blend Cafe Press store is open. I haven't had time to customize its look yet, but it's live.

***

A Missouri court just ruled to overturn a ban on lesbians who want to become foster parents, good news that Diane at In This Moment emailed me yesterday.
A Jackson County Circuit Court judge today overturned a Missouri Department of Social Services decision denying a woman's application to become a foster parent because she is a lesbian. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the applicant, Lisa Johnston, in challenging the denial, hailed the ruling as an important move towards increasing the pool of qualified foster parents for the nearly 2,000 children in Missouri who need foster homes.

"We're really relieved that the court has recognized that banning lesbian and gay people from being foster parents is bad for Missouri's foster children," said Johnston, who along with her partner Dawn Roginski had hoped to foster a special-needs child before her application was denied. "We were saddened when we found out that our loving each other was the only reason the state had for denying us the opportunity to give a child a home."

Today's decision is in line with the beliefs of 58 percent of Missouri citizens, according to a recent poll on their feelings about gay parents.
***


* In the Bad Timing department: former Clintonista and current University of Miami President Donna Shalala has a profile up at the NYT that hits the wrong note while she is denying health insurance to the low-wage janitors who clean the university. Anders Scheiderman of SEIU International noted in an email:
Now, it appears that the Miami janitors are about to vote to strike. Making this NYT mag "profile" truly poor form. So just as Shalala confesses in an almost satirical interview by Edward Lewine she can't do without the help making her bed every morning, U of Miami janitor Maritza Paz can't even clear seven bucks an hour and is staggering under the burden of trying to pay off her $33,000 medical bills for two life-saving operations.
The interview also includes references to her new 29-foot motorboat, French antique furniture and, well, more unfortunate things that wage-slaves at the university can't relate to.

Speaking of low-wage workers and fairness, former VP candidate/NC Senator John Edwards is touring the country on behalf of hotel workers and their struggle to move out of poverty by obtaining better wages and benefits through unionization. The site with information is "Hotel Workers Rising." Actor and director Danny Glover joined him for the tour legs this week in S.F., L.A., Chicago, and today in Boston.

***

* No Pride in Los Altos, California. (hat tip, Fritz). The Los Altos City Council changed its rules this week, banning proclamations about sexual orientation.

Mayor Ron Packard said the change spares the city council from "issuing proclamations on issues I consider divisive and not appropriate for our community."

...The Bay Area is sweepingly thought of as gay-friendly, but attitudes vary greatly across cities, and even streets. San Francisco and San Jose host parades, Oakland changes Lake Merritt's lights from white to pink every summer, and Mountain View declares a gay pride month. A decade ago, Palo Alto became the first city in Silicon Valley to offer registration for domestic partners.

Yet officials in Menlo Park, Santa Clara and Cupertino say they can't recall a gay pride day in their cities' history.


The posts that Blogger ate

There's no permanent fix to restore the posts to the main page that Blogger hosed between yesterday and today, but they still exist with all of your comments at the following links:

* Blogger sux open thread

* No homos welcome in the Holy Land, 2006 edition

* Ohio board undoes stand on evolution

* Tar Heel GOP pumping for church membership lists

* NY Magazine on the blogger food chain

* At least they didn't actually have sex with the goat...yet

* The Dobson post is haunted


Press release from DNC on LGBT outreach

Friday, February 17, 2006

[Note: I'm moving this post up this AM because PageOneQ also covers the dust-up started by our posts as well as this DNC press release. I've also added more commentary after the release.]

While the Blend won't take credit for this release getting out there so quickly by the DNC after the post Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006, it certainly is timely, in its attempt to explain the reorganization and the current positions, for what it's worth...so, in the interest of fairness:
A Year of Progress for DNC LGBT Outreach
To: National Desk, Political Reporter
Contact: Damien LaVera of the Democratic National Committee
Communications Staff, 202-863-8148

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- This week marks the one year anniversary of Howard Dean taking the helm of the Democratic National Committee. Under Dean's leadership, the DNC has dramatically expanded and improved its outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities across America. Today, Dean issued the following statement on the progress of those efforts:

"In the past year, the DNC has made tremendous progress in expanding and improving outreach to our friends and family in the LGBT community. I am proud to say that, because of the organizational reforms implemented when I became Chairman, we have dramatically increased the resources brought to bear in our LGBT messaging, organizing, and outreach efforts. Under the leadership of the American Majority Partnership, our Party is moving into a new era in reaching out to our closest allies.

"The Democratic Party has never been more committed to protecting equal rights for the LGBT community. We are standing strong with the community, fighting the Republican Party's repugnant efforts to exploit the politics of fear and division and scapegoat LGBT families for electoral gain. I am proud to lead a Party that will never resort to such shameful tactics. As long as I am chairman, this Party will always help provide the LGBT community every opportunity to live the American Dream."

The following is a fact sheet on the DNC's accomplishments in enhancing DNC outreach to LGBT communities and empowering those communities in Dean's first year as Chairman:

Establishing the American Majority Partnership.

The DNC has replaced the old "political desk" system with the American Majority Partnership, an integrated approach to constituent outreach that incorporates LGBT outreach throughout the work of the DNC and seeks to identify common issues of concern to all the Democratic Party's core communities.

-- AMP is located directly in the Chairman's Office, giving outreach to constituent groups the visibility and importance it deserves and helping ensure that LGBT outreach is never subordinate to other work within the DNC.

-- AMP is implementing an expanded, institutionalized and permanent LGBT outreach program, replacing the traditional system of establishing isolated "political desks" and simply parachuting LGBT organizers into targeted states weeks before an election.

-- AMP has specific goals to address the LGBT community, including working with LGBT elected officials to develop state-specific strategies for LGBT outreach and messaging, participating in Pride and other community events, and sponsoring national LGBT political conferences and meetings.

-- By instituting a DNC-wide working group on LGBT outreach and messaging, AMP has dramatically increased the resources brought to bear addressing LGBT issues.

Investing in the LGBT Community.

In order to help empower the LGBT community, the DNC has made a significant, permanent investment in building a nationwide capacity to organize the LGBT community. This investment is being made earlier than ever before, and is for the first time intended to build a permanent capacity in the LGBT community. Highlights of the effort include:

-- The DNC is providing organizers to all 50 states and equipping them with state-specific information about the LGBT community and training in how to communicate with the LGBT community. This unprecedented nationwide commitment institutionalizes LGBT outreach throughout state parties.

-- The DNC is assisting state parties in developing state-specific messaging and outreach on LGBT issues.

Extensive Consultation with LGBT Community Leaders

Under Dean's leadership, the DNC has maintained the Democratic Party's open door policy with our allies in the LGBT community, and expanded its efforts to build collaborative relationships with LGBT organizations, elected officials and community leaders.

-- In his first three months as party chair, Dean met with over 30 LGBT leaders from 20 diverse LGBT organizations to discuss strategy and reassure the community about his commitment to LGBT issues.

-- Dean and senior DNC staff continue to meet with LGBT organizers and community leaders across America. To date, Dean has met with more than 500 state and local LGBT leaders in communities across the country.

Speaking out on Issues that Matter to the LGBT Community.

Throughout the past year, the DNC and Dean have aggressively sought to stand up with our friends in the LGBT community and fight Republican efforts to scapegoat LGBT families by:

-- Assisting the successful challenge of anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation in places like Maine and Oregon, and fighting Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of California marriage equality bill.

-- Issuing official statements from Dean and the DNC on matters of concern to the LGBT community, including recognition of Pride in 2005, National Coming Out Day, World AIDS Day, victories by openly LGBT candidates, and the recent hate crimes in Massachusetts.

-- Establishing a new "blog" section on the DNC website dedicated solely to LGBT outreach and current issues, highlighting the work of LGBT activists and organizations.
Comments, questions for the DNC?

If you want a read about a get-together Dean had with gay leaders on this in NY, check out the article, Dean’s Kiss and Make-Up, at Gay City News. It doesn't sound like everyone left the meeting satisfied.

***

My comment on the release: This clarifies what the DNC intends to implement as an outreach plan. But, you will notice that there isn't a proactive plan to actually counter the deluge of BS about to come down the pike from the right-wing (again).

What, pray tell, is the DNC going to do about the Mississippi Democratic Party Platform, for instance, which includes this: "We believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman." Is the DNC on board with that "state-specific" plank?

After all, Dean says: "We are standing strong with the community, fighting the Republican Party’s repugnant efforts to exploit the politics of fear and division and scapegoat LGBT families for electoral gain." How about Dems who are doing the same thing? If we've got so-called Dems-in-good-standing and Republicans on the ballot both saying they are for the sanctity of marriage, that doesn't sound like we need a few more folks at Pride events.

My take is that the party is going to make a few stands in the states where they have chances to pull off small victories, such as the ones mentioned in Maine and Oregon. Otherwise, I see the party leaving progressive Dems/LGBT in the Red states high and dry.

***

The Republicans will continue to drive this train because they’ve determined the frame.

The Dems will oppose a federal marriage amendment because the votes at the present time are not there to pass it, so they believe that they can punt for now. They have not articulated with one voice what definition of civil equality for gays and lesbians the party supports. The party opposed Schwarzenegger’s veto in California, but is marriage equality the goal? No. In 2004 it was “leave it to the states” — that has not changed.

The Dems have held up as 2006 models of the party, people who supported marriage amendments, or hold the position that “marriage is between a man and a woman,” or that separate-but-unequal civil unions are the acceptable alternative. That’s not coherence — it’s a conscious decision to support “leave it to the states” — the party’s position by default is that civil rights for a subgroup of citizens should be determined by popular vote. That sounds like a shift in core values to me.

If you’re gay and living in a Red state and you are outnumbered by those who oppose civil equality, you’re SOL. Those amendments are permanent, and given this Supreme Court, we’re not likely to see a ruling that would overturn them either. And we’re only talking about marriage; the Right has had such a long opportunity to work on gay demonization that all sorts of horrors are being put to a vote in legislatures - adoption/fostering bans, anti-discrimination legislation being killed, etc. And we’re going to lose those battles in some Red states.

The state of things in relation to LGBT issues (and just about every other issue that folks here care about) reflect the overall weakness of the party, which should have handily defeated the current clown in office (Diebold or no Diebold, 2000 or 2004).

***

An interesting observation is made by Tom Moran in the New Jersey Star-Ledger column, Gay marriage still gives lawmakers cold feet. That state is currently watching a case on same-sex marriage that's up before its high court. Moran hits the nail on the head regarding Democrats and their reluctance to be specific and consistent in their support (or lack thereof).
Say the words "gay marriage" and watch the lefty politicians scramble for a place to hide.

Many of them secretly support the idea. But they won't risk saying that in public.

So instead of vindicating the rights of a group they supposedly support, they are burrowing into their little holes, hoping this will all blow over.

Maybe, they hope, the state Supreme Court will save them and establish the right to gay marriage by judicial fiat.

"Most legislators are rooting for that, even if they wouldn't vote for it," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). "If the court says it's legal, we don't have to do anything. There are a lot of people in the Legislature hoping that's the way it turns out."
That's precisely what all the punting has been about at the national level. The Dems want SCOTUS to make the call and take the heat off of elected officials (and prospects). Of course, as I said above, with this Supreme Court, it's a gamble we could easily lose.

Related:
* Russ: Why this married straight white guy fights so hard for LGBT equality


It's a man's world

Step into Maryland Comptroller (and former Gov.) William Donald "Cro-Magnon" Schaefer's mind. Try to find something there other than cobwebs. (Baltimore Sun):
Comptroller William Donald Schaefer was unapologetic yesterday after making suggestive comments to a young female aide to the governor during a meeting of the state Board of Public Works.

The incident sent some jaws dropping and drew laughter from others in the crowd of more than 100 state officials, lobbyists, journalists and business leaders attending the session.

Responding to Schaefer's request for tea, the woman, an executive assistant in Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s front office, set down a thermal mug in front of the comptroller. Schaefer, 84, watched her walk away, then beckoned for her to return. When she obliged, he told her, "Walk again," staring after her as she left a ceremonial conference room at the State House.



Schaefer defended the comment in a profanity-laced rant at reporters after the meeting. "That's so goddamn dumb, I can't believe it," Schaefer said when asked about the appropriateness of his remark. "She's a pretty little girl." She "ought to be damn happy that I observed her going out the door," Schaefer said. "The day I don't look at pretty women is the day I die."

The comptroller briefly broke away from reporters to talk to the woman in private, but returned to say he had not apologized. "The one who's offended is me," he said, for being subjected to questions about the encounter.
The sorriest aspect of this is that the woman, Elizabeth Krum, 24, suffered sexual harassment on the job (the article doesn't indicate whether this was the first incident), and Schaefer, according to the article, has a history of being tolerated by his peers (in both parties) for this kind of offensive behavior in the workplace.


The Scottbot hit Ctl-Alt-Del

McClellan ducks Cheney alcohol-related questions. Read Ron Brynaert's Raw Story article about the Scottbot at the White House briefing yesterday. When reporters peppered him (oops!) with questions about Darth's drinking, he seemed to do the equivalent of a reboot rather than answer anything.

When asked whether the Vice President's actions were a metaphor for the Bush Administration's "inability to come clean" such as the perceived "lack of cooperation" in the Abramoff scandal and Katrina investigations, McClellan responded that "only the most partisan of people or conspiracy theorists" would say something like that and that "most Americans reject it."

One reporter aggressively interrogated McClellan about Vice President's admission in the Fox interview that he had a beer four to five hours before shooting Harry Whittington. She said that it all wasn't "in a nice neat package like the White House wants," that "there was alcohol at lunch," that the Vice President's blood level wasn't checked at the time, and that he wasn't interviewed by local police until the following day.

"I don’t think you characterized the full picture there," McClellan responded, " I believe most Americans believe the issue has been covered thoroughly. I reject this characterization."

The same reporter suggested that the "average American" wouldn't be able to avoid the police or blood alcohol tests. But McClellan kept side-stepping the questions, and advised the press to look at the sheriff department's report, which said that alcohol wasn't involved, though the Vice President did have at least one beer before the incident.


NPR piece on same-sex marriage and 2006 political strategies

Thursday, February 16, 2006

There's an article and audio for this piece by NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty, entitled Marriage Plays Starring Role in Politics… Again. It covers the state of marriage amendments around the country and has a great interactive map accompanying it.

It's framed around the amendment battle in Virginia, but covers the issue as part of the national battle ahead between the wingers and pro-gay forces -- and of course, the Dems stuck in the middle, trying to figure out what to do.
Changing the constitution may seem like overkill, since Virginia already has a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. But "it's absolutely necessary," says State Sen. Steve Newman, a Republican. Newman believes that it is only a matter of time before a couple will move from Massachusetts or Vermont, where same-sex unions are legal, and demand that their union be recognized in Virginia. And while a state court might not recognize such a union, a federal court easily could.

"We're speaking directly to the federal courts, and saying, 'States have a right to define what marriage is for each individual state'," he says. "And so when someone comes to Virginia with a marriage license from that state, it is important that Virginia acts and puts this within their constitution, where there is the most protection."

19 other states have already done the same political calculus and amended their constitutions. Aside from Virginia, nine others could do the same this year: South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois, Idaho and Colorado. This delights Republicans, who have only to look back to the 2004 election, when marriage amendments swept across the country from Oregon to Kentucky.
There's an interesting portion of this article that deals with what Russ and I have been blogging about today regarding the DNC and the slow-to-the-game advocacy groups like HRC that in 2004 were always caught off guard, behind the curve, playing defense, or actively running from the fight entirely when it came to dealing with the AmTaliban. Have any lessons been learned?
"A lot has changed between 2004 and 2006," says John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "President Bush is not nearly as popular. There are scandals in Washington. The war in Iraq is lingering on. And there are other policy problems. So it may very well be that Republicans will look to social issues, and phenomena like the marriage amendments, as being especially important in an environment where they don't have as many things going for them."

At the same time, Green says, Democrats -- and especially gay rights activists -- have had two years to think about what happened in 2004.

"One of the rules of politics is that mobilization often creates countermobilization," he says. "And in 2004, with regard to the marriage amendments, most of the action was on the right; there wasn't as much opposition on the left. And it may very well be that individuals on the left have learned a lesson in that, and may come out in force in 2006 to oppose these amendments."

..."I think we are doing things differently," says Seth Kilbourn, who heads the marriage project for the Human Rights Campaign. His gay rights group has learned some lessons. The first is to start the counterattack earlier. In 2004, most of the marriage amendments popped up in late summer, giving his group little time to react. But this year, they have 10 months to mobilize. In Wisconsin, for example, gay rights activists have set up a speakers bureau that's identified hundreds of people who will talk to their communities and civic clubs about why marriage should be available to same-sex couples.

The second lesson, Kilbourn says, is to simplify the message. "In 2004, we made the campaigns a lot about arguing that amendments go too far, that the effects are unknown, that you should be careful what you put in the constitution," he says. "But this time around, we're going to be much more direct about the underlying issue, which is marriage for same-sex couples. We need to make the case for why marriage for same-sex couples is good, why it is the true measure of equal treatment under the law. That will improve the vote."
Jeezus, it's like the light bulb just went on.


Unholy environmental alliances

Columnist Rips Evangelical Leaders for Becoming 'Trojan Horse' for the Left (AgapePress). You have to think hard when reading that headline, trying to imagine in what universe evangelicals would somehow be the puppets of the homos, abortionists and wanton environmentalists, but we'll get to that later.

The idea of evangelical environmentalism seemed a little incongruous at first, but I listened to a piece on NPR one day driving to work and it was an interesting concept. The initiative, called Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action, is based on the belief that, as an evangelical Christians, global warning is also a social justice issue, because the poor in the end are the group most affected by the climate changes responsible for famine or flooding.

It's interesting to note that there is a political schism on this in the religious community (no surprise of course). (NPR):
Some of the signatories have star power, at least in evangelical circles. Among them are Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church and author of the blockbuster book, The Purpose Driven Life; Duane Litfin, president of Wheaton College' David Neff, editor of Christianity Today; and Todd Bassett, national commander of the Salvation Army.

But the names of other evangelical heavyweights are conspicuously absent.

"I don't see James Dobson. Is there a more influential evangelican than James Dobson?" observes Richard Land, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I don't see Chuck Colson. I don't see Franklin Graham. So these are obviously prominent evangelicans and I -- please don't in any way think that I am denigrating anyone who's on this list -- but it is not an exhaustive list of evangelical leaders, let's put it that way."

Land, along with Colson and Dobson, wrote a letter opposing the Evangelical Call to Action because, he says, there is not consensus about climate change among evangelicals. Land says the Bible makes clear that God expects human beings to take care of the earth. But "human beings come first in God's created order," he adds. "And that primacy must be given to human beings and for human betterment. If that means that other parts of nature take a back seat, well, then they take a back seat."
Along those lines of disagreement with a dollop of unhinged railing, comes the wisdom of Brannon Howse, who is the co-host of a weekly Christian radio show, believing that the environmental initiative somehow promotes abortion and the Homosexual AgendaTM, calling the unity of environmentalists and the above-mentioned Christian leaders an "unholy alliance."

"These are radical, leftist groups that have funded everything from same-sex marriage initiatives to abortion to distribution of abortion pamphlets and materials and 'education' on abortion. They've sponsored United Nations conferences on the issues of same-sex marriage and global warming and abortion."
-- Brannon Howse, "Christian" columnist, on the evils of the new evangelical climate initiative


According to Howse, "evangelicalism cannot afford to take its cues from ... Rick Warren and other leaders" who he says have shown "such unbiblical discernment" in signing on to such an initiative. Those signers, he suggests, are being used for stealthy purposes.

"These liberal foundations, these globalist foundations, have simply placed a Trojan horse inside evangelical circles," he continues. "They have just co-opted some of the nation's Christian leaders to now do their bidding and to give them cover."


Why this married straight white guy fights so hard for LGBT equality

I write a lot. I write articles for Oregon NORML and The Oregon Herald. There's also my own blog, although not lately, since I've been swamped and have run into some roadblocks in getting it moved to a new web host. Then there is my dKos diary and the multitude of comments I post all over the web.

And, of course, my contributions here. Sometimes I'll be telling friends or family where they can read my writing, and when I get around to "and I contribute to the weblog winner for Best LGBT Blog", I get that funny look.

What are you, a married straight white guy from the Pacific Northwest, doing writing for a blog written by a married lesbian black woman from the South? I always make an offhand remark about being the creamer in frothy cappuccino here, and how much more "Blendy" could you get, demographically speaking?

However the truth is, I write here because, as Dr. King told us, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I know that the bigots who are after my LGBT friends aren't going to stop there. I also believe that the voice of one straight white guy is going to be more noticed and more shocking to the homophobes that look like me than a dozen screams from those they perceive with ingrained prejudice. (Plus, I'm one-eighth gay on my maternal great grandmother's side of the family.)

But really, all you need to know about my motivation can be summed up in two photographs:



These are my friends, Jen & Maria, tending to their newborn baby daughter, Sofia Isabel. Jen gave birth & Maria adopted this baby, born Feb 5, 2006 @ 6:31pm and Sofia was 7lb 15oz, 20 inches long. (You can offer your congrats at Maria's blog, Another Day in the Life of a Fool.)

Sofia Isabel's parents are wonderful, loving people who have been in a monogamous committed relationship longer than I've been in mine. They are both successful professionals living in a very nice home here in Portland. Maria met my wife in school and quickly introduced my wife to her circle of acquaintences.

Sofia Isabel deserves to be protected under the law. Her family deserves the recognition of society and equal treatment. Should Jen or Maria meet with an unfortunate accident, Sofia Isabel deserves the same level of legal coverage as my brother's daughters.

Sofia Isabel's parents are not disgusting, perverse, reprehensbile abominations. Sofia Isabel's two moms love her as much as any two parents love their child. Sofia Isabel doesn't deserve to grow up with taunts and discrimination because her family doesn't look like most others.

Some people would say that Jen & Maria can create virtually all the same legal protections necessary to care for Sofia Isabel. They can jump through 1,047 legal hoops when my wife and I only had to jump through one. But why should they have to? Why does the law exist to grant special rights to heterosexuals? What business does the federal government have in judging that my love for my wife is valid, but Maria's & Jen's love is not? And even if they do (and they have) jump through many many more hoops, they still remain in a legal state that may be recognized her in Oregon, but certainly not in Idaho. Why do my wife and I get to take our rights with us as we travel from state to state, but Maria & Jen may not? More special rights for heterosexuals.

So, until Sofia Isabel is just another kid in just another family, I will keep writing and marching and rhetorically bitch-slapping homobigoted wingnuts. I have no children of my own, so I will fight to see that all children in all families get the love, protection, and legal standing they deserve.


State amendments fail in West Virginia, New Hampshire

Some good news! In NH, it was rejected in committee. In West Virginia, there was wingnut whining. (365gay):
In West Virginia the House of Delegates voted largely along party lines in a procedural vote to kill a proposed amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

..."Courts throughout the country are attacking statutory enactments on the definition of marriage," said Delegate Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) who led the effort to pass the amendment. "It's very important that we do this."
Now a bit of bad news...in New York, though it's not the final stage:
A midlevel New York state appeals court ruled on Thursday that it is not unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

The court was considering an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union of a lower court ruling that said only the legislature could decide whether gay and lesbian couples can wed.

..."In our opinion, the Legislature is where the changes to marriage" should be addressed, Justice John Lahtinen wrote in the 5-0 Appeals Court decision.

The ruling follows a similar decision by an Appeals Court in Manhattan last December that overturned a lower court ruling that it was illegal to deny marriage to same-sex couples.

...New York State Pride Agenda, the state's largest LGBT rights group, called the decision disappointing but not unexpected.

"We have always believed this issue would have to go to the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals, for a decision," Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle said in a statement. "We will be looking to the high court to reaffirm this important principal of equal treatment by ruling in our favor."


Bush didn't break the FISA law...

...he merely acted within the letter of the law that had yet to be written.
(AP) West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said the White House had applied heavy pressure to committee Republicans to prevent them from conducting thorough oversight. He said legislation can't be considered by the full Senate because lawmakers don't have enough information.

"No member of the Senate can cast an informed vote on legislation authorizing or conversely restricting the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, when they fundamentally do not know what they are authorizing or restricting," Rockefeller said.

It remains unclear what any changes in law may look like. Roberts indicated it may be possible "to fix" the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorize the president's program. Perino said the White House considers suggestions put forward by Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, the starting point, particularly his proposal to create a special subcommittee on Capitol Hill that would regularly review the program.

DeWine's proposal would authorize Bush's program and exempt it from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That law set up a special court to approve warrants for monitoring inside the United States for national security investigations.
Hey, I love this new idea in legal temporal shifting! I'm not breaking the law by possessing cannabis sativa, because it may be possible "to fix" the 1970 Controlled Substances Act to authorize my pot smoking!

Sen. DeWine, Sen. Roberts, putting aside the 4th Amendment for a moment (and why not; we have for 36 years now), the question isn't whether Bush's domestic warrantless spying on American citizens is something necessary in the The Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe In Free Societies Who Happen To Use Terror As A Weapon To Try To Shake The Conscience Of The Free World, and it isn't a question of whether a 28-year-old law needs tweaking in the age of data mining and wireless telecommunications. The president brazenly and unapologetically broke the law as it is currently written. If the law needed tweaking, he should have come to Congress. If it was a "ticking bomb" scenarios where he needed to wiretap first and ask Congress later, he could have even done that.

But it seems abundantly clear that had this not been leaked, Bush would have never said a word about it. Congratulations, Congress, you're George W. Bush's prison bitch.

It's not nation building if you just redefine it as "liberation". It's not torture if you just redefine it as "stress positions and interrogation techniques not approaching the pain equivalent to organ failure". The people you declare war on and subsequently capture are not prisoners of war if you just redefine it them as "enemy combatants". It's not negligently shooting someone in the face if you just redefine it as "an accidental peppering".

Let's just save 535 prominent Americans a lot of trouble and save K Street lobbyists a lot of money and just abolish Congress already. It's not like anyone really needs it anymore.

(Hat tip to AMERICAblog)


Peter LaBarbera's knickers are in a twist again


Peter has gone undercover more than once to do research, including a visit to a Chicago bathhouse to see "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men" so that he could report back to the faithful.

SpinDoctor over at All Spin Zone alerted me to another eruption by our friend at the Illinois Family Institute, Peter LaBarbera, who is mad at Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

Daley got on the wrong side of the leather-event-investigating winger activist because the mayor has declined to bid for the next Republican National Convention, but the Windy City has secured the 2006 Gay Games plus committed the unholy act of actually hosting the 1996 Dem national convention. (IFI):
Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera said today that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley "has his priorities all mixed up," after learning that Daley will not even bid for the Republican National Convention, after excitedly courting the "Gay Games" and spending lavishly on the 1996 Democrat convention.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that Daley will not join the many other cities bidding for the 2008 Republican convention, so he can focus on launching a campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

..."To not even bid on the Republican convention after having a Howard Dean moment celebrating Chicago's landing the 2006 'Gay Games' says a lot about the Mayor's partisan and confused priorities," LaBarbera said. "Perhaps if this were a convention of homosexual Republicans, he would be showing some interest."

This pic is running on the IFI site with Peter's caption - More than sport: The "Gay Games" has links for Steamworks, below, and another Chicago homosexual bathhouse --where men go for anonymous sex with other men--in the "Parties & Events" section of its website. Above is the "Gay Games" float in the 2005 Chicago "Gay Pride" parade.

..Mayor Daley spent millions of Chicago taxpayer dollars to create and improve what one homosexual journalist called "America's First Official Gay Neighborhood," the "Boys Town" section of Lakeview that is marked by eleven pairs of tax-funded, 23-foot-high pillars to celebrate the city's homosexual citizens. The pillars are adorned with the rainbow colors adopted as a symbol by homosexual activists (while others resent the appropriation of the rainbow to mark behavior long considered immoral).
Also:
* Letter from Peter LaBarbera
* Letter from a Blender to Peter LaBarbara
* Peter LaBarbera investigates the International Mr. Leather conference


We had to destroy this party in order to save it

There has been a rift growing within the Democratic Party between the progressives who have the silly idea of picking a principle and sticking to it versus the DLC-moderate-Republican-Lite wing who are desperately trying to find just the right triangulation to woo both lovers of liberty and the knuckle-dragging pre-Enlightenment crowd.

Pam blogged about the latest efforts to re-closet the homos (Shhh! Quiet, faggots, we're trying to win an election here!) and silence the few Democrats of principle who actually resonate with the grassroots (Shhh! Quiet, Hackett, we're trying to employ our time-honored election winning techniques here!). In response, some people have pointed out that this is no time to have rock-solid principles; we need to be pragmatic about winning elections (paging Markos Moulitsas Zuniga...) because, after all, with Democrats in charge we have some hope, but with Republicans in charge, we're doomed.

I used to think the same thing with respect to drug law reform. I worked my ass off to help Bill Clinton get elected, figuring, hey, he and Gore admit to smoking pot; they've GOT to have better understanding of the issue.

What did I get? An INCREASE in the drug war. A record-shattering 770,000 Americans PER YEAR arrested and incarcerated for marijuana "crime", 80% of them for mere possession. A tenfold increase in the incarceration of women for the drug "crime" of conspiracy charges, because their husbands/boyfriends involvement in trafficking and these women's lack of anyone higher up on the food chain to snitch upon. A massive increase in the companies that piss test their employees, and a Supreme Court that first allows schools to piss test student athletes, then any student in extracurricular activities (oh, those Chess Club kids and their crazy heroin binges!), to now considering piss testing ANY student (teach 'em young how to submit to fascist authority.)

Why did that happen? Because Repugs control the frame, and the frame was Dems were soft on crime, so Dems have to puff up their chests and say "no sir!" and lock up more addicts and innocent people to the tune of the world's largest prison population (2,000,000 and counting) and a country where 1 in 3 black men is under correctional supervision (prison, parole, or probation) and more black men are in prison than college.

So, as God's Oil Party sets the frame on gay marriage, do you REALLY think that shushing the queers in pursuit of red state "values" voters is going to work? They already think we're (and by we, I mean you Democrats; I'm a Pacific Green now) the party of Sodom. To paraphrase Harry S Truman, if you give the voters a choice between a homophobe and homophobe, they'll pick the real homophobe every time.

Suppose it works. Suppose Dems back off from being ardently pro-choice and tepidly pro-gay. Suppose they win majorities in the House and Senate, and dare we dream, the Presidency. You think then they suddenly grow a spine and legalize gay marriage and codify abortion rights?

Or do they, as career politicans, realize that throwing the fags and the women under the bus (or at least keeping them in the back of it) is what got them their jobs and they better keep doing that in order to keep their jobs?

Hey, I agree that the modern Repugs are just slightly left of fascism, and that they make no bones about criminalizing homosexuality, drug use, and abortion. But at least they honestly stand for something. At least they respect and court their base. By doing so, they set the terms of the debate and Dems are relegated to playing catch-up.

As Blender Marla has noted, it is time for constructive destruction. I believe the American electorate is a slumbering giant. More than half of us don't bother to vote at all -- why should they when the choice is evil vs. less evil? The giant will remain asleep until something really bad happens.

So, with Dems we'll get half-hearted support and (at best) halfway let's-not-offend-the-Bible-beaters measures like "Don't Ask Don't Tell", civil unions, and "partial-birth" abortion bans which will piss off a tiny minority, but will seem relatively fair to the giant who has no stake in the matter. Little by little, like the frog in the slowly heated kettle of water, the giant won't even notice as his freedom and rights are curtailed.

But with Repugs, we may get open, visible, cruel discrimination against gays (see Laurel Hester). We may get criminalization of abortion. We'll get sudden, shocking changes to our way of life. The giant's daughter will face a criminal investigation of her miscarriage. The giant's gay son will be locked up following a bathhouse raid. The giant was perfectly okay snoozing on the couch watching American Idol, but now he'll be outraged by this government's intrusion into his peaceful slumber (see Terri Schiavo).

And when this giant awakes, he does freaky radical things like throw crates of tea in Boston Harbor, secede from the Union, riot in the streets for unionization, march from Selma to Montgomery, and burn bras and draft cards.

Do I advocate voting Republican? Not a chance. No need to carry the kindling for your own burning at the stake. But definitely work in the primaries to unseat DINOs. Write letters to their fundraisers saying "Not one penny more until you STAND for MY rights!" Let your Democrats know that you'll either be sitting out the next election or voting third party (especially at the local level).

Because until you demand another choice, you're still left with cowabunga or death.


This and that



More stuff in the mailbag, comment and blogwhore...

Oh, before I get to the round up, what is this sh*t about Darth saying he has the power to declassify information?! His quote:

"I have certainly advocated declassification. I have participated in declassification decisions," Cheney said. Asked for details, he said, "I don't want to get into that. There's an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously it focuses first and foremost on the president, but also includes the vice president."
Wake me up when we have our democracy back.

***

* Rena and several of you emailed about Willie Nelson and his release of a "gay cowboy" song, "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other." Christopher Geidner of Law Dork blogged about it, putting it into context -- Pansy Division actually sang a version of this song, released more than a decade ago.



* Blender Tony sent the link to the photos that Bush admin doesn't want you to see from Abu Ghraib. There are 15 of them that an Australian paper has published.

* MadKane's offering today is Don't Hunt With Dick Cheney (Sing to "On Top Of Old Smokey").


* Holly passed on another strange one. A pastor in McKinney, Texas utters unhinged sh*t on the stand. A woman is accused of cutting off the arms of her 10-month-old daughter, and at trial, her pastor, Doyle Davidson, the 73-year-old minister of the Water of Life Church, told jurors Wednesday that mental illness is actually demon possession and cannot be cured with medication.

* Kathy of Birmingham Blues was brave; she attended a public hearing on Alabama constitutional reform in Montgomery and had an out-of-body experience watching the wingnuts go berserk. She should have known when she first arrived that the only other early bird was a "pleasant, mild-mannered gentleman with a Ten Commandments pin on his lapel." The dude later got up once the hearings began and said "he had come to speak to the Christians and the non-Christians could just snooze for a few minutes, because non-Christians don't believe in absolute truth."


* The BradBlog has been all over this one -- Ann Coulter voted in the wrong precinct -- she may face charges in Florida for this, lololol. (h/t, Blender Jennifer of Intous)

* Patrick at Yelladog blogs about Roxanne Jekot, a Cumming, Georgia women who has called out the use of insecure voting machines in her county. She is being persecuted by the county authorities where she lives -- the state seized her house and suspended her driver's license.

* Via Shakes Sis, Brokeback Mountain dolls on eBay.





NJ Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage

New Jersey's ban on same-sex marriage has landed in the lap of its high court and arguments were heard yesterday. Blogger Jay Lassiter of Lassiter's Space was in on a conference call last night debriefing about the going-on in the court.
...the judges asked just the types of engaging questions that we hoped they would:
*How can the state justify baring gays from marriage?
*What compelling interest does the state have to draw the line between gays and straights?

It seemed like the Court's questions focused on 3 areas.
1) How to best interpret NJ constitutional doctrine.

2) If the court does recognize expanding the definition of marriage, what are the limits?

(eg: if we strike down the dividing line between gays and straights, is bigamy next? I should note that this red-herring-of-an-argument has floated around each case challenging the traditional idea of marriage including mix-race couples back in the olden days. In the NJ case, the Court seemed to recognize that bigamy, etc was *not* at issue here.)

3) The final focus of the proceedings asked if Gay Marriage was a matter best left to the legislators to decide. Should the legislature's preogative be underminded by a four judge majority? One judge's reply hinted that NJ has a long tradition of relying on the State Supreme Court to enforce constitutional rights.....that the court must not defer to the legislators when they (state legislators) violate their (gay and lesbian) constituents' constitutional rights.

Closing arguments were straight forward:
The plaintiffs asserted that NJ has a traditon of public policy against deiscrimination. The argument that there is a guarantee of equality in the constitution, that "similarly situated people should not be differentiated unless the state can provide a compelling reason to do so."

The state countered that the state is entitled to make the gay/straight marriage distinction based on "history" and "tradition."
The overall feeling, coming out of the court, was that the questions asked indicated strong engagement and positive sign.

Jay has more commentary at his pad.


Loose screw

Thanks Holly, this is a truly bizarre story.
Police officers fired a stun gun to subdue a man who was found in bed with the body of a 48-year-old woman who authorities said had been dead for several days.

An autopsy on Tuesday found no wounds to Sandra Warrix and the cause of her death was not immediately determined, Noble County Coroner Terry Gaff said.

...The 53-year-old man found with Warrix was being held at an Auburn mental health center on a 72-hour emergency hold, county Prosecutor Steve Clouse said. Authorities did not release the man's name. "At this time it is premature to suppose that foul play was involved in the death of Ms. Warrix," Clouse said in a statement. "Although the initial circumstances have raised questions concerning the death, it would be irresponsible to jump to conclusions."

A relative of Warrix called police Monday night, saying she had not been seen or heard from in days. An officer arriving at Warrix's home in the town about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne found the man lying next to her in bed, Chief Deputy Doug Harp said.

The man ordered officers from the house and the county's special operations group later entered the home after several unsuccessful attempts to talk with the man. Officers fired two stun gun shots at the man after he did not respond to police commands, Harp said.
It was unclear whether the man lived with Warrix, but the relative knew him, Harp said.


Kos Flip-Flops on Hackett:

Desi at Mia Culpa exposes our favorite big dog blogger.


Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

[Welcome Raw Story readers...UPDATE (8PM): The DNC issued a press release late today, "A Year of Progress for DNC LGBT Outreach, which outlines specifics regarding the reorganization of its outreach program. You can read it and comment here.]

Folks, we're seeing the official recloseting of the Democrats in terms of gay visibility and outreach. If you had any illusions that the 2006 iteration of the Democratic party isn't ready to throw gays under the bus (but take homo cash), here's convincing evidence to chew on.


1. The anti-gay VA Gov, Tim Kaine, was picked for the State of the Union response. If you've been reading the Blend, you know full well what I think about the symbolism that represented.

What do you think the party is trying to tell gays and lesbians when its choice of Kaine is heralded because "the new governor can best deliver their 2006 message of inclusiveness?" The man's position on his own state's pending marriage amendment is that he's "not comfortable" with the bigoted language but he'll sign the amendment anyway. More here and here.

For those out there who thought this was no big deal in the bigger scheme of things, just an inconsequential matter, the evidence that the party at the national level has the intention of avoiding the "gay issue" is no loud and clear. Re-closeting gays instead of addressing the right wing with alternative, logical framing based on the core values of the party has been deemed a more meaningful (read: winning) strategy. Is Bob Shrum in the house?


2. Howard Dean abolishes DNC gay outreach post. The laughable excuse on this one (via the Washington Blade) is that the reorg "will be more effective than the previous system because it will "bring in a lot more resources from all of the DNC’s departments and offices," according to Chris Owens, director of the DNC’s American Majority Partnership program.

Right. This quietly took place last year, allegedly to create an integrated effort to address the concerns of minorities as a group. The gay outreach desk was won after a long struggle; to see it eliminated causes legitimate concern.
Gay Democratic Party activist and fundraiser Jeff Soref of New York City said he resigned from the DNC and from his position as chair of the gay caucus in August largely because of Dean’s decision to eliminate the gay outreach desk.

"It took us many years to win that position, have it funded and make it effective," Soref said.

Soref said he told Dean "it was not credible" to simply assume that combining all constituent groups into one program without a specific gay coordinator or director would be effective because it would likely result in less attention to the specific concerns of gay Democrats.

"I thought this system could lead to us being re-marginalized by the party," Soref said in an e-mail message to the Blade. "I have seen or heard nothing since that makes me feel that is not happening," he said.

Howard Dean fired off a letter to the Blade after this blew up in his face. It still smells to high heaven.

OK. Is it possible that Jeff Soref was a little paranoid about this and Howard's on the up and up? Well, guess what? Look at this latest development at the DNC...


3. DNC Annual Grassroots Report Omits Any Reference to GLBT Americans. Via Out for Democracy, the news that this new report, unlike previous DNC reports, doesn't even mention the LGBT community or any outreach efforts.

How do you feel now, homos? A tad marginalized, under-appreciated...that doormat/ATM kind of feeling?

Let's take a look at Howard Dean's vision of the core values of the party for 2006. Pay close attention to the sections on civil rights and civil equality, especially given we have state after state passing or preparing to pass amendments making lesbian and gay taxpaying residents second-class citizens.
Focus On Our Core Values

Never Backing Down: Governor Dean has lived up to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to never remain silent about the things that matter. From the failed management of the war in Iraq to the moral crisis of 45 million people without access to healthcare, he has shown honesty and backbone and encouraged more Democrats to do the same.

A Clear Agenda: Working with other party leaders, we have created and begun to communicate a clear agenda for change:

Honest Leadership and Open Government -- We will end the Republican culture of corruption and restore a sense of responsibility to elected office, and we will pass fundamental reforms that make government more honest, open, and accountable to the American people than ever before.

Real Security -- We will protect Americans at home by getting serious about homeland security, and address the real threats abroad by capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and focusing on actual (not imagined) nuclear proliferation. We will be prepared for the threats of tomorrow, and we will always tell the truth to our troops and the American people.

Jobs in America that will Stay in America -- We will keep good jobs from leaving and ensure that every job in America is a fair deal. We will balance the budget, ensure that the tax code is simple and fair, and create jobs by making America energy independent.

A Strong Public Education System -- We will strengthen our nation’s public schools to restore opportunity and optimism for every American.

A Health Care System that Works for Everyone -- We will join every other industrialized country by making sure everyone has access to affordable health care. We will change a corrupt, inefficient system into one that makes sure the world’s wealthiest country is also the healthiest.
What did you think about the civil equality section? Oh, oops...I'm sorry, you didn't skim past it. IT'S NOT THERE.

And how does that square with past acknowlegments of LGBT outreach? Let's look at a section of a report under former DNC Chair, Terry McAuliffe, from DNC's Facts and Figures Glossary (Feb. 2005):
GLBT Outreach: Under the leadership of Chairman McAuliffe, the DNC in partnership with the Kerry campaign, embarked upon the most comprehensive GLBT pride outreach program in the history of a national political party and presidential campaign. During this election year, the DNC manned tables and marched in more than 75 gay pride events in 22 states, taking the DNC's message of equality and fairness to more than four million GLBT and allied voters. This year's DNC Convention was a historic one for the GLBT community, with a record number of GLBT delegates, standing committee members, DNC members, and staff.
The message is clear -- the Dems are going to avoid the gay issue like the plague again. They are not interested in reframing the issue and not ready to counter the AmTaliban. The Democrats are just not "comfortable" enough to fight at the national level for our rights. Thanks for the heads-up, Howard.

The truth of the matter is, there is no spine in this party, no desire to really take on Republicans on anything remotely related to gay civil equality on any matter (and I'm not just talking about same-sex marriage). One can only conclude that the party doesn't see any urgency about the amendments sweeping through the nation, and that it's a perfectly acceptable position to say "let the states decide" -- to make discrimination of a class of citizens permanent law. Many of those states don't even have a fig leaf of "separate but equal" civil unions/domestic partnerships/"marriage" to offer up to same-sex couples (they can't be equal because none of the over 1000 federal benefits that convey with civil marriage are available to gays).

At this point, because of Dem silence while the void is filled by the hate mongers demonizing gays, you've got some states considering a ban on gays adopting or fostering kids (adoption's already banned in Florida), deep-sixing same-sex benefits, and choosing to kill anti-discrimination bills that propose adding sexual orientation to existing law -- what icing on the cake this is in the daily lives of gay Americans in those locations.

How sad is it that the Democrats allow its agenda to be driven by fear of the likes of the American Family Association's Don and Tim Wildmon, for example, who have effectively bullied and led the GOP by the nose (and has moved on to corporate America). The Dems refuse to politically counter an organization that, reminding folks again:

* has an advocate for executing gays and abortion providers on its radio show

* believes gays were the real evil behind the Holocaust?

* thinks gays are responsible for the "end of times"?

* tries to convince the public that gays are a "public health" threat? or diseased perverts who die early?

These folks are extremist windbags and theocrats, along with the Dobsons, Bauers, and Lou Sheldons screeching out there. If we weren't in Bizarro World, a real Democratic party with real core values would be scorching and silencing these clowns as the crazies that they are.

We're in for a rough ride folks -- and those of you concerned about reproductive freedom, I don't see anything up there for you either. Welcome to the club.

Also:
* BlogActive: Howard Dean goes on rampage... Kills constituent desks
* Keith Boykin: I Want My Gay DNC

Hat tip, Out for Democracy, via PageOneQ

***

If you want a read on a get-together Dean had with gay leaders on this in NY, check out the article, Dean’s Kiss and Make-Up, at Gay City News. It doesn't sound like everyone left the meeting satisfied.

***

As I said up at the top, the DNC sent out a press release today to explain its restructuring and outreach. You can read it and comment here.


Throwing back a cold one...

Cheney spoke and he took responsibility -- or did he? (E&P):
In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Brit Hume this afternoon, Vice President Dick Cheney took full responsibility for shooting his hunting companion, who has until now been pictured as the guilty party. The interview will not air in full until 6 p.m., but according to Hume, in summarizing the contents, the vice president remained "totally unapologetic" about the long lag in reporting the shooting to the public -- and also said that he had consumed one beer at lunch that day.

...Hume indicated that Cheney called last Saturday's accidental shooting "one of the worst days of my life," but that the vice president was certain that he handled it correctly by waiting nearly a day to make it public. He also revealed that Cheney disclosed having a beer with lunch that day, but stressed that it was several hours before the shooting occurred. [Well isn't that special? Now that this has been uncovered, what else is there we don't know?]

Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong has said no one hunting that day had any beer. The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that it had been told that the hunters that day "broke for a lunch of antelope, jicama salad and camp bread, washed down with Dr. Pepper." Armstrong later modified her remarks, saying there may have been beer in coolers but she didn't think anyone who was hunting that day had any.
I interpret this act to mean (given this Administration's behavior) that by apologizing, he's hoping for sympathy and to get the media to shut this story down.

After all, he's copping to throwing back a brewskie while on the hunt. Why shouldn't we be suspicious about truth-telling when this is the kind of information is released?
In an e-mail statement Wednesday to NBC News, the vice president’s press secretary referred NBC News to the Kenedy County Sheriff’s Department report on the incident, which said it did not believe alcohol use was a factor in the shooting.

At a news conference Wednesday outside Whittington’s hospital in Corpus Christi, reporters asked hospital officials whether Whittington’s blood-alcohol level had been tested. The officials responded with a "no comment."


Cheney to be interviewed about his 'accident'

He's going to be on Faux News at 2PM, interviewed by Brit Hume; it will air later on Hume's show. Won't that will be a challenging interview? Geez.

Let's see, any guesses as to how many people have been working since the gun went off to massage this story for public consumption?
Vice President Dick Cheney has granted his first interview more than 72 hours after a hunting incident in which he accidentally shot a man in the face.

FOX News Channel's Brit Hume will interview Cheney on Wednesday afternoon. The interview will be broadcast on "Special Report With Brit Hume" at 6 p.m. EST.
At least we know Cheney won't claim national security this time. Or at least I can't imagine how he could tie it to the War on Terror...never mind, anything is possible at this point. Maybe Whittington had a big target on his jacket with a picture of Osama on it, and Dark Lord Cheney just had an itchy trigger finger.


Frontline on Meth


Apparently, I'm one of the 22%.

Last night, PBS Frontline ran a documentary produced in association with The Oregonian entitled The Meth Epidemic. The show documented how the methamphetamine epidemic grew from a mostly Western problem (Oregon has the highest per capita treatment admissions for meth in the nation), but has now spread throughout the West and Midwest, and now threatens the Southeast and East Coast.

The 22%? That's the stat I picked up from the show -- only 22% of the people who ever get addicted to meth ever manage to kick the drug.

I've written publicly about my mid-'90s meth addiction before (Attack of the Meth Monsters), so I won't recycle my personal story here. Instead, I want to focus on the one point that the Frontline documentary never addressed.

They did a good job detailing the damage meth does to communities. 80% of the property crime, 75% of the violent crime, and 50% of the children removed to foster care in Oregon can all be traced to this hideous drug. They re-ran the photos from the Oregonian's "Faces of Meth" series to show the devastating physical effects from the drug.

They also did a great job tracking the rise and fall in meth purity and how that relates to rise and fall in addiction and crime. They showed how there are only nine labs in the world that produce the the precursor ephedrine and pseudoephedrine needed to cook meth. They contrasted this with a similar fight against quaaludes (remember ludes, dude?), which was successfully beaten by stemming the source of the highly complex drug at the lab level, something that proved impossible with a high-powered pharmaceutical lobby determined to keep profitable cold and sinus pills on the shelves of the local drugstore.

They also illustrated the political and tactical roadblocks that have allowed a one-or-two-state problem in the '80s to explode into a soon-to-be-nationwide problem in the '00s.

What they never tackled, never even approached in the documentary: why do people take meth in the first place? What socioeconomic factors lead someone to choose a drug that is obviously so devastating? How does someone's life descend into such hopelessness and despair that shoving battery-acid, Drano-laden powder into one's face for a three-day sleepless sweaty sex-filled tweek-binge seems like a good plan?

(I know my reasons. Uncle Sam told me pot was the most awful thing in the world. I tried some, it didn't kill me. Uncle Sam told me cocaine would instantly addict me and ruin my life. I tried some, it didn't kill me. So when meth came around, I figured Uncle Sam was lying again. Also, I was a party-hearty invincible hard-rock musician in my 20s with a bisexual tweeker stripper girlfriend, desperately trying to create a good "Behind the Music" story...)

My theories are these:

* Our government lies about drugs and lumps all recreational drugs into the same rhetorical category. I'm not the only one who sees through the idiocy of most anti-drug campaigns, and if you're lying to me about one drug, why should I believe you about the other drug?

* Prohibitionary policies create a system where the naturally growing, relatively benign weed costs as much as gold, and the chemically manufactured, absolutely destructive powder costs as much as a Powerball ticket. $5 worth of meth promises a party for a weekend; $5 worth of weed promises you a chuckle from your dealer. What would you rather live next to, an apartment with a hydroponic pot garden or one with an explosive hazardous waste lab?

* Meth is the all-American drug. Helps you stay awake, lose weight, work hard, play hard, and get hard. How many tweekers started off just needing a jolt to work that second shift or finish that term paper or drop those twenty pounds?

Those of us in the west are well aware of the crystal meth problem, especially in the rural areas (like my exurban Idaho homeland). The other population dealing with the meth epidemic? Young urban gay men.
NEW YORK - Tina, crank, chalk and ice may sound like innocuous monikers for a “party” drug but the substance that is all the rage in New York’s hedonistic gay bathhouses is eroding progress made in the fight against AIDS.

Use of crystal meth, or methamphetamine -- what used to be known as “speed” -- has become rife among the sexually-promiscuous in the gay community. That drug use has spurred an increase in unprotected anal sex that has alarmed city health officials and AIDS activists.

Highly addictive and readily available, the drug’s effects when smoked include impaired judgment, loss of control and a voracious sexual appetite [Voracious? How about "all-consuming unquenchable"]. Coupled with a sense of invulnerability, it creates a perfect environment for spreading AIDS, experts say.

Bathhouses, popular venues for some gay men seeking no-strings-attached sex, are the front line of the problem. Drug use, though prohibited, is widespread and some patrons stay high for an entire weekend binge, engaging in sex with dozens of partners.
Unfortunately, meth is set to invade the East Coast. Fortunately, that's where Congress is, and maybe they'll take notice of the problem, force the pseudoephedrine behind the counter (against the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying), start an international effort to track the production on the nine ephedrine labs worldwide, and put some serious money toward funding drug treatment in this country.


The endless Katrina f*ckups


I think Skeletor better start cleaning out his desk and polishing up his resume (One can only hope his isn't as uniquely padded as "Brownie's"). The White House says it stands behind Chertoff.

Michael Chertoff did a tap dance yesterday, saying he's getting that whole Homeland Security thing down pat and bringing some common sense and preparation to FEMA.

It's a wonder people didn't break out into hysterical laughter, knowing this was nothing more than a dog and pony show to deflect the butt-scorching he, his agency and his incompetent Chimperor were going to receive in the 520-page House report, "A Failure of Initiative," released today (highlights here).

Last night, Anderson Cooper had a report on about more mind-blowing FEMA incompetence. It makes you sick to see the pictures of over 11,000 empty, new mobile homes sitting in the middle of an Arkansas field when 12,000 Katrina victims are being kicked out of hotels and are homeless once again.


In -- in case you think this disaster is over, remember, there are tens of thousands of people without homes, families who face eviction from the hotel rooms they have been crammed in to, and still bodies unidentified and missing.

And, in Arkansas -- take a look at the pictures on the screen there -- 11,000 mobile homes that have been sitting empty in the city of hope for months now, tied up in red tape. And now, according to a Homeland Security inspector who testified yesterday, they are literally sinking in the mud.

Yesterday, federal officials said the trailers may end up in the dumpster, unused by Katrina victims. They were meant to shelter them. And they -- according to this inspector, they may be unused. The math behind this is mind-boggling. It's enough to make you scream -- 10,777 mobile homes sitting empty in Hope -- the average cost per trailer, almost $28,000 -- that's the number we came up with when we did the math, based on the numbers that FEMA has so far released -- which adds up to a potential loss of $301.7 million.

That's taxpayer money, your money, my money. Why aren't the mobile homes installed where they're needed? FEMA's rules and red tape.
Here's the AC360 blog by CNN Correspondent Susan Roesgen.


Scraping the bottom

I'm wondering when the Yellow Elephants are going to step up -- the Pentagon really needs them now, according to this article.
Struggling to boost it ranks in wartime, the Army has sharply increased the number of recruits who would normally be barred because of criminal misconduct or alcohol and illegal drug problems, again raising concerns that the Army is lowering its standards to make recruiting goals.

Last year, almost 1 in 6 Army recruits had a problem in their background that would have disqualified them from military service. In order to accept them, the Army granted special exceptions, known as recruiting waivers.

...There was a significant increase in the number of recruits with what the Army terms "serious criminal misconduct" in their background. That category includes aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats, said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command at Ft. Knox, Ky.

The number of recruits in that category increased to 630, from 408 in 2004, reversing at least a four-year trend in which the number of recruits with serious criminal misconduct in their background had declined, Army statistics showed.


Sheriff: Officers Must Have Sex With Prostitutes For Evidence

That's the actual headline. No embellishments on this story, which comes out of Spotsylvania, Virginia. Gee. I wonder how "fresh face of the Democratic party," Governor Tim Kaine, upholder of values, feels about these crime-fighting tactics going on in his state. (KSBWChannel):


Spotsylvania County Sheriff Howard Smith said he stands by the practice of allowing detectives to receive sexual services in the course of their investigations so they can catch suspects in the act.

Court documents show that four times last month, county detectives allowed women at a massage parlor to perform sex acts on them. In one case, a lawman left a $350 tip. Smith acknowledged the practice is not new. Smith told The Washington Post that only unmarried detectives are allowed to do the under-the-covers work.

He said actual sex acts are needed to help win prostitution convictions. "If I thought we could get the conviction without that, we wouldn't allow it," Smith told the newspaper. "If you want to make them, this has to be done."
The article also notes, however, that other agencies that have tried this tactic have since dropped it, and in the case of Montgomery County, MD, where sexual contact with suspects and law enforcement was allowed, the charges were eventually dropped. So much for "evidence," huh?

Hat tip, Fritz


This and that

Tuesday, February 14, 2006



Catching up with things in the mailbag...

* The Conservative Echo Chamber '06 Playbook is a great post over at Big Brass Blog by thatcoloredfella. Also check out the sprucing up of the site by The Dark Wraith (many thanks!).

* Kathy at Birmingham Blues passes along more bad news for Roy Moore's embattled campaign. The Ten Commandments candidate for the Alabama governorship is being butt-kicked by sitting Gov. Bob Riley -- 56% - 28% in latest polls. She also points to a post over at Local Tint on the Alabama legislature killing a hate crimes bill.

* Oy, Jon over at Pensito Review has a howler up, Ennis Del Bush. A must-see.

* Blender Bob in Raleigh sent a link to the Village Voice's Riff Raff column by Nick Sylvester -- Insane Clown Posse Juggalos: Responsible for Massachusetts Gay Bar Massacre? -- on Jacob Robida's favorite "band."

* Jerry of A Christian Voice for LGBT Rights points to the WaPo article, Candidates for State Office Make Their Bid for Conservative Party Support, sees the pic below of William Weld sucking up to the NY Conservatives as he makes a run for the governor's seat. Can you believe this shite?

Republican candidates for governor - Patrick Manning, Randy Daniels, William F. Weld and John Faso - spoke to members of the Conservative Party at their conference, seeking a crucial endorsement.

When the moderator asked Mr. Weld if "what's good for Massachusetts is good for New York," Mr. Weld responded: "I would veto any bill that legalized same-sex marriage in this state.

"I do favor equality of rights in terms of owning property, visitation rights, that sort of thing," he added. "I think aggregation of those is what we mean by civil unions."

Mr. Long said that Mr. Weld's statements on gay marriage represented a welcome "evolution of philosophical change."
Jerry says: "This sleazeball once again proves how LGBT people and their relationships have been, and are being, used for crass political purposes. And who has the 'agenda?'"

* Stop for some more Cheney amusement over at MadKane -- "Cheney Misfires -- Big Time!" and a poem and a limerick on Congress's halfhearted efforts to reclaim some of its power.

* Visit Mike Tidmus for his post on Freedom To Marry Week.

* Catherine over at PovertyBarn has some delicious TomKat news for Valentine's Day.


AFA has advocate for executing gays and abortion providers on its radio show

"The Bible lays forth the severest penalty, which would be capital punishment for two men who publicly engage in sodomy."
-- Gary DeMar on gays

"Well, one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers is Gary DeMar."
-- Tim Wildmon on DeMar
Media Matters points to more homo-bashing and homo-fixation by the American Family Association. This is beyond the pale. It seems Tim and Don Wildmon don't mind sharing the airwaves with a man who thinks homos should be put to death, along with adulterers and abortion providers.
Far-right Christian author and American Vision president Gary DeMar was the guest on the February 2 broadcast of Today's Issues, a program of American Family Radio, a network of nearly 200 radio stations owned by the conservative American Family Association (AFA).

DeMar denounced "the continual assault on all things religion and, in particular, Christian," and AFA president Tim Wildmon praised him as "one of the best writers out there in the Christian community and thinkers." In the past, DeMar has advocated the installation of a theocratic government in the United States in which homosexuals, adulterers, and abortion doctors would be executed.

...DeMar is a leading promoter of an extremist theology called Christian Reconstructionism, also known as Theocratic Dominionism, which, according to journalist and author Frederick Clarkson, "argues that the Bible is to be the governing text for all areas of life -- such as government, education, law, and the arts, not merely 'social' or 'moral' issues like pornography, homosexuality, and abortion."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State documented, DeMar wrote in his book, Ruler of the Nations: Biblical Principles for Government (Dominion Press, 1987): "The law that requires the death penalty for homosexual acts effectually drives the perversion of homosexuality back into the closet." DeMar added: "The long term goal [is] the execution of abortionists and parents who hire them. If we argue that abortion is murder, then we must call for the death penalty."

American Vision's motto is "Equipping and Empowering Christians to Restore America's Biblical Foundation." And look at its mission...
Have you reached your “tolerance” level for political correctness? Are you tired of being vilified by the press and Hollywood just because you are a Christian? Are you fed up with politicians who romance you for your vote and then ignore you until the next election cycle? We are. That's why we invite you to join us in doing something about it.

What can we do together? Plenty. First, we must understand our nation's past, identify today's issues and problems, and look to the Bible to guide our future.
What's truly frightening is that this guy is coming to the Tar Heel state this week. He will be featured at something called a God and Country Rally on Friday and Saturday (Feb 17-18) at Swansboro Middle School.

Remember, while the AFA beds down with people like DeMar, it is an organization on the warpath, trying to impose its Christofacist agenda on the marketplace by targeting these corporations recently, with mixed results:

* NBC
* Mattel (American Girl Dolls)
* Ford
* Proctor & Gamble
* Kraft
* Disney
* Kodak
* Wal-mart
* Kroger
* Target
* Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot
* Rick Santorum
* Condoms
* Israel

And one has to ask, why would any corporation cave to an organization that believes in the unhinged filth of Gary DeMar and foments bigotry with outrageous positions like these:

* Were gays the real evil behind the Holocaust?
* Is Europe "infested" with Muslims who breed "faster than we do"?
* Are gays responsible for the "end of times"?
* Are gays a "public health" threat?
* Do Jews control Hollywood?
* Are gays diseased perverts who die early?


Freedom to Marry Week in NC

As I posted yesterday, this is Freedom to Marry Week, a time for discussion and education about civil equality for marriage around the nation. One of the major players locally is Equality NC, and hereare a few events going on here, as well as news of support for another local openly gay candidate for public office.

Equality NC and the Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality are screening Freedom to Marry: Journey to Justice in Charlotte on Wednesday and Durham on Thursday.



Freedom to Marry Film Night
Wednesday, February 15
7:00 PM
The Lesbian and Gay Community Center
1401 Central Avenue, Charlotte
Free and open to the public.

Freedom to Marry Film Night
Thursday, February 16
7:00 PM
Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
4907 Garrett Road, Durham
Free and open to the public.

For more resources, visit Freedom to Marry.

***


Former Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson (our first out gay mayor in the state) is running for Orange County Commission. Equality NC PAC endorses Mike's candidacy and has contributed $1000 to his campaign.
Although our focus is on state legislative races, we believe that having openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government is critical. We've seen a remarkable change in tone in the state Senate in the one year since Sen. Julia Boseman became our first openly gay legislator, and we need to have other members of our community join her.

But openly gay state legislators don't come out of the blue: we have to build a "bench" of qualified candidates who have strong experience in other levels of government. That's why Mike's campaign is so important.

We challenge you, our friends and supporters, to join us in supporting Mike's campaign. Contribute online at www.electmikenelson.com


Cheney shooting victim has heart attack

Birdshot has lodged into Harry Whittington's heart. Supreme illegal game hunter Darth Cheney better hope this guy doesn't kick it. (Dallas Morning News):
The man shot by Vice President Dick Cheney suffered a minor heart attack after birdshot moved into his heart, hospital officials said Tuesday, and was moved back to the intensive care unit for further treatment. Texas attorney Harry Whittington was recovering and will be monitored for seven days to make sure more bird shot doesn't move to other organs or move to other part of his body, hospital officials said.
Hat tip, Holly.

UPDATE: The Brad Blog notes that the heart attack occurred "early Tuesday" but Scotty McClellan failed to mention it in today's White House Press Briefing. Brad:
I am less concerned with why Cheney failed to notify the media or the nation in the 21 hours after the shooting, and more interested in why he seems to have failed to give full disclosure to the White House itself.

Thus, I continue to ask: What didn't the President know, and why didn't he know it?


Your tax dollars at work: monument to senator's wife

FunctionalAmbivalent passed on this one. Check out the brass pair on Republican Senator Mitch McConnell with this move.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is an alumnus of the University of Louisville. He recently earmarked $14.2 million of your money to build an addition to the U of L's library. The University of Louisville repayed that expenditure of public funds by naming the auditorium in the new addition after McConnell's wife, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.
In attempt to spin this one look at the pitiful comment by the university president to the WaPo.
Why Chao? University President James R. Ramsey explained it was because she is a role model for students. "Elaine Chao is a national leader and a true friend of the university," Ramsey said. Chao also "is very positive in her comments about the University of Louisville when she speaks publicly," he wrote the school trustees, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.


On Hackett, Hillary, & So-Called Moderates - COWABUNGA!


Paul Hackett - a Fighting Dem, Iraq War Vet with a spine, a man who dares to call Bush a "sonuvabitch", a man with integrity who very nearly beat "Mean" Jean Schmidt in one of the most conservative districts in one of the most corrupt states in America - is out because Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer thought him to be too "uncivil" for the Capitol Hill cocktail circuit.

Hillary Clinton - a triangulating carpetbagger who's rattling sabers against Iran, pandering to the wingnuts with the Flag Burning Amendment and pandering to the bluenoses with her anti-sex scene video game bloviating - is considered the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Everywhere I look there are these so-called Democrat moderates who made sure poor taxpayers would be stuck with overwhelming debt (Biden and others on the Bankruptcy Bill), made sure female taxpayers' right to choose is more likely to be a quaint anachronism (Nelson and others who wouldn't filibuster Scalito), made sure gay and lesbian taxpayers remain second-class citizens (supporters of DOMA), made sure taxpaying American workers have to "race to the bottom" to compete with pennies-on-the-dollar overseas labor in countries that don't have pesky environmental and worker's rights legislation (supporters of CAFTA), and made sure more peaceful law-abiding plant-smoking taxpayers get locked up in the "War on (Certain American Taxpayers Using Non-Alcoholic, Non-Pharmaceutical, Tobacco-Free) Drugs" in order to look "tough on crime".

Enough already! No taxation without representation!

The backroom party machinations that have caused an honest, plain-spoken man with bravery and integrity like Hackett to bow out of a Senate race is the final nail in the coffin of the two-party system in America. We don't have a liberal and a conservative system of adversarial opposition parties anymore; we have the moderate-right- and the far-right-wing of the Corporate Politburo. Welcome to the United Soviet Corporate Republic; In God We Trust and All Others Pay Cash.

Dennis Miller (back when he was funny) once opined that "the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats are owned by a slightly less scary group of special interests." Ralph Nader (for all his flaws) ran on virtually the same idea in 2000.

Democrats then and now keep telling me we wouldn't be in the mess we're in if they were in charge. They wouldn't be as destructive to the environment or the as enabling to the deficit. They wouldn't have marched to war on phony intelligence or abandoned the poor in New Orleans. They wouldn't have done any number of the litany of Republican crimes and misdemeanors... but they're awfully short on a list what they would do. All I can discern from them is the message that they're not as hideously awful as the Republicans.

That may be true, which is why, given the choice between Democrat or Republican, I'll pick the Democrat every time. But then I recall the words of another comedian, Sam Kinison, whose response to the fact that our only two sexual choices are to "love women or suck a dick" responded, "Thanks God! Thanks for the big menu down here!"

Big menu, indeed. Who do I vote for that promises full and equal treatment of all citizens under the law regardless of sexual orientation? Who do I vote for that promises to end the big money dominance in American politics? Who do I vote for that promises to end the illegal occupation of Iraq? Who do I vote for that promises to support not "free trade", but "fair trade" to give the American worker a fair chance to complete globally? Who do I vote for that promises to radically restructure drug policy to end the prohibition policies that lead to so much violence and despair and the world's largest prison population?

My father once told me the following joke, which to me illustrates the political "choice" I have in the coming elections:
Three missionaries are traversing the deepest darkest jungles in South America when they are captured by a violent tribe of cannibalistic aborigines. The tribe takes the three men, bound hand and foot, to the tribal shaman.

The shaman, surrounded by the tribe, faces the three missionaries. Turning to the first missionary, he proclaims: "You have trespassed upon our sacred lands. Our gods declare that you may choose your punishment of death... or cowabunga!"*

The tribe quiets their drums and listens intently. The first missionary says, "I don't know what this cowabunga is you speak of, but I certainly know what death is! Whatever it is, it can't be as bad as death. I choose cowabunga!"

The tribe hoots and hollers and bangs their drums and jumps for joy. "Cowabunga it is!" exclaims the shaman. The tribe then takes the man to a clearing, strips him naked, lays him face-down, spread-eagle, with hands and feet tied to stakes in the ground. Then the tribe proceeds to beat, kick, and rape the helpless missionary, ignoring his cries, until the shaman gives a signal to cease. The tribe unties him and places the poor missionary aside, his body a bloody, bruised, defiled mess, just barely breathing and clinging to life.

The shaman turns to the second missionary. "You have trespassed upon our sacred lands. Our gods declare that you may choose your punishment of death... or cowabunga!"

The second missionary looks back at the first one, lying in the dust, a beaten, hollow, pathetic shell. "Well, that cowabunga looks mighty awful," the second missionary explains, "but at least he's alive. I can't recover from death, but in time, I could heal and recover from a savage beating. I choose cowabunga."

The tribe shrieks with delight as they replay the actions they perpetrated upon the first missionary. They beat him and kick him and rape him until the shaman gives the signal, then leave him in the dust too, barely breathing and clinging to life.

The shaman turns to the third missionary. "You have trespassed upon our sacred lands. Our gods declare that you may choose your punishment of death... or cowabunga!"

The third missionary stoically puffs out his chest. "I am a child of The Lord, and I know there is an afterlife and a heaven awaiting me. I will not submit to the degradation of savages. I choose death!"

The tribe reacts with even more fervor than before as the shaman extends his arms skyward and shouts, "SO BE IT! DEATH BY COWABUNGA!!!"
* Don't as me why the aboriginal tribal cannibal shaman speaks perfect English. He probably picked it up at Yale when he joined Skull & Bones.

So call me am extreme radical if you must for the silly thought that maybe someone should be courting my vote. "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." -- Barry Goldwater (and you know I'm pissed when I'm quoting Republicans!)


How much body armor could the Pentagon buy with this?

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Costs Taxpayers an Estimated $363.8 Million.

Just asking.


Paul Hackett drops out of Ohio Senate race



I'm slammed today; many more bloggers have already hit the story of Paul Hackett succumbing to the establishment pressure to withdraw from the Ohio Senate race, so I'll just link up to The Moderate Voice, which has several links on the development.

Why is Ohio such a swamp of corruption and regressive politics? You hate to see a great Fighting Dem prospect like Hackett beaten down, though we'll never know the full story about the backroom backstabbing. It's too bad because Hackett he was pro-gay, to boot.

Here's part of Hackett's statement :
Today I am announcing that I am withdrawing from the race for United States Senate. I made this decision reluctantly, only after repeated requests by party leaders, as well as behind the scenes machinations, that were intended to hurt my campaign.

But there was no quid pro quo. I will not be running in the Second Congressional District nor for any other elective office. This decision is final, and not subject to reconsideration.

I told the voters from the beginning that I am not a career politician and never aspired to be – that I was about leadership, service and commitment.

Similarly, I told party officials that I had given my word to other good Democrats, who will take the fight to the Second District, that I would not run. In reliance on my word they entered the race. I said it. I meant it. I stand by it. At the end of the day, my word is my bond and I will take it to my grave.

Thus ends my 11 month political career. Although it is an overused political cliche, I really will be spending more time with my family, something I wasn’t able to do because my service to country in the political realm continued after my return from Iraq.
Sherrod Brown, representing the 13th district, is now going to get the Dem nod. (You can learn more about Brown and his grassroots project to take back the state, Grow Ohio, at Hughes for America). His stance on rights issues can be found here.

Also:
* Another Dem gay-rights spine located: Paul Hackett


Journal: Gay marriage 'is good for health'

This BBC article headline stems from the oft-quoted figures that gays and lesbians suffer from higher rates of depression, cancer and substance abuse. Usually the wingers attribute it to some organic issue tied to being gay itself, which is ludicrous. It doesn't serve their purposes to look at the societal factors that are, to anyone with common sense, the actual reason for the statistics.

A scientific periodical, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, approaches the data from a different angle.
The report said civil partnerships, which were introduced in England and Wales in December, were likely to reduce prejudice and social exclusion.

...Professor Michael King, of University College London, who co-wrote the article, said: "Civil partnerships are likely to break down some of the prejudice and promote greater understanding, including among staff working in the health service.

"Legal civil partnerships could increase the stability of same sex relationships and minimise the social exclusion to which gay and lesbian people are often subjected."

...And the report said studies had shown those who are in a stable relationship, of either the same or opposite sex, enjoyed some health benefits. It cited Swiss research which showed patients with HIV in stable partnerships were more likely to progress more slowly to Aids.

And other studies have revealed that married same sex couples had greater openness about their sexual orientation and closer relationships with their relatives than same sex couples not in civil partnerships.
Also, 365gay places this study in context with an article on the effects that the marriage amendment has had in the state of Texas.
A counseling center that provides psychotherapy services to Austin's LGBT community says that the constitutional amendment passed by Texas voters last November is taking a toll on the mental of health of gays and lesbians in the state.

"After the election and through December, we are aware that the number of clients that we're dealing with who have suicidal thoughts and behaviors or actions really dramatically increased," Derek Leighton with Waterloo Counseling Center said.

Leighton said that people feel feel disenfranchised and discarded.

Even center Executive Director Gail Goodman said she has been affected by the outcome of the vote.

"I felt betrayed, and I felt alone. The feeling that 90 percent of Texas didn't value me. It wasn't about whether I wanted to get married or not. It was more about Texas saying, 'You're not OK,'" Goodman said, adding that she and her partner of 11 years, Lynne Milburn, feel unsafe and have thought about moving to another state.
When you legislate intolerance and create second-class citizens out of law-abiding taxpayers, this is the result. The loving "Christians" who are so worried about the sanctity of marriage justify the prejudice that they harbor toward LGBT people by twisting data to further demonize them as sick or dangerous people.


A must-read on a stubbornly politically closeted pol


California Republican Congressman David Dreier was the center of Beltway controversy when he was promoted as the man to keep Tom DeLay's House Majority seat warm last year, and then was mysteriously demoted, it was over much of the blogosphere that it was because he's a big old homo.

This is common knowledge in DC, but not back home with his constituents. The local media keeps its mouth shut.

Mark Cromer, one of the the reporters who published a scorching outing piece in Hustler, is running an extensive series on how and why Dreier has managed to keep the local press (and in fact, the MSM) from politically de-closeting him, called No Articles Were Found. A snippet:
Dreier's political paradox finds him simultaneously cavorting with his chief of staff and long-time companion Brad Smith (reportedly living with him as well) while making common cause with his party to strip gays of basic protections, from employment law and hate crimes legislation to the GOP's kamikaze attacks on the radical notion of allowing homosexuals to say 'I do.'

Thus, Dreier's unflinching loyalty to the Republican platform and his skill at publicly living a charade has served him well in the GOP, just as he long as he never seriously hoped to reach beyond representing a safe congressional seat. The party leadership has been quite comfortable to allow him his seat and to chair the powerful House Rules Committee, but that's where the leash ends.
The whole Dreier debacle over the majority leader post shows you the state of journalism today. It's pathetic.
A staffer at the Daily Bulletin called me up right after Blount had been named interim leader and sardonically laughed that the newspaper's readers were treated to a now well-established magic routine: Now you see Dave, now you don't. The newspaper, he noted, reported that Dreier was a serious contender for the leadership post, but in the ensuing shuffle Dreier's supposed candidacy simply evaporates and little if any contextual explanation is offered.

Since the newspaper's reporters and columnists are absolutely forbidden to address the issue, even obliquely, Dreier's supposed promotion ends up looking like a bad Christmas decoration that is left hanging outside long after December: everyone sees it, no one says anything and then one day it's just gone.

...The reasons for protecting Dreier's sexual identity differ between the Los Angeles Times and the smaller Tribune and Daily Bulletin, but there are common threads that connect them.

In the Times case, the primary issue seems to be one of shielding Democratic sacred cow Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party and himself a closeted homosexual.
Oy, this is juicy. Go read the rest...

***

It seems like I'm blogging about an endless stream of losers like Dreier, and the damage that they are doing as long as they are willing to be used by the wingers to gay-bash. These conservative gay politicians need to get a backbone (to be fair, it would also help if all gay elected officials came out, regardless of party affiliation), and make an honest case for why there should be a marriage amendment, for example.

I think we all know that if they did come out -- with all the baggage that entails -- they might have a different opinion on the matter. But the closet is so good for power acquisition in the Republican party, isn't it?

Dreier did learn, however, that there is a lavendar-tinted glass ceiling, huh?

As I've said before on the Blend, while folks can differ with theoretical fully out gay Republican legislators on many political positions, It's pretty clear that we could unite on basic gay civil rights issues. But what's common among the closeted Republican homo-hypocrites is that their padlocked closets are impeding their ability to think clearly. They are are living a lie, and often they are products of their environment -- socially conservative families and neighborhoods, that make the personal aspect, let alone the political aspect of coming out too psychologically difficult to deal with.

Look at Ed Schrock.In my opinion, closeted gay legislators like Schrock who 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 who has come out that would prefer to be back in the closet. Late last year, Patrick Guerreiro of the Log Cabin Republicans (a group I just don't understand most of the time) wrote a great editorial finally challenging the Dreiers on the Hill to kick open the closet door.
Now is the time for closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted. Now is the time we can really make a difference. If every gay conservative came out of the closet today, the journey to full equality would be over in years instead of decades.

It would soon become ineffective to use gay and lesbian families as wedge issues in campaigns. The cynical efforts to amend our federal and state constitutions would be stopped. The hypocrisy of anti-gay political tactics being used by way too many Republicans and some Democrats would be finally exposed.

One of the biggest unkept secrets in Washington, D.C., is that closeted gay Republicans are everywhere: the White House, Republican Party organizations, the halls of Congress, the most influential law offices, and the most powerful lobbying firms in our nation’s capital.

Some of those who remain closeted have chosen to be either passive bystanders or, in some cases, active critics of our movement while comfortably partaking in the fringe benefits of our community work, sipping the finest martinis in our trendiest gay bars.
Time after time, we've seen that these folks are unable to reconcile who they are with their ethics, morals or basic priniciples. These politicians need to come out, get a shrink, and not any votes to restrict my rights until they resolve their personal demons about their orientation.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.

Also:
* Dreier was passed over because he's a fag
* Homo-hating homo Dave Dreier hires Tony Blair's son
* Self-loathing homo Congressman Dave Dreier gets deserved grief


Who the young Repugs think will be on the top of the 2008 ticket

Monday, February 13, 2006

I thought I'd pop this poll of last weekend's attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference up so you all can chew over these names. Most of the respondents were of the Yellow Elephant set. (Human Events):
Thinking ahead to the 2008 presidential election, who do you think will be the next Republican nominee for President?

George Allen: 22%
John McCain: 20%
Rudy Giuliani: 12%
Condoleezza Rice: 10%
Bill Frist: 6%
Tom Tancredo: 5%
Mitt Romney: 5%
Newt Gingrich: 5%
Rick Santorum: 3%
George Pataki: 3%
Undecided: 4%

*All others tested received 1% or less

When conservatives were polled about Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) maintained her status as the frontrunner among CPAC attendees. With 62% of the vote, Clinton was the clear leader in the straw poll.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was the only other Democrat to hit double digits. Warner is considered the moderate alternative to the liberal Clinton. However, he faces an uphill battle against the well-known former first lady.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.), the 2004 Democrat nominee, pulled in just 2% among CPAC attendees.

Here are the results:

Of the following whom do you believe Democrats will nominate for President in 2008?

Hillary Clinton: 62% [right; this is the candidate CPAC wishes would win the nom]
Mark Warner: 10%
John Edwards: 7%
Bill Richardson: 4%
Wesley Clark: 3%
Russ Feingold: 2%
Evan Bayh: 2%
John Kerry: 2%
Tom Vilsack: 1%
Other: 1%
Undecided: 4%

More than 1,200 CPAC attendees participated. An overwhelming number of college students swayed the results of the poll. According to a breakdown by age, those 18-25 made up 81% of respondents.


Scotty got his tushy kicked again over Cheney

Raw Story has the transcript of today's briefing. McClellan had to go fetal again while he dissembled and obfuscated for his bosses. Just one section of the insanity.


Q I just want to clarify one thing. Is it appropriate for a private citizen to be the person to disseminate the information that the vice president of the United States has been -- has shot someone?

MR. MCCLELLAN: That's one way to provide information to the public. The vice president's office worked with her -- well, I should say the vice president -- the vice president spoke with her directly and agreed that she should --

Q But you make it sound like it's up to her to decide when it comes out.

MR. MCCLELLAN: -- agreed that she should make it public, and then they would provide additional information.

Q But why should it be up to a private citizen to decide when it comes out?

MR. MCCLELLAN: It came out -- it came out Sunday morning. I've told you the way that I've operated and the way I've provided information in similar circumstances.

Q Certainly different --

Q Scott, has the vice president --

MR. MCCLELLAN: Is this on -- Go ahead. Michael, go ahead.

Q Has the vice president always had a hunting license whenever he's gone hunting? There was an item in one of the wire stories this morning that he had a license prior to November, but other stories said he goes every year to Texas. I have a follow-up as well.

MR. MCCLELLAN: Check with his office. I don't have those facts.
It has also been reported (by CBS) that local law enforcement officials were barred from interviewing Darth about his "mishap." The whitewashed sheriff's press release is here.

Also, Darth was hunting quail illegally, and Cheney's office blames his illegal hunting on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


Red likes us...

...our least favorite crimson-penised Angry Redneck really likes us. (And no, he doesn't get a link; you can Google him yourself. Warning: offensive content and garish HTML await you.)

But apparently someone complained to Blogger about him violating their Terms of Service (thanks to a Blender for pointing that out in the comments), because now his site is behind an "objectionable content" wall, and his posts about "n*ggers, sp*cks, and ch*nks" seem to have disappeared.

So now apparently we've earned his focus and wrath:
Support the NAACP!

I know that my recent posts backing the rights of African Americans has made the left mad, but I will not be will not be deterred in supporting the rights of all of God's children. This is what the left does not want you to see! " Radical Ross Belville" is preaching hatred on his site about Christians! "Pam's Coffee House" is doing the very same thing. These people are scared of Christianity! Why do these two hate people of color so much? Why are they willing to lie at any cost? What do they have to gain? These are racists in the utmost sense of the word! Pray for them, please. Pam is a lesbian and bound for hell!
Pam, why DO you hate black people so much? And don't worry, sweetie, I'm an atheist, so I'll save you a nice spot by the Lake of Fire. (Me and Red have been wrasslin' for months. I seem to attract trolls. Must be my cologne.)

What was I talking about? Ah, yes, "scared of Christianity". Since Red's sanitized his blog, let's use the magic of Google's cache to learn more about Red's brand of Compassionate Christian Conservatism that what we're scared of:
XXX Muslim Women!! F*ck Muhammad!! Naked Muslim Women Here!

F*ck you Allah!!

[On a cute Photoshopped Wendy's sign:] Liberals suck Red Peters' c*ck!

[On a cute Photoshopped picture of a man in a gorilla suit holding aloft a sign, found from a link called "The Black Caucus":] Red Peters gets my vote and I am a black mo fo!

[On a cute Photoshopped billboard, found from a "link for minorities":] All Minorities can suck Red Peter's d*ck!
Note that this "Red Peters" is not the rockabilly musician Red Peters.

Now he's sent me nine e-mails in the past half-hour. Thank MNESD that Outlook has great spam-catching features. Hey, Fritz, feel up to one of those excellent cartoons of yours?

In a sense, it is too bad Blogger sanitized him. He used to be such a perfect example.


Frist uses CPAC to bleat about marriage amendment



Video diagnostician and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist rubs it in about the June vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment.
"Today, the institution of marriage is under attack," Frist told the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference in Washington on Friday.

..."When America's values are under attack, we need to act," Frist said. "And on June 5 - and everybody note that on your calendar - when I bring the Marriage Protection Amendment to the Senate floor, we will act."
For sh*t and giggles, look at who else got up to pontificate at CPAC...
Other speakers at the event were noted anti-gay leaders Phyllis Schlafly; Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa); Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan); and Alan Chambers, head of the "ex-gay" group Exodus International.



The proposed amendment is almost identical to one which failed to get enough votes in 2004. It was reintroduced in January. A House version was reintroduced in March. Federal law already bans recognition of same-sex unions. The federal Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Frist said that the law is not enough, adding that the amendment would block "the whims of a few activist judges" from overriding "the common sense of the American people."


Bag Hillary; this is ridiculous

Please, if there is still anyone out there who thinks Hillary is actually a viable 2008 candidate, please try to make the case. I see absolutely no reason why the Dems should nominate her.

Now we have her positioning herself with the most ludicrous hawk position on Iran, along with Indiana's Evan Bayh (also positioning for 2008). What a bag of hot air -- talk is cheap when you want to talk about the possibility of military action in Iran. This is empty muscle-flexing that will convince no one (except the devout Hillary believers). (Salon, reg/ad view req'd):

REUTERS/Jason Reed

The always-square-in-the-middle-of-the-road Sen. Clinton declared in a foreign-policy address at Princeton last month, "We cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran -- that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons." It is easy to draw such lines in the dust three years before any Democratic president would be forced to act on them, but there is also a risk that such threats may ultimately sound as hollow as demanding Osama bin Laden "dead or alive."

...Bayh, Clinton and the other all-options-on-the-table Democrats have not yet Krazy-glued themselves into any precipitous course such as, say, threatening airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. But in the 33 months (yes, we are already counting down) to the 2008 election, there will be many tempting opportunities for national-security Democrats to ratchet up their guns-blazing rhetoric on Iran. But the last thing the Democrats need -- especially when so many of them proved so compliant for so long over Iraq -- is to give way to I-ran-amok posturing in their quest for the White House.
Let's see Hil...what's left of the U.S. military to even send over there? Can you imagine the laughter of the mullahs as they gear up to launch a fresh "holy war on U.S. terror"? Any f*cking thing to get elected. How can her defenders get behind this transparent shilling?

I don't see what the appeal is; even if she weren't a Clinton, her positions are so squishy and have the odor of polling and focus groups. Hil and her minions just don't get the fact that she's just plain unpopular in flyover country.

Hat tip, 'Bean, who nearly had a conniption when he read this article...


Fundies to Arnold: terminate your lesbo chief of staff or else

The Governator has now learned that pandering to the wild-eyed, homo-bigoted base only gets you in deeper sh*t.

The self-appointed morality stooges in the California GOP are threatening not to endorse Schwarzenegger's re-election bid unless he dumps his newly appointed chief of staff, out lesbian Susan Kennedy (who's a Democrat to add insult to injury to the wingers).
California Republican leaders are struggling behind the scenes to quell an insurrection by angry conservatives who want to strip Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of the state party endorsement if he doesn't drop his Democratic chief of staff, Susan Kennedy.

The conservative California Republican Assembly's demand for a vote on its "Susan Kennedy Resolution" has tossed a firebomb into efforts to shape the party's agenda at its Feb. 24-26 winter convention in San Jose.

Two leading conservative activists, former state Republican Party Chairman Michael Schroeder and California Republican Assembly President Mike Spence, indicated in interviews that they would back away from the Kennedy resolution if party leaders allow convention votes on four other measures critical of Schwarzenegger's legislative agenda.

...But the conservative backlash against the governor is crystallizing in an uproar over his appointment of Kennedy, whom the resolution claims "has spent most of her adult life pursuing a partisan Democratic agenda for higher taxes, greater government spending, gay rights, abortion rights ... and other anti-Republican policy issues."
You lie down with the bible-beating dogs, and you come up with fleas, Arnie.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Is Dick Cheney going to be charged with a crime?



Was the White House ever going to report that the Vice President of the United States almost killed a man while hunting?
E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occured and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation.

The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christ Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.

...The [Houston] Chronicle also reports Monday that hunting accidents are amazingly rare in Texas. In 2004, it said, the state's 1 million-plus hunters were involved in only 29 hunting-related accidents (19 involving firearms), four of which were fatal.
Good god, can you even imagine the wingnut bleating if this had been Clinton or Gore?

Now that the White House is spinning that Cheney's shooting victim, Austin attorney Harry Whittington, is the one responsible for his own injuries, it's time to pull out the little safety manual, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education guidelines...


Rules Hunters Can Live By . . . Ten Commandments of Shooting Safety

1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
Control the direction of the muzzle at all times. Do not point a firearm or bow at anything you do not intend to shoot. Never rest a muzzle on your toe or foot. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until the instant you are ready to fire. Always keep the safety on until ready to fire; however, the safety should never be a substitute for safe firearm handling.

2. Treat every firearm or bow with the same respect you would show a loaded gun or nocked arrow.
Every time you pick up a firearm, the first thing you do is point the muzzle in a safe direction and check to see if it is loaded. Be sure the chamber and magazine are empty and that the action is open until ready to be fired. If you do not understand how to determine if it is loaded, do not accept the firearm until someone has safely shown you that it is unloaded. Read your instruction manual carefully before you handle new firearms or bows.

3. Be sure of your target and what is in front of and beyond your target.
Before you pull the trigger you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it. Use binoculars! Know what is in front of and behind your target. Determine that you have a safe backstop or background. Since you do not know what is on the other side, never take a shot at any animals on top of ridges or hillsides. Know how far bullets, arrows and pellets can travel. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces, such as water, rocks or steel because of ricochets.

4. Unload firearms and unstring conventional bows when not in use.
Leave actions open, and store sporting arms in cases when traveling to and from shooting areas. Take bolts out or break down shotguns if necessary. Know how your equipment operates. Store and transport firearms and ammunition separately and under lock and key. Store firearms and bows in cool, dry places. Use gun or trigger locks and guards when not in use.

5. Handle the firearms, arrows and ammunition carefully.
Avoid horseplay with firearms. Never climb a fence, a tree or a ladder with a loaded firearm or bow and arrows. Never jump a ditch or cross difficult terrain with a loaded firearm or nocked arrow. Never face or look down the barrel from the muzzle end. Be sure the only ammunition you carry correctly matches the gauge or caliber you are shooting. Always carry arrows in a protected cover or quiver. Learn the proper carries. Try to use the two-hand carry whenever possible because it affords you the best muzzle control. Always carry handguns with hammers over an empty chamber or cylinder. If you fall, be sure to disassemble the gun and check the barrel from the breech end for obstructions. Carry a field cleaning kit.

6. Know your safe zone-of-fire and stick to it.
Your safe zone-of-fire is that area or direction in which you can safely fire a shot. It is "down range" at a shooting facility. In the field it is that mental image you draw in your mind with every step you take. Be sure you know where your companions are at all times. Never swing your gun or bow out of your safe zone-of-fire. Know the safe carries when there are persons to your sides, in front of, or behind you. If in doubt, never take a shot. When hunting, wear daylight fluorescent orange so you can be seen from a distance or in heavy cover.

7. Control your emotions when it comes to safety.
If you lose control of your emotions you may do something carelessly. If you have just shot a target or animal you probably will be excited. At that moment you may turn with a loaded firearm back towards your friends or you might run with a loaded firearm towards a downed animal with the gun safety off. You or someone else may be in danger once you lose control of your emotions. Show discipline. Rehearse in your mind what the safe actions will be. Do not allow your daydreams to prelace good judment. Show restraint and pass up shots which have the slightest chance of being unsafe.

8. Wear hearing and eye protection.
While shooting at the range, you must wear hearing and eye protection at all times. Firearms are loud and can create noises which are damaging to a person's hearing. It can be a gradual loss of hearing due to outbursts of noise over many years. The damage could also be immediate, especially if your ears are next to a muzzle blast. Vibrations from the blast are enough to create loss of hearing. Wear glasses to protect your eyes from escaping gases, burnt powder (especially in blackpowder shooting), and other debris.

9. Don't drink alcohol or take drugs before or while handling firearms or bow and arrows.
Alcohol and drugs impair normal physical and mental body functions and mustn't be used before or while handling firearms or archery equipment. These substances affect emotions, making it easier to lose control.

10. Be aware of additional circumstances which require added caution or safety awareness.
Just because something isn't listed under these "ten commandments of shooting safety" doesn't mean you can ignore it if it is dangerous. There may be rules such as in muzzleloading or archery or posted at a shooting range which should also be followed. Also, practice reloading safety by following and reading all specific instructions. Practice all commandments of shooting safety. Ensure a safe future for you, others and the shooting sports!
Let's see, according to the ranch owner where this happened, placing the blame on Whittington.
Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," said Armstrong, who was in the car.

"The vice president didn't see him," Armstrong told the AP. "The covey flushed, and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."
But wait, here's another AP story with that critical paragraph missing. Cheney pulled off a shot with Whittington in the line of fire.
According to The Associated Press, ranch owner Katharine Armstrong said Whittington shot a quail around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and was attempting to retrieve it from a stand of tall grass. Meanwhile, Cheney and a third member of the hunting party flushed a second covey of quail in another section of the field.

Whittington was rejoining the others when the birds took flight and Cheney took aim, Armstrong said.

"The vice president didn't see him," Armstrong told the AP. "The covey flushed, and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."
That sounds like Darth wasn't adhering to commandments 1, 3, 5, 6 listed above, no matter how it's spun.

Also, the third person present during the accident has been identified -- Pamela Willeford, a former Texas education official and the current U.S. ambassador to Switzerlan, according to Raw Story. Raw notes that Willeford's spin is that "the sun was behind Whittington as well, possibly making him more difficult to see."

Well then, Cheney's still responsible. I wonder if Scott McClellan is going fetal yet?

***

Fun fact: Whittington has long been active in Texas Republican politics; he was named by then-Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Funeral Service Commission, which was involved in a major scandal investigating improperly licensed embalmers in Dallas during Shrub's tenure. The company, Kenyon International, has a subsidiary, SCI, that landed a Katrina body-counting contract. See this earlier Blend post,


Talking about freedom


Here's our wedding page.

February 12-18 is Freedom to Marry week, a time to open up a discussion about the right to civil marriage equality, how to frame the message and most of all, to share personal stories that show why this is about fairness, and quite frankly, why there's no reason to fear this. From Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry.
This is a week to engage the people around us in this conversation about fairness. Gay people — and our friends, families and allies — cannot assume that just because a person loves us and is generally a good guy that this person understands how the denial of marriage harms us. We have to challenge each other and ourselves to make a more substantive, moral case for what we stand for.

It is not enough for gay people and our allies to say we are for marriage equality, and then wait for the courts or legislators to do the heavy lifting. Rather, it is our job to take every opportunity to address people's concerns and discomfort, answer questions, and give them the time and information they need.

When non-gay people talk about marriage, they mean love, clarity, security, respect, family, intimacy dedication, self-sacrifice and equality — qualities that describe the relationships and lives of gay and lesbian couples just as well.

Trying to avoid supporting marriage equality by suggesting other, lesser solutions such as civil unions only complicates the issue by inviting questions about how such arrangements would be defined, what form they would take, how they would differ from marriage and what role states or the federal government would have.

Why do we need two lines at the clerk's office, or unequal protections for some couples and kids? With marriage, on the other hand, rights and obligations are already clearly established in all 50 states as well as with the federal government. Marriage is the system we have.

All families should share equally in the rights, protections and responsibilities currently afforded only to some. Gay families also deserve health care, retirement protections, the ability to use scarce needed funds to afford education or a home and the ability to give kids the security to openly and proudly describe their families. This would make our nation stronger.
***

In same-sex marriage news...

* In Chicago, there was a march in support of marriage equality over the weekend.

* it looks like New Jersey is moving closer to it, as its Supreme Court begins hearings on the matter on Wednesday.

* Arizona: Opposition to that state's 'Protect Marriage Amendment' is garnering support from straight allies.

* Minnesota is bracing for a battle of the bucks over an marriage amendment battle there.

* Kansas is moving forward on a marriage amendment; sadly its House voted 86-37, three more than the two-thirds majority necessary to approve the measure.

Feel free to contribute more news, links or updates in the comments.


'Liberal' = a failure to pledge blind loyalty to the Chimp

Glenn Greenwald is brilliant. It's a long, fantastic post with so many opportunities for pulling snippets. I don't think I've seen anyone articulate the political insanity on the Chimp-humping Right any better than this.
Now, in order to be considered a "liberal," only one thing is required – a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a "liberal," regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more "liberal" one is. Whether one is a "liberal" -- or, for that matter, a "conservative" -- is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush.

...We see the same thing happening to hard-core conservative Bob Barr due to his criticism of Bush's violations of FISA . Similarly, the minute a Senator with years of conservatism behind them deviates from a Bush decree on a single issue, they are no longer "conservative." George Voinovich became a "liberal" the minute he refused to support John Bolton’s nomination; John Sununu is now "liberal" because he did not favor immediate renewal of every single provision of the Patriot Act which Bush demanded, and Senators like Chuck Hagel and John McCain long ago gave up any "conservative" status because of their insistence on forming opinions that occasionally deviate from the decrees from the White House.

People who self-identify as "conservatives" and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That’s because "conservatism" is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as "liberal" is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

That "conservatism" has come to mean "loyalty to George Bush" is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. It is not only the obvious (though significant) explosion of deficit spending under this Administration – and that explosion has occurred far beyond military or 9/11-related spending and extends into almost all arenas of domestic programs as well.
Please click over and read all of Glenn's post. He scorches the hypocrisy, and more pointedly, the ideological dishonesty of Dear Leader's sheeple.

That said, I think that this claim can be made on the other side of the aisle as well, after all I would classify my latest whipping boy, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a "conservative" - a conservative-to-moderate Democrat. For the wingnut, love-the-Chimp-at-all-costs Right, there is no dissent -- it's all or nothing.

I readily admit that I classify myself as all-or-nothing in regards to gay civil equality and the Democratic party. I could easily support a Dem with moderate views on plenty of issues, but gay civil rights has served as an electability demarcation line for many politicians.

It's been easy to toss gays overboard for them, to label civil equality a fringe issue when it has been a core value in the past when other groups fought against discrimination. I don't consider my position on the fringe Left, but my party tells me this is so. Glenn:
We have heard for a long time that anger and other psychological and emotional factors drive the extreme elements on the Left, but that is (at least) equally true for the Bush extremists. The only difference happens to be that the Bush extremists control every major governmental institution in the country and the extremists on the Left control nothing other than the crusted agenda for the latest International A.N.S.W.E.R. meeting.
As Dems are out of power, a more apt comparison might look like the ideological battle in the Democratic party between the moderate wing (let's swing to the right to get elected) vs. the progressives (reframe the issues and we can win). The questioning of purity of belief and principles is equally strong when you listen to the objections of people who are struggling to redefine the party, or at this point, even figure out what the party stands for at all.

This manifests itself in strange, almost amusing ways - Hillary shilling for a flag-burning amendment, Tim Kaine loving on a Virginia marriage amendment to give him "conservative street cred," Joe Biden licking the boots of his Delaware credit card company masters for the bankruptcy bill; Holy Joe on just about any issue at this point.

Are they conservatives? Well, not if you follow the wingnut definition as defined in Glenn's post. They don't kiss W's feet. I would define these Dems as "opportunists" rather than "conservatives" when I criticize them. I think they take the positions they do because they are willing to take any political position that allows them to retain the power and position they have (or seek to attain).

They are not any more ideologically pure than the loser sitting in the White House, or a host of political 'ho bags up on the Hill.


Too good

I thought I was going to die laughing at this, by Bob Cesca at HuffPost:

EXCLUSIVE: First Photo of Cheney Shooting Victim

The above photo shows Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to reporters at the bedside of the man who he "accidentally" shot this weekend while on a hunting trip in Texas.

A spokesman for the vice president identified the shooting victim as Harry Whittington, but sources close to the incident suggest "Harry Whittington" is a Secret Service code name for Cheney's indicted former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"Honestly, I didn't mean to shoot Scoot-- I mean, Harry Whittington," the vice president told reporters in "Mr. Whittington's" hospital recovery room.
There's more...


United Arab Emirates jails 12 for attending 'gay wedding'

State-sanctioned punishment for simply being at a gay-related event is mind-blowing and sick, but here's a case where twelve men are going to jail for five years for doing just that. No one was caught participating in sexual activity. They confessed (you have to wonder what methods were used to "elicit" a confession of their orientation).

And there's no appeal, it's not clear whether these men face forced hormone injections as well.
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) court has jailed 12 men who were arrested after being discovered preparing for a gay wedding but acquitted another 14 defendants.

"Eleven men have confessed to practising homsexuality. They were sentenced to five years in prison (for homosexuality) and one year for obscenity," the official told AFP Sunday. "Another man was sentenced to one year in prison for obscenity, but was acquitted of homosexuality charges... while 14 others have been released after being found not guilty," he added.

...It said the men were busted in a hotel "dressed in women's clothes and make-up in preparation of gay wedding."

The official said the verdict was not final and could be appealed. The US State Department had condemned the arrests and called on its close Gulf ally to stop reported plans for a forced hormone treatment against the suspects, which an interior ministry official then denied.
More on the background of this story from DIRELAND, Doug also notes:
The UAE has also just banned the film "Brokeback Mountain," as part of "its efforts in protecting the society from unethical and immoral practices."


Lynn Swann gets nod from PA GOP for governor

"It is important that the next Governor of Pennsylvania share the values of Pennsylvanians. I believe I have those core conservative values; spend less, tax less, protect the most innocent among us, govern in a compassionate way, and provide opportunity for all Pennsylvanians."
-- Lynn Swann
Dem Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell will likely face former NFL star Lynn Swann in the fall. On Saturday the state Republican State Committee endorsed the anti-choice gubernatorial candidate Swann, who tearfully accepted the backing and blasted Rendell. (Pittsburgh Live):
On top of a 10 percent increase in the personal income tax, Rendell has "raised every fee you can think of for the state of Pennsylvania," Swann said. "The cost of a birth certificate is more. The cost of a death certificate is more and the cost of life in between under Ed Rendell is just too damn expensive."

...Swann is the first black to win the endorsement of either major party for Pennsylvania governor. Chester County Recorder of Deeds Terrence Farrell attended the committee meeting as a guest, not a delegate.

Asked as a black elected official what the GOP endorsement of Swann means to him, Farrell responded, "I think the real significance is we have a great candidate, who happens to be African-American. The fact that he's African-American is secondary to being a great candidate."

...Tricia Enright, Rendell's campaign spokeswoman, said Swann talks about property tax relief but hasn't offered specifics about how he would pay for it. Leadership "means tackling top issues, not punting on them," she said.
Swann has charisma and presence and I think he's obviously a strong candidate. When you go to his web site, you'll notice the Santorum-esque conservative agenda is firmly in place.
Lynn Swann believes that the Commonwealth has an obligation to protect its citizens, and that includes the most innocent among us, the unborn.

As Governor, Lynn Swann would support extending protections to the unborn. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe. Vs. Wade, Lynn Swann would sign a bill the legislature sends him extending additional protections to the unborn.

Until that time, Lynn Swann will continue attempting to create a culture of life, both by using legislation as well as using the bully pulpit of the office. He will work to reduce the numbers of abortions by encouraging alternatives, including adoption and abstinence.
What? No birth control, Lynn? Were all your NFL buddies abstinent in your glory days? I would assume that most of them were boinking chicks and impregnating quite a few, and the rest at least had the good fortune to carouse with women who thought enough to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies with contraception, something nowhere in your message about reducing the need for abortions.

I will give him one thing, a couple of sentences tucked into his vision that indicates that he at least acknowledges the need to provide for those less fortunate than himself (omething completely missing in the Rovian conservative agenda), harkening back to another NFL star and current conservative in the wilderness, Jack Kemp:
Compassion will top the governing agenda. Lynn Swann would make sure that government retains its role as a safety net for those who need it. By keeping government's role to its key functions, we can help those who need it in a way that is both conservative and compassionate.
As we all know, Bush and his crew toss "compassion" around like a political football to the laughable point of meaninglessness. Does Swann mean it? Time will tell.

The other bit of news is that the PA GOP threw its weight behind the brother of MSNBC's Hardball host and recently unhinged dumbass Chris Matthews -- Jim Matthews -- for lieutenant governor.
The state committee's unanimous endorsement all but seals a primary victory for the Swann-Matthews team. Former Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association lobbyist Jim Panyard is running for governor, but he did not compete for the endorsement. The deadline for entering the race is March 7. The winner of the GOP primary will take on Rendell, 62, a former Philadelphia mayor, who is expected to seek a second four-year term.


Jim Matthews, who isn't well known statewide, joked that he's often referred to as Chris Matthews' brother. Jim Matthews said he thinks people will now call him "Lynn Swann's running mate." Matthews will help give the ticket regional appeal, said Rep. Brett Feese, R-Lycoming County. "He (Rendell) is a Philadelphia governor, and he doesn't appeal across the state." Asked how Republicans can crack Rendell's electoral strength in the Southeast, Feese said, "That's where Jim Matthews comes in."
Maybe someone should ask Jim Matthews if he agrees with Chris's homophobia. From Imus, via Eschaton:
MATTHEWS: Well, the wonderful Michael Savage, who's on 570 in DC, who shares a station with you at least, he calls it [laughter]-what's he call it?-he calls it Bare-back Mount-ing. That's his name for the movie.
***

In related news, the whole surge-of-black Republicans thing is starting up again on the Right, even after Katrina has shrunk the support of blacks to the party to miniscule levels. This is due to the high-profile black Repugs that are in major races this year.

In theory, it is a good thing to have more than one party for blacks to choose from and to be courted by. Dems take the vote for granted and quite frankly, count on the black vote way too often without having to actually do anything. The phenomenon of candidates going little or nothing to court the black vote until election day nears -- with the candidates nicely showing up at churches for the photo op -- is always expected.

Fortunately for the Dems, the GOP has done a miserable job of attracting blacks to the party because, well, it's populated with a lot of bigots. About the only faction that has actively courted blacks has been the AmTaliban, uniting on the social conservativism of a large chunk of the religious black community, where you see, sadly, common ground because of opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Ken Mehlman's dog and pony show has pretty much been gutted by his ties to the administration and its pathetic, amoral handling of Katrina. It would be healthy to have viable choices -- moderate-to-liberal Republicans -- but that's not what the current state of the GOP is.

And thus the current crop of black Republicans running are of the wingnut variety, with the AmTaliban seal of approval. From Crazy Pat's Christian Broadcasting Network News, which is salivating about these candidates.


Many black Americans almost automatically vote Democrat, and in recent times, more than 90 percent of them have opposed the Bush presidency -- a sign that Republicans might not do much better with them this November.

But there are signs too, and some black pundits and politicians say African-Americans are handicapping their own interests unless they make both parties fight for the black vote.

Commentator Herman Cain says when blacks vote Republican, "It sends a very strong message that you can no longer look at the African-American vote as one monolithic group.”

Dwight McKissic is a politically active pastor in Dallas, Texas. He said, "The problem is, as Dr. E. V. Hill used to say, 'If all blacks vote Democrat and Republicans are in office, we're out of power, we have no access."
OK. Stop. Dwight McKissic has turned up many times on the Blend. He's another of the classic homo-bigots who spins colorful fairy tales about the Homo AgendaTM. McKissic on gay marriage: "I'm insulted and offended by a comparison between gay rights and civil rights. They're confusing my skin with their sin."

Back to the CBN story...

Former football superstar Lynn Swann is now a Republican running for governor of Pennsylvania. "You have to have representation on both sides of the aisle,” Swann said. “What's freedom if you don't have choices and options?"

Enough blacks are joining the GOP that the National Black Republican Association recently formed in Washington, D.C., and this week is co-sponsoring the high-powered Conservative Political Action Conference in the nation's capitol. Condoleezza Rice is often spoken of as a leading Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008.
OK. Stop. Could they all fit in a conference room? Never mind; back to the article.

Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell [homo-bigot tool of the AmTaliban, and friend of Rod Parsley] may be the most-experienced, having been Cincinnati's mayor, Ohio's treasurer, a deputy Cabinet secretary in the first Bush administration, and a U.N. Human Rights Commission ambassador.


Then there is Maryland's first black lieutenant governor, Michael Steele [liar - phony Oreo-pelting story] , who would like to be Maryland's first black U.S. senator next year.

Now all of these Republican candidates also happen to be dedicated Christians. Keith Butler [major homo-bigot], is a minister of the 21,000-member mega church Word of Faith International Christian Center, outside Detroit, Michigan. Butler said, "I've grown through tribulations, tests, and trials for being a Republican. I've been one for 25 years."

He has received an almost-giddy endorsement from Charisma Magazine, excited that Butler is the very embodiment of today's charismatic conservative -- pro-life, anti-gay marriage, a big backer of low taxes and the free market.
Butler is unhinged. From an editorial that appeared in The Detroit News.

Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes -- and for securing the maintenance and education of children." Recent legal and cultural trends seek to redefine Webster's definition of marriage.

...First, traditional marriage must be protected for the proliferation of our generations. Regardless of how you slice it, you cannot get around the fact that a woman is the one who carries the egg and the man is the one who carries the sperm. The natural union of the egg and the sperm is how you and I came into being.
So, what to do? Clearly there is some appeal in a small slice of the black community for some of the worst aspects of the Republican Party's conservative wing. Do the Dems ignore it as a fringe, tiny element, continuing to take the base for granted, and counting on the massive f*ckups by the GOP to keep the black vote solidly Dem? Or will these candidates succeed and spur a trend?

I certainly don't know, but hell, the GOP got ~20% of the gay vote and did absolutely nothing for homos except continually demonizing them in the last election.


The Darth side of the force with a shotgun

Sunday, February 12, 2006


It's no surprise that Darth Cheney's a danger with a weapon; the big news is that this story was held 24 hours after he blew pellets from his 28-gauge shotgun into a fellow hunter.
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Corpus Christi hospital on Sunday, according to Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System.



The incident occurred Saturday at a ranch in south Texas where the vice president and two companions were hunting quail. It was not reported publicly by the vice president's office for nearly 24 hours, and then only after the incident was reported locally by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
Maybe Cheney's kinda sore about Libby selling him out, since it looks like Darth's in the crosshairs of Congress.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald should investigate Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the CIA leak probe if they authorized an aide to give secret information to reporters, Democratic and Republican senators said Sunday.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., called the leak of intelligence information "inappropriate" if it is true that unnamed "superiors" instructed Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to divulge the material on Iraq.

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said a full investigation is necessary.

"I don't think anybody should be releasing classified information, period, whether in the Congress, executive branch or some underling in some bureaucracy," said Allen, who appeared with Reed on "Fox News Sunday."
Hat tip, Raw Story.


Newt trashes Bush and the GOP

A Dem couldn't have said it any better - in fact, because this is Newt Gingrich and this speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was met with cheers, (AP):
Citing multiple government failures after Hurricane Katrina, the former House speaker said the government meltdown at all levels illustrated how badly government needs to be updated in all of its operations.

"The system failed, the city of New Orleans failed, the state of Louisiana failed and the government of the United States failed," Gingrich said. "When you see an American body on an American street sitting there for three days on television because the government can't collect the dead, something has failed.

"Where are the proposals for dramatic, bold, large change that everytime something fails in New Orleans during the reconstruction, we don't defend it ... we fix it?"
I think the Bushies and Ken Mehlman should be running for cover. More likely they will begin a trash-Gingrich-at-all-costs planning mission.

The truth hurts and it's best delivered by one of their own. Not that I am any friend of Newt, but the candor and willingness to place the blame at all levels for the Katrina debacle has been blunted over and over, with many Dems defending the Dem Blanco and pseudo-Dem Nagin, placing all of the blame on the Bush Admin. Common sense and plenty of facts illuminate that the failure of this magnitude can only happen when everyone plays chicken, hoping a hurricane of that size just doesn't hit on their watch, poor communication, and turf wars.


"The Abramoff scandal has to be seen as part of a much larger and deeper problem. It's not about lobbyist corruption. You can't have a corrupt lobbyist without a corrupt member or corrupt staff. This was a team effort."
-- Newt, in January
As far as the rest of the messes, Iraq, the shoddy treatment and support of active and retired military, the bankruptcy bill, continual threats on reproductive freedom, the countless facets of the DeLay/Abramoff corruption, the use of the Constitution as a door mat -- yeah, Bush and this GOP are not fit to rule for many reasons, Newt. Dems had nothing to do with that. Oops. No, we've got traitors, bigots, and spineless vanity cases in our midst that enabled this to happen as well. The whole place is a cesspool.


Read 'ems

* Julien's List friends, Ms. Julien and 'Bean both noted this article in E&P, with J saying "This is the beginning of the end..unless something changes mightily in the midterm elections": Nurse Investigated for 'Sedition' After Writing Letter to Editor. We are in deep sh*t; what is happening in this country?
Laura Berg, a clinical nurse specialist for 15 years, wrote a letter in September to a weekly Albuquerque newspaper criticizing how the administration handled Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq Wwr. She urged people to "act forcefully" by bring criminal charges against top administration officials, including the president, to remove them from power because they played games of "vicious deceit." She added: "This country needs to get out of Iraq now and return to our original vision and priorities of caring for land and people and resources rather than killing for oil....Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times."

The agency seized her computer and launched an investigation. Berg is not talking to the press, but reportedly fears losing her job.

* Eva at Lloydletta and Dump Michele Bachmann dropped me a link about a fundraiser that my senator, The Empty Wig, Elizabeth Dole, is going to be appearing at a St. Patrick's Day fundraiser for, as Eva calls him -- The Empty Suit, Congressman Mark Kennedy (R) of Minnesota. Kennedy was an original co-sponsor of the FMA, btw. He's running for the U.S. Senate, so Dole's there in her inept role as head of the National Repug Senatorial Committee. You wouldn't want to miss (and I'm not kidding) the Shamrock Dinner or the Leprechaun Reception. If you sell ten $150 tickets, you get an upgrade to the Leprechaun reception and a photo of Mark Kennedy and Liddy. Be there or be square.

* Michael Jensen at The Big Gay Picture has a profile and interview with the partner of Laurel Hester, Stacie Andree. You'll recall that Laurel Hester, a former police officer who is suffering from terminal cancer in Ocean County, New Jersey won, after a long and heinous battle, the right to leave her pension benefits to Stacie.

* Hughes for America has a great post up on the Chris Matthews nonsense. A snippet:
Last Friday, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews repeatedly suggested that liberals or homosexuals might have been responsible for the tragic series of church fires in Alabama. Without warning and without evidence, Matthews pointed fingers, going so far as to ignore evidence to the contrary suggested by his guest, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

While his right-leaning opinions have been well documented, Friday's baseless assertions represented a new low for Matthews, who flatly accused liberals and homosexuals of politically motivated acts of terrorism. Coming to his defense was a little-known Virginia blog, The Staunton News Leader, which, in addition to spreading anti-gay rhetoric, may be infringing on the copyright of a local newspaper of the same name. Says the online News Leader:
In Chris Matthews defense, it would more likely that liberals are burning the churches then conservatives. I think its very good to point out that there are a lot angry Gays out there, and they'd love to get back at Christians some how. Plus, liberals are just angry people; I've never met a liberal that was happy.
* Blender Sarah in Chicago points to a judge's ruling that LGBT minors were mistreated at a youth correctional facility in Hawaii. The ACLU had filed a suit last September on behalf of the three kids, who alleged abuse and harrassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity while at The Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.



Interesting Observation


From L to R: white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, white guy, and white guy.

As many of you are already aware, I am on the Board of Directors for Oregon NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). I also work as the webmaster for our website, http://www.ornorml.org.



One of our current campaigns is against a business lobbying group called Associated Oregon Industries (AOI). This group is currently lobbying lawmakers in my state to enact legislation that would allow businesses to unfairly discriminate against the state's over 12,500 legally recognized medical marijuana patients. AOI wants to allow businesses to fire hard working Oregonians who test positive on workplace urine tests for the metabolites produced from ingesting medical marijuana.



Of course, there is no way a medical marijuana patient can pass a pee test. Of course, metabolites from THC remain in someone's system from up to three to as many as thirty days after ingestion. Of course, no medical marijuana patient is likely to use their medicine immediately before or during work; patients use after work on their own time, and many don't even use every day. Of course, testing positive on a pee test in no way proves impairment on the job. Of course, nobody would even dare float a trial balloon for legislation to fire employees testing positive for Vicodin, Percocet, or even alcohol, for that matter. So AOI's position is completely untenable. (Learn more.)



Part of our campaign is a letter-writing blast to the chief executive officers, presidents, and chairmen of the companies who are supporters of AOI. In that effort I have been researching the 112 Oregon, American, and International companies on AOI's list of mission members, compiling their names and addresses for the database file needed to perform the massive mail merge.



But this post isn't about my efforts to protect the civil rights of disabled Oregonians (though I never miss a chance to evangelize, do I?) What this post is about is this strange, nagging feeling I got as I combed through those company contact web pages with their bright smiling head shots of the corporate officers. After about ten companies, something just started to bug me. After fifty companies, there was definitely something strange going on. Surely, I thought, by the time I got through 111 of the 112 companies, I'd be able to figure out just exactly what it was that was making me feel so odd. Some common thread that ties together companies as diverse as banks, lumber companies, beer distributors, big box retailers, health care, steel mills, food processors, and hospitals.



Aha! It must be that they are all not non-profit Shakesperean theater festivals!


Canadian friends, Daddy Dobson has arrived

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Reader Cat emails me "they're here!" and she points to Canadian Cynic, who doesn't hold back about Focus on the Family's news that it is coming to that nation's capital.
Jesus Christ (pun thoroughly intended), it's not enough that we get that felonious douchebag Ralph Reed up here, now we get James Dobson's gang of worthless bigots -- Focus on the Family -- setting up shop in Ottawa.

There is, of course, only one possible counter-strike -- we must unleash the Celine Dion neutron bomb on Buffalo. Yes, the dreaded Celine Dion neutron bomb -- capable of the savage and merciless slaughter of thousands of innocents, while leaving buildings standing.

Remember, Americans -- you brought this hideous fate upon yourselves, and may God have mercy on you. Or not. Whatever.


Bush's top black staffer, a Jesse Helms protege, steps down


Claude Allen is leaving his post as "domestic policy adviser" for the Chimperor. He was only in this position for just over a year, and good riddence. It's yet another pathetic case of a twisted black homophobe cut from the cloth of the master Tar Heel 'phobe, Jesse Helms. It's sad to see another brainwashed brother ascend -- he was the highest-ranking black staffer in the Bush Administration. (N&O):
Claude Allen, a Jesse Helms protege and President Bush's chief domestic policy adviser, submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday.

...Allen joined Bush's administration in 2001 as deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He was named a year ago as Bush's domestic policy chief. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said in published reports that Allen's resignation came strictly for personal reasons.

In a statement, President Bush said Allen "has helped develop policies that will strengthen our nation's families, schools and communities. Claude is a good and compassionate man, and he has my deep respect and my gratitude."

Allen was Helms' spokesman during the former senator's 1984 re-election race against Jim Hunt.
Allen's homophobia is well-known, and certainly not something he even tried to hide; he's a card-carrying member of the Religious Right. Daddy Dobson and the Focus on the Family crowd are sorry to see Claude go.
Peter Brandt, senior director of government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, said Allen has been a tireless champion of the family and traditional values.

"We applauded his appointment to the Bush White House, and now we are sad to see him leave," Brandt said. "He has championed the values and programs that we hold dear — he has been a stalwart for marriage, for family, for abstinence education and for the sanctity of life. He has been unwavering in his dedication to the things that our constituents value."
As Doug Ireland noted, when Allen was appointed to this post:
The appointment of Claude Allen as Bush's new chief domestic policy advisor is another triumph for the Republican theocrats. A reactionary black kapo, Allen is one of the darlings of the "family values" ultra-conservative religious right led by James Dobson and his Focus on the Family.

Recruited by Karl Rove as his watchdog on then-HHS secretary Tommy Thompson (who had a much-exaggerated reputation as a "moderate"), Allen--a visceral political homophobe-- was a former top aide Sen. Jesse Helms, and in 1984 accused Helms' Democratic challenger, then-Gov. James Hunt, of having links to "queers," "radical feminists," socialists, and unions (Hunt was, in fact, a bible-quoting right-wing Dem).
See ya, Claude.


The Marriage Protection Act will come up for a vote in June

The Family Research Council is ecstatic over the official news that the Senate's vote on a federal marriage amendment will be in June. The news on the vote contradicts the bleating of the American Family Association that it would occur in March. (US Newswire):
In response to today's official announcement by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R- Tenn.) that the U.S. Senate will hold a cloture vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment the week of June 5, Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"
The U.S. Senate has stood by for two years watching the unrelenting judicial assault on marriage. However, the American people in overwhelming numbers have risen to the defense of marriage by enacting 19 state marriage amendments. Despite these valiant efforts on the state level, activist courts in several states including Nebraska have undermined the democratic process by throwing out laws which protect marriage.

"This June, the American people will be watching to see if their senators will step up to the plate and take a stand in defense of marriage. The Marriage Protection Amendment is the only tool the American people have to ensure that the definition of marriage remains one man and one woman.
And Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage is hot and bothered as well:
"The Supreme Court of Washington State is poised at a moments notice to strike down marriage as a man and woman," said Matt Daniels. "The fallout from an adverse ruling will have broad repercussions for America as Washington State does not require residency for a marriage license. Only AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment can defend marriage as a man and woman."


Daniels, left, with homophobe Kansas Senator Sam Brownback.

"Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, but they don't have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society," Daniels added. "Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family, and their future."

The Alliance for Marriage is a multicultural coalition whose Board of Advisors includes Rev. Walter Fauntroy -- the D.C. Coordinator for the March on Washington for Martin Luther King Jr. -- as well as other civil rights and religious leaders, and national legal experts.
To see Fauntroy's name attached to this bigotry is sad. From a great post by Canaan Parker, "Thanks for nothing Reverend Fauntroy":
Like all gay people, I'm dismayed when Walter Fauntroy, a key lieutenant to Martin Luther King and pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church, holds a ballyhooed press conference with Bill Frist and the hateful likes of Rick Santorum in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But let me be crystal clear. Right now I'm speaking as a black man, not as a gay man. As a member of Fauntroy's African American constituency, I think I've been sold out. Fauntroy knew damn good and well he was helping to re-elect George Bush. Fauntroy went to the Capitol Building and all I got was Republican hegemony.



Rev. Walter Fauntroy, supporter of the Marriage Protection Amendment and beneficiary of Bush's faith-based largesse.

...As a black man, I feel culturally tarnished by Fauntroy's peddling of his Civil Rights pedigree. A company can license its registered trademark for profit - it's called franchising. McDonald's make billions that way. By joining forces with the Republicans, Reverend Fauntroy in effect licensed the name of Dr. King like a trademark. Now whenever I see a debate on marriage, I see white conservative 'franchisees' brandishing Fauntroy's Civil Rights credentials to shield themselves from charges of bigotry. The low point came when I heard right wing buzzsaw Ann Coulter invoke Civil Rights to attack gay rights. When you sell a license to Ann Coulter to speak for Martin Luther King, I'm sorry but that just stinks. Coulter, who publicized the possibility of 'DNA evidence' on Monica Lewinsky's dress, befouls the legacy of Dr. King by even speaking his name. And the right wing has the audacity to accuse us of 'highjacking Civil Rights' when we march on Washington for gay equality.

Reverend Fauntroy's argument against marriage equality is very feeble. First he claims that he's defending the black family. Then he wanders off into the clouds to think up some vaporous link between gay marriage and the stability of Black families. He can't find a link in concrete reality, so he has to wander way out into the moonie realms of existential sociological theory to find one. You want a link between gay rights and black families? AIDS destroys black families. Gay activists fight AIDS. There is nothing theoretical about that. Dick Cheney may not have a clue, but you won't find a single gay AIDS activist who doesn't know the mortifyng statistics on HIV reported by the Black AIDS Institute. I read the statistics in Gay City News. Reverend Fauntroy doesn't read that paper or he'd know that when he attacks gay rights, he undermines the fight against AIDS. An army of gay and lesbian activists, some 10,000 strong according to Larry Kramer's estimate, has been fighting a two-front war for 25 years. When Fauntroy attacks us on one front - the gay rights front - he weakens us on the AIDS front.

...Now, if Reverend Fauntroy claims that marriage equality is a greater threat to black families than HIV, he's either seeing things or he's taking money.


Why are the folks at Northwest Airlines so dumb?

"We are asking that the company not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status and honor Mr. Anders' ticket for him and a companion."
-- Christine P. Sun, ACLU of Southern California staff attorney, on Northwest's denial of a companion ticket when a gay couple in L.A. tried to use the award for a trip to Florida.
How ridiculous is this? Rob Anders, an airline industry employee won round-trip domestic airfare on Northwest for himself and "a companion" at his company holiday party. Little did he know that his life partner of 15 years wasn't considered a "companion" in the eyes of the airline.
A representative from Northwest Airlines told Anders that the airline would only recognize a spouse, another airline employee, or a dependent child as a companion. The representative specifically stated Northwest Airlines would not recognize a registered domestic partner as a "spouse" for the tickets.

In its letter to Northwest, the ACLU said that the Unruh Civil Rights Act, part of California law," mandates 'full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever' without regard to sexual orientation or marital status."

"Because same-sex couples who wish to marry cannot currently do so under California law, using marriage as a criterion discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation," Sun said. "Northwest's policy also discriminates on the basis of marital status because it does not permit unmarried heterosexual individuals to bring the companion of their choice."
Good As You has a great take on this.

Hat tip, PageOneQ


He's tanned, rested and ready for Malibu

Mattel thinks the new revamped Ken doll is ready to win back Barbie, but I don't know, he still looks like he bats (or perhaps, surfs) for the home team.


Actual caption: He's been to the gym, looks buff and stylish, and now Barbie's boy toy Ken wants to win back the doll he split from two years ago, Mattel said on Thursday. The new 'Beach Fun Ken' reflects his Malibu beach roots with board shorts, white t-shirt, and sun-kissed hair. (Mattel/Handout/Reuters).

The dollmaker's PR department is clearly working on the spin to boost sales of the sagging line, but honey, it's not working -- the gaydar is still going off. Maybe this is just the "new metrosexual" look. (Reuters):
"Ken has revamped his life -- mind, body and soul," Hollywood stylist and Mattel consultant Phillip Bloch said in a statement. "Everyone knows how difficult it is to change, especially when you've lived your life a certain way for more than four decades."

Mattel said in February 2004 that Barbie and Ken had split after 43 years because they wanted to spend some time apart.

Ken, who appears to have spent time in the gym and at the stylist, returns wearing a beach-wear ensemble complete with board shorts and white T-shirt. For her part, Barbie publicist Lauren Dougherty said Barbie "appreciates the new look Ken is sporting. He really looks great. But we'll have to stay tuned to see whether these two will get back together."

At a press conference unveiling Ken, Bloch said the company was going for a "worldly, European thing," and "definitely wanted to be looking hot."


Another Alabama church fire

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues has the scoop -- it is the Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in Lamar County. People are reporting sightings of a Nissan Pathfinder near the sites of other church fires over the past two weeks.

For more on the prior fires, see this good NYT piece (via the Gadsden Times), Victims of Church Fires Lose the Center of a Rural Life.


Oopsie -- there's Jack Abramoff back there


From the NYT, which has a White House photo up: President Bush shaking hands in 2001 with Chief Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of Texas. In the background at left is the lobbyist Jack Abramoff; Karl Rove, the president's top adviser, is at the right.

I guess the White House will have to wait and see how many radioactive photos from other events will surface soon. (NYT):
The White House confirmed the authenticity of the photograph. It was provided to The New York Times by the Indian chief, Raul Garza of the Kickapoo tribe of southwest Texas. Mr. Garza, who is under indictment on federal charges of embezzling money from his tribe, said he was eager to demonstrate that he had "nothing to hide" in his dealings with the White House and Mr. Abramoff.

A lawyer for Mr. Garza said Mr. Abramoff arranged for the chief to attend the meeting, in a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. The meeting took place at a time when the lobbyist was seeking a contract to represent the 800-member tribe and its casino, which was producing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue. Mr. Abramoff never got the contract.

...The president's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said Friday that the presence of the lobbyist and Mr. Garza at the meeting, which was organized to thank a group of state legislators who supported the president's 2001 tax cut program, did not suggest that Mr. Abramoff had any special influence at the White House. Mr. Bush has said he cannot recall having met Mr. Abramoff, though the White House has not disputed accounts that Mr. Abramoff came to the White House on a number of occasions.
Dear Leader "doesn't recall" meetng Jack, but according to The Washingtonian, someone's lying because Jack seems to have a different recollection of the Chimp's familiarity with him.
Sources say the photographs are being kept safe. Abramoff would tell prosecutors, if asked, that not only did he know the President, but the President knew the names of Abramoff's children and asked about them during their meetings. At one such photo session, Bush discussed the fact that both he and Abramoff were fathers of twins.


DePaul's LGBTQ studies program unhinges conservative Catholic group

Again, conflating homosexuality and pedophilia, Karl Maurer of Catholic Citizens of Illinois, has his knickers in a twist because DePaul University is offering an LGBTQ program -- and thus the Catholic university is scandalously sucking up to Satan and the Homo AgendaTM. Out comes the tiny violin...(AgapePress):
Students at the largest Roman Catholic university in the U.S. can now minor in study of homosexual culture, history and lifestyle. That is because DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, has begun offering a "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Studies" program.

The university has recently implemented this course of study despite the Vatican's official teaching that homosexual orientation is "objectively disordered" and homosexual behavior is "intrinsically evil." This compels some conservative Catholic groups to believe DePaul has strayed from core Church teaching on sexual morality.

Karl Maurer is the vice president of Catholic Citizens of Illinois and an alumnus of DePaul. He says the school's new "Queer Studies" program is indicative of a problem not just with that university but with "the American institutional Catholic Church."

One would "have to be living under a rock for the last five years not to have noticed the homosexual scandals that are going on within the Church," Maurer asserts. "And it's not just in the seminaries: it's not just in the chanceries; it's in the universities as well, and it really calls into question whether or not the U.S. bishops are serious about rooting out homosexual abuse."

..."What DePaul is doing," Maurer asserts, "is really falsely characterizing itself as both being Catholic and being inspired by St. Vincent's spirit, which is a fraud." He and the other members of Catholic Citizens of Illinois are calling on DePaul University to shut down its new "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Studies" program.

Although the new "Queer Studies" program purports to teach, among other things, the history of the "gay and lesbian liberation movement," some traditional Catholics argue that it is nothing more than pro-homosexual propaganda.


Daddy Dobson folds on his home turf



[UPDATE: Moved the post back up to the top...I added Freeper comments below -- lotsa fun watching them squirm. ]

This bit of news is something Daddy Dobson definitely doesn't want to get around. The Colorado-based Focus on the Anus had to back off any attempt at a pushing a full-bore marriage amendment that also excludes acknowledgment of the rights of domestic partners.

Even more delicious, one of Daddy's minions was trotted out to say the organization supports a bill that will allow same-sex couples to receive some of the same legal benefits of marriage. In Daddy Dobson's Christian paradise? He may have to relocate FoF to a more supportive environment, perhaps, Ohio, Mississippi or Alabama (not that I wish him on you, Kathy, lol). (Wash Blade):
A Colorado bill that would result in same-sex couples receiving some of the same legal benefits given to married couples has drawn a surprising supporter: Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based Christian organization known for opposing gay civil rights.

A bill sponsored by Colorado state Sen. Shawn Mitchell would grant specific rights to same-sex couples who entered a ‘reciprocal beneficiary agreement.’

Proposed by Republican state Sen. Shawn Mitchell, the measure would allow “reciprocal beneficiary agreements,” where any two parties excluded from marrying under Colorado law could gain specific rights “including but not limited to health care insurance benefits.”

...Jim Pfaff, state policy analyst for Focus on the Family, told the Denver Post that the group supports Mitchell’s bill as an alternative to domestic partnership legislation, as it does not try to “recreate the family structure.”

"A domestic partnership bill based on sexual orientation is giving extra benefits to a class that has a high standard of living at the expense of other adults who are at or near the poverty level, and we believe that's discriminatory," Pfaff told the Post.
OK, watch this ace double-backflip-with-a-twist attempt to say it has nothing to do with the homos...
...While gay couples could be reciprocal beneficiaries under Mitchell’s plan, Pfaff said the bill “is not premised on sexual orientation,” and if it were, Focus on the Family would not endorse it.

...Michael Brewer, public policy director for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Colorado, said the Christian group’s support is not ironic, but a “political reality.”

“[Focus on the Family] realizes that domestic partnership is popular in Colorado,” Brewer told this newspaper. “I think they’re definitely afraid that Colorado could be the first state where the voters themselves would pass it.”
Despite Pfaff's amazing gymnastics above, his BS isn't flying with the true believers. Look at what the Family Research Institute has to say about Daddy Dobson's position.
If passed, merely by signing a form with the county clerk, gay and lesbian partners would have property-sharing rights, decision-making powers over funerals and organ donations, and could be covered under one person’s health care policy. State law could force employers to cover gay partners — no matter how ill. Partners could cancel the form and the benefits sharing arrangment at any time.

Dr. [discredited bogus science peddler Paul] Cameron said “the Mitchell bill is really ‘marriage-lite’ for gays. Focus on the Family’s support for this bill is madness.”


Paul Cameron's bogus vanity-published studies on homosexuality have been discredited, such as "Gay Foster Parents More Apt to Molest." (He turns up in Blend posts quite often).

According to Dr. Cameron, conferral of any part of marriage benefits to homosexuals is without precedent in the history of the Christian Church. “Moses and St. Paul put homosexuality among the worst of sins. As soon as the Church gained political power in the Roman Empire it outlawed homosexuality. Now Focus on the Family — an avowedly Christian organization — is telling society it is OK to give gays benefits similar to marriage, as long as it is not called ‘marriage.’”

...“When the Denver Post, one of the most anti-family, anti-traditional newspapers on the planet, says it is ‘pleasantly surprised’ by Dobson’s support for ‘expanded legal benefits for same-sex couples,’ you know that a betrayal has occurred.”
Catfight! Meeeow, Daddy!

UPDATE: I added Freeper comments below.


Actual Freeper Quotes™

"I am really shocked by this. Does Dr. Dobson know about this?"

"How do you decide who is 'head of household'???"

"yeah... I'm with you. But then, we shouldn't have to decide either of them as head of household. Maybe the kids (shudder) will be heads of household. It'd make just as much sense."

"The best way to collapse a system is to keep piling it on till it flattens under it's own weight..Remember though ..while you are lookin' out for #1.. don't step in #2"

"WWWWWhhhhaaaaattttt!!!!"

"I have the same reaction. Then again, Dobson never claimed to be a theologian, he's far too interested in the 'relationship' side of things and sounds like he's getting dragged off course by that as well as most of the evangelical church nowadays."

"Calm down people. This is totally false. Dobson has emphatically refuted it."

"I'm not in the least surprised by this. About ten years ago or so I decided to join Focus on The Family and was sent a form to read and sign. As I read along I came to a part that excluded members who follow the Papacy, (can't remember its exact wording, but it was crystal clear what it meant). So much for the 'good' Dr. Dobson. I mentally dumped him into the trash bin along with his membership form."

"The Business of Religion proves yet again that it's bottom line is political support, not biblical Chrisitanity. Really, should we be surpirsed? But, here is a new idea, if homosexual "marrage" is against current law, what "rights" do lawbreakers have? To a fair and speedy trial."

"Family research Institute's reaction to FOF's support of bill http://www.familyresearchinst.org/Default.aspx?tabid=92"

"These folk who think they can redefine what God created (marriage) are only kidding themselves. They can only end up with the pagan leadership that Christ admonished His followers was not of His kingdom. If we love the Lord, we will follow His commands. He created male and female and He created marriage between one of each of these. Period. within that institution, He has established the hierarchy (Ephesians 5) and we cannot shy away from it."

"Well, we of course don't enforce cohabitation or other anti-promiscuity laws that are on the books. However this law will make it impossible for people to deny companies paying for the support of someone's current domestic partner under insurance policies and other legal contracts."

""This is totally false. Dobson has emphatically refuted it.""

"Where is the statement of the refutation?"

"Why would he exclude Catholics? But *now* he can't take a stand against gays? That's pretty bizarre. After all it wasn't like his organization was a church in which case I could understand some of those doctrinal exclusions..."

"I agree with Dr. Dobson. Homosexuals already have equal rights and should not be given special rights."

"Me too.. except that doesn't seem to be what this bill does. I can't cover my 'friend' on my insurance, etc... only my 'domestic partner/spouse.' I also don't think that heterosexual couples not married should be able to have each other on their insurance policies."

"Mitchell's bill extends a range of benefits to unmarried people who sign what he calls a "reciprocal beneficiary agreement." He says relatives, friends, roommates and same-sex couples would all be eligible. Besides it's drawbacks, I can see some benefits from a bill such as this one."

"Ok, the Colorado legislature is going to pass a "domestic partners" bill. Take that as a given, as that is the what the political climate is heading towards right now. Now, accepting this as fact (although I would vote against it personally), there are now two proposals before the legislature. The first proposal specifically give "domestic partner" rights to only homosexuals. The second proposal gives the "domestic partner" rights to all non-married domestic partners. Given the first fact, that one of these proposals is going to pass, I would choose the second proposal. Not to give rights to homosexuals, but to prevent homosexuals from getting special rights. This is being twisted to say that it is giving special rights to homosexuals."

""To say that this is somehow endorsing homosexual rights is twisting and obscuring the truth into a shallow lie.""

"It'll do nicely for the fervent Christian-bashers on this forum, though."

"I'm a Christian myself, and ashamed for the majority of lukewarm CINOS that everyone calls Christian."

"I'm not looking at this bill as strictly a gay rights bill--that is just a component of it. I just think that since so many freedoms are getting clamped down it's nice to see a little openness."

"The freedom to turn reality on its head and demand by judicial fiat and or legislative subterfuge that society recognize homosexual activity as normal or somehow beneficial to society will remain clamped down for eternity..."

"I've often wondered why I had to be related to someone by marriage to buy insurance for them."

"Because the nuclear family is what benefits society, therefore society has a duty to encourage it."

"And from a Christian standpoint, (which doesn't apply to government necessarily) it is the only sanctioned family unit, separable only by death. The point is not that Colorado is going to pass the bill, the point is that FOF, ostensibly a Christian family organization, is endorsing it."


Ohio anti-gay foster parent/adoption bill killed

Hey, that was fast. I posted Thursday about the latest gay-bashing bill under consideration in the Buckeye State, which would have banned gays, bisexuals, and transgenders from fostering or adopting children.

It looks like even the state GOP legislators had to scurry away from the bigots in their midst on this one -- they have announced it's DOA. Woohoo!
GOP leaders in the House and Senate said they would not permit the measure to move through committee.


House Speaker Jon A. Husted
(R- Kettering) through his chief of staff blasted the proposed bill.

"Most reasonable people would have a preference for being in a loving, alternative setting rather than an abusive, heterosexual setting," Scott Borgemenke told the Columbus Dispatch.

...House Minority Leader Chris Redfern said Democrats will join with Republicans to ensure the bill never gets to a vote.


The bill's chief sponsor, Ashville Republican Ron Hood, said if the measure does not make it to the floor this session he will re-introduce it again and again until it does. "Studies have shown that the optimal setting to raise children in is a traditional setting with a mom and a dad," Hood said. Hood claims that children raised in gay households are at "increased risk" of physical and emotional problem.

"To reach out and be a bigot is bad enough. To do it on the backs of children is just wrong," said Jeannette Birkhoff, of Equality Ohio.


Radio station 'kiss-off' will now allow same-sex smooching

A Madison, WI radio station inadvertently stepped into a homo-battle when it slated a kiss-off contest that it planned at a local mall. WZEE/FM 104.1 started the dust-up in its initial announcement, which stipulated only opposite-sex partners could participate.

After hearing from listeners who objected to the discriminatory rules, the station opened up the contest, but had to move it out of the mall, which declared that no same-sex smooching would occur on the premises. The reason? It's mind-blowing, Look at West Towne Mall's perspective... (The Capital Times):
Bowing to public pressure, WZEE/FM 104.1 decided to move Saturday's second annual "Kiss Off" from the mall to its studios after mall officials apparently barred same-sex couples from participating.

"We are very pleased with Z104," said Franny Marion, support services coordinator for the UW-Madison Campus Women's Center, which threatened to protest the event.

"They made a public apology. We support them for taking the contest elsewhere when West Towne wouldn't change the discriminatory policy too."

...Paul Matyas, West Towne's general manager, would not say if the mall insisted on restricting the contest to opposite-sex couples. He called it a sensitive issue, adding that West Towne is a place of commerce, open to everyone. The station decided to move the event on its own, he said.

But [Frannie] Marion, of the [UW-Madison] Campus Women's Center, said that when she spoke with another mall official she was told the decision was made for the "comfort and safety of customers."
What danger does a glimpse of a same-sex couple smooching pose to the safety of your average mall rat?

By the way, the prize in this contest is a three-night trip to Jamaica. I think this will bring the gay participation down to nearly nil, if you ask me, considering the rampant state-endorsed homophobia in that country. From PlanetOut's Best and Worst in Gay and Lesbian Travel.
Jamaica
A homophobic culture and outright hostility, such as not allowing a gay cruise ship to dock, contributes to the persecution of gays in Jamaica. Its homophobic laws are rooted in its colonial past. Those convicted of same-sex relations may be punished by up to 10 years of hard labor. Read more here.
For an earlier Blend post on the horrors the LGBT population has to deal with, see Gay rights struggles are tough here, but in Jamaica, it's so much worse. Witness the wisdom of an editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner:
Gays just want to have sex and lots of it like most of us heterosexuals. They feel it's unfair that we should have it and they should have none. When you really press them (oops!), they have no intellectually unassailable defence. It goes back to the sovereignty of their irresistible desires. They are just helpless slaves to their passions. Their reasoning violates every rule in even naturalistic ethical construction.


Jeff Sessions' hot staffer's thong



And you thought Alabama wingnut Senator Jeff "gray matter lite" Sessions ran a conservative office? Well he does if you look at the issues. He's grade A prime winger:
* Voted to tighten bankruptcy rules -- it costs society & is immoral.
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.
* Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping.
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation.
* Was one of the infamous pro-lynching Senators last year -- refusing to sign a statement apologing for the Senate's repeated rejection of decades of pleas to make lynching a federal crime.
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record.
* Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition

That said, what do you think the Christian Coalition would think about the activities of Jeff's scheduler, Stormie Janzen? Kathy over at Birmingham Blues:
Stormie Janzen, scheduler for our very own highly esteemed (not!) Senator Jeff Sessions (R-moron), was busted for posting pictures of herself showing her thong panties on a personal blog. She's been forced to take down the blog, but she's keeping her job, even though she was apparently posting on government time.
Janzen, the scheduler for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), was forced to shut down her blog after the Senator's chief of staff, Rick Dearborn, got onto her, as they say in the South. The Montgomery Advertiser reported Monday that Janzen had been blogging on her site as recently as Friday morning, during business hours.

Sessions spokesman Michael Brumas told HOH that the Senator was aware of the situation but wouldn't comment further other than to say: "We have dealt with the situation."
I wonder what Alabama's taxpayers are thinking about Stormie's thong?

BTW, you'll find plenty of entertaining info about Stormie over at Wonkette.


The tawdry hits keep coming from Coulter

Her mouth opens, and the incredible hate and filth just spew out. The latest wordvomit from this darling of the horny young Repugs, came at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in front of 1000 young GOP mouthbreathers. Just a few gems... (Max Blumenthal via Raw Story):

Coulter on Muslims:
"I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'" (This declaration prompted a boisterous ovation.)


Coulter on moderate Republicans:
"There is more dissent on a slave plantation then amongst moderates in the Republican party."


Coulter on the Supreme Court:
"If we find out someone [referring to a terrorist] is going to attack the Supreme Court next week, can't we tell Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalito?"
The hilarious part of this story is that Video Diagnostician Senator Bill Frist was asked for a comment on the "raghead" bleating, and he said:

"I wasn't there so I better not comment."

The Brad Blog has audio of the speech.

***

Mehlman: Dems can't protect the U.S. against terror

While Ann Coulter was sensitively talking about "ragheads" at the Conservative Political Action Conference, "Hetero" dancin' man and RNC mouthpiece Ken Mehlman was there as well, bleating the most ridiculous shite. (ChiTrib):

"We do not and we never should question these Democrat leaders' patriotism, but we do question their judgment and we do question their ability to keep the American people safe. These are people we know love their country, the question is: Can they protect it?"

In a speech to activists gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mehlman suggested Republicans should make an election-year example out of Democrats who criticize the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program. He made no mention of a growing number of Republicans who also have raised concerns about the wiretapping.



"Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they should hang up when those terrorists call their sleeper cells in the United States?" he asked, referring to the House minority leader and the Democratic National Committee chairman.


The BS meter is off the charts over at Fritz's pad

I'm not surprised, since he's tackling the work of one of the most notorious "ex-gay" bogus scientists, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, who alleges that gay activists are exerting extraordinary power over mental health organizations in the U.S.



Enjoy the rant.



Super snub for HIV+ gay ex-NFL lineman?

Friday, February 10, 2006

This just in from the No Fags League (NFL, for short):
NEW YORK - Former Giants lineman Roy Simmons and celebrity lawyer Gloria Allured want an investigation into whether Simmons was denied access to the Super Bowl media center because he is gay and HIV positive.

Simmons requested a credential for the [media] center Feb. 2, three days before the Super Bowl. He also asked for two tickets for the game, which the Pittsburgh Steelers won 21-10 over the Seattle Seahawks, and a party.

He said he was told there were no more credentials available. But Allred, whose clients have included Scott Peterson’s former mistress, Amber Frey, said the NFL indicated that it would give others passes after Simmons asked for one.

Simmons said he never asked for credentials in the past and wanted access to the media center this year to talk about the importance of HIV testing.

Simmons, who played for the Giants from 1979-81 and Redskins in 1983, disclosed that he is gay in 1992. He was the first former NFL player to come out as HIV positive 10 years later. He now works as a supervisor at a halfway house in Long Island.
This would be no surprise to me, given the testimonials of ex-players like Esera Tuaolo about the intense atmosphere of homophobia that exists in the macho-man locker rooms of the No Fags League. At least in Men Love Babes (Major League Baseball) the homophobia is usually reserved for 3rd-tier nitwits like John Rocker:
"Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you're [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing." [Wow, punks, queers, ex-cons, single moms... that's like a grand slam of hate speech!]
The No Boytoys Allowed (NBA) is a little worse, with Hall of Famers like Doc Rivers and Robert Parrish defending the homophobia of the 3rd-tier nitwits like Danny Fortson:
"I wouldn't want to be on that team. It wouldn't be a good idea," Fortson said. "As athletes, we still have a grade-school mentality where we pick on people a little bit. It's not going to work with us. I don't think it's very acceptable behavior for men as far as I'm concerned."
But the No Fags League takes the cake, with its Hall of Famers and superstars being the ones spouting the hate speech.

Packers Hall of Fame Defensive End Reggie White:
"When you look at the black race, black people are very gifted in what we call worship and celebration. A lot of us like to dance, and if you go to black churches, you see people jumping up and down, because they really get into it.

"White people were blessed with the gift of structure and organization. You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature and you know how to tap into money pretty much better than a lot of people do around the world.

"Hispanics are gifted in family structure. You can see a Hispanic person and they can put 20 or 30 people in one home. They were gifted in the family structure.

"When you look at the Asians, the Asian is very gifted in creation, creativity and inventions. If you go to Japan or any Asian country, they can turn a television into a watch. They're very creative.

"And you look at the Indians, they have been very gifted in the spirituality. ... [Europeans] couldn't enslave the Indians because the Indians knew the territory, and the Indians knew how to sneak up on people."

"As America has permitted homosexuality [like it needs permission?] to establish itself as an alternate lifestyle, it is also reeling from the frightening spread of sexually transmitted disease. Sin begets its own consequence, both on individuals and nations. ... we allow rampant sin including homosexuality and lying, and to me lying is just as bad as homosexuality, we've allowed this sin to run rampant in our nation ... I'm offended that homosexuals will say that homosexuals deserve rights. Any man in America deserves rights, but homosexuals are trying to compare their plight with the plight of black men or black people. In the process of history, homosexuals have never been castrated, millions of them never died. Homosexuality is a decision. It's not a race." [Wow. Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Red, & Lavender... it's six points! A rainbow touchdown of bigotry!]
San Francisco (!) running back, Garrison Hearst, short and sweet:
"I don't want no faggots on my team. I don't want no faggots in the locker room."
And even the San Francisco (!) management and the staff give a wink-wink nudge-nudge to homophobia and racism in their player training videos:
Reynolds opens the film sitting behind the mayor's desk, then goes to Chinatown, where a 49ers team consultant uses racial slurs about the Chinese community. Next comes a topless, [lipstick, naturally] lesbian wedding filmed at a strip club and officiated by Reynolds, again impersonating the mayor.

"I know the courts say we can't do this," Reynolds says before the happy couple engages in heavy petting. "We make our own rules here in San Francisco."

Reynolds then goes to SBC Park, where acting as "mayor" he throws out the opening pitch, then takes a bribe from the catcher, who thanks him for supporting "hookers and booze."

"You do something controversial, you say something controversial, it will have an impact on this team. So remember, be mindful of your actions," Reynolds says, wearing only a towel before joining three topless blondes for a group hug in a strip club's dressing room. [Uh oh. I gotta run home quick. I think I left the irony on.]
The No Fags League wouldn't even let you make a customized jersey with the name "GAY" on it at their NFL online shop... which must've been a real shock to New England's Randall Gay. (For that matter, they wouldn't let you have "TONGUE" either, which must've bothered Jets safety Reggie Tongue.)

So forgive me if I'm a little bit skeptical of the NFL's take on all of this:
The NFL said in a statement that people throughout the league are inundated with last-minute requests for Super Bowl game tickets, party invitations and press credentials. An NFL spokesman said some requests are handled by the league and others go through the public relations staff at the media center.

“It is impossible for all of these requests to be met, and there were many people, apart from Mr. Simmons, who were disappointed,” the statement said.

It said that “far from being hostile to Mr. Simmons, the last word back to him from our office was to contact us after the Super Bowl about the possibility of speaking to our rookies at their annual June symposium.”
My dream is that someday, a star quarterback leads his team to Super Bowl victory and when the bobble-headed sports reporter asks, "So now that you've won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do now?", the hunky, dreamy, all-American athlete turns and says, "Screw DisneyWorld, I'm going to be the grand marshall of the Pride parade down Castro street!"

Seriously, an out and proud actively-playing superstar world champion quarterback would do more to advance the cause of gay rights than a thousand protest marches.


The lying bastards in the White House



Brownie's doing a heckuva job ratting you out, Chimpy.
Top Department of Homeland Security officials were told about New Orleans' levee failures the day Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, former disaster chief Michael Brown said Friday, contradicting agency officials who said earlier they were unaware of the severity of the problems until the next day.

"I find it a little disingenuous," Brown, who at the time headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told a Senate oversight committee. "For them to claim that we didn't have awareness of it is just baloney."

...Brown's appearance in front of the Senate investigative panel came as new documents reveal that 28 federal, state and local agencies — including the White House — reported levee failures on Aug. 29, according to a timeline of e-mails, situation updates and weather reports.

That litany was at odds with the administration's contention that it didn't know the extent of the problem until much later. At the time, President Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
***

Also, you've probably already heard that Scooter Libby is ratting out Darth, so these guys are clearly wanting to take the big boys down with them. Love it when they turn on their own. (CNN):
Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, told a grand jury he was "authorized by his superiors" to disclose classified information from an intelligence report to reporters, according to the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

In a letter to Libby's lawyers, obtained by CNN, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said it is his understanding that Libby testified he was "authorized to disclose information about the National Intelligence Estimate to the press by his superiors."


The letter does not name who the superiors are. But the National Journal, which first reported on the Fitzgerald letter, named Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials as authorizing Libby to disclose the classified material.


Homophobe Mitt Romney's 'one family of humankind'



Andy at Towleroad gives Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a piece of his mind. Bigot Mitt is carrying the Olympic torch in Torino, Italy.
Look who's carrying the Olympic torch through the streets of Turin! It's Mitt Romney, the bigot Governor of Massachusetts and possible future presidential candidate. Before he left, he said: "We're all one people, we're all one family of humankind, and that's something which is celebrated in the human experience."

Mitt, was the "one family of humankind" what you were after when you demanded marriage licenses from four Massachusetts towns in May 2004 so you could inspect them for non-resident applicants, or when you threw your support behind an amendment that would overturn gay marriage in that state and take away the rights afforded to same sex couples?


Gay foster, adoptive parents face blacklisting by Ohio

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ohio has made it clear that it doesn't really like the homos with its sweeping marriage amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions. It's so broad that some attorneys wasted no time to cite the amendment as a way to defend unmarried clients against domestic violence charges.

Now the Ohio wingers are gunning for more punishment of its gay and lesbian citizens with the introduction of H.B. No. 515, known as The Adoptive and Foster Children's Protection Act. Welcome to Ken Blackwell country.
To amend sections 3107.03 and 5103.03 of the Revised Code to prohibit an adoptive or foster child from being placed in the private residence of a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender person.
This is sick. Look at what's on the table. It's incredible that some Repug is twisted enough to think of the multiple permutations of sexuality that had to be discussed to get this draft up:
(B) An individual may not adopt if the court in which the petition for adoption is filed determines that any of the following apply:

(1) The individual is a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender individual.

(2) The individual is a step-parent of the child to be adopted and is a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender individual.

(3) The individual resides with an individual who the court determines is a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender individual.

(C) As used in this section:

(1) "Bisexual" means an individual who engages in sexual activity with members of both sexes.

(2) "Homosexual" means an individual who engages in sexual activity with another individual of the same sex.

(3) "Transgender" means an individual who may be classified according to an accepted nosology, such as the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, as having a gender identity disorder, or characterized by either of the following:

(a) A strong and persistent cross-gender identification;

(b) Persistent discomfort with that individual's sex or sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex.
And now, the Rogue's Gallery of sponsors...


Ronald Edward Hood (R), Tom Brinkman, Jr. (R), Linda Reidelbach (R)


John R. Willamowski (R), Derrick Seaver (R), James M. Hoops (R)


Danny R. Bubp (R), Mike Gilb (R), Stephen Buehrer (R), Tim Schaffer (R)

Thanks to Blender laura.mika.major for the pointer.


Update on lesbian photographers who lost contract at NC ski resort

Blender Ann received an update from the lesbian couple who lost their photography business at a North Carolina ski resort. The owner learned that they were gay after their Massachusetts wedding announcement appeared in the Asheville paper, and cut off their contract. (see my post, Bigotry in NC ski country).

Even worse, the owner continues to use their photos on his ski resort's site and has shared them with other businesses, something that Laurel Scherer will be taking legal action on.
I’m sending this email to give everyone an update on the events of the last month.

First, thank you to all who have sent letters of encouragement our way.  Thanks also to all who have forwarded emails about our situation and especially to those who have taken the time to write to the Wolf Laurel owners.  At a minimum, the hundreds of letters and emails they have received must have made them second guess their poor decision.  Your support has been very important and is certainly appreciated.

In fact, with all of the attention being given to our situation at Wolf Laurel and the larger issue of workplace discrimination, we seem to have inadvertently started a social movement of sorts in and around Asheville.  Many of you wanted to know what to do to help combat this discrimination and bigotry, and to attempt to make some progress towards educating people about this injustice and preventing it from happening to others.  We didn’t know what to tell you, so we gathered together a small group of about 12 people to determine what, if anything, we could do.  That group has emerged into the beginnings of an organization called People for Employment Equality for Gays and Lesbians, or eegl.

We hope that as we continue to grow this organization, many of you will choose to get involved and take action.  For now, we are still in the initial developmental stages, but you can check out our new website at: www.eegl.org.

We will do our best to keep it updated with news and upcoming events in order to keep you informed and provide opportunities for you to support our mission, which you can read about at the site.

As far as my situation with Wolf Laurel’s owners, they are ignoring me. I informed them two months ago that they were no longer permitted to use my photographs to market their resort, but they continue to do so (without any compensation to me) to this day. In fact, they have given my photographs to others to use in promoting real estate ventures in the WL area. They are willfully engaging in copyright infringement, and I am pursuing this legally, but it may be a long battle. Every attorney I have spoken with so far has informed me that from a discrimination standpoint, I have no case since there are no protections in the state of North Carolina.

Here are a couple of things you can do to get involved in the immediate future: Attend an upcoming protest rally sponsored by Asheville NOW and NC NOW (National Organization for Women). The rally will be Feb. 18th at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville from 11:30 – 2:00.

There will be speakers from NOW, Equality NC, eegl, etc. Music will be headlined by the Divine MAGgees. Please see information from NOW about this event: http://www.eegl.org/now_protest.pdf. The better the turnout at this rally, the more of a statement it will make. Please plan to attend if you are available.

Go to http://www.eegl.org/action.html for more information on getting your sticker. You can also get one at the NOW rally.

Thank you again. Neither Virginia or I ever intended to become this involved as “activists”, but the events of the last couple of months have made us more aware, and we realize the importance of educating the public about the inequality faced by LGBT individuals in this state and in this nation. We hope that our experience will serve as a catalyst to change.

Laurel E. Scherer

All Terrain Images
Employment Equality
www.allterrainimages.com


Condi gets called on the carpet by Congressmembers


Check out PageOneQ, which has a copy of the letter sent to Condi for defending the U.S. vote to block lesbian and gay groups from observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.



The vote put our country on the side of Iran and Sudan.


The Homo Agenda is making great inroads in my state

Dad Says His Son 'Damaged' by Homosexual Indoctrination at State-Sponsored Program.
The Governor's School of North Carolina describes itself as "program for intellectually gifted high school students, integrating academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses." But one North Carolina couple is suffering some after effects of their son's involvement in the program. Jim and Beverly Burrows say after their son attended a Governor's School seminar called "The New Gay Teenager," he began telling them he was unsure of his "sexual orientation."

The parents believe the seminar was intentionally scheduled as the last optional one before classes ended in order to leave a strong, lasting impression on the students and bypass any parental notification about the seminar. Jim Burrows says he noticed a big difference in his otherwise normal son upon his return from the school.

"He [said he] was thinking now that he perhaps was gay -- and of course I was floored by this [pronouncement] and was, like, 'where did this come from?' This kind of came out of left field," the dad says. After questioning his son for an extended period, Burrows says he discovered the source. "I found out that this was as a result of this seminar."
Have you all stopped laughing yet? I think that there's an ad campaign just waiting to happen. If you go to the school's site, the student endorsements now have a whole new meaning because Jim Burrows has uncovered The Homosexual AgendaTM is an integral part of the curriculum. Look at the brainwashing that occurs...
"It's a place where you stretch your mind to think about the world and yourself in new ways…"

"They will hit you with earth-shattering topics…and there is no better place to learn, laugh, and grow up."

"I have developed a more accepting attitude towards controversial material and opposing beliefs. I understand many more perspectives that others have, and this array of viewpoints has helped me to better establish and support my opinions."

"It was the greatest time of my life. I developed a strong sense of identity in this very accepting environment of talented and brilliant, yet humble friends."

"Residentially, students room with other youth with whom they can communicate on an intellectual and social level."

"You will have the most amazing summer – you’ll meet people both incredibly like and unlike yourself- your mind will be opened and it will help form you into a thoughtful, hopeful person."

– Students, 2003
My god, what are they doing to the children there?! Burrows is beside himself; the Governor's school has destroyed his family!
According to Burrows, his son was instructed by two openly homosexual staff members of the Governor's School to question his sexuality as well as Bible passages that condemn homosexuality. And the students were also encouraged by instructors to start a Gay Straight Alliance club at their schools, he says.

The North Carolina dad explains that his son's subsequent struggle with homosexuality has turned his family upside down. "As far as our family is concerned, the damage has already been done," he laments. "There's no way that we can go back and undo what has been done." Still, Mr. Burrows feels he needs to warn other parents of the homosexual indoctrination his son encountered at the Governor's School. "[I]f I can keep one other family from having to go through this, then all this trouble has been worthwhile," he says.
Jeebus, send your to Exodus International -- maybe you can undo "the gay" in him!

Jeremy of Good As You takes a crack at these whiners.


Have mercy, where do you even begin?



Ungodly bedmate of James Carville, (and apparently a expert "sista" under the skin), the hacktastic GOP shill Mary Matalin, weighs in on race matters re: Coretta Scott King's funeral on Hannity and Colmes -- and she has no fricking shame. (Media Matters):
I mean, you know, I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them. Articulate it better, Sean; it's so sad to me.
You might recall that Matalin worked for the equally-well-known "brother" under the skin, MC Defibrillator VP Darth Cheney, who voted against the holiday for Dr. King when he was in the House.

There's video, if you can bear it.


Would anyone else like to change their vote to ban the Libertrollian?

I guess it depends on whether you think private, highly personal e-mails written in the depths of a depressive episode should be exposed to the public in an effort of self-aggrandizement.

HE GOES... OR I GO.

UPDATE from the Blogmistress:



Fritz has this up at his pad.

Pam here: as noted in the comments of Russ's post tonight, I banned a commenter that crossed my personal civility line here at the Blend.

Cya!


Why we MUST frame the illegal NSA wiretapping as "lawbreaking", not "spying on Americans"


Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Patrick Henry said, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Daniel Webster said, "Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life itself, not when the safety of their country and its liberties may demand the sacrifice, but whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it?"

Unfortunately, these American patriots are long dead, and people like Beverly Ann Sharpf of Tualatin, Oregon, exemplifies the love of liberty and privacy and trust in Daddy Bush's Fatherland Security many so-called "Americans" share. From her letter to the editor in today's Oregonian:
As if you'd be spied on...

I'm kind of amused at the people in this country who are having a tizzy fit because they think President Bush is "spying" on them. They must hold themselves in such high esteem, believing that their conversations are so important that the government would take an interest in what they are saying.

As for me, I'm thrilled that our president is doing everything possible to keep me safe -- which, by the way, is no more than other wartime presidents have done.
Yes, Bev, I'm sure you have nothing to fear. The government is probably not wiretapping your unlisted phone number of (503) ###-#### you use at your home at #### @@ %%%% Drive, Tualatin, Oregon, 97062, especially considering you're a good little Christian lady who hates the ACLU and donated $45 to the Republican National Committee in 2004. And you shouldn't worry at all about me being able to pull up all of that information plus your court records, attorney records, medical history, Social Security number, phone call logs, political and religious affiliations, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all your living relatives, credit cards numbers, and much, much more in ten minutes time using nothing but Google and $49.95 from my PayPal account... after all, I'm only 1/1,000,000,000,000th as powerful as the federal government you instinctively trust.

So, instead, dear Bev, I'd just ask if you think the wise and benevolent Bush is above Old Glory and the Constitution and laws for which it stands that you claim to love so dearly?

And then I'd ask you to pray a bit on the words of James Monroe and Theodore Roosevelt that you have posted at your website:
"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Let us, by all wise and constitutional measures, promote intelligence among the people, as the best means of preserving our liberties."

"We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity."
Mrs. Sharpf, you deserve neither liberty nor safety. (You could use a decent HTML coder, though. Your redundant use of <span> tags reads like the transcript of a Monty Python sketch.)


Mormons riled up about "Big Love"


They say you can take the boy out of the Jell-O Belt*, but you can't take the Jell-O Belt out of the boy. I began distancing myself from religion in general and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) in particular around the age I figured out Santa Claus wasn't real, either. That was about a year or two after the much younger (yet still sportin' the buzz-cut!) me in that picture above was dunked in a pool like the one above, surrounded by seven six or twelve golden oxen (I don't recall exactly how many), in order to cleanse me of all my eight-year colection of mortal sins -- like the time I found one of dad's Playboy magazines and saw my first non-maternal boobie. (I've since moved on to collect a much wider and more depraved set of sins... but my first love will always be the boobies!)

But I still follow the news items related to Mormons, so it piqued my curiosity when the Huffington Post tipped me off to the controversy surrounding a new drama set to air on HBO this march entitled "Big Love":
(NY Post) HBO's new polygamy drama, "Big Love," doesn't premiere until March 12, but it's already stirring up big trouble in Utah.

The Tom Hanks-produced series stars Bill Paxton as a Viagra-popping Mormon with three wives, three houses and more problems than Tony Soprano. Chloe Sevigny and Jeanne Tripplehorn have career-saving roles as wives No. 1 and 2, respectively, with Ginnifer Goodwin as No. 3.

Although Paxton's character isn't affiliated with mainstream Mormonism, viewers could be forgiven for assuming so - a mistake that members of the faith, which has lately been making inroads into mainstream America, desperately want to avoid.
Uh-oh. Do we have another Book of Daniel-style fracas in the making? Will the LDS faithful be screaming for boycotts and protests, a la the American Family Association?

Guess again. Mormons are the polite, inoffensive second cousin of the American Christian landscape -- sort of like the Christian Canada sharing a spiritual continent with James Dobson's America. They are only asking that the show accurately depicts mainstream Mormonism's rebuke of polygamous Mormon splinter groups:
(Deseret News) These polygamists are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a fact the series makes pretty clear. But is it clear enough?

HBO and the producers certainly think so.

"I think what the show does very clearly is it makes a very big distinction between the mainline church and the characters in the show," said Carolyn Strauss, president of HBO Entertainment. "It is interesting how many people are ignorant about the Mormon Church and think that (it) actually does condone polygamy.

"So, in an odd way, this show is sort of beneficial in drawing that distinction."
But you and I both know your average American can't be bothered to pay attention such details as character development, setting, context, or plot. So the Mormons -- in their polite Canadian-like way -- are clarifying the point and asking that HBO do the same:
"Polygamy was officially discontinued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1890. Any church member adopting the practice today is excommunicated. Those groups which continue the practice in Utah and elsewhere have no association whatever with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [other than living in and around Utah, preaching from the Book of Mormon, and a fondness for Jell-O], and most of their practitioners have never been among our members.

"The church has long been concerned about the continued illegal practice of polygamy, and in particular about reports of child and wife abuse emanating from polygamous communities today. It will be regrettable if this program, by making polygamy the subject of entertainment, minimizes the seriousness of that problem.

"Through its Los Angeles public affairs office, church representatives have asked the producers at HBO to consider a disclaimer at the beginning of the program, dissociating the practice of polygamy today from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The producers have said they are willing to consider that request."
The Mormon church has the benefit of a God who frequently calls the church president to let them know when their policies are becoming a bit too unpopular for mainstream consumption. Polygamy was all fine and dandy during the church's first few decades of existence, in fact, ordained by God with plenty of Biblical and Book of Mormonical (?) Scripture to back it up. But near the end of the 19th century when Utah was seeking statehood in a Union that fiercely opposed the "one man many women" concept of marriage, God was kind enough to provide revelation to the church leaders that He was amending "one man many women" to the ideal "one man one woman" -- not that an omniscient deity would initially make a mistake or anything, but instead because He likes to keep us on our toes by shaking up the rules now and then.
But Utah activist Vicky Prunty, who escaped a polygamist marriage and is now executive director of Tapestry Against Polygamy, hopes "Big Love" will further expose what she calls the church's "secret shame."

"They might not practice polygamy, but they still believe in it," she said. "They only outlawed it so that Utah could get statehood. The LDS church can try to pretend that it doesn't exist, but the truth will always rear its ugly head. Thanks to this show, the church leaders are up there on the hill shaking a bit, and that gives me some pleasure."
Other religions should be so lucky to have a God that pays attention to the evolving social politics of the modern era. Mormon leaders were also bestowed with revelation that black folks weren't actually given their dark skin by God as visible reminder of their sinful heritage and lesser status as the descendents of Cain... and it only took a decade after the slaying of Dr. King for God to get around to it! Again, not because an omnipotent deity couldn't have originally broke that news to Joseph Smith. God was just protecting the early Mormons from early American racists of the time who might have tarred them as "n*gger lovers". Just as He is protecting them now from taunts of "f*ggot lovers".
An HBO spokesperson said "Big Love" co-creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer ultimately decided to add the following note at the end of the first episode:

"According to a joint report issued by the Utah and Arizona attorney general's offices, July 2005, 'approximately 20,000 to 40,000 or more people currently practice polygamy in the United States.' The Mormon Church officially banned the practice of polygamy in 1890."

Having asked a dozen or so TV critics who've seen at least some of the first five episodes, most agreed that it's a clear distinction. One, however, was surprised to learn mainstream Mormons aren't polygamists — and he'd seen all five episodes.
See? What did I tell you about Americans paying attention to character development, setting, context, or plot? Now, will a country that made a horrendous assumption based on two tangentially related statements -- "Muslim terrorists attacked us on 9/11" + "Iraq is a country full of Muslims" = "Saddam helped with 9/11!" -- make another horrendous assumption like "There are tens of thousands of polygamists" + "Mormons officially banned polygamy" = "There's a whole lot of unofficial Mormons out west!"?
The producers also took great pains to make it clear that "Big Love" is not anti-Mormon.

"When we brought this project to HBO, there were two caveats that we had. . . . We were not interested in the glib, the sensational, the tawdry, the salacious. Our interests went much deeper than that," Olsen said. "And we also wanted to communicate to HBO (that) we had no ax to grind against the Mormon Church. And those remain our guiding principles in this material."

While he has no Mormon background, Olsen has done enormous research and has a firm grasp of the culture. It's not just that the scripts are sprinkled with LDS references, but they're in context. And he speaks easily and knowledgeably about various polygamous groups ranging from Bluffdale to Colorado City.

He knows enough that he edited out a scene in a later episode that featured temple garments being treated disrespectfully. ["Temple garments" are the holy underwear that Mormons must wear ALL OF THE TIME to remind them of their promises to God -- think Fruit-of-the-Loom Chastity Rings.]

"I just couldn't leave it in. We really don't want to offend members" of the LDS Church, he said.

But he's not going to be surprised if they are. And, make no mistake, this is an HBO show that's far from family fare. Olsen expects church members to be offended by the sex scenes, which are HBO-explicit. But, clearly, they're not aiming for an LDS audience.
Lest anyone think I'm picking on Mormons... well, OK, I'm picking on Mormons. But as far as I'm concerned, they're really no sillier than any other Christian mythology. But for a silly evangelizing Christian mythology, they also have many positive traits:

* they don't get all bent out of shape and threaten mass advertiser boycotts of controversial shows; they just don't watch them (please, President Hinckley, could you pen a note to Donald Wildmon?)
* a very strong commitment to solid family relationships (Family Home Evening, they call it),
* a social safety net in the form of church-based welfare for members experiencing hardships,
* emergency preparedness planning in the form church teachings to stock up a year's worth of food and water,
* a lifestyle that preaches health, nutrition, and exercise (Utah leads or is close to the lead in many health-related categories),
* charitable giving to victims of natural and man-made disaster,
* support for the separation of church & state (East Coast elites forcing you to give up your many wives will do that for you), [Update] OK, maybe just "separation of state & church"... you're right about Mormon interference in gay marriage amendments, equal rights amendments, and Utah state politics...
* an awesome genealogical database -- my Mormon aunt traced most of my direct bloodlines to the 10th century and some of my indirect bloodlines back to to my 57th-Great Grandfather, Frithuwald (Bor) of Asgard, Asia, born about 190 AD, and his grandfather, Finn, my 59th-Great Grandfather, but without a birthdate (damn 2nd century record keeping!)
* and most of all, they can be some of the sweetest, most generous, kind-hearted people you'd ever want to meet... like Canadians!

Sorry if this last part reads like a recruiting pamphlet. Love for my deceased aunt compelled me to say something nice. But don't worry, there's no chance in the Telestial Kingdom I'm going to be riding a bike wearing a short-sleeved white shirt and black tie anytime in the future. Temple garments get in the way of the boobies... whether it's two of 'em, four of 'em, six of 'em...

*The self-referential term for Utah and Idaho, home to large Mormon families that consider the colorful gelatin a staple food for dinner and church socials. The old joke in the church of my youth was "How many Mormons does it take to change a light bulb? Five: one to change the bulb and four to bring punch and Jell-O."


Unspeakable evil performed in our name

Just read Rude Pundit's Gitmo Starvation and American Restraint. Unless you're eating lunch or you want to hold on to any last shred of being proud to be an American.


Reuters: Pope meets Laura Bush, says worried about terror

Well, that headline could be taken many ways, couldn't it? Might he be talking about the handiwork of all the pedophile priests he's let loose over the years?

Notice that party-hard Jenna is not around to meet with Prada Papa Ratzi, and how thrilled Barbara is to be there:


Actual caption: Pope Benedict XVI presents U.S. first lady Laura Bush (C) with a set of rosary beads as her daughter Barbara (L) looks on after a meeting with the Pope in the Papal Library at the Vatican February 9, 2006. The first lady is visiting Rome before heading to Aviano Air Base to meet with U.S. troops and continuing on to the opening ceremonies of the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Feel free to speculate what Barbara is thinking, or what Papa Ratzi and Laura are saying...


A Modest Survey: Fifty Questions For Compassionate Christian Conservatives

With all the brouhaha over the Coretta Scott King funeral, I get the nagging feeling we all may be ignoring more important issues. It's become so obvious that we "lefties" have fallen very out of touch with mainstream America.

So, in the interest of honest inquiry and tolerance for dissenting views, we owe it to ourselves as "lefties" to learn from our morally superior brothers and sisters on the right side of the aisle (why do you think they call it "right", anyway?).

We have so much to learn, and so little time before the Rapture comes and condemns us to a thousand-year reign of hell on earth. I propose we all take the opportunity to educate ourselves by asking our friends to complete A Modest Survey: Fifty Questions for Compassionate Christian Conservatives.

1. If the president admits to breaking the 1978 FISA Law in order to spy illegally on American citizens and the president pledges to stay vigilant in the pursuit of lawbreakers, does he have to run endless laps around a circular jogging track?

2. Since the president has absolute power to do anything he chooses when he declares a war on nouns, was it more irresponsible of Richard Nixon to not just shoot all the drug users when he declared War on Drugs, or was it more irresponsible of Lyndon Johnson to not just imprison the poor when he declared War on Poverty?

3. If the majority leader of a party is indicted for ethics issues involving an indicted lobbyist, and is then given a chairmanship on the very subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department that is investigating that lobbyist, is it proper to call him "Mr. Chairman" or "Congressman"?

4. Assuming we need to get tough militarily with Iran, what will you be doing to personally convince more poor people to enlist for the military?

5. Is our national deficit in danger of creating a drastic shortage of commas and zeroes?

6. How much body armor can you buy for the cost of an Alaskan bridge?

7. Does a person specifically have to have judged Arabian horses to be qualified to run FEMA, or will any breed of horse be sufficient?

8. Now that the election is over, is okay with you that the senior senator from Arizona fathered an illegitimate black baby?

9. How many voting machines in poor minority districts are "too many"?

10. If a president gets oral sex from an intern in the Oval Office, does that negate his authority to imprison people indefinitely without charges, communication, or counsel?

11. If Dan Rather receives fake documents claiming Col. Jack Killian sought uranium from Niger, can the newsman break into the Colonel's house?

12. Just because we vote alongside Iran against gay rights in the UN, does that mean we can't invade them later?

13. Who would Jesus subject to interrogation techniques not approximating the pain of imminent organ failure?

14. If you lose your Visa Check Card in Iraq and someone rings up $8.8 billion in charges, will they hold you liable for the loss?

15. How many covert secret agents working on counterproliferation of WMDs do you have to "out" in order to truly keep America safe?

16. When you're trying to draw terrorists out of their holes, is it more effective to lure them to unguarded ports and unchecked airline cargo holds, or would it be better pull Al Gore and Ray Charles out of line at airport security?

17. If Congress gives you authorization to use all necessary military force to protect America in a time of war, are you allowed to use more electronic surveillance than George Washington did?

18. When a major national disaster hits a Gulf Coast city, are you allowed to take a mulligan on the 18th hole?

19. How much harder should we make it for seniors to get their Medicare prescription drugs in order to convince them to let us privatize Social Security?

20. Considering the epidemic of overgrown brush taking over our country's critterless Texas ranches, shouldn't we just do away with Presidential Daily Briefs altogether?

21. When the people whose country you invade shower you with roses, can you deduct the cost of vases from your taxes?

22. Since Shaquille O'Neal is the best slam dunker in the NBA, shouldn't he get a Presidential Medal of Freedom, too?

23. In light of the incredible success in Afghanistan, shouldn't we do something similar domestically by letting heroin gangs control our local politics?

24. If four jumbo jets make U-turns over American airspace, how long should we wait before shooting down Payne Stewart's plane?

25. In order to combat the rising worldwide cost of children's shoes, how can we convince the other nations of the world to oppose a land mine ban treaty?

26. How far away from the president should a "free speech zone" be to best ensure we fully recognize the right of the people to peaceable assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievances with smoke signals?

27. After you exchange many personal letters and on multiple occasions borrow the corporate jet of someone you barely know and can't remember, is it appropriate to write "To Whom It May Concern" on the thank you card?

28. How many baseball players have to testify under oath before the Senate in order to get to the bottom of wiretapping scandals, oil price gouging, and the events of 9/11?

29. How many times do you have to say "Bring it on" before they really start to bring it on?

30. Once we permanently prevent gays from getting married, will it be longer or shorter than a decade before heterosexual divorce disappears altogether?

31. Considering how dangerous cheap Canadian prescription drugs are, shouldn't we be addressing the menace that is Canadian bacon?

32. Why aren't we utilizing the incredible video diagnosis skills of Dr. Bill Frist to help some of our wounded soldiers? Is it the satellite feed time delay that's causing problems?

33. When are we going to Mars already? That's got to be where Saddam hid the WMDs!

34. Now that religious pharmacists don't have to dispense birth control, do recovering alcoholic priests have to offer the sacrament?

35. When you attend a soldier's funeral, how far away should the president and vice president remain to avoid the bullets falling from the sky from the 21-gun salute?

36. Now that no children are left behind, how long before we crack the top 25 in math & science in the world?

37. Once we finally get the Ten Commandments in all of our courthouses, what should be the mandatory minimum sentence for worshipping graven images or dishonoring your mother and father?

38. Soon enough abortion will be illegal, so what is a fair rate for an attorney to charge to defend a miscarriage?

39. How many more tax cuts should we give the super rich to ensure we have enough tax money for all the faith-based organizations?

40. Since we know abstinence education will eliminate teenage premarital sex, should I sell my shares in Trojan?

41. How much do we have to cut in Student Loan funding to make the GI Bill great again?

42. Why do people keep talking about Darfur as if there was oil there?

43. Now that we've completely debunked the global warming myth, how can we transform our energies into making polar bears better swimmers?

44. Now that school boards are recognizing the science of Intelligent Design, can we just replace mathematics with readings from the book of Numbers?

45. If Nancy Reagan came down with Alzheimer's disease, would it be enough for her to forget about supporting the murder of womb babies for medical research?

46. Which democratically-elected leader of an oil-rich South American country would Jesus assassinate?

47. If the president of the NAACP or the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus should die, does the president have to meet with the rest of the members while he attends the funeral?

48. If we don't pass tort reform soon, how many other little girls will scramble to have their large intestines sucked out through their anus by a hot tub drain in the pursuit of a big payday?

49. If there is too much mercury in the fish on your pregnant wife's plate, can you at least use the fish to take her basal temperature?

(OK, c'mon Russ, we're almost home. Just one more question you're dying to ask Compassionate Christian Conservatives...)

50. WHERE'S OSAMA?

(Sorry. I've got no joke for that one. Feel free to begin the next fifty questions in the comments.)


Poor Roy



The homo-bigoted candidate for Governor of Alabama, Roy Moore (famous for losing his robes over the above Ten Commandments slab in the courthouse), has good and bad news coming to him, according to the Mobile Register.

The good news: he's reporting donations from 49 states in 2005, coming from donations from 2,214 people. Impressively, the contributions came from individuals in 49 states, and hundreds came though Roy's campaign Web site.

The bad news those 2,214 donations added up to just $310,578. Let's look at others in the race:

* Governor Bob Riley (R): $3.8 million
* Lucy Baxley (D): $1.2 million in contributions
* Don Siegelman: $342,625 (no surprise for the corruption-tainted former governor; $300K of that total was a loan by from his brother!)
The reports of Moore and Siegelman both reflect alarmingly low levels of support from the business community for major candidates in a governor's race, said University of Alabama politics professor William Stewart.

"It's pretty dramatic, I think," Stewart said. "Obviously, the business interests enjoy the administration they have right now, and they feel it will most likely continue for the next four years and they want to be on the winning side."

"I think they (business leaders) definitely don't want Moore because Riley is a good industrial recruiter, he relates well to national and international business leaders, and they fear Judge Moore, being associated with conservative Christians, that that might work against dealing with other cultures and possibly other religions."
Some of the latest polling (more matchups at Rasmussen:



Business trumps the bible beating. One would hope folks couldn't bring themselves to vote for a man who wrote, in a 2002 concurrence in a custody case involving a lesbian mother:
After describing homosexuality as "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature," Moore asserted that "[t]he State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit [homosexual] conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle."
Also:
* Roy Moore's wife lobs the 'Christian' bomb in fundraising email


Boo friggin hoo, part II

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bring out the tiny violin again, we have another whining wingnut, concerned that secular society and the ever-menacing Homosexual AgendaTM are steamrolling the holy roller out of today's youth.
The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, is pressing alarm over the large number of young Christians who accept what the Bible clearly condemns. Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr., says one of the problems today is that too many Christians seem to think that other religions are equally valid paths to God -- and that is especially true of young Christians, he says, noting that many see nothing wrong with homosexuality or same-sex "marriage."

"
Compromise on the exclusivity of the Gospel is just a huge issue," says Mohler, "and the younger you go, the more troublesome that really becomes." Mohler says the views of many young Christians are skewed by modern culture. "The evangelical teenager today -- the young adult raised in the dominant educational establishment -- has an understanding of truth," he says, "[but] it's just not compatible with scripture, unless he or she has had that concept of truth shaped by the pulpit."

And if they are not getting it from the pulpit, he continues, they are going to have an "ambient cultural understanding" of truth -- "and that is not consistent with the One who said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me.'" Mohler says Christianity needs preachers to correct widespread ignorance -- or defiance -- of biblical teaching.
These feeble folks don't seem to understand that they are only exposing the fact that their faith is so weak that they need to find measures to "correct" someone who falls out of line.


Virginia Senate committee kills gay rights bill

No big surprise here. Exiting Governor Mark Warner and current officeholder Tim Kaine signed executive actions to bar discrimination against gays and lesbians in state and local government, but an attempt to extend those measures permanently through legislation met with the usual bible beating BS.
The General Laws and Technology Committee voted 8-6 to kill the measure, which would have made a nondiscrimination order signed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine a permanent state law. It also would have expanded the policy to include local governments and school boards.

...Jack Knapp of the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists said the state should not extend employment protections to gays.


"We feel the activity is against the teaching of word of God, and that settles it for us," Knapp said.

His comments set off a testy exchange with Sen. Yvonne B. Miller, D-Norfolk, who said support for slavery was built in the church. "I don't think you, Senator Miller, were ever personally a slave," Knapp said.
Let's see, and Knapp's point was what? Miller needed to be a slave to understand why it's OK to discriminate against homos? That the door to civil rights slams shut once blacks were no longer slaves? WTF kind of dumb bigot is this "Christian" guy?

***

While on the state of things in Virginia, what on earth is going on with these "Christian" wingers who are threatening a gay NoVa radio show host? This is via Wayne Besen:
A Northern Virginia radio show that caters to a younger gay audience received threats this week to shut down, or else. E-mails from right wing yahoos hinted at violence if Chad Larson, host of The Edge Show , did not cancel his program. While the e-mails did not offer a specific threat, they did claim that members of one church organization have "removed homosexuals from places before" and that , "If Mr. Larson won't go quietly, we are ready for a fight." The e-mail did not specify which church the writer claimed to be from.
"The penalty for homosexuality is death. Humans are not allowed to kill," one e-mail stated. "That's why God sent AIDS. When Chad Larson is lying on his death bed from this incurable illness, he will wish he had of turned to us for help."
Larson said the threats are being taken seriously, but the show will go on, each Saturday at 1PM on WEBR in Fairfax.


The Money Shot

That's the title of Nancy Goldstein's latest Raw Story column.
Twenty bloggers. Seventeen states. One question: If you had $100 to invest politically, where would it go?

True confessions: when I queried folks, I told them that I, like so many disenchanted progressives, had sworn off giving money to the Democratic National Party in the wake of the Alito/judicial nominations debacle. And I asked them to consider where they'd spend their hard-earned dough with that in mind.

It's important to go beyond saying no. We need to let folks out in the blogosphere - and among our elected officials - know what we DO still believe in and where we WILL still continue to spend our political dollars
Go check out where folks would send their money.


Dr. King, Sen. McCain, Vice President Cheney, how DARE you use a funeral for a partisan attack?!?


Pam, now I'm even MORE jealous that you get to sit on a panel with John Aravosis. From AMERICAblog:
Eulogy for the Young Victims of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing, by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sept 18, 1963 in Birmingham, Ala. This was the eulogy for three of the four children killed in attack, Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley. From DKos:
This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God....

They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death.

They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows.

They have something to say to every politician [Audience:] (Yeah) who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism.

They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats (Yeah) and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans. (Speak)

They have something to say to every Negro (Yeah) who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice.

They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution.

They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream [...]
And there you have it. Martin Luther King using the funeral of small children to criticize the existing members of Congress and the federal government overall. And this is exactly what Coretta Scott King's mourners did yesterday at her funeral. Something the Republican party blowhards flipped out over. Something Coretta and MLK would have likely WANTED, as clearly shown by their own actions.

So, come on, Ken [Mehlman, head of the Republican National Committee]. You know you want to blast Martin Luther King for what you view as angrily exploiting the deaths of children, just as you Republicans blasted Democrats for saying the exact same things at Coretta's funeral yesterday. Your fingers are just itching to hit the keys and type out a blistering press release about that "angry" black man MLK and the way he politicizes the funerals of CHILDREN, no less!

Come on, Ken. Tell the black man his real place in America. Tell him how his church is supposed to be run, how his funerals are supposed to look and act and sound and feel like white folk's funerals.
Almost absolutely perfect, John. I would've substituted "Michael" for "Ken", but, hey, that's just me...

[UPDATE] From Senator John McCain's eulogy of Senator Barry Goldwater [hat tip to Kos commentor Alkibiadesdog]:
Barry Goldwater put his country and our founding ideals before himself, and we never had a better champion. He believed we all have a duty to the country, a concept that once was as common to our political lexicon as "soundbite" and "spin control" are today. And he performed his duty magnificently -- tirelessly, forcefully, effectively, and with a style as honest and wide open as the state he loved so dearly.

American politics is awash in pledges today; pledges to cut taxes; to soak the rich; to create wealth; to redistribute wealth; to end welfare; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless; to fight for the middle class, the working class, the underclass, and the entrepreneurial class.

...In politics, a profession he loved despite his frequent frank assessments of its less admirable practitioners, he risked his career to give the country "a choice, not an echo." No one knew better than Barry that he was unlikely to win the Presidency in 1964. But he felt the Republican Party and the country needed some straight talk about old values, and he figured he was the man to give it to them the loudest. So he did, knowing the slings and arrows he would suffer, but confident that his course was honorable. And he ended that campaign, as he ended his political career twenty-two years later, his personal integrity unblemished, his honor unassailable.
From VP Cheney's eulogy of Senator Strom Thurmond, delivered during the fifth month of the Iraq War:
Strom was a man of deep convictions. And no issue mattered more greatly to him than the security of our nation. [nah, that's not a political statement at a time two months after "Mission Accomplished" when we were having a bitter political debate about whether invading Iraq really was beneficial to the security of the nation]... I remember from my time as Secretary of Defense that we could always count on Senator Thurmond to stand up for a well trained and well equipped military. [As opposed to those awful Democrats who must hate the military because they want to reign in its funding.] And in this time of challenge for our country, when we have had to call upon the skill and bravery of our people in uniform, we've seen the quality force that Strom Thurmond helped to build. All Americans are grateful to our military, and I know that all branches of the service are grateful to their faithful advocate from South Carolina.
And the hits just keep on a-comin'.


Action item: waste fundie dough

April 26 is the date for The Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Student Association (USSA). This event is a day-long vow of silence taken by students who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools and to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment.

As with anything related to the homos, the fundies caught on to this bid for tolerance and non-discrimination, and have organized a counter event, complete with DVDs, T-shirts and bible-beating. Organized by the foul, fundie legal group the Alliance Defense Fund, The Day of Truth is scheduled for the next day, April 27th. Here is the fundie game plan.
The Day of Truth was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective.

In the past, students who have attempted to speak against the promotion of the homosexual agenda have been censored or, in some cases, punished for their beliefs.  It is important that students stand up for their First Amendment right to hear and speak the Truth about human sexuality in order to protect that freedom for future generations. The Day of Truth provides an opportunity to publicly exercise our free speech rights.

Participating students are encouraged to wear T-shirts and pass out cards (not during class time) with the following message:

I am speaking the Truth to break the silence.
Silence isn’t freedom. It’s a constraint.
Truth tolerates open discussion, because the Truth emerges when healthy discourse is allowed.
By proclaiming the Truth in love, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.
Blender Kitten wrote in with an inventive suggestion on what folks might do to derail the efforts of the Alliance Defense Fund...

They're promoting this with a slick MTV-style video DVD in churches & youth groups... it's total bigot propaganda designed to make kids feel good about shunning queers who refuse to convert.

You can see the video here, it's Mtv suburbia yet evil evil evil: http://www.dayoftruth.org

I have an idea to disrupt the Day of Truth. Peacefully.

Here's the thing - ADF will mail you the promo DVD for FREE, just for filling out a web form. That's the action idea - this is a great opportunity to waste some serious wingnut cash & time!

How much do you think each "Truth" packet costs, including postage? $3-4 at a minimum, right? What if 1,000 of us LGBTers ordered packets? I just did. Why not put this idea on the Blend? Let ADF catch wind of a campaign like this, and they'll have to question their entire mailing list.

Or just waste some money they'd otherwise use to more effectively cause young gay people emotional anguish & pain.

the fuckers.

Okay, enough - go order your free DVD & spend some fundie cash!
***

UPDATE (11 PM): That was FAST.

Kitten emailed to say the online store's been disabled.
The ADF has now disabled their Day of Truth online store!

You can't order a free bigot DVD, tshirt or flyers anymore, which means bigots can't, either. That's something. It just makes it slightly harder for them to organize on the internet, which is great, imho.

The "materials are in development" message that is now there hasn't changed... there used to be free DVDs, t-shirts and bigot cards to order right underneath that.

Now they may try to start it up again later, but if that happens, I think we should just put out another call to either shut it down again or cost the fundies more money.

Congratulations! Pam's House Blend 1, Bigots 0.

You just made a difference. Death by a thousand cuts!!


Why Bush's faith-based BS has little to do with faith

Scout Prime at First Draft has a great post on two examples of the lack of accountability in the Chimp's "faith-based initiative."

Case 1: The WaPo features the tale of House of Refuge in Salt Lake City. An alleged rehabilitation program at a church, the entity is facing allegations that it forced people to work as telemarketers for 28 cents an hour under the threat they could go back to jail. Oh, and the church withheld even those pitiful wages and pocketed it all.

Case 2: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports an outfit called Lighthouse Disaster Relief, hastily put together by Pastor Gary Heldreth in the aftermath of Katrina, was hired by FEMA to construct a base camp for first responders and St. Bernard Parish employees. For this, Lighthouse was paid $5 million taxpayer dollars -- and didn’t do the work according to the GSA.

The General Services Administration spokespeople couldn't even confirm how Lighthouse cropped up on the list of approved, qualified contractors or whether anyone ever vetted Heldreth's "faith-based firm." Jeebus, in a PBS interview, Heldreth didn't even claim that Lighthouse had any experience: "About the closest thing I have done to this is just organize a youth camp with my church."

Even worse, after FEMA shelled out the $5.2 million and ended its contract with Lighthouse -- the incompetent agency had to bring in another company to finish the job.

Scout nails this outrage cold.
Can anyone claiming to work for God belly up to Bush’s faith-based tit and suck away with no questions asked? I’m sorry Pastor Gary, if you are indeed a pastor, the taxpayers have the right to ask questions and receive answers before, during and after your work for us. As we can see now it would have been best to ask question BEFORE hand. Better yet dump the Christian moocher initiative all together and give us good government.
BTW, there is a fundraising drive to send Scout Prime, who has done superb reporting on Katrina-related events, to NOLA to do on-site reporting in March.

[UPDATE: Scout emailed and said that the fundraising goal was met in less than 24 hours!!! She'll be blogging from NOLA Feb. 27-March 7.]

***

Oy, Spindentist over at All Spin Zone reports House of Refuge bears a strange similarity to another slavery-based organization called Disciples House.


AFA: Senate marriage amendment vote is slated for March

The American Family Association has this up on its site and is grinding up the federal Marriage Protection Act machine, e-blasting its sheeple.


Senate To Vote On Homosexual Marriage Ban In Early March

Action Needed Today! Help Send U.S. Senate One Million Letters Supporting Marriage Protection Amendment

The U.S. Senate will vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) in early March. This constitutional amendment will make marriage between one man and one woman the only legal marriage.

Your help is needed in sending one million emails to the Senate in support of the MPA.

Senators who vote against the MPA, or support a filibuster to avoid a vote on the MPA, are supporting homosexual marriage.

ACTION NEEDED TODAY!

Please enter your zip code above or below and click “GO” to send your two Senators an email, then forward this to your friends and family urging them to do the same. The “Tell A Friend” link found below is an easy way to pass this important message to your friends and family. Those favoring homosexual marriage are already contacting their Senators urging defeat of the MPA.

Time is short! Please send your letters of support today! Ask members of your Sunday School class and church to send an email in support of the MPA. Ask your pastor to put an announcement in the church bulletin and newsletter. They can send an email by clicking on AFA.net.

Simply enter your zip code above or below to send your emails to your two U.S. Senators. Remember, it is very important to forward this to friends and family if we are to reach our goal of one million. (Our system will not accept invalid email addresses.)

If you think our efforts are worthy, please help us promote traditional marriage with a small donation by clicking here.

Thanks for caring enough to get involved!

Sincerely,

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association
The AFA knows that it will be acted upon in March, and we don't? I looked at the HRC site. Nada. NGLTF site - zip. I did a few searches for news on this; I pulled nothing up about a March vote. I posted on Melissa McEwan's January 29 Raw Story article, reporting that Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), a co-sponsor of the joint resolution, indicated Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R- TN) would bring it to a vote in 2006 -- but not with a date attached to that bit of information.

So Wildmon is either blowing smoke or he's on the Frist bat phone. You guess which is more likely.

Ms. Julien emails me last night:
"How can they already know about this? There is nothing on the lib blogs yet. This is really bad. I can tell you that they have been a 1-3 weeks to a month ahead of the liberal blogs and not for profits.

They are much more "in" with the Senators than HRC or NGLTF will ever be. This is what sucks. They will have halfway to the 1 million signatures they request from the "sheep" on their mailing list before HRC gets its copyediting done..."
Ms. Julien is on the wingnut mailing lists, so she gets Wildmon's screech-fests and marching orders all the time.

By the way, the status of S.J.RES.1, on Thomas.gov is shown as "Latest Major Action: 11/9/2005 Senate committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. Approved for full committee consideration without amendment favorably."

Quite frankly, with an issue this polarizing, I'm assuming that the list of fence sitting Senators has to be tiny. For instance, Dole and Burr, my senators, are lost causes -- they are co-sponsors.

As before, you can use the AFA's web form, change the stock message and send your Senators and email or a letter...OK, commenters convinced me, if the AFA is strictly counting messages and not content, then it makes sense not to use its form.

Do write your senators if they are ones you believe are fence sitters. Their offices do place more weight on snail mail, particularly handwritten letters, than e-blasts. Obviously phone calls, as a vote actually approaches, will be the most effective.

Here's the link to the a complete contact list for senators.

HRC has a web form up (thanks, Fritz).


Outing the pedophile priest enablers

The Village Voice blows the clergy pedophilia scandal wide open, profiling a priest who works on behalf of abuse victims who is alleging in a lawsuit what we already suspect -- the child molesters are being protected by the dysfunctional, sick closeted hierarchy who are afraid of being outed.

A priest's lawsuit is about to kick the closet door of the head of the New York archdiocese, Cardinal Edward Egan, wide open, as well as some others.

The suit, now pending in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, was filed on December 13 by Bob Hoatson—a 53-year-old New Jersey priest considered a stalwart ally among survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. Hoatson, the now-suspended chaplain for Catholic Charities in Newark, is suing Egan and nine other Catholic officials and institutions, claiming a pattern of "retaliation and harassment" that began after Hoatson alleged a cover-up of clergy abuse in New York and started helping victims.

But that's not all his lawsuit claims. Halfway through the 44-page complaint, the priest-turned-advocate drops a bomb on the cardinal: He alleges that Egan is "actively homosexual," and that he has "personal knowledge of this." His suit names two other top Catholic clerics in the region as actively gay—Albany bishop Howard Hubbard and Newark archbishop John Myers.


Outed: Egan, Hubbard, Myers

It's not that Hoatson has a problem with, as the suit puts it, "consensual, adult private sexual behavior by these defendants."

No, what Hoatson claims is that, as leaders of a church requiring celibacy and condemning homosexuality, actively gay bishops are too afraid of being exposed themselves to turn in pedophile priests. The bishops' closeted homosexuality, as the lawsuit states, "has compromised defendants' ability to supervise and control predators, and has served as a reason for the retaliation."

Hoatson realizes what he's up against. "I stopped and I thought long and hard about these allegations," he says. "It's time the church confronts this dysfunction. I couldn't do this outside of filing a lawsuit. The only thing the church responds to is negative publicity or a lawsuit. If I kept trying to do this within the system, I would be gone."
This is an explosive, lengthy article, well worth the read.

How do you think the Vatican will respond to this? They've had the luxury of buying off victims, but this lawsuit is another animal altogether. Assume that they will do everything possible to destroy Hoatson's character -- that's a given, but if he produces some damning homo evidence, what will the church do then?

Hat tip, BlogActive and Proceed At Your Own Risk.


Oh, no, Republicans never bring up partisan politics at a funeral...

You know, one thing I do have to give props to Republicans for. They're ruthlessly efficient. The sun hadn't even set on Rev. Lowery's speaking truth to power at Coretta Scott King's funeral when they brought out the spin. "Horror of horrors! Those nasty liberals using a funeral to attack the president! Have they no decency? We're shocked, shocked, do ya hear, about the insertion of partisanship into a celebration of Mrs. King's life! It's so cowardly to attack the president in a forum where he can't defend himself!" They're even trotting out the old "offensive partisan rally at Senator Wellstone's funeral" chestnut to demonstrate how terrible we liberals are, unable to respect the dead and avoid defaming our political opponents.

We could argue lots of points.
* First, nothing Lowery said is anything Mrs. King wouldn't have said when she was alive.
* Second, Lowery only told the truth -- there were no WMDs, there are misdirections, we are funding the war and cutting social programs* (I guess the Truth does appear as a partisan smear to the Party of Lies).
* Third, black funerals are about witnessing to a person's life, not spouting pablum niceties. Mrs. King stood for civil rights and tolerance and helping the poor; how you could you witness to that without witnessing the modern obstacles to achieving her vision?
* Fourth, we'd love to speak truth to Bush in a forum where he could defend himself, but he keeps pre-screening us, putting us in "free-speech zones"**, and kicking us out of the State of the Union for wearing T-shirts.
* Fifth, a few hundred cretins out of 20,000 attending the funeral of the most progressive senator in my lifetime booed when the picture of Trent Lott appeared before the funeral even began and Rick Kahn and Sen. Tom Harkin, both progressives, urged attendees to continue Wellstone's legacy in the next election, and Republicans didn't even wait until Wellstone's body was laid to rest to take advantage of the manufactured outrage to benefit Norm Coleman.

But you know, that's all somewhat subjective. It's much easier to call them out on another of their talking points, the one where they say that Republicans would never ever use one of their funerals to make partisan political points.

(Oh, man, do I love Google.)

From the funeral of Ronald Reagan, remarks from Margaret Thatcher:
And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.

Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.

Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.

Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War - not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.
Gee, Maggie, who exactly are you referring to as these "others"?

Remarks of Brian Mulroney:
Some in the West, during the early 1980s, believed communism and democracy were equally valid and viable. This was the school of moral equivalence.

In contrast, Ronald Reagan saw Soviet communism as a menace to be confronted in the genuine belief that its squalid underpinnings would fall swiftly to the gathering winds of freedom, provided as he said, that NATO and the industrialized democracies stood firm and united. They did. And we know now who was right.
Gee, Brian, who exactly are you referring to as these "some"?

Remarks of George W. Bush:
And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs.When he saw evil camped across the horizon he called that evil by its name.

There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American president had dared to say.There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall that the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.
Gee, Chimpy, who exactly are you referring to as these "doubters"?

No, Republicans aren't upset about anyone besmirching Mrs. King's legacy with partisan smears. When she was alive, they never hesitated to besmirch gays or John McCain's so-called illegitimate black baby to score political points. They're quite happy to undo the lessons learned when government ran amok and illegally spied on citizens like Coretta & Martin. This administration stands as the dark opposite to everything Coretta & Martin stood for, and they're upset that they are getting called on it. They are upset that no matter how many Armstrong Williamses and Willie Wilsons and Condoleezza Rices they've got on the payroll, their approval ratings among African Americans are so low that it's a number even Chimpy can count to. They are upset that no matter how hard they tried to bring down President Clinton, he still gets thunderous applause in a black church compared to Chimpy's polite golf clap.

But most of all, they are upset that some Republicans with belief in the rule of law still remain on the Judiciary Committee that may set the stage for Chimpy's impeachment, that the American people are beginning to demand answers and accountability, that they're are in danger of losing Congress, and that people are beginning to realize they were lied into a war without end to line the pockets of Bush's cronies -- and they'd like nothing better than to pull another one of those "weapons of misdirection" cards by having us argue about relatively meaningless issues designed to make Democrats look bad.

(Updates to my original post, responding to "more Republicans voted for civil rights than Democrats" and other criticisms, are here.)

*Who needs a draft? Just make life more miserable for poor people and an enlistment looks more appealing. Cut student loan funds and that money for college is much more enticing. Mark my words; the next "draft" will be sentencing low-level drug offenders to military service...

**An oxymoron of the highest order!


Headline of the day

NYT: Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities. Good grief. We need to order a truckload of Pampers for these babies. The Dems are clueless; when you read this article you'll see that they are all over the bleeping map.
Democrats are heading into this year's elections in a position weaker than they had hoped for, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities.

In interviews, senior Democrats said they were optimistic about significant gains in Congressional elections this fall, calling this the best political environment they have faced since President Bush took office.

But Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Mr. Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November.
Did a light bulb come on? Nope, it's still dark in the room.


Mass editorial walkout at NYPress over the cartoons

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's come to this. The alt paper New York Press was doing an issue dedicated to the controversy over the Danish Mohammed cartoons, but the staff was told the cartoons in question could not be printed. The New York Press editors resigned en masse. The now-former Editor in Chief, Harry Siegel:
Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group—consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

We have no desire to be free speech martyrs, but it would have been nakedly hypocritical to avoid the same cartoons we'd criticized others for not running, cartoons that however absurdly have inspired arson, kidnapping and murder and forced cartoonists in at least two continents to go into hiding. Editors have already been forced to leave papers in Jordan and France for having run these cartoons. We have no illusions about the power of the Press (NY Press, we mean), but even on the far margins of the world-historical stage, we are not willing to side with the enemies of the values we hold dear, a free press not least among them.
That took cojones, at a time when corporate journalism is now more an extension of the government's efforts to quash information, to blunt the free exchange of ideas, and to massage the message for political gain.

Hat tip, Boozhy.


The brilliance of James Inhofe

My god, Oklahoma. You are blessed with two winners in the Senate (and I am typing this from the state that sent the Empty Wig Dole and Pharma Boy Richard Burr there). It's bad enough that you have Tom Coburn, but James Inhofe is a complete jackass.

Republican Senator James Inhofe says it's time to expose liberals and how their radical views damage national security. In a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation, the Oklahoma senator said America needs to be aware of the "idyllic blindness" of many liberal lawmakers on Capitol Hill. According to Inhofe, they are the real threat to America's national security. "I know some of the very liberal members in the House and the Senate -- and honestly, they don't think we need a military," says Inhofe.

"They believe in their own hearts that if all countries would stand in a circle and hold hands and unilaterally disarm, that all threats will go away. They won't say it, but that's what they believe." Inhofe says liberal lawmakers began dismantling the military during the Clinton years, based on this idealistic view, but that President Bush's administration has done a good job of rebuilding what was destroyed.
Come the f*ck on, Inhofe. That Kumbaya BS is in your imagination in a post-9/11 world. No, the difference between our side and yours is that you talk a good game while your Chimperor invades a country to avenge his daddy, pisses on our Constitution, spies on U.S. citizens, cuts medical benefits for those who served their country, and leaves the current crop of men and women over in Iraq as IED fodder without sufficient body armor and fortified vehicles.

Now who's the real threat to national security?

Related:
* Tom Coburn is an ass, perhaps an insane one
* Inhofe = ass


I'm watching the King funeral rebroadcast on C-SPAN


... and rather than watch the incredible speakers on the podium as they speak, I'm listening as I'm watching Chimpy slouched over in his seat behind them.

Y'all know I'm a white boy from Idaho. I was eleven years old before I saw my first black person in the flesh. I was seventeen years old and in Basic Training before I was ever in a place where there were more black faces looking back at me than white ones. And lacking that exposure in my formative years, I remember being so intimidated. What are they thinking of me? Do they think I'm looking askance at them? Oh, geez, I just said "what's up"; do they think I'm trying to be black? Do they think I'm some sort of racist (I am from Idaho; you couldn't blame 'em)?

Very, very uncomfortable. I'm not whining; I know feeling intimidated and different is a daily fact of life for black folks. But you know, after only a couple of days, that weird feeling was gone. Soon we're all laughing and joking with each other, even giving each other good-natured ribbing that, were it heard out of context by strangers, would be considered racist on both sides. I learned (and maybe some of them did, too) that we were far more alike than differences in melanin and culture, far more alike than the indoctrination our shared society attempts to impose.

I look at Chimpy in that chair, beady eyes darting about, body language halfway between protective and lounging, and I remember that very, very uncomfortable feeling I felt when my huge Grenadan drill instructor's Wesley Snipes-colored face was shouting in my face. I remember that feeling of "what are they thinking of me?" I felt when the white kid from Montana and I were facing the six black Mississippian and Alabaman faces looking back at us in our squad room.

The difference is I was seventeen and I got over it.

If George W. Bush is the picture of elitist Ivy League snobbery squirming in his chair, surrounded by people he's intimidated by if they're not serving canapés or ignoring Presidential Daily Briefs, then the polar opposite of that caricature is William J. Clinton. They say Clinton was the first black president (and the best Republican one ever!); boy, was that ever proved in the relative volume of the applause for Bush 41 & Bush 43 vs. Clinton.

And for the Rev. Dr. Lowery speaking truth to power -- "we now know there were no weapons of mass destruction over there, but there are weapons of misdirection here; for war, billions more, but no more for the poor" -- oh, my non-existent Supreme Deity, watching Chimpy have to listen to legitimate criticism while surrounded by black folks, why, that's the best one-week belated birthday present I've ever received!

(Here's a politically incorrect thought: why do people give Stevie Wonder a standing ovation? [smack upside the head] Ouch! You're right, Pam, I deserved that.)

[UPDATE] In the comments, I said the following:
How could you not mention politics at the funeral of someone whose husband's and her own civil liberties were violated by a lawbreaking Republican president spying on them without warrants when sitting right behind you is a lawbreaking Republican president violating thousands of Americans' civil liberties by spying on them without warrants?
To which Adam tracked back with a post entitled:
The Day RFK and LBJ Joined the GOP

Wow, a Republican President wiretaped MLK. Who'd that be? Well, it couldn't have been Nixon. You see King was shot in 1968, Nixon came to power in '69. Though as Nixon managed to order John Kerry into Cambodia into 1968, I suppose anything is posisble. Lets go to The Atlantic:

Wow, some revisionism there on the part of Radical Russ. It began under the Democratic Administration of JFK, by Democratic Attorney General RFK and continued under the Great Society Administration of LBJ.
Which is absolutely true. Let me publicly apologize to the ghost of Nixon for that egrigious slip. I've been thinking a lot about Nixon and COINTELPRO and the Frank "The last senator from my birth state I could be proud of" Church Commission and I got carried away.

Still, it does not diminish the point. How could you not address an administration that's illegally spying on Americans when the women you're burying was the victim of an administration illegally spying on Americans?

(Note to Republicans: this is called apologizing for your mistakes when you are confronted with fact. Look into it.)

He continues:
The Libs would love to rewrite the Civil Rights story to put Republicans as the bad guys. Truth is that only 18% of Republicans opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 compared to 32% of Democrats in the Senate. In the House, 37% of Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act compared to 20% of Republicans. The fact is that if Black Americans had been forced to depend on the votes of Democrats alone, the Civil Rights would not have happened.
To your "Republicans are all about civil rights" point. You're absolutely correct about the civil rights votes. Hmm, what area of the country did those Dixiecrat, er I mean, Democrat votes against civil rights come from? Hint: LBJ, when signing the Civil Rights Act, said he was losing that area of the country for Democrats for a generation. Now, following that, which party was it that pursued a regional "strategy" designed to maximize the votes of those formerly Democrat racists.

And, by the way, when your party is actively trying to write second-class citizenship for gays and lesbians into the Constitution, forgive me and Democrats and LGBT-rights supporter Coretta Scott King for calling B.S. on your holier-than-thou civil rights stand.


This is the Republican base

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, in keeping with the spirit of political truth-telling set by Dr. Martin Luther King and Mrs. King, said this at Coretta's funeral today (Think Progress):

We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.
The moment those words left Lowery's lips, you knew it was only a matter of time before the Swift Boating would begin. Apparently it didn't take long at all.

Lest we forget the class of the people we're dealing with, the cretins who stand behind the criminal Bush administration no matter what, we only need to turn to the desperate, filthy underbelly of The Republican Base. Read my friends, this statement by the founder of the Free Republic, Jim Robinson.
We oppose all forms of liberalism, socialism, fascism, pacifism, totalitarianism, anarchism, government enforced atheism, abortionism, feminism, homosexualism, racism, wacko environmentalism, judicial activism, etc.
With that laughably and quickly dispatched, let’s take a look at the Republican base. Let’s also look at the black Republicans, because Coretta and Dr. King fought for their right to lie down with the flea-ridden dogs of The Base...


Actual Freeper Quotes™

Lowery : Blah Blah blah bash bash bash bull bull bull Dubya : What a maroon. Laura : Please let me kick his ass. Please OK - give it your best

"I would like another roll with dinner please."

"Two classy people sitting behind a pile of trash."

Colonel Sanders has been palling around with George Hamilton.

Lowery: And yesim, we's be black and we's be proud. We's for the gubmit but not Bush's gubmit. Bush's gubmit is against us black peoples...

Bush thinking: They just can't leave politics out of it, can they? How low CAN they sink?

Laura thinking: Say it...say one more word about my husband....come on...

Laura looks determined and dignified. And is striking!

Dubya: "Hey Laura, listen closely here, I had Rove slip some political stuff into his speech so that the Dims end up "Wellstoning" themselves again..."

"psssst, look Laura, his trousers move when he's talking out his arse."

"They're running this funeral like a PLANTATION!!! And you KNOW what I'm talkin' about!!!"

Bush is going to get the last laugh, as usual. Watch his approval rating skyrocket after this shameful display.

W: "What's that old saying, 'Better to be thought a complete race baiting moron than open your mouth and remove all doubt.'"

It is so nice to have a first couple with class in the White House.

You got that right. I caught part of the service. What a disgrace. I wish Pres. Bush and First Lady Laura did not have to sit through that. They are better people than I.

"Psst...Laura, you sure that ain't Looter Guy?"

Un-by-God-believable! These people have no shame at all! To take a funeral that was supposed to celebrate a life and turn it into a political hack job has got to the lowest act possible. I hope that black america sees this and knows just how disgusting their leaders are.


47 posted on 02/07/2006 2:56:13 PM PST by Horatio Gates (Go Seah....uh...Mariners! Congrats to the Steelers. Well done.)
Yes, this is the base -- the alleged new friends of Bush's back-slapping Self-Loathing NegroesTM, the ones who don't mind waiting for some to-go leftovers from The Man, some faith-based cash, and a few photo ops to make them feel like power brokers in The Big House.

Dr. King and Coretta Scott King spent their lives courageously fighting for equality and social justice. Their work enabled people like these losers below to bed down with the Right. Even after the naked exposure of The Base after Katrina, you will find these fellows standing behind their Man.


Armstrong Williams, well-paid, ho-beast shill for the Administration


Keith Butler, homo-bigot running for the Senate in Michigan.


Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, running for governor


Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, head of winger org Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, famously saying after Katrina: "If black folks want to blame someone for this tragedy they only need to look in the mirror."


Alan Keyes, member of good standing in the AmTaliban, who kicked his "selfish hedonist" lesbian daughter out of the house


Our faux token on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas.


Our shuffling and jiving man from Plantation, er, Project 21, Mychal Massie, with Rick Santorum. Massie, on a radio show, opined that blacks should thank God for slavery.

I'm sure the Republican base would agree with Massie.


It's time for...Crazy Pat!


Jamie-Andrea Yanak/Associated Press

There's nothing like a fresh serving of unhinged Rev. Pat to perk you up in the afternoon, is there?

He picked up the holy batsh*t phone and received his latest message from above to enlighten us all about racial balance in Europe. From the February 6 edition of CBN's The 700 Club (Media Matters):
ROBERTSON: Studies that I have read indicate that having babies is a sign of a faith in the future. You know, unless you believe in the future, you're not going to take the trouble of raising a child, educating a child, doing something. If there is no future, why do it? Well, unless you believe in God, there's really no future. And when you go back to the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, the whole idea of this desperate nightmare we are in -- you know, that we are in this prison, and it has no hope, no exit. That kind of philosophy has permeated the intellectual thinking of Europe, and hopefully it doesn't come here. But nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, Europe is right now in the midst of racial suicide because of the declining birth rate. And they just can't get it together. Why? There's no hope.


As you ponder Pat's visions of waves of multiplying darkies across the pond and the end of Europe as we know it, you can watch him on video.

Also:
* Wingers losing patience with Crazy Pat


What is it with the Alabama church fires?

Now there are four more. No one seems to know what is going on. The four new fires were near the Mississippi state line, in sparsely populated areas off of rural roads, between 10 and 20 miles from one another. The fires are similar to the five reported Friday south of Birmingham.

Kathy at Birmingham Blues notes, "I wonder if Chris Matthews will blame Quakers or vegans for these fires..." After all, he's the dumb*ss who speculated it was liberals and homos torching the first set of churches.

***

Five Santa Cruz churches target of 'hate crime'

Speaking of targeting houses of worship, Blender Fritz passed on news that California's experiencing vandalism as well.
The vandals used a stencil to leave specially crafted messages and images about a half-foot across. One depicted a cross with an equal sign followed by a swastika. Church leaders said another stated "Abort Christ," a message one minister called "stunning and distressing."

The targeted churches included Holy Cross, Messiah Lutheran, High Street Community, First Congregational and Calvary Episcopalian. Also struck was the Agnus Dei Christian bookstore on Cedar Street and the Santa Cruz Mission Adobe park, which is near Holy Cross.

The Rev. Mark Stetz of Holy Cross said the messages seemed so general that it is not clear what the person or people were upset about. He said the church reaches out to all members of the community and tries to promote social justice. "There is nothing constructive about what they did," he said. "It's just damaging and destructive, and the resources needed to repair those things could have been used to help people in other ways."
It was the second time in just over three months that the Mission Santa Cruz chapel has been defaced, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.


Karl's ready to break some kneecaps



Does Turdblossum have cement shoes waiting for members of Senate Judiciary Committee if they do not do his bidding? This is how our country is run folks, low-life political thuggury driven by an unelected bastard who sleeps like a baby at night. (Insight):
The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.

Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.

"It's hardball all the way," a senior GOP congressional aide said.
As Shakes Sis says...
Here’s a tip to spineless Republicans considering collapsing to their knees and sucking Rove’s dick yet again: Call Bush on his bullshit, and you won’t need appearances and photo-ops with him in the fall. You’ll be able to hold your head up high and tell your constituents that you held a lawbreaker accountable.
That would assume that these self-preservationists have any consciences. I think they checked them at the door long ago. Along with missing consciences, it looks like there aren't any balls to be found either.
Those deemed disloyal to Mr. Rove would appear on his blacklist. The sources said dozens of GOP members in the House and Senate are on that list.

So far, only a handful of GOP senators have questioned Mr. Rove's tactics.
My question -- do any of the reporters, now that this story is out there, have the stones to ask Scott "Fetal Position" McClellan in the press briefing about Rove's "conversations" with his blacklist buddies?

This one is ripe for the picking. Someone needs to get these White House stooges (and a some folks on the Hill) on the record about the strongarming. I know, I'm hallucinating. That would require a White House press corps that remembers how to do its job.

Hat tip, Ms. Julien.


Progressive politics and blogs



Amanda Marcotte
, the blogmistress of discipline over at Pandagon (I am a contributor there), has a post up on the In These Times piece about progressive politics and the blogosphere, "Can Blogs Revolutionize Progressive Politics?" She was interviewed for the article. [Make note the order of the blogs featured on the cover...]

It's a really interesting read on the state of things.

Some comments over at Pandagon about the piece caught my eye; I am just passing them along...
I really like where Kos says women and minorities don’t matter. THROUGH THE ENTIRED FUCKING ARTICLE.

Jedmunds is back on my make-out list purely for being anti-dicKos.

***

At least this article isn’t like pretty much every other article on the progressive blogosphere that paints Markos as a fucking god. It’s almost truthful in showcasing his douche-iness. Almost.

And maybe it’s just the place I’m reading it from, but it seems to be pointing out that the problem with the “progressive blogosphere” is getting to be pretty much the same problem with the Dems — like Mickle said, rich or otherwise privileged white guys who pretend to be like “the common folk.”

***

With guys like that in charge, no wonder we keep losing. (Let’s see, I get to choose between a rich, white guy who pretends to be like me, and a rich, white guy who’s rather more transparent in his condescenion. Gee, which do I pick?)

The fact that Markos can’t differentiate between meritocracy and democracy certainly explains a heck of a lot as well.

***

At some point, people have to start making distinctions between a progressive medium and progressive agendas. As it stands now, some sites are immediately coined “progressive” because they fit into this neat, media created, box. Does anyone really believe that Markos is a progressive? The watering down of the term to encompass anyone with a keyboard that makes some noise, does a disservice to the true progressive. Sites like Daily Kos use progressive technology, but they don’t foster progressive ideals- as a matter of fact they rail against them.
Whew; I think my keyboard just caught on fire...

Kos recently deleted Pandagon from his blogroll, presumably over my colleague Jedmunds' review of Kos's book, Crashing the Gate. Kos posted about the review here. OK, maybe it was just a coincidence that it happened after that review...who the f knows, but it seems, well, petty and strange, but it's his blog.

Amanda weighs in during her interview for the article.
Elite bloggers can play a key role in generating that audience. As Marcotte points out, "A lot more women are moving up in the Technorati rankings" (Technorati is a search engine for the blogosphere) because A-listers like Duncan Black and Kevin Drum in 2005 made it a priority to promote female bloggers. But when someone like Moulitsas decides to stop linking to other blogs—as he has recently done because he doesn’t want to play "gatekeeper"—or when top bloggers repeatedly cite their fellow A-listers, it has enormous consequences. "It’s pretty darn hard today to break in to the A-list if the other A-listers aren’t linking to you," says Global Voices co-founder Rebecca MacKinnon.
Why do I feel that the big bad blogging dog thing is happening all over again? Let's not put any words in anyone's mouths. Here's the deal, right from the In These Times article. Judge for yourself whether there is paranoia over the perception in some circles that there is a closed circle-jerk club or not.
If blogs derive their credibility from being the "voice of the people," surely we should be concerned about which opinions get attention over others. The question of representation affects not just who is blogging—and with great success—but also the audience of these blogs. What kind of democratic consensus does the blogosphere reflect when the people participating in it are most likely to be white, well-educated men?

Yet when it comes to issues of diversity, A-list bloggers like Moulitsas and Stoller can get defensive, and at times, dismissive. "Take a look at what you have today. Take a look at the folks who’re leading the party, dominating the media, or even within corporations. Do you think the top ranks of any of those institutions is any more representative?" responds Stoller, his voice rising in indignation.

Where Stoller openly acknowledges the problem—describing blogs in one of his posts as "a new national town square for the white progressive base of the Democratic party"—and the need to take steps to tackle the disparity, Moulitsas is less generous. In his view, it’s simply absurd to demand what he sarcastically describes as an "affirmative action of ideas" within an inherently meritocratic medium such as the blogosphere: "I don’t see how you can say, ‘Well, let’s give more voice to African American lesbians.’ Create a blog. If there’s an audience, great. If there isn’t, not so great." Besides, he suggests, if a Salvadoran war refugee—in his words, a "political nobody"—like him can make it on the Internet, there’s nothing stopping anyone else from doing the same.

As for the relative paucity of top female progressive bloggers, Moulitsas is indifferent: "I haven’t given it a lot of thought. I find it totally uninteresting. What I’m interested in is winning elections, and I don’t give a shit what you look like." It’s an odd and somewhat disingenuous response from an advocate of blogging as the ultimate tool of democratic participation.

..."We need to be encouraging a more diverse group of people to blog," agrees Global Voices’ MacKinnon. "But we also need to be linking to them and giving them traffic so that they have a chance to make it to the A-list."
Is the network closed or open, are things getting better or worse, or are there just "natural" obstacles (I'm being generous here) that make it difficult for the A-List blog hierarchy to admit its position and power to affect exposure of voices all along the food chain?

It appears from the above statements that the success of any given smaller blog to establish a voice that is heard is simply a matter of survival of the fittest, and that an A-Lister's sponsorship of a smaller blog's voice has little impact -- that the ecosystem is completely guided by the quality of the blogging, not who you know. Please.

Even the Blend, with its measly audience in relation to DKos, can drive traffic to other smaller blogs. You all know that. PHB benefits from the same when Raw Story, Crooks and Liars, The Daou Report or Buzzflash picks up a post that the folks there find worthy of a wider audience.

All the blogwhoring in the world won't get your piece up if someone has a grudge, is pissed off at your politics, or your post/issue really doesn't interest them. The part that gets squishy is whether there is bias going on because of the clubby echo chamber of the A-list. Not of the conspiratorial nature, mind you, but related to issues that may or may not resonate with the Big Dogs as worthwhile topics to focus upon -- sex/gender issues are often flash points. From an earlier Blend post:
The fact that the testosterone clubbiness of op-ed pages, blogs, and opinion magazines exists speaks volumes -- the club generally steers away from those sex/gender issues because it's just not comfortable. It's not because those topics are unimportant, but they involve opening honest conversations that might make liberal men queasy as they struggle to understand the emotional impact of shifts in our culture and the balance of power in the national social mosaic.
Maybe yes, maybe no, but the impact of positive sponsorship and promotion of new voices in the blogosphere by A-Listers (as well as the flip side -- actively ignoring/delinking/not attributing) cannot be denied -- or else it wouldn't occur in the first place.

No one is saying the "Big Dog network" is inherently evil (though I'm sure some out there feel that way) -- I've said before that it's common sense that one would link to peers, but to say there is no passive resistance to acknowledge, seek out or promote new political voices from a perspective that is not white or male or straight is just silly. It's hard to have a serious dialogue about this until folks fess up.

I'd rather spend my time fighting the Right (and the Dem wannabe-Right), but seeing this kind of stuff continually come up just reeks. It can't be ignored.


Holy Joe facing a challenger?



He's got to go. Can Ned Lamont knock him off?
Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont moved closer Monday toward a challenge of U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as he created a candidate committee, named a campaign manager and began searching for a headquarters.

"It is a significant step forward," said Tom Swan, who is managing what he says is still an exploratory campaign. "I am happy that Ned asked me to play a role within this campaign."



Lamont, 52, the president and founder of a cable television company, Lamont Digital Systems, stepped forward last month as the possible champion for Democrats disaffected with Lieberman's support for President Bush and the war in Iraq.

In the past weeks, Lamont has created a website and embarked on an informal speaking tour to gauge support for a challenge of Lieberman, a three-term senator who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000.

Lamont has said that he will not move beyond an exploratory campaign until at least 1,000 volunteers sign up on his campaign website, nedlamont.com.
You can read a Q&A with Lamont at the Connecticut Local Politics blog on his differences with Holy Joe.

There's also a piece in the Hartford Advocate on Lamont's testing of the waters and the hill he has to climb to beat Lieberman and the Dem machine.
Lamont hasn´t even officially declared himself a candidate, but there are signs that Lieberman and his supporters consider him a real threat. For example, the top liberal blog Daily Kos claimed that Lieberman is "freaking out" and reaching out for support among Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C. While that may be wishful thinking, Lieberman also told the Republican-American he was prepared to run as an independent if he lost the primary.



...Fairfield University politics professor John Orman said that to get on the primary ballot so voters have a chance to pick him over Lieberman, Lamont would first need to receive the support of 15 percent of the town committee members who are convention delegates.

Orman, who briefly ran against Lieberman last year until it was clear he had little support, said he´s only heard of two or three Democratic Town Committee chairs who have spoken up against Lieberman, out of some 200 town committees. The strong institutional resistance to challengers helps explain why Lieberman is in his 18th year as senator and will probably serve another six years. ¨In Connecticut, if you´re the type of person who has a career in politics and wants to move up the ladder, you´d be crazy to run against Joe Lieberman,¨ Orman said. ¨That would be the end of your political career.

"So it takes a party outsider or a maverick to pull off a huge political upset and get all the citizen action groups together and all the progressive groups and get people who are really upset with Joe," Orman said. A millionaire like Lamont might be able to do it, Orman said, as could a celebrity on par with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Will there be a groundswell of anti-Joe grassroots support for Lamont, or will the machine crush him, despite his deep pockets?


Springtime in Philly



Kate and I will be heading to Philly the first week of May, during Equality Forum 2006.

Here's the reason I'll be there. I'm not kidding. Feel free to comment wildly. :)


Crap

I'm sorry folks, errant multi-tasking this morning resulted in my deep-sixing the NH/VT post instead of another one I was working on. My offline draft is on my home computer; I'll get it back up later.


Daddy Dobson-approved plan to curb sexual urges in teens

At Daddy Dobson's site, author Joe White has some must-read advice for parents of horny Christian teenagers. Joe he runs the Kanakuk-Kanakomo Kamps (KKK, eh?) in Missouri -- "Character development with Christian focus" -- and is an expert on how to stay chaste.

Before you laugh, I would think that a guy running a Christian sleepaway camp stays quite busy prying hormone-charged young people off of one another. There are plenty of humping opportunities. How successful he is at preventing fornication is another matter altogether.

This article, to say the least, is entertaining.
Guys, God has designed your bod and brain with intense care. He knows your sex life is the most intricately connected mental, physical and spiritual part of your entire being—that it has incredible potential for intimacy and fulfillment, but equal potential for absolute disaster (for example, AIDS or abortion).

Since sex is so powerful, the Bible gives clear directions and limits for its use. In essence, follow God’s architectural blueprint for your sex life and you’ll build a lifetime of happiness with your future bride.


Joe and his good, clean-livin' buddy, W.

GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX

In the passage above, notice God clearly called it "the marriage bed"—not the motel one-night stand, the fraternity formal after-party, the we’re-in-love-now Saturday night, or even the engagement party. No, this is way too special for anything less than a bonded by holy marriage for life relationship.

Check out another passage: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18).

When God says that sexual sin is not only sin against Him, but also against your bod, He couldn’t give a more descriptive warning. But our blatant selfishness in this area continues to create the same painful scenario day after day. Most of the pain mail I receive involves another gutted victim of sexual sin. As one pregnant and abandoned 15-year-old girl said, "I feel like I had 200 knives go through me."

When God says "flee," He means "run for your lives," as my friend Josh McDowell puts it. If the movie gets lusty, walk out. If the "how are you" hug borders on sensual, quickly exit. If the kiss leads your thoughts further, it’s time to go home. If a lonely apartment is available, stay a million miles away. If she continues to proposition you, break up. When you think of this great Bible verse, just say a little phrase to yourself: "Run, baby, run."


God made the Seahawks lose because Seattle supports gays

It took me a second to realize it was satire, since it was as ridiculous as any of Fred Phelps' pronouncements:
Anti-gay activists to picket Seattle Super Bowl letdown
by Goldy, 02/06/2006, 11:15 AM

The anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS, announced plans to picket Seattle’s civic mourning in the wake of the Seahawk’s disappointing loss in Super Bowl XL.

The city’s championship dreams collapsed last night under the weight of sloppy play, questionable clock management, and drive-killing penalties, which the Rev. Fred Phelps blamed on “divine retribution” for recently passed gay civil rights legislation, declaring “The Lord works in mysterious ways… and sometimes through the zebras.”

Rev. Phelps struck a similar chord in talking about Seattle’s Super Bowl loss, saying that God chose to torment fans with momentum-turning penalties and dropped passes in retaliation for the city’s unholy abomination: “God hates Seattle! It was Seattle’s fags who hardened God’s heart, and it was God’s wrath that turned Jerramy Stevens’ hands to stone.”
And no, this wasn't a transparent attempt for me to talk about sports on Pam's blog since my own blog is currently being revamped and moved to a new server. But, since we're talking about it, I'll note that this is the first Super Bowl where the losing team gained more yardage than the winners and had less turnovers and held the ball longer. It's also interesting to note that Ren Roethlisberger's QB rating was a pathetic 22.5 (the value ranges between 0.0 and 158.3).

We now return you to non-sports related dialogue, already in progress.


Headline of the day

Monday, February 06, 2006

I already posted about this story, but the folks at AFA "news" organ AgapePress get a hat tip for this headline...

NBC Abandons Plan to Attack Christians With Spears



Two great Big Brass Blog posts

My fellow B3 contributors, The Dark Wraith and Charlie of Shades of Grey, eloquently take on the dreary state of the Democrats and the world of blogging.

We've been shooting the breeze around here at the Blend on the topic of what being a progressive means any more in relation to party politics, and whether the Dems ignore its base at its own peril. OK, we've been mostly ranting, so head over to B3 for calm analysis by my colleagues...

Charlie: Blogging and the Democratic Party
The Dark Wraith: Response on Blogging and the Democratic Party

Add that fuel to the fire...


CWA's SCOTUS watch

Concerned Women for America's Jan LaRue is salivating over the possibility of another crack at the Supreme Court. Sadly, it is indeed our worst nightmare.
A pro-family activist thinks the battle over the next Supreme Court nominee could be just a few months away. Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America expects another vacancy on the high court to occur this summer. "The speculation is that Justice John Paul Stevens will announce his retirement for the end of the term in June," she says. Stevens is considered to be one of the four liberals on the court.


Jan hobnobbing with her winger Supremes at Alito's swearing-in.

LaRue believes his resignation could trigger a war over the next nominee, spawning what she calls "the worst kind of desperation politics ever." It is expected that President Bush would nominate another conservative jurist -- and LaRue says she knows what would happen then. "We will see the ugly rise of the filibuster once again," says the CWA spokesperson. Justice Stevens is 85 years old and has been on the U.S. Supreme Court for 31 years.
I have to agree with her. It will be the worst kind of desperation politics ever. I just don't know if I can bear to watch this happen -- there are is so much hanging in the balance and Dems showed us in the end that they weren't willing to really go to the mat on Alito.

Put on your thinking caps, Blenders. What is the game plan if one of the court's liberals steps down, now that we've lost two seats? We certainly cannot count on the Dems to have one.


AbuGhraibo Quaintzalez at the Specter NSA Wiretapping Hearings


I've been following (through Glenn Greenwald's live blogging) the testimony of Attorney General AbuGhraibo Quaintzalez before the Senate Judiciary Committee got me to thinking about congressional testimony in general. To wit:

When the Attorney General is called by Congress to testify on controversial matters of dmoestic spying and national security in a time of war, he need not be sworn in under oath.

When the CEOs of the oil industry are called by Congress to testify on allegations of price fixing, when prices rise to $3 for a gallon of gas, oil rises to prices in the $60s per barrel, when hurricanes and war disrupt the flow of oil, yet their companies post record-breaking profits quarter after quarter, they need not be sworn in under oath.

When the president and vice president are called by an independent Congressional commission to investigate their actions and knowledge related to the worst attack on American soil, they need not be sworn in under oath.

But when professional baseball millionaires are called by Congress to testify whether they were using steroids, for which Major League Baseball lacked rules governing their use prior to the hearings, THEY MUST be sworn in under oath.

Because, you know, if we allow baseball players to get off the hook for lying to Congress, all hell may break loose!


Boo friggin hoo

Wingnut legal group: Christians on college campuses are being persecuted and indoctrinated. To counter that, a "Center for Academic Freedom" is being launched, as well as a web site to bolster the faith of the fallen students.

And you know why it's needed? Here is the reason, according to the Alliance Defense Fund which represents evangelical Christians and David French, the former president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Try not to laugh...
French says the Center is designed to "end the illegal persecution and forced indoctrination of Christian students" on campuses across America. The statistics, he says, are both "staggering and sad" -- statistics he contends are influenced by a campus environment that encourages assaults on the Christian faith.



"About 52 percent of students enter college campuses attending church regularly -- [but] by their senior year, only about 29 percent are still attending church regularly," French notes. "[T]he fact of the matter is that this loss of faith often is hastened and assisted by a series of unconstitutional policies and a culture that relentlessly attacks Christian belief. And so we're going to be standing against that."
Let's see, their faith is so weak that the college experience erases any traces of the brainwashing received at the hands of the Dobson-approved crowd. And the problem is???


Outed, booted, driven out

There's a great news article by Melissa McEwan (some of you might recognize that name...) up on The Raw Story, about the continuing ridiculous circumstances in our military as a result of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

While recruiting numbers fall through the floor (and mysteriously discharges of gay soldiers drop as well), the disingenuous behavior of the military shows complete disrespect for the sacrifice of gay men and women who choose to put their lives on the line for their country.

How long can the Pentagon continue to claim with any validity that "unit cohesion" is the reason that gays and lesbians cannot openly serve when we are in the middle of a war and the discharge rate has dropped?
"It is interesting, but not surprising, to learn that after 9/11, the discharges of lesbian and gay servicemembers began a dramatic decline," said Steve Ralls, Director of Communications for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-profit that provides legal services to gays in the military. "In fact, whenever the country is at war, lesbian and gay soldiers are far less likely to be discharged, which undermines the Pentagon's primary rationale for the policy."

"They argue that lesbian and gay soldiers undermine unit cohesion, but never is unit cohesion more important than during wartime," he added. "That discharges under the ban decrease during times of war completely undermines their argument for the necessity of the policy. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America, gay discharges have declined by more than 40 percent."
Interviewed in the article is Jeff Howe, who was discharged when online profile indicating that he was gay was discovered by superiors. The unbelievable additional horror of Howe's case is that he started the blog, posted photos at the request of his commander, and was later investigated for "terrorist ties" when he deleted it. Talk about being targeted by one of your own. Sick.

Also featured in the piece is Austin Rooke, who didn't come out while in the military, but left because of the cultural climate of homophobia in his unit. Rooke:
After 9/11, Rooke was working for the Gay and Lesbian Task Force when he got a letter from the Army telling him he was being activated. This led to a stint in Qatar during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion. There, Rooke says he experienced an entirely different atmosphere.

"It was the first time I was really isolated and didn't have any friends or support," he said. "The commander was really homophobic, which was the first time I'd experienced that. I think during that time, I experienced what most people feel like when they have to serve without being openly gay. You're in a dangerous situation, away from home. You feel isolated and separate from your teammates, denigrated by your commanders, and afraid to be send home because of a big secret you're carrying."

..."Keeping that secret sets you apart, but it's the only way to ensure your safety," he said. He notes that coming out is "hard enough as it is without being surrounded 24 hours a day by people who are hostile toward gays. Homophobia is part of the culture—and it's part of the culture because it's the law."
It's a great article; go read the rest.


Your tax dollars at work in the military

Army Teaches Troops How to Pick a Spouse. The name of the program is "How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk," with the overall name -- and I'm not sh*tting you -- is also known as "P.I.C.K. a Partner" for Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge.

Well it should be a short course for the homos since our marriages are not recognized by the feds. May I have my tax dollars back? This is almost unbearable to read... (AP):
It advises the marriage-bound to study a partner's F.A.C.E.S. — family background, attitudes, compatibility, experiences in previous relationships and skills they'd bring to the union.

It teaches the lovestruck to pace themselves with a R.A.M. chart — the Relationship Attachment Model — which basically says don't let your sexual involvement exceed your level of commitment or level of knowledge about the other person.



Maj. John Kegley, a chaplain who teaches the program in Monterey, Calif., throws in the "no jerk salute" for fun. One hand at the heart, two-fingers at the brow mean use your heart and brain when choosing.
Shakes Sis takes a better crack at this one; the stupidity and waste exhibited by our government is making me weary.


Rove wannabe unleashes smear campaign


Jim Roth was the target of an anti-gay automated phone call set up by Oklahoma GOP stooge Tim Pope.

I see we have a Karl Rove wannabe sleazing out in Oklahoma. Nothing like a little round of anonymous phone calls to voters, intimating that the openly gay Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth is "advancing the homo agenda."


Nice touch, Tim Pope. (The Dallas Voice):
The recorded message accused Roth of "advancing the homosexual agenda in Oklahoma County" and mentioned a speech he was to give. The recorded female voice did not say who paid for the call or leave a return number. The number that showed up on caller ID was from a Michigan area code. The calls were made last weekend.

"I think it's an outrage that they send those type of smearing, trashy phone calls to people on a Sunday afternoon and don't have the courage to remove the white hood and show their face,” Roth said. "I'm concerned that it has the potential of violating a number of laws."

Tim Pope, a Mustang resident and board member of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly, said he paid for the calls. Pope said he was not required to put a disclaimer claiming responsibility on the call because he was promoting an event at which Roth was scheduled to speak.

"It's not a political call for a political candidate, so there is no requirement that there be a disclaimer," Pope said.

"We just wanted to help him get a bigger crowd. It didn't attack anybody." The event mentioned in the call was a Monday evening program sponsored by GayOKC.com, called "The State of Our Community 2006."
Pope's bio at the Vanguard:
Tim Pope is TheVanguard.Org's Grassroots Director and President of the Oklahoma Republican Assembly. A seven-term member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, he served six years as Republican Whip, and won awards for legislative excellence from the Oklahoma Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Oklahoma Taxpayers Union. He has worked across Oklahoma and the nation teaching conservatives the nuts and bolts of how to win.
Nuts and bolts=sleazeball tactics, which are the hallmarks of the Rovian style (which sadly, works). Take note Dems, when you have small-time GOP operatives willing to do this sort of BS time and again, what do you all plan to do to counter this? Yawn...

I will give Pope credit for one thing -- the bigot actually fessed up to it. Ken Mehlman and his clowns try to dodge responsibility for sleaze, like the mailings sent out to voters in 2004 saying Kerry would "ban the bible."


Rude Pundit on the Cartoon Fracas


From the South Park episode "Super Best Friends", where Jesus introduces us to "Buddha, with the powers of invisibility; Mohammed, the Muslim prophet with the powers of flame; Krishna, the Hindu deity; Joseph Smith, the Mormom prophet; Lao Tse, the founder of Taoism; and Sea-Man, with the ability to breathe underwater and link mentally with fish."

I've been reading a lot of posts about this whole Muslim cartoon riot story. Shakespeare's Sister does a good job tracking it, and within her comments a GRUMPY OLD MAN who lives abroad and actually speaks Danish weighed in.

But nobody wins the "Radical" Russ Nail on the Head Award except The Rude Pundit, who hit the nail on the head so directly and with such force it was like driving the golden spike at Promontory, Utah:
But the thuggery that's being done allegedly in the name of a few sh*tty sketches of Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper is smoke and mirrors, a bullsh*t blow-up over a few bullsh*t cartoons that a bunch of bullsh*t opportunists used to create bullsh*t advantage to their bullsh*t causes. Such utter nonsense, because not only are the cartoons themselves six months old, but that Mohammed's kisser's been "depicted" since, you know, say, the start of Islam. So, hey, hush, don't let anyone know that Mohammed's one of the Super Best Friends on South Park or they might start burning Cartman in effigy.

Oh, but Rude Pundit, you left out freedom of speech and the right of a free press to blah, blah, blah, some might say. Oh, but Rude Pundit, you left out cultural relativism and the respect of others and imperialism and oppression of the West and blah, blah, blah, others might chime in.

Here's the deal: in America, right now, the American Family Association, whose protests helped the NBC program Book of Daniel fail, got the network to drop its planned storyline in an episode of Will and Grace with Britney Spears as a conservative Christian TV host whose cooking segment is called "Cruci-fixins." The Family Research Council got the Department of Health and Human Services to delete any pages that asked for acceptance of homosexuals to help lower substance abuse and suicide rates among them. Some pencil-pusher in the Bush administration is tellin' NASA scientists that they have to call the Big Bang a theory so as to not offend the intelligent design lovers, who have so much science on their side. And let's not even get into the whole morning after pill controversy, or a thousand other scientific policy decisions that have been manipulated or forced by the fear of offending the religious right in America, the power of faith over reason.

Oh, but no riot, right? Maybe not yet, but ask yourself: how much of a nudge would the nutzoid zealot mob outside of Terri Schiavo's clinic have needed before sh*t started being torched like scared villagers outside of Frankenstein's castle? Hell, some crazed [vulgar description of Ann Coulter's genitalia] were calling for armed intervention.

It's all about exploitation. Whether its Donald Wildmon, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, or whoever, someone's gonna be there to manipulate people into believin' that their god is so much f*ckin' bigger than everyone else's. Behind almost every action where someone's wielding a Bible or a Koran or Dianetics, there's someone who wants money and/or power, and he or she is gonna convince the least among them that their really big god needs him some lovin' and obedience by everyone goin' a little bugf*ck insane.
Preach on, brutha! The religious extremists here at home had their little "War on Christmas" fun a couple of months ago, where they cried about the evil lefty secularists who are so politically correct they seek to abolish all mention of Christ in Christmas in favor of "Happy Holidays", lest celebrants of other religious holidays feel slighted. But really, "Happy Holidays" just says, to them, that their God isn't so much f*ckin' bigger than everyone else's, and that's what gets their panties in a bunch. They're not satisfied with following their own religion; they demand that the rest of us follow it, too.

The only difference between our religious nutcases and their religious nutcases is that ours have nice homes, hot & cold running water, supermarkets, shopping malls, satellite TV, luxury vehicles, reliable electricity, a somewhat relaible electoral system, a strong and effective police force and court system, a majority population that is pretty much agnostic and relatively sane, and many more things to lose that make the idea of torching a Planned Parenthood clinic, a gay bar, or the ACLU's headquarters a losing strategy.

For now, anyway.

South Park is copyrighted, as is that image above, but I post it here in accordance with "fair use", in that it is a low resolution still of a film; it does not limit the copyright owners rights to sell the film in any way; the image is provided at the official website (southparkstudios) as a free download; it allows for identification of the characters: the super best friends; it illustrates the film in question and aids commentary on the current events about blasphemous depictions of religious figures in modern cartoons. So please, Matt & Trey, don't sue us!


The NSA hearings are a farce

Dropped by Glenn Greenwald's pad for a moment and saw something that made me want to hurl. The lying bastard Gonzales was not required by Arlen Specter to testify under oath. OMG. Glenn, live blogging:
I understood that Gonzales was going to be sworn in. Apparently, Specter decided that he did not want him to be. I think that's a good debate to begin with -- why are Republicans so eager to avoid putting Gonzales under oath ? He's testifying as a fact witness, and his prior statements at issue -- including his false assuarances to Sen. Feingold at his confirmation hearings -- were under oath, so this testimony should be, too.

Two birds of a feather, neither under oath: Chimpy would only "visit" with the 9/11 Commission; looks like his boy Gonzales is only "visiting" with the Senate Judiciary Committee -- no oath, no truth.


NBC caves for AFA - again

Donald Wildmon's squawking about another victory of the American Family Association against NBC, which has now decided to drop the production of an episode of Will and Grace featuring Britney Spears as a fundamentalist Christian.
Responding to pressure, NBC has decided to cancel an offensive segment from the April 13 episode of “Will and Grace.” American Family Association (AFA) said that NBC cancelled the segment after pressure from NBC affiliates and AFA. The network had previously announced that the segment would feature Britney Spears in the role of a conservative Christian hosting a cooking show called “Cruci-fixins” and would air the night before Good Friday.

NBC now says their own description of the episode was a mistake. In a memo to affiliates, the network said “the information was mistakenly included in a press release describing an upcoming episode of ‘Will and Grace’ which, in fact, has yet to be written. The reference to ‘Cruci-fixins’ will not be in the show and the story line will not contain a Christian characterization at all.”

NBC wanting us to believe they were mistaken in describing the segment, that they didn't know what was in their own press release, just doesn't hold water,” said AFA Chairman Donald E. Wildmon. “Plainly put, NBC heard from their affiliates that they did not want to go through another ‘Book of Daniel’ situation while losing millions in advertising avenue.”
On this one, I think NBC is the one that looks bad, if you ask me, just say you caved to affiliate or advertiser pressure. Let the rest of us know who is buttering your bread. If there are legitimate reasons for canceling a show (low ratings, it sucked, whatever), then don't drop BoD and cut and run from a public response as to why, particularly when you have an interest group like the AFA ready to crow about a victory. Otherwise, we have to assume that the network does answer to Wildmon.

One exception to the rule appears to be NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, which has consistently featured gay-themed plotlines and cases ones. Dick Wolf has been putting the screws to the AmTaliban over the last couple of seasons, but one episode this year has gotten under the skin of the fundies because it featured two lesbian parents (this ep is also nominated for a GLAAD award). An ADA cited research from the American Sociological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Social Workers to confirm there is no negative impact on the children of same-sex couples and that sent the reviewer over the edge.


Virginia: why is this bullsh*t coming out of this man's mouth?

"Sexual orientation is a broad term. There are eight different sexual orientations, including pedophilia and bestiality. I think we'd be opening up Pandora's box and allowing judges to interpret what that means."
-- Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg), on why he wants to strip the state budget of outgoing Governor Mark Warner's language protecting gay state workers from discrimination.
Jeebus H. Christ. I think I'm going to blow my stack over the brain-dead bigot legislators like this dolt who managed to find sheeple to elect him (Cole reminds me of our friend here in NC, Bill "Anal Probe" James). Anyone living in Mark Cole's district needs to bombard his office with letters over this nonsense. Straight out of the Santorum playbook. It's so tired, so unhinged, so ignorant. (WaPo):
Senate Bill 700 would make permanent safeguards in state employment issued in December by outgoing governor Mark R. Warner (D) and extend them to local governments and school boards.

The Democratic sponsors said they hope to find support from moderate Republicans, many of whom supported the constitutional amendment, which is poised to go before voters in November, but may be eager to show they also oppose workplace discrimination.

"I think people across the commonwealth need to know what their legislative body's position is on anti-discrimination policies," said Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), one of the bill's two chief sponsors. "If you don't want to see people be subject to discrimination, what's so wrong with saying we will not tolerate discrimination?"


Victoria Cobb, executive director of the Family Foundation in Virginia, rejected the need for such a provision. "This is another legislative attempt to force people to believe that homosexuality is as immutable as the color of a person's skin," she said. "Former homosexuals would state they made a choice to enter and to leave this lifestyle."
The key to this legislation is that anti-discrimination policy is currently a measure enabled by the governor's executive order, which lapses every four years. This means it truly is renewed only by the governor's goodwill. Current Governor Tim Kaine picked it up from Warner and signed it, but again, if the legislature puts it into the statute, this will become unneccessary -- and thus the current battle. The wingers want it stripped from the budget, using homos as a political football.

The bill, by the way -- so Delegate Cole can sleep at night -- mandates that sexual orientation does not include "sexually deviant disorders," as defined in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Hat tip Holly.


NSA hearings live-blogged by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald will be live-blogging the first day of the NSA hearings from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room today (the hearings begin at 9:30 a.m).

This clip of George Bush should be talked about all week -- why, if the Administration had all the legal authority in the world to eavesdrop without warrants and outside of FISA did it repeatedly make false statements to the public and to the Congress assuring us all that it was eavesdropping only in accordance with FISA? Parties make false statements in order to conceal their behavior only when their behavior is improper and wrong, not when it is justified and legal. And deliberately false statements of that sort from our government officials happen to be unacceptable and wrong, and really constitute a scandal unto itself.
He has a preview of Ted Kennedy's line of questioning against Alberto Gonzales up now.


You must see this - 'It Ain't Natural'

Filmmaker Dean Hamer has a short documentary up on Current Studio, It Ain't Natural, about Willie Wilson and his infamous anti-gay sermon.

Interviewed, between snippets of the unhinged sermon delivered by Wilson to his congregation, are a female illusionist and a queer war veteran. They take Wilson to task for his hateful ignorance, and call for Wilson and the bigots in the religious black community to wake up.






Dean said he made this as a tribute to Coretta Scott King, a strong advocate for civil equality for gays and lesbians, a point too many "civil rights" leaders today choose to ignore or brush aside, including her own daughter Bernice. I'll be happy to be wrong about this, but I expect that during King's funeral there will be no mention of her work on behalf of gays and lesbians in the long list of accomplishments of this great woman.

Show Dean some love and give the film a "greenlight" at Current so that it can go to air on the Al Gore-founded network. More on CurrentTV/Studio here. The channel is actively looking for content from the LGBT community.


Why civil unions don't cut it

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Screwed in Connecticut: Hospital Faces Civil Union Bias Claim.
When Dr. Alan J. Couture and Robert McDonald joined in a civil union last October, about 30 of Couture's co-workers from St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury were among the guests at the ceremony. But a few months later, Couture was stunned when St. Mary's refused to add McDonald to his health care plan.

The hospital said that, as a Catholic institution, it does not recognize civil unions.

Couture, 36, an emergency physician at St. Mary's for eight years, filed a complaint Thursday with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, charging that he is being discriminated against on the basis of his sexual orientation and marital status.

Couture received only one insurance card. Then, when McDonald, 28, tried to make an appointment with the couple's primary care physician, he learned he wasn't covered. Couture began asking questions.

Administrators in the hospital's human resources department called Couture in and told him "they had discussed the issue with several consultants, and the decision was they would not recognize my marriage" because of church teaching, the doctor said Friday.

...When civil unions became state law last October, health insurance plans regulated by the state were required to give civil partners the same benefits as spouses. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut, which provides health care coverage to employees of St. Mary's, does extend benefits to civil partners.

But the hospital's insurance is self-funded, which means it is not under the jurisdiction of the state's Insurance Department, state officials said.
Here's a loyal employee and look what it gets you if you're queer.

For all you Dem politicians out there hiding behind the curtain of civil unions as the answer for the noisy, whining homos (yes, you, Howard Dean, head of the party -- this is your current position), this exposes you like the great and powerful Oz. This sh*t doesn't fly. It's separate and unequal.


Can we blame the Fred Phelps's of the world for the Jacob Robida's?


What's the difference between Fred Phelps and Jacob Robida? Phelps is patient enough to let God take care of the smiting of gays on His own time. That and Phelps probably doesn't like Insane Clown Posse or keep Nazi memorabilia.

Within our comments we've seen a raging debate about the homobigot cop-killing murderer, Jacob Robida, and the culpability of the atmosphere of intolerance and homophobia, fueled by the Religious Right and the Bush Administration, that leads to such anti-gay violence.

One of our commenters believes that the attacks by Robida are just a sad example of another violent psychopath, and that trying to pin any blame on anti-gay wingnut preachers or politicians is a fool's errand, as silly as blaming liberals for the murderous rampage of Jeffrey Dahmer.

So don't be shocked when I say that he is right... to a point. Homophobic George W. Bush and the Homophobic Religious Right are not directly to blame for Jacob Robida's unprovoked homophobic attacks. Robida was obviously a deeply disturbed nutjob, and no one from the administration or the religious right ever called him up and commanded, "Jake, go hatchet me up a fag or two."

Now, if we want to talk about how a deeply disturbed nutjob goes about choosing his class of victim, that's where Bush and the AmTaliban come in. Robida's self-loathing and hatred of gays could be entirely of his own creation. Certainly, there are plenty of psychopathic homicidal nutjobs out there, like guys who shoot up a restaurant in Ruby, Texas, or guys who bomb a federal building in Oklahoma City, or guys who murder and eat teenage boys in Milwaukee.

The question is this: how much does the cultural atmosphere contribute to pushing a nutjob over the edge? I'm not aware of any religious or political leader saying that God considers eating in a Texas diner an abomination, that God is disgusted by federal government employees who will all burn in hell, or that God says Cambodian teenagers are the other white meat. Furthermore, I can't think of any group of normal, sane Americans who would advocate any of those things.

So, yes, I'm sure Robida's homophobia and his own lack of impulse control is almost entirely to blame. But you know, we don't see a whole lot of diner shoot-ups, domestic anti-gov't bombings, or serial killing cannibals. When they happen, they are an aberration; a sad, unpredictable tragedy. We do see a whole lot of anti-gay attacks, though, and while they are equally sad, they're not entirely unpredictable.

We also accept that in the sad, unpredictable tragedies, there is often an underlying motive behind the violence, however insane it might be. The postal worker who shoots up his former place of employment doesn't randomly walk into a supermarket and shoot people; his actions have motive and purpose - revenge, anger, or the spiraling cost of stamps. Jeffrey Dahmer stalked, seduced, killed, and ate people because he was truly crazy and a little bit peckish. These guys are the rarity, the guys who kill from motives they harbor alone, with no input or support from anyone.

We also accept that belonging to a cult or a fringe movement can push people over the edge into violence. We certainly see that with recent embassy burnings over a cartoon. We saw it with McVeigh and his belief in a fringe militia movement. These actions are also the work of a small minority, but this minority at least has the support of people who, while they don't support the actions, certainly agree with the motivation.

There is widely documented evidence in social science that says people will do things when part of a mob that they would never do on their own. Without a militia movement to bolster his ideals, would McVeigh have bombed the Murrah Building? Who knows? Without imams calling for death to the infidels who blaspheme The Prophet, would young radical Muslims burn down embassies or set off car bombs?

What is the fringe Religious Reich if not a huge echo chamber of anti-gay sentiment? What is the outright hostility toward LGBTQ issues in this administration if not an anti-gay mob mentality? Would Robida's own internalized homophobia and anger been enough to set him off on a hate crime spree? Or, would Robida have just been another gay-hating teen who merely dreams of killing gays if not for constant messages from parts of society, politics, and religion that support his hatred and rationalize the dehumanization of his victims?

We may never know the answers, since there won't be a trial of Jacob Robida and since John Edward probably won't "cross over" to ask him. But I believe if you're in a room full of powder kegs, it's irresponsible and dangerous to advocate cigarette smoking. And if you're selling lighters, you can't be blameless if someone uses it and blows up the room.

Even if we elect Carson Kressley as the 44th president and Jesus Himself comes down and tells the believers that God actually loves the gays more than the straights, for He made them in His own fabulous image, yes, there will still be homophobes, and some will be stalking and perpetrating violence against gays. But probably not as many, since the timid, weak, or not-entirely indoctrinated ones won't have that support group telling them their hatred is justified.


Can a cartoon start WWIII?

Like Shakes Sis, I've not posted on the Danish-cartoon-spurs-insane-violence, because it's hard to make sense of any of it.

1. A cartoon appearing in a Danish newspaper (and later in other papers) depicting the prophet Mohommed is declared blasphemous by Muslims.

2. Violence erupts, the Danish embassy in Beirut is destroyed, and there is chaos in the streets.

3. The U.S. backs the stifling of free speech.

A good analysis by Tom Heneghan, Reuters religion editor:
Like many conflicts over faith, the row has both religious and political aspects. The Muslim reaction is based on Islam's ban on portraying the Prophet and reinforced by outrage that he is presented as a terrorist with a bomb in his turban.

"This is defamation ... and disinformation," French Muslim Council head Dalil Boubakeur said. "The prophet of Islam did not found a terrorist religion, quite to the contrary."

The dispute, which has parallels to the 1989 Iranian death sentence on British writer Salman Rushdie, arises from the fact that Muslims still consider blasphemy -- or insulting the sacred -- as a crime while Westerners no longer take it seriously.

Jesus Christ is mocked so often in Western media and art that it hardly causes outrage anymore and courts usually reject legal suits against the satire. Because of the horror of the Holocaust, Western media are much more cautious about Jews.

Many European countries still have blasphemy on the books, but do not apply it. The last conviction in Britain was in 1922 for a man who compared Jesus to a circus clown.

By contrast, insulting the Prophet Mohammad can bring a death sentence in a Muslim country like Pakistan. Many Arab countries threaten blasphemers with prison sentences.
From the BBC, a history of Muslim reactions to similar circumstances:
1989: Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses
2002: Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel's article about Prophet and Miss World contestants sparks deadly riots
2004: Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh killed after release of his documentary about violence against Muslim women
2005: London's Tate Britain museum cancels plans to display sculpture by John Latham for fear of offending Muslims after July bombings
My question is, why is this instance of the depiction of Mohammed the flint to spark the fire? Take a look at this site, which has many examples of depictions of the prophet, including what has to be something more offensive, an animated appearance on South Park, which aired on July 4, 2001, in an episode called Super Best Friends. The show can be viewed online here.

I have no idea where this is all heading, but based on the level of uncontrolled rage we're seeing on the news over a f*cking cartoon, it's safe to say this is something we should be paying attention to.

Come to think of it, that would explain the U.S. position, because King George can't tolerate free expression, particularly if it might disturb his fragile ego. He likes his audiences to be full of starry-eyed sheeple who have been prescreened. Look at Cindy Sheehan being bounced from the SOTU for a message on a freaking T-shirt. Why wouldn't this Administration side with the Muslim extremists on quelling free, if offensive expression?

No one should be coddling extremists of any kind. That said, when one defends free speech, it isn't always going to be of the sort you like. It's called consistency in your belief system, and the documents upon which your country was founded.

Unfortunately, that belief system doesn't exist universally. That's the reality.

In trying to remember anything remotely like this in recent memory in this country over a political "statement," was the wholesale condemning of Sinead O'Connor when she ripped up a photo of Pope JPII on live TV after a musical performance on SNL in 1992. No violence ensued, but the sheer volume of outrage in newspapers and by TV talking heads at the time was frenzied enough to shock free speech advocates back then. Her records were steamrolled, she was boycotted, etc. But that example doesn't hold a candle to the insanity we are seeing over this cartoon.



The Moderate Voice also has an excellent roundup of blogger thoughts on the cartoon mess.


Bahamas school official: Lesbianism=bad grades

I had to read this editorial twice to make sure that I wasn't imagining things. This represents some of the most unhinged thinking on the planet (not counting the plentiful U.S. wingnut theories, of course). It appears that an epidemic of lesbianism in the Bahamas is causing grades to plunge (someone get Willie Wilson on the phone!). (The Freeport News):

If the problem is as serious as has been suggested by Stephen Plakaris, deputy director of government school security for the Northern Bahamas, a much bigger crisis exists in our school system than the disgraceful "D" average performance that is now the norm nationally for students in government schools.

In an article published in The Freeport News on Tuesday, Mr. Plakaris confirmed that there is a network of lesbians operating in private and government high schools in Grand Bahama. "Unfortunately we cannot deny it," he told our reporter, adding: "To deny it would put us in a situation where we're looking at ourselves in the mirror and pretending we don't see what is there."
Didn't he know that I have been working with my local contacts there to disseminate The Homosexual AgendaTM? Our work has been effective because the Ministry of Education's Security Section clearly has no idea how well we've infiltrated the schools...
Although he could not say how many girls on the various campuses engage in lesbianism, Mr. Plakaris made the shocking assertion that the numbers "are alarming, disturbing and growing." Even more disturbing is the claim made by Mr. Plakaris that there are some adults of this orientation - including some teachers and parents - who "are not inclined" to discourage young girls from engaging in this kind of lifestyle.

Rumours have long been in circulation about lesbianism becoming a growing problem not only in schools in Grand Bahama, but in New Providence as well. Gauging just how pervasive it is in our schools, of course, has always been difficult because gay women do not physically exhibit the characteristics which make it easy to determine that a man is homosexual.
Did someone find my Universal Gay Man DetectorTM in the Bahamas? Damn, now I know who has it -- the editor of the Freeport News. I'd go retrieve it, but it sounds like someone might brain me down there.

***


On the heels of that editorial, it looks like the local version of Daddy Dobson, the Grand Bahama Christian Council President Bishop Ricardo Grant, has called for a probe into the allegations of rampant lesbianism in the schools involving a joint effort between parental groups, the Christian council, education officials and counselors. They have to get to the bottom of this matter tout de suite.
Now that it has come to his attention and he has read the article, Bishop Grant says the Christian Council will definitely launch its own investigation into the allegations.

The deputy director of government school security said the lesbian network in our schools could not be denied as the females are bold, growing in numbers and most disturbing is that they are preying on young girls.

...The problem, Mr. Plakaris adds, stems decades old, as far back as the late 80s, but are now more blatant among teachers and students. The problem is not exclusive to The Bahamas as research shows that there is seemingly also rampant lesbianism in schools in the United States and Canada, Plakaris says.

Mr. Plakaris says once his department receives information on anybody it is passed on to the Department of Social Services. "If criminal charges are necessary then we would recommend as such," he said.

"But we will not sit back and allow it to continue without letting persons know that we have been watching and we have been documenting -- teachers as well as students."
I'm making light of this bullsh*t, but imagine if you are a gay or lesbian teen living under these conditions.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Bob Knight on the Oscars


We can add "film critic" to the list of hobbies of the penis-possessing Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute. He's moaning because Brokeback Mountain received too many nominations, but mitigates this development by saying it's a victory that it only garnered eight nods considering the buzz the film received. He's also whining that family-friendly, Christian subtexted Narnia was shut out of major noms. In fact, Bob's panties are bunched up because too many queer-flavored flicks were honored.
OK, so "Brokeback Mountain," the Wyoming sheepherder epic filmed in politically correct Canada (a tad less so since the election), galloped away with – count 'em – eight Oscar nominations, including all the biggies.

Anyone acting even a bit surprised should get an Academy Award.

It wasn't just "Brokeback." Another film, "Capote," about the late homosexual writer Truman Capote, garnered five major nominations – Best Picture, Director (Bennett Miller), Actor (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener) and Adapted Screenplay. "Transamerica," the story of a man who thinks he's a woman, managed to get one major nomination – Best Actress (Felicity Huffman of "Desperate Housewives" notability, who plays the guy in the dress), plus Original Song ("Travelin' Thru").

By contrast, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," based on the C.S. Lewis classic, was shut out of the major categories.

..."Brokeback" was billed in some newspaper ads as "a good old-fashioned love story," which should have triggered an advertising fraud inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission.

Whatever its merits, this flick is not an "old-fashioned love story," in which, as most people understand it, the guy meets the girl, sparks fly, he marries her and they live happily ever after. The hero in such a flick does not – and this apparently bears repeating – does not lust after his good buddy. Not even a sly glance. That would get him a rather rude response, not a slew of Oscar nominations.


Blogger Glenn Greenwald on C-SPAN tomorrow

One of my favorite reads, Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory, is going to be on C-SPAN's Washington Journal tomorrow morning, February 6.

He's appearing from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m., before the start of the Senate hearings on the National Security Agency eavesdropping issues. Glenn will debate the Bush Administration supporter Professor Robert Turner of the University of Virginia.


The big news is that Glenn, a stellar representative of the blogosphere, was able to get access to staff members of Senators on the Judiciary Committee, and they listened to what he had to say. That said, it's clear that the politicians need a lot of education about bloggers.
There is a substantial misperception about what the blogosphere is. Most people who don't read blogs regularly (and that is still the case for the overwhelming majority of people, even in journalism and national politics) basically see the blogosphere as being one big online Rush Limbaugh Show -- nothing but uninformed, ignorant, irresponsible, angry populist ranting by the dumb, dirty masses. The more exposure people have to blogs and bloggers, the more that perception will breakdown, because the reality, as people in the blogosphere know, is the opposite -- the discussions, analysis and even reporting in the blogosphere is at a much higher and more substantive level than that which takes place in what they consider to be the "respectable media" venues.
In Glenn's post, the real ominous sign about these hearings is how unprepared the Democrats are to fend off the talking points devised by the Rove/Cheney machine. Cheney has begun the spin that the exposure of Bush's illegal wiretapping did ''enormous damage to our national security," and thus any discussion of it means Dems are in bed with Al Qaeda.

The Dems, yet again, are making it loud and clear they have no stones; they are running scared. Why is this such a broken record? All these bums need to be tossed out.
Intimidating and threatening people who expose wrongdoing and illegality are the hallmarks of street gangs and military juntas. The idea that anything meaningful was disclosed when we learned that our Government is eavesdropping without judicial oversight and approval (rather than with it) has always been frivolous on its face. But the statement from Cheney that this disclosure caused ''enormous damage to our national security" is dishonest trash, transparently intended -- on the eve of the NSA hearings -- to stir up populist rage against anyone who blows the whistle on misconduct by the Administration and to intimidate other potential whistle-blowers with threats of criminal prosecution and treason accusations from the highest levels of our government.

Disturbingly, all of this has an effect, even -- perhaps especially -- on the Democrats in the Senate. They are not foaming at the mouth with anticipation for these hearings to be begin. They are approaching it with trepidation and concern about being depicted, yet again, as allies of Al Qaeda -- not just by the boundlessly dishonest and propagandizing Administration, but also by our "neutral" press which fails to convey the actual issues raised by this scandal, and which continues to propagate the false debate that this is about whether we should be eavesdropping on Al Qaeda.
Damn, Glenn, you are spot-on, and it's too bad that you are. Between the professional spinners, slanted and scared-of-the-loss-of-access press and queasy stomach Dems, it's an uphill battle. May we both be wrong tomorrow.


Gay bar rampager Robida dies

No trial for this guy. (AP):
The teenager suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar and in the killing of two people in Arkansas, including a policeman, died Sunday of wounds suffered in a gun battle with officers, authorities said.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, died at 3:38 a.m. Sunday at Cox-South Hospital in Springfield, Mo., said hospital spokesman Randy Berger.

Robida, a high school dropout who friends said glorified Naziism, was shot twice in the head in a shootout with police Saturday after he killed a Gassville police officer and a woman in his car, authorities said.

Two days earlier, he allegedly went on a rampage at the Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, Mass., that injured three men, one critically. Police labeled that attack a hate crime.

"I wish he would have lived and gone on trial," said Dan Sheterom, 51, who lives above Puzzles Lounge and frequents the tavern. "I would have liked to have seen if the commonwealth here would have taken it up to the federal government as a hate crime."
Related:
* Breaking: Robida captured
* PageOneQ: See Robida's Nazi-loving website
* The face of hate in New Bedford via the Web
* Man, 18, sought in gay bar attack
* Massachusetts
* Enact Federal Hate Crime Laws Now


Breaking: Robida captured

Saturday, February 04, 2006



[UPDATE (11 PM): I added snippets from the latest AP feed below, and more commentary.]

CNN is reporting that New Bedford, Massachusetts gay bar rampager Jacob Robida was apprehended in Arkansas after a shootout with police there; one police officer died, one is injured. Robida was also injured and a woman who was with him at the time was also killed in the gun battle. (AP):
A teenager accused of going on a rampage at a Massachusetts gay bar with a hatchet and a gun was in a Missouri hospital Saturday after two shootings in northern Arkansas that resulted in the death of a police officer and a woman accompanying the wounded teen, state police said.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, was transported to a hospital at Springfield, Mo., after an exchange of gunfire with police in Norfork, according to state police spokesman Bill Sadler.

Sadler identified the slain officer as Jim Sell, a member of the Gassville police force. Sadler said he did not know the name of the woman who died in the gunfire at Norfork.
11 PM: There was a car chase before the shoot out; Robida took shots to the head and he may not survive. (AP):
Jacob D. Robida, 18, was shot twice in the head, and "it doesn't look good right now," said Massachusetts prosecutor Paul Walsh Jr. Walsh said the teen shot Officer Jim Sell, 56, twice during a traffic stop in this northern Arkansas town.

About 25 miles away, Robida sped over spike strips set out by state troopers but continued to drive with two punctured tires into downtown Norfork. Robida's car then careened into several parked vehicles to avoid a police barricade.

"When he wrecked he started firing at our officer and a state police officer, and the officers returned fire," said Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery.

The teen shot the woman in the car with him before he was wounded in the shootout with police, Walsh said. State police wouldn't confirm Walsh's account and said ballistics tests would determine how the woman died.

His passenger was Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of Charleston, W.Va., the West Virginia State Police said. "Apparently she's had a prior relationship with this guy and had been corresponding with him," said state police Sgt. C.J. Ellyson.

Robida had apparently picked Bailey up at her home, Ellyson said.
If Robida doesn't make it, it will spare everyone the horror of a trial where a "gay panic" defense would be floated; one assumes at the very least a "mental disease or defect" defense would be in the offing.

In an earlier article in SouthCoastToday, a pathetic picture of Robida, his friends and the mindset emerges. They firmly believed it was a set-up or a case of mistaken identity.
Mr. Robida attended New Bedford High School and Dartmouth High School but never finished, according to school records. He dropped out of Dartmouth High in December 2003, eventually attending night school without earning a degree, according to school records.

After leaving school, friends recalled he briefly sorted clothes at the Salvation Army in New Bedford and then worked construction with his father.
In his spare time, he and fellow Insane Clown Posse fans met at one another's houses. They played video games, watched television and "chilled." The friends said Mr. Robida didn't have a girlfriend and that he smoked marijuana, but nothing stronger.

When police searched Mr. Robida's house on County Street following the shooting, they found Nazi regalia and anti-Semitic writing on his bedroom walls, according to a police affidavit. Friends said he also wore a fake swastika tattoo on his thumb, but quickly said they'd never heard him express disdain or hatred for anyone.
"He did have Nazi flags in his room, but that doesn't mean he was a bad person," Ms. Silva said.

Other friends called it a phase, paraphernalia Mr. Robida was drawn to without any real thought or malice.
Alrighty then. We can see from this crowd that it's no surprise this has unfolded the way it did.

***

I did surf by Freeperland to see if there was any commentary. Not that I really thought at this point there would be actually anyone behind Robida's actions (most are hoping he kicks it). Two quotes, however, jumped out at me that were worth posting:

Actual Freeper Quotes

I'd like to skip the costs associated with a trial, but I admit to being morbidly curious. What would have possessed him to go into a gay bar with a hatchet and a pistol and start shooting at random?

I doubt this guy had no views on Jesus. These cases seem to have something to do with religion (or anti religion) but they seem to never be investigated in depth. The media finds it's angle, guns or in this case anti-gay but is that what really stirs these guys insane passions?
As you can see, no one seems to have a clue that the homobigotry that oozes out of the swamps of Freeperland and the mouths and pulpits of the AmTaliban has anything to do with this.

They must claim the Jacob Robidas of the world, because these disillusioned, poorly educated people out there see that leaders in the public eye demonize gays each and every day, working successfully in many places to legalize discrimination. What message does that send?

These are the fruits of Dobson and his bible beaters, as well as "friends" like Karl Rove who see gay-bashing tactics as nothing more than a political game for votes. Well it's no game when you're on the receiving end of hate and violence.

Related:
* PageOneQ: See Robida's Nazi-loving website
* The face of hate in New Bedford via the Web
* Man, 18, sought in gay bar attack
* Massachusetts
* Enact Federal Hate Crime Laws Now


Coretta Scott King honored at Georgia's state Capitol



(The anti-gay daughter) Rev. Bernice King, Dexter King, Martin Luther King III and Yolanda King watch as the casket of their mother, Coretta Scott King, is brought up the steps of the Capitol to lie in honor in the Rotunda in Atlanta, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006. Her funeral will be held at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, where the Kings' youngest child, Bernice, is a minister. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

As the AP story reports, Mrs. King is the first black woman to lie in honor. When her husband was assassinated, then-governor Lester Maddox, a cracker who clung to his segregationist ways, refused to do so for MLK.
It was a striking contrast to the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, when then-Gov. Lester Maddox, an outspoken segregationist, was outraged at the idea of state flags, then dominated by the Confederate Cross, flying at half-staff in tribute to a black man. He ignored King's death, refusing to authorize a public tribute.

...When Martin Luther King Jr. died, segregation was openly accepted in the South, even though it was on its last legs, said Akinyele Umoja, an African-American studies professor at Georgia State University.

"Lester Maddox had a strong base. Now, you don't have that constituency," Umoja said.

State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, who was a young activist in King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said Maddox was the epitome of Jim Crow, racist segregation. "It became a national insult to Dr. King and the King legacy and the whole civil rights movement that was sweeping across the South, bringing about significant change," he said.




Some news from the states

A number of stories popped up yesterday and today...

* Massachusetts: [UPDATE: He was captured, on Saturday and died in the hospital.] Still on the run, 18 year old Jacob D. Robida is believed to be getting help from friends to hide after his ax/gun rampage at a gay bar this week, injuring three (police, big surprise, found Nazi paraphernalia and anti-Semitic writings in his home). It's suspected that his Myspace web buddies are assisting him with shelter and money. One of the victims, Robert Perry, was well enough to return to Puzzles bar Friday night, the scene of the attack after being released from hospital yesterday. (Blend posts 1, 2, 3, 4)


* Kansas: 365gay and KAKE (Topeka) feature an icky interview with Fred Phelps (who will be picketing Coretta Scott King's funeral). It's an interesting read; nothing new, except it's fun seeing such a concentrated offering of The Rotting Cryptkeeper'sTM rants in a news story.


* Tennessee: A gay teen who was forced into Love in Action's "de-gaying' program by his parents is speaking out against the horrorshow facility. He's also going to be participating in a documentary exposing the tactics of the organization. LIA was investigated by the state last year for handing out prescription drugs without a license. (WREG):
A 17-year old Georgia boy says he was handcuffed by his parents and brought to Love in Action in Memphis. "You can't talk to anyone, can't look anyone, can't contact anyone, except a counselor," former Love in Action client DJ Butler makes the religious ministry sound more like a prison than a counseling center for gay men and women.

"They shame you, put you down, call you stupid, you know, tell you the feelings your feeling is stupid," says Butler.

...In the past year the state has threatened to shut down Love in Action if they didn't get a license to treat patients which includes handing out prescription drugs. Butler says he was given prozac during his stay. "They said they don't do that but they did it."

The state pulled their ultimatum last fall after Love in Action agreed not to take any more patients needing medical treatment. But in return, Love in Action slapped the state with a lawsuit blaming Tennessee for lost clientele. "So they're losing business, this time last year, they had 22 participants, now they have nine," says Kellum.
Note: that this is not the teen "Zach", who was the subject of a lot of attention last year when he was placed in LIA by his parents. My posts on that are here.


* West Virginia: a marriage amendment bill is on its way, and there is strong bipartisan support. The bible beater faction pushing it in this state is called West Virginia Family Foundation (an affiliate of the American Family Association, btw). The attorney for this band of bigots, Kevin McCoy, feels that the amendment is necessary to prevent any legal ruling that could overturn the state's DOMA. "This amendment will settle the matter once and for all by erecting a permanent wall around the sacred institution from the reach of activist courts.” The bill is co-sponsored by Delegate John Pino, D-Fayette, and Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.

* Idaho: another state, another amendment battle. This one is HJR002. Testimony from residents was taken yesterday before the House State Affairs Committee considering the measure. Two quotes from the article:
Donna Yule of Boise told the panel she has three sons — two married, and one gay and in a committed relationship. “The dumbest argument I’ve heard is from those people who seem to think that somehow his loving relationship poses some kind of threat to their own marriages,” Yule said.

“Normalcy is a man and a woman; God made us that way,” said Katherine Frazier of Boise. “Now we’re seeing that normalcy is supposed to include anything.”
In the end it voted 13-4 in favor of advancing the proposal. The bill must win approval from two-thirds of the full House and Senate before proceeding to voters on the ballot in the fall. The last go-round for this bill resulted in defeat in the state Senate.

* Maryland: I didn't get to mention the fact that the Dems there managed to kill that marriage amendment bill, which had generated a lot of heated debate in the legislature (earlier posts here and here). 365gay reports that it was rejected on a unanimous vote in the Judiciary Committee of the Gen Assembly after Dems amended the bill to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman -- but also allow civil unions with all the rights of marriage.

* Alabama: Kathy at Birmingham Blues has noted the unhinged crap coming out of Chris Matthews's mouth of late. He's speculating that liberals or gays must be responsible for the six church burnings this week. Kathy:
Now Chris thinks the homos are burning churches in Alabama. Yeah, because I can tell you there’s a well-organized of militant gays here who go around burning down buildings — NOT!


The face of hate in New Bedford via the Web

Friday, February 03, 2006



PageOneQ has archived the Myspace web site of Jacob Robida, the 18-year-old, violent Neo-Nazi wannabe who entered the gay bar Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, MA yesterday, leaving three men wounded, one critically (see Russ's post). The site is full of disturbing images and violent BS.

Robida's still at large, and his friends in the Myspace network have posted notes of support on his page. Note, they're pretty much a few pancakes short of a stack. If this is the future of America, we're f*cked.
Feb 3, 2006 02:05 PM

I don't know if you'll ever get this. I cared about you as a friend. Its not fair. I thought you were smarter then this. Those people had nothing to do with your problems. You should go to jail before you hurt more people. Cj and I will go visit you. I'm sticking up for you not cause of what you did but cause you were a good person. Thats the person I will remember. Not a killer. Whether you want people to think you are or not. You messed up but I'll always know that some where inside you you were once a great person. You wernt yourself that day. And I don't care what anyone says about me cause I knew you. They didn't. I'll never forgive you for hurting those people but theres more to this then I may ever find out. I'll miss you <3
Cassandra

Feb 3, 2006 01:53 PM

Jake I fucking love you so much. Please dont do anything else. I cant loose you. Im like destrout rite now. I dont know what to do. I love you more than anything. <3

Feb 3, 2006 01:25 PM

I GOT MAD LOVE FOR JAKE ALEADY.. I HOPE HES OKAY AND EVERYTHING GETS STRAIGHTEND OUT SOO WE CAN CHYLL AGAIN =... LOVE YA JAKE <3333

see i do know jake have for 3 years .... hes a good kid i dont know why he did what he did but he never did anything to me ... i dont like what he did or the reasons but i still have love for him !

Feb 3, 2006 09:49 AM

i dont even knw what to say...but ill address my comments to the people who made comments...everything your saying reflects on jake...and whether or not he did it..so shut the fuck up and stay out of it. jake.....yer my hommie....fuck all the bastards who na say.... they dont know you...they want thier 15 minutes ...be safe man.....fuuuuuck.
Big hat tip to RealityCbd for the pointer.


Nice to know Fred's keeping up with current events

Hat tip to Blender NancyP, who noticed that the Rotting CryptkeeperTM is planning to ensure that he and his hate-ridden band of progeny make a splash at the funeral of beloved civil rights giant Coretta Scott King.



May he enjoy a slow painful death from a disease that eats away at his shriveled, festering balls.

Blogger Jasmyne Cannick also notes:
Ironically King’s funeral will take place at mega church pastor Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Baptist Missionary Church. Long is an outspoken critic of gays and led a march to Dr. King’s grave denouncing gay rights in 2004 with King’s youngest daughter Bernice.
Related:
* A towering figure is gone


Blend Mailbag, West Coast Edition


Hi,

I teach philosophy at Virginia Tech, and I like to use real examples when I teach fallacies in my intro to logic course. You have a post on Pam's web site that has a great example of the equivocation over 'hate crime' :
Aren't all crimes agaisnt innocent persons *Hate Crimes*? Which ones are considered *Love Crimes*?
Could you send me info on where you found it, so I can cite it properly?

Thanks,
Laura

Laura ____________
Philosophy Department
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Laura, that is the handiwork of one of the denizens of Free Republic. Unfortunately, the author composed under a pseudonym, so I can't give you a positive identity. If you were to spend enough time there, you could compile enough quotes for an entire semester.

If you need another fine example of logical fallacy, I've got another quote for you. However, like the other quote, I can't with 100% certainty give you a positive identity on the author.
The area described is lower middle class with a high percentage of Portuguese folks. It sits by Fall River, a city with a similar population. You might recall Bill Clinton doing a photo-op there while running for President. The area is highly Democratic. This cretin most likely is a donkey. Which makes him an ass in more ways than one?


Open your wallet

And just give the contents to the Chimperor so he can burn it all up -- Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute.


Enact Federal Hate Crime Laws Now

I've been wrestling with the idea of "hate crimes" for a long time now. Am I fer 'em or agin' 'em? Over the months writing on this and my own blog, I've been against them. Thoughtful commenters here have explained their position, which I've found helpful. But I haven't been able to get over the hump, so to speak, of seeing that hate crimes laws aren't an unfair treatment of some citizens under the law.

This week, with the news of the anti-gay attack in Massachusetts, I've gotten over the hump. I've had an epiphany. I now fully support hate crimes legislation.

(Republicans call this "flip-flopping". I call it "changing my mind and coming to a new, better informed, more rational position in the light of new evidence and understanding.")

I've finally come up with the counterpoints to my own arguments against hate crimes legislation, arguments that I, as a straight white man, had formed not with malice against sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, but simply because of a desire to be fair, apply the law equally, and not succumb to a concept just because it was "politically correct":

1) "Hate crime" is like "thought crime" in that we're punishing the person based on their opinions -- opinions that are protected under the First Amendment -- rather than their actions.

Wrong. Hate crimes punish the perpetrator based on motive and malice of forethought. We have many examples in law where criminals are punished more severely based on their motive -- involuntary manslaughter vs. first degree murder, for example. Both crimes are actions where the perp ends the life of the victim, but the former originates from an accident or negligence without motive, where the latter involves premeditation and motive.

2) All crimes of violence are "hate crimes" -- you don't beat or murder someone out of love!

Wrong. The motives for violent crime include motives other than hate. A criminal who beats and hogties a convenience store clerk doesn't particularly hate the clerk, he's just being violent to make a buck. A former postal employee who goes back to work with an assault rifle and shoots everyone he sees doesn't necessarily hate all his former co-workers, he's just a disgruntled desperate nutcase.

But a hate crime doesn't target the victim for any other motive except intimidation and extermination of the victim's perceived group. The motive for the violent acts of this 18-year-old in Massachusetts wasn't monetary gain or personal animosity; his acts were intended to wipe out a reviled subclass. We treat genocide more severely than garden-variety mass murder; what differentiates this young man's attempt to wipe homosexuals off the face of the earth from Hitler's attempt to wipe Jews off the face of the earth are only better planning and the political capital and resources needed to succeed.

3) Hate crime laws mean that blacks, gays, etc. receive more protection under the law than whites, straights, etc.

Wrong. Hate crime laws protect all people from violence and intimidation based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual identity. If I'm attacked in NE Portland by bat-wielding African-American thugs screaming "kill Whitey", that, too, is a hate crime. If the homosexual mafia lay in ambush for straight males leaving the strip club to give the horny breeders a beatin', that's a hate crime too.

Now, it may seem like these laws give more protection to non-white, non-straight people, but that's only because our country isn't suffering an epidemic of violent attacks against straight white people for being straight and white. Just because minorities and gays aren't as cruel to us as we are to them doesn't make the law unfair.

4) ALL crimes of violence should be severely punished. The punishment should be the same if I hit you for being black as if I hit you for insulting my wife.

Wrong. Well, half-way wrong, anyway. I still believe all crimes of violence should be more severely punished than they are. But we accept that some violent crimes are more severe than others, not the least of which is the lasting effect it has on the victim. Punching you in the nose at a fight in a bar will probably merit me less punishment than running you down with my car. In both cases, my motive may be the same, but your lasting effects will be quite different.

The lasting effect of a hate crime, though, is emotional and psychological, as well as physical; it intimidates and terrorizes people based on immutable characteristics of self identity, and those non-physical harms extend to an entire group of people. If I got mugged in a bad neighborhood, I can choose a safer route. If I got robbed working ata convenience store, I can choose to work elsewhere. If I got smacked because I was rude and obnoxious to the wrong guy, I can choose my words more carefully.

But a victim of a hate crime can't choose to join the non-hated group. Plus, that applies not just to the victim, but all the members of the victim's class. All the gay men in New Bedford, Mass. are now terrorized and intimidated, just for existing.

(Come to think of it, that means rape IS a hate crime. A rapist targets a woman solely because she's a woman, and that rape intimidates and terrorizes all women. No wonder we punish rape more severely than assault, which is technically what a rape is.)

5) Hate crime laws mean I'm going to be punished differently if I hit a black guy than if I hit a white guy.

Wrong. If I hit a white guy because he's gay, Jewish, or Belgian, I'd be punished for a hate crime. If I hit a black guy because I was pissed at him for cutting me off in traffic, I wouldn't be punished for a hate crime.

But I wonder... Suppose I'm a mentally deranged straight white guy who thinks he's really a hot black militant lesbian (I know, imagine...) and I go out targeting straight white guys because I believe straight white guys are the #1 source of evil in the world (which isn't true; that title belongs to the Bush administration, and they certainly aren't all guys, all white, or all straight). Would that be a hate crime? I think so.

6) Stronger penalties for hate crimes don't do anything to deter hate crimes.

So? Stronger penalties for rape haven't deterred rape. Stronger penalties for first degree murder haven't deterred first degree murder. Stronger penalties for drug trafficking haven't deterred drug trafficking.

The punishment for crimes reflect the society's judgment of the severity of the crime and the fair amount of punishment the criminal should receive, not a formula for preventing crime. And certainly, we, as a society, should consider the intentional, malicious terrorization of a group more seriously than simple personal brutality.

7) Hate crimes mean the law is being applied differently to different victims of the same crime.

Wrong. This is sometimes characterized as "a random attack on a gay person is no different than a random attack on me". But there is nothing random about a hate crime. Yes, the particular gay person to be bludgeoned may be selected randomly, but there was malice of forethought involved in eliminating any bludgeoning candidates that were not gay. This 18-year-old made the premeditated decision to go kill fags, not the first random people he sees. The crimes are as different as accidentally wrecking into someone's car because I was talking on the cell phone versus deliberately ramming your ex-wife's car because you hate the bitch.

8) Anti-gay violence is often directed at people who are straight but perceived to be gay, so the straight kid beat up by the homophobe wouldn't get the same protection as the gay kid beat up by the homophobe.

Who says? Again, what's the intent of the criminal? If he's out looking to bash queers and beats up a kid he thinks is queer, it doesn't matter if the kid is queer or not, the criminal is committing a hate crime.

We can direct our representatives to craft these laws any way we want. I'd be all for hate crime laws being applied to violent crimes of bias even if the bias is misdirected.

9) Hate crime laws create special classes of protection for sexual orientation, race, or religion, but not for class, political party, etc.

Who says? If someone begins violently assaulting libertarians just for being libertarians, I'd consider that a hate crime, too. Same goes for a criminal with the goal of murdering the Forbes 100 or a miscreant who attacks interracial couples who adopt Asian babies. Protecting people against bias attacks makes us think first of blacks, Jews, gays, and others simply because historically, they've been the primary victims of bias attacks. That doesn't mean that some future wave of anti-Irish or anti-swinger or anti-real estate millionaire attacks couldn't also be considered hate crimes.

10) We already have laws in place to punish violent criminals. Creating hate crime statutes just elevates some people above others in the eyes of the law.

Wrong. Creating hate crime statutes addresses a glaring lack of the law's ability to address terror as a criminal motive. And as I've already noted, just because it is currently the blacks, gays, or Muslims being terrorized now doesn't mean that in the short-term future, as straight white guys like me become more and more the minority in America, that the laws won't soon be protecting me.

Man, arguing with myself is more fun than I anticipated. You, "Radical" Russ, are a Worthy Opponent! (Apologies to Stephen Colbert.)


Looney archbishop: church is in peril because of gays

I knew that homos were considered wicked, but really -- we are now so all-powerful that we may destroy the Anglican church, according to Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia. More power to you, queer Aussies -- send some of your strategies our way.
In an attack on liberals, Dr Jensen told Anglican Mainstream members that the Bible said homosexuality was a matter of life and death, therefore "we would be cowards if we do not make clear this is an issue of life and death".

Dr Jensen, who returned to Australia yesterday, said that accepting homosexuality compromised the holiness of the church, "calling holy what God called sin".


...Dr Jensen said his critics claimed evangelicals were obsessed with sex, whereas the gospel "was not about who people slept with but about God". He said critics also claimed evangelicals were turning opinion into dogma and were resisting the inevitable future of a broader understanding of human sexuality.

"These are strong points, but I believe there are stronger answers to each of them," Dr Jensen said. "The issue before us is the concrete form of the question of God's authority."


Another perv pastor arrested

This one's out of Denver -- the Reverend Michael Peters of 2nd Baptist Church in Boulder was arrested in connection with the sexual abuse of a child. The girl was in the church choir (and served as his baby sitter). She had been seeking counsel from Peters regarding an earlier sexual assault, so Peters preyed upon a completely emotionally exposed, vulnerable girl to get his rocks off. Sick bastard. (Denver Post):
"We initiated an investigation approximately a week ago into an allegation made regarding the Rev. Michael Peters," said police spokesman Detective John White. "Mr. Peters was arrested on Tuesday for investigation of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust."



Detective Ken Klaus said, in an affidavit, that he was questioning the young woman in connection with an earlier sexual- assault case when she told him of the alleged incidents involving Peters, who she said was then a pastor at the 2nd Baptist Church in Boulder, which she attended. The alleged victim said Peters, who was her choir director and the youth minister for the church, was counseling her beginning in mid-2003 in connection with the earlier sexual assault, according to the affidavit.

She told police she met with Peters a couple of times a week. Sometimes they went dancing, sometimes they would sit for hours in front of her home, sometimes she would babysit his children at his Denver home. On some occasions, she said, Peters would fondle her through her clothes, the affidavit reported.

One night, while she was 17, she spent the night on a couch at Peters' home after babysitting. The next morning he engaged in sexual intercourse with her in his bedroom, the document said.
Tack this one on to the Conservative Values Monitor board.

Thanks to Blender Pam for the pointer.


Stop it, Rummy, you're killin' me!


My favorite beat poet, Secretary of Defensiveness Donald Rumsfailed, just appeared yesterday at the National Press Club. I'm a big fan of his work; nobody can twist a phrase and drop some unintentional irony with a smirk and a nod better than old Rummy. His latest compositions lack the Zen koan quality of "Unknown Unknowns" and "The Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence.", the comic timing of "Stuff Happens", the moral certainty of "The Army You Have", the flow of "East, West, South and North Somewhat", or the hilarity of "It's Not in My Business to Do Intelligent Work", but I'm sure you'll agree his most recent releases rank right up there:
(AP) Rumsfeld, asked during a National Press Club appearance Thursday about indications of a deteriorating general relationship between Washington and parts of Latin America, said he believes such a characterization “misses the mark.”

“We saw dictatorships there. And then we saw most of those countries, with the exception of Cuba, for the most part move towards democracies,” he said. “We also saw corruption in that part of the world. And corruption is something that is corrosive of democracy.

Jack Abramwho? Tom DeWhat? Duke Cunninghuh? Ahmad Chawhatsit? Scooter Whobee? Whatiburton? Sorry, Rummy, I can't hear you over the indictments...
The secretary acknowledged that “we’ve seen some populist leadership appealing to masses of people in those countries. And elections like Evo Morales in Bolivia take place that clearly are worrisome.”

“I mean, we’ve got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money,” Rumsfeld added. “He’s a person who was elected legally — just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally — and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others.”
Elected legally... you mean, by the popular vote of the people, according to the dictates of a national constitution that vests electoral power solely to the individual states, free from interference by an activist partisan judiciary, and the guarantee of the counting of all of the ballots by reliable, transparent, non-partisan technologies? Wow, what a novel idea!

I'm waiting for the following condemnations:
"This is the worst and most vile form of political hate speech," said [former RNC Chair Ed] Gillespie.

"Comparing the commander in chief of a democratic nation to the murderous tyrant Hitler is not only historically specious, it is morally outrageous.... Political figures... have a special responsibility to condemn [this comparison].... They owe it not just to the memory of the millions who died in the Holocaust. They owe it also as a simple matter of decency," said Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress.

Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, called them "hate-mongering." "Certainly myself, as an American and as a Jew, I'm disgusted by the casual use of Hitler..." said Mr. Cantor, the House chief deputy majority whip. "To compare any... president... to Adolf Hitler, cheapens the sacrifice of millions of lives that have been lost..." Mr. Cantor said.


'Rogue wiretaps'



Go watch the f*cker lie over and over on video. (PageOneQ)


Christian UK sex toy store's popular with pastors

We're talking across the pond, folks...the married, hop-on, hop-off, procreative-sex-only bible beaters here probably aren't interested in Hot Sex Dice, Rumble Balls or Snake Pouches. No wait, scratch that, they're interested, but they will feel dirty afterwards.


The snake pouch for pious pee-pees.

Wholly Love bills itself a site selling "products and advice celebrating God's fantastic gift of sex within Christian marriage. And business is booming.
A Welsh couple who set up a Web site to sell sex aids, toys and games to Christians say business is booming, especially from ministers.

Stella Hagarty and husband Stan set up the Wholly Love site fully expecting a torrent of criticism, but have had a pleasant surprise, Sky News reported. "We have been expecting a storm of protest over what we're doing, but we've had no negative feedback so far," said 31-year-old Stella Hagarty. "In fact, we've had a lot of orders from vicars themselves."

She told The Sun the site contains no nudity, and does not sell items for bondage or sado-masochism.
Why no BDSM gear? Who knows what some of those wild and crazy vicars are up to?


Florida doctor's office prescribes 'ex-gay' treatment

Some licenses need to be revoked in this case. There's nothing else to it. (Daytona Beach News-Journal):
A 36-year-old lesbian has filed a state complaint against a doctor and physician's assistant alleging she was given literature condemning homosexuality as "sinful and sexually impure" after a routine appointment.

Jamie Beiler, formerly of Kissimmee, saw physician's assistant Dawn Pope-Wright on March 11, 2005, for a bronchitis checkup because her normal doctor was on vacation, according to a Jan. 27 complaint filed with the Division of Medical Quality Assurance. Beiler's sexuality was noted in her medical file, but unmentioned during the appointment, her lawyers said.

When she opened up an envelope Pope-Wright left at the checkout counter, she was shocked to find photocopied pages including Bible verses that denounced homosexuality and asserted God can help her change. "The information that Ms. Pope-Wright gave to Ms. Beiler was derogatory and offensive, and completely disrespected her right to dignity and privacy," the complaint says.


From the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Also named in the complaint is Dr. John R. Hartman, who allegedly deflected Beiler's concerns when she complained to the office.
The article notes that Hartman hasn't commented to the press and the office says that Pope-Wright no longer worked there -- she also hasn't commented on the matter. The complaints have been filed with Florida Department of Health and CIGNA Healthcare.

Shakes Sis unloads on this:
Pharmacists who refuse to dispense certain drugs to women, teachers who refuse to hang up LGBT tolerance posters in their classrooms, doctors who want to right to refuse to treat gay patients, a physician’s assistant who hands out condemning literature to a lesbian patient…all in the name of Christianity. They use their religion as a weapon and a shield, and worse yet as a trump card to jusitfy any and all manner of exclusion, judgment, and oppression, and the rest of us are expected to respect it.

Fuck that.

I don't give a good goddamn why someone believes in inequality, or what their rationale is. Telling me "I’m a Christian and my god says so" will evoke precisely the same amount of respect for such a position as "A flying bear told me gays are bad during a gnarly peyote trip." In other words, NONE.
Spot-on, bloggrrl.


This and that



[UPDATE: added a couple to the top...]

In the Blend mailbag, lots of good tidbits...

* Blogger ScoutPrime is now posting over at First Draft, and is hitting the Bush Boys Bring New Orleans Back (BNOB) commission members Donald Bollinger and Joe Canizaro hard (see my earlier post). There is a movement by those who would profit most from the rebuilding of NOLA to derail efforts to pass the Baker bill, and prefer the government only buy out only 20,000 out of 200,000 homeowners whose homes have been destroyed by Katrina.
The Baker bill is very popular in Louisiana. People want it because it is essential to recovery. Without the Baker bill everything that 200,000 homeowners had will be worthless. Absolutely worthless. They will face foreclosures and walk away from their former lives with nothing. And developers will buy the land up cheap and make a killing.
Scout has action items in the post.

* Michael Stickings at The Reaction blogs about Google's entry into China and the sh*tstorm of bad press the company has garnered for censoring its search engine for the market. Michael:
I've just written an expanded version of my defence of Google's decision to go to China. My position, which is neither pro-Google nor pro-China but focuses on the consequences of opening up markets to the flow of information, seems to be the unconventional one.
* From the "extreme lapse of judgment files," Paul sent this howler, Warriors Fire PR Manager Over E-Mail, saying "Oops. It's really easy to hit that "Reply To All" button by mistake... As President Bush would say: 'You're doing a heck of job, Eric'."
The public relations manager for the Golden State Warriors was fired Wednesday for inadvertently sending out a racially insensitive e-mail titled "Ghetto Prom" to the team's entire media distribution list.


Eric Govan, the No. 3 person on the Warriors' media relations staff, sent the e-mail featuring 17 photos, many depicting scantily clad black people in formal attire and commentary on the outfits. The e-mail went to dozens of newspaper reporters, columnists and sports editors, as well as television and radio stations....Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder confirmed that Govan is no longer employed by the club.
Govan, said the email was supposed to go only to his wife. That makes it all so much better, doesn't it? All his PR spinning skilz couldn't save his ass. More on this at DeadSpin, which referred to this as "the ultimate 'Oh, shit' moment" after hitting the Send button.

* Gary at AdvanceIndiana is reporting on a potential conspiracy by big-time Christian right leader, Eric Miller, and his law firm to evade Indiana's lobbying law and federal tax laws. He's a big-time gay basher who has been pushing the ban on gay marriages and fought against passage of the human rights ordinance for Indianapolis. Gary says that the local paper, the Indianapolis Star, has been sitting on the story for months.


Miller, by the way, has said that God reserves marriage for heterosexual couples because they can procreate and insure the survival of the human race. Mr. Miller has been married twice and has produced no children from either marriage.

* Anderson Cooper 360 featured a segment on pro-gay Texas gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell last night (I didn't catch it, did anyone see this). Bell will be facing off against incumbent homophobic Governor Rick "Very Merry Metrosexual" Perry. Bell's site says the piece will cover the candidate's role in the downfall of Tom DeLay.

Also featured on the show was former NFL star Roy Simmons, who talked about being gay and closeted while in pro football: "Simmons told me about the secret of his homosexuality and how it had tortured him for his entire professional football career. He said that in the NFL you can be a wife-beater or a drug-dealer, but being gay...forget about it."


* Speaking of being gay in the NFL, out former player Esera Tuaolo (who spoke at NC Pride in 2004), has a book out, Alone in the Trenches, chronicling his struggle in the closet while playing professional sports. He came out in 2002, also after retiring. There is a good article on Tualo on PrideSource. Here's a heartbreaking snippet.
One of Tuaolo's toughest moments came right after the 1999 Super Bowl in which the Denver Broncos defeated his team, the Atlanta Falcons. The team bus returned to their hotel and all the players' wives and families were out waiting for them. Tuaolo's life-partner, Mitchell Wherley, was there, but they did not dare approach each other in public.

"It hurt," said Tuaolo. "Seeing the smiles of the other families, how the players held their wives and being able to be free to be themselves. Here we were in the closet, running in the shadows. Coming off that bus, and seeing all the wives and families come up and hug the players, because that was what we needed. We had just lost a game we should have won. The Super Bowl - something that important, you can't get that back."
* Holly pointed to a good WaPo article on Episcopal priest and retired U.S. Senator John Danforth, who is calling out the wild-eyed bible thumper extremists for hijacking the Republican party. Good luck with that, friend. These crazies have moderate Republicans on the run.
"The Republican Party has been taken over by something that it's not...How do traditional Republicans put up with this? They put up with this because it's a winning combination, for now. It won't last."

Why won't it last?

"It won't stand the light of day," Danforth says in one of several conversations. "The more people think about it, the more people will resist it. People do not want a sectarian political party, including a lot of people who are traditional Republicans."

Richard Land gets a big laugh out of that. The combative voice of the Southern Baptist Convention and confidant of White House political guru Karl Rove has little use for Danforth, however grand his religious and political pedigrees. He describes the former senator as "what was wrong with the Republican Party and why they were a minority party."

"Votes reflect moral values. The struggle for hearts and minds gets reflected in the ballot box," Land says, setting up the twist of the knife. "It just sounds to me like Danforth's sore that he lost the argument with a majority of the American people."
Whew. And we thought the Dems had a circular firing squad.

* Fighting Dem Paul Hackett, who is running for the U.S. Senate (Ohio), has launched a new blog. See my earlier post, Another Dem gay-rights spine located: Paul Hackett.


Faux News bias is out of control

Fritz of On the Fritz emailed me about the most heinous blog the other day. Faux News is affiliated with a piece of trash site called Tongue Tied. The alleged purpose of the blog is to point out speech Norvell deems is too "politically correct," but the lowlifes posting on it are clearly immigrants from Freeperville. Fritz:
It will make you sick to your stomach -- especially the comments from some genius who calls himself "Hate Buttslammers"! These people make the Freepers look somewhat sane and informed.

I seriously can't believe that this many people are so uninformed about AIDS in this day and age. What a bunch of knuckle-draggers! There are so many unbelievable posts here. But this one is my "favorite":

AIDS is preventable. AIDS is a lifestyle disease. In western countries, AIDS could be brought under control in one generation if homosexual men would keep their pants zipped. Unfortunately, the typical homosexual activist is also an extremely selfish individual who puts sex above all else: Sex is before health, sex is before religion, sex is before politics, sex is before a career, sex is before dinner, sex is for dinner -- sexual gratification completely rules the lives of these people. As a result they "demand a cure" so they can continue an unhealthy sexual lifestyle. It doesn't matter to them that they are severely cutting into budgets for non-preventable diseases such as cancer, muscular dystrophy and diabetes. I must repeat -- homosexual activists are among the most selfish, self serving individuals on the face of the earth.
Now that you've finished hurling. Fritz continues with some more tidbits about this lovely site's connection to Fox News.
Fox News features this blog on their Web site once a week. Here are the archives on the Fox News site.

The blogger is Scott Norvell, Fox's London bureau chief. He's as bad as O'Reilly and is responsible for some of the worst Fox News has to offer. Read some of his crap here.
Norvell's latest column is up on the Fox News Views web site, linking back to the low-rent Tongue Tied.

Not that Norvell is trying to hide anything about slant of the newschannel/news site/blog he toils on. In the May 20, 2005 European edition of the WSJ, he really let the cat out of the bag regarding the winger bias at Fox, which still clings to the ridiculous public assertion that "we report, you decide" actually means anything. (Slate):
Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.



Massachusetts

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The blogmistress was buried under a ton of work on the paying gig today, so sorry for the light posts. My Blend inbox, as usual, is full from the day's missives, so apologies for not getting to all the tips coming in. I'll have a "This and That" roundup post up soon.

Thanks to Russ for kindly serving up so much fresh java in the coffeehouse today, especially on that heinous cretin wielding multiple weapons in that Massachusetts gay bar. When I hear about sh*t like this, I immediately think -- gee, when was the last time you heard of a homo running into a het bar shooting/stabbing/braining folks for being straight? Are we going to see some sort of gay panic/mental illness defense?

Sitting in my inbox were several public statements from folks on this awful event, placing it in the context of why the pending hate crimes legislation before Congress should be adopted. Howard Dean resurfaced with this comment:

"The horrible hate crime against members of the LGBT community witnessed in Massachusetts last night is a sad reminder that shameful efforts to scapegoat any group of Americans for electoral gain is a dangerous strategy that carries real human cost. It needlessly plays on people's fears and contributes to a political climate dominated by fear and division.

The American people understand that scapegoating groups of Americans for electoral gain is not just dangerous, it is un-American and has no place in our society. Hopefully, born of this tragedy will be a renewed commitment to bringing all Americans together and embracing our diversity. It is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to find real solutions to the challenges that confront all Americans."
Well it's nice to see Howard stepping up to the plate with that statement. Too bad his party sucks up to and promotes politicians like Tim Kaine who don't mind stepping on homos to court the right wing. When we see some real commitment to embracing diversity in the party, we can talk Howard. Maybe you can find more than the meager handful of usual Dems willing to come forward and speak out for full equality and respect for LGBT citizens.

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI):

"This ugly incident in Massachusetts is a stark reminder of why hate crimes legislation is critically important and why the federal government must take the lead in condemning such heinous acts. At the same time, we must continue efforts to eliminate the root causes of hatred and violence in our society."
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese weighs in:
“When a man walks into a bar, asks if it’s a gay bar and starts shooting, there couldn’t be any more glaringly obvious and enraging example that we need uniform hate crimes law and that Congress is stubbornly failing to act.”
And Ted Kennedy released a statement on a local crime (doing something Elizabeth Dole didn't do when we had cross-burnings in Durham last year, btw. My email to her resulted in this mind-blowing reply).

“Hate crimes have no place in our society, and this hateful act is a sad reminder of how far we have to go,” Senator Kennedy said. “I join all of New Bedford and all of Massachusetts in praying for the victims’ recovery and in demanding justice.

After eight long years of delay, it’s essential that we finally pass long overdue federal legislation to combat these despicable crimes.”
Related:
* Breaking: Robida captured
* PageOneQ: See Robida's Nazi-loving website
* The face of hate in New Bedford via the Web
* Man, 18, sought in gay bar attack
* Massachusetts
* Enact Federal Hate Crime Laws Now


Anti-Blogger's book is top Bloggie prize for best political blog


OK, I'll admit it, if I had gone to the Bloggies site like Pam asked and voted for my favorite blogs, I would've noticed this earlier. So forgive my late congratulations to my anti-blogger, Adam Graham, the conservative anti-abortion Christian writer whose book, The Screwtape Reports, is the top prize for the Best Weblog About Politics, category that includes the semi-liberal Wonkette, the liberal Firedoglake, the liberal Crooks and Liars, the liberal Talking Points Memo, and the liberal DailyKos.

In honor of the ironic occasion, I'm nominating Brandi ("Princess Barbie Talibania") Swindell to represent Idaho in the Miss Nude America Pageant, I'm donating my five-year collection of Playboy and Maxim magazines to NOW, and offering Adam a "buy one abortion, get the 2nd half-off" coupon as first prize in the My Favorite Conservative Born-Again™ Christian Blogger Whom I've Met Personally contest (it was a very short list).

Seriously, dude, congrats, you're making a name for yourself. I promise Radical Writ will be back up soon so we can resume our Endless Dance of Political Profundity.


Kung Fu Monkey on the evil liberal Hollywood conspiracy to only nominate Bush-bashing, fag-loving movies for the Oscar

The Oscar noms are out, and the Righties are seeing evidence of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy in the films Hollywood has nominated. Conservative film blogger Jason Apuzzo of Libertas ("A Forum for Conservative Thought on Film") makes the case (emphasis mine):
Nonetheless, a new trend is developing in what ‘indie’ films the Academy honors. This year the Academy is hot for left-leaning, ’social issue’ films: “North Country” (sexual harassment), “The Constant Gardener” (evil pharmaceutical companies), “Good Night, and Good Luck” (evil Republican Senators), “Syriana” (’it’s all about oil’), “Brokeback Mountain” (gay cowboys), “Munich” (the ‘cycle of violence’), “Transamerica” (sex change operations), etc.
And in one of the finest, best-written, most entertaining examples of blog-spat rebuttal and deconstruction on the internet (excepting, of course, my own verbose vituperations of The Anti-Blogger and The Libertrollian), Kung Fu Monkey's John Rogers lays out the smackdown on the feebleminded conservative's thesis.
Are you trying to play that McCarthy was just a well-meaning Senator who's just now being maligned by revisionist liberals, and that his vicious drunken smear tactics, abuse of his office and treason-mongering are only being made subject of the film because he's Republican? Seriously, you want to live in that camp? ... oooookay. Just checking.

I don't think we can go on. I could never, in my wildest dreams, have nailed the close to this discussion like that [Apuzzo lamenting that Star Wars III only got an Oscar nod for makeup]. It's ... sublime. It's like looking into the solar corona of hackery, eclipsed only by the lunar body of cluelessness. [My vote for metaphor of the month] Even when you go into the comments on his own right-wing site, you read things like: "I too believe Hollywood is filled with perverts and socialists. But an Oscar for [Star Wars] Episode III? Are you high?"
The whole thing is very entertaining. Check it out.


His lips are moving


Remember Shrub's Jimmy Carter moment on Tuesday, where he warned of us about our addiction to oil and promised new alternative energy research and funding? Of course, we all thought "bullsh*t", because we realized that Bush telling you you're addicted to oil is like your crack dealer saying, "you know, your crack addiction is really making a mess of your life... you should really do something about it... you want some crack while you think about it?" During my live blogging of the SOTU, I wrote:
19) AMERICA IS ADDICTED TO OIL. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. You can be certain that this Texas oilman, my oilman vice president, my Exxon supertanker, er, Secretary of State, and my entire oil soaked administration will do everything possible to break our addiction to oil, including drilling in ANWR, digging up more coal, and a bunch of other things that won't come to fruition until long after we're gone and have built up way more profits than we could possibly spend in sixteen generations.
At the time, I wondered how he managed to get that out with a straight face, and how Cheneyburton's pacemaker didn't just begin skipping like an old LP. Now I know how; his fingers were crossed:
(Knight-Ridder) WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.

"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.
(New York Times) The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.

The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas.


Pre-1776 Mentality


Dang it! Just when I get a full head of Dem-bashing steam built up, the Jewish Senator with the magnificent first name from the home of the World's Greatest Pro Football Team has to go and write an excellent dKos diary.
I've seen some strange things in my life, but I cannot describe the feeling I had, sitting on the House floor during Tuesday's State of the Union speech, listening to the President assert that his executive power is, basically, absolute, and watching several members of Congress stand up and cheer him on. It was surreal and disrespectful to our system of government and to the oath that as elected officials we have all sworn to uphold. Cheering? Clapping? Applause? All for violating the law?

The President and his administration continue their spin and media blitz in attempts to defend the fact that they broke, and continue to break, the law. Their weak and shifting justifications for doing so continue. The latest from the President seems to be that basically the FISA law, passed in 1978, is out of date. His decision that he can apparently disregard "old law" fits the pattern with the President and his administration. He's decided to disregard a statute (FISA) and the Constitution (the 4th Amendment) by continuing to wiretap Americans' phone calls and emails without the required warrant, while at the same time claiming powers of the presidency that do not exist. (Perhaps he feels the Constitution is too "old," as well.) This administration reacts to any questions about spying on American citizens by saying that those of us who stand up for our rights and freedoms are somehow living in a "pre-September 11th, 2001 world."

In fact, the President is living in a pre-1776 world.

Our Founders lived in dangerous times, and they risked everything for freedom. Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death." The President's pre-1776 mentality is hurting America and fracturing the foundation on which our country has stood for 230 years. The President can't just bypass two branches of government, and obey only those laws he wants to obey. Deciding unilaterally which of our freedoms still apply in the fight against terrorism is unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately.
Or, as I like to say, "They hate us for our freedoms, so if we give up our freedoms, they won't hate us!"


"There's a place called Iraq, you know"


OMG! LOL! Today's parody song political criticism courtesy of The Freeway Blogger, with a hat-tip to AMERICAblog.

Just go watch.


Man, 18, sought in gay bar attack


This just in from Massachusetts, the only state where gay marriage is legal:
(CNN) -- Police on Thursday are seeking a man in connection with gun and hatchet attacks overnight at a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Three people were wounded.

A bartender, who a